Some would say the Iran deal represents the worst kind of foreign policy naiveté. Others would say it was a deal for the sake of a deal to bolster Obama’s legacy. Still others would argue that it is part of some kind of conspiracy to elevate the power of Islam in the world. While there may be degrees of truth in all of these points, there is an obvious and stark conclusion to be drawn from the deal and its immediate aftermath. This was the best “deal” Obama was going to get.
I don’t say this as an apologist for Obama. I despise the deal and the manner in which it was negotiated. I don’t think there should have been any negotiations regarding the Iranian nuclear program. In my opinion, the threat of a nuclear Iran is so grave to the safety of not only America, but the entire world, that it is worthy of decisive military action (and just to be clear, I mean decisive, not some drawn out nation-building exercise with absurd rules of engagement).
But returning to my point regarding this being the best deal Obama was going to get, the fact is the terms under which we participated in these negotiations made this the inevitable outcome. The notion of Iran being solely motivated by pursuing a peaceful energy-producing program should have been dismissed out of hand as it has been by all intellectually honest people. A nation whose people and leaders still chant “Death to America” is not a nation with whom we should be negotiating any form of nuclear technology.
Instead of taking a stand and saying that the United States of America will not tolerate any form of nuclear ambition by a nation that displays open hostility toward it, Obama embarked down the road of trying to prove to the Iranians that their hostility was unwarranted and that America would welcome them into the nuclear club, provide they promised not to build weapons. The minute that became our policy for dealing with Iran’s nuclear aspirations the fate of the deal was sealed.
Once Iran realized that our goal was to appear reasonable and accommodating at all costs, Iran became more demanding and less willing to give in to compromise. The result was that the “deal” such that it was became ever more one-sided in favor of Iran.
But a bigger and more startling takeaway from the deal is that this was the best the other parties at the table were going to give us, the exception being France who has uncharacteristically taken a harder stance on this than us. Everyone wants to resume business as usual with Iran as quickly as possible without having to continue to carry on the charade of abiding by the sanctions that they’ve been working hard to circumvent these past few years. They wanted this to be over, plain and simple. Russia is supplying Iran with nuclear and defensive weapons technology and China is supplying Iran with missile delivery systems technology. Through their actions, these two members of the UN Security Council have given their stamp of approval to a nuclear-armed Iran. Obama’s speak softly and carry no stick negotiating tactics were never going to reverse the momentum to lift the sanctions.
From the beginning the choice should have been between doing business with America and doing business with Iran, and that should have remained the choice until the Iranian nuclear program was completely dismantled (or destroyed). Unfortunately, Obama could not afford to make that ultimatum because he has so greatly diminished the power and prestige of America on the world stage. Moreover, he lacked the will to issue such a decree because his worldview seeks to equalize power among nations – elevating the weak and diminishing the mighty, even if that means elevating hostile regimes and diminishing America. In his eyes it would be arrogant and unfair of America to put other nations in the position of having to make such a choice.
Now we are reduced to groveling for concessions from a Russian client state, which is exactly what Iran has become. Iran has replaced Syria as Russia’s main agent in the Middle East. Russia plans to arm Iran and foment tensions in the region so as to drive up the price of Russian oil and save their flagging economy. And if a terrorist surrogate should use an Iranian nuclear weapon on America or American assets and thereby weaken Russia’s chief rival, there would be no tears shed in Moscow.
China just wants to make money selling weapons and anything they can do to diminish American power and influence is a bonus. They would particularly like to see us forced to withdraw from Asia so that they can fully assume the role of regional hegemon.
So Congress can try their best to reject Obama’s deal and override his veto, but the fact is the reality of this outcome was sealed even before the deal was finalized. Obama came to the table with a weakened hand of his own making and played it to its inevitable conclusion. The negotiations were never about preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power. They were always about removing the sanctions as quickly as possible so that the nations who wanted to do business with Iran could do so openly. And for Obama and Kerry they were more about appearing reasonable and non-confrontational in the eyes of the world and Muslim nations in particular than they were about anything else.
Obama is like the man who comes across the carcass of a dead bear and poses triumphantly for a picture with it as if he had killed it. The sanctions regime was dying and Obama lacked the will and the power to hold it together. So he just decided to pose triumphantly by its carcass and tell the world that he negotiated a masterful compromise. And just like the stench of a rotting corpse, the details of this deal get worse as time goes on.
The sanctions get lifted much to the delight of Iran and those nations and businesses who would seek financial gain by empowering the world’s most prolific sponsor of terrorism. We did not even dare to ask Iran to disavow terrorism. Such a request was determined to be too provocative and unreasonable by Kerry’s team.
Iran gets a massive cash inflow with which to build its status as a regional military power. No doubt some of that money will go to fund its terrorist proxies like Hezbollah.
Iran gets to keep its nuclear program. We get inspections, but on Iran’s terms, which include a 24 day stalling period and the ability of Iran to influence who will and will not be doing the inspecting. But in truth the inspections were intended to be a sham. The nations that negotiated the terms know that Iran won’t stop its push toward a nuclear weapon and they don’t want the inspectors to find any bothersome evidence that might prompt the need to revisit this issue. They would prefer the world just wake up one day with the announcement that Iran has one or more nuclear weapons, much the same way Pakistan and India burst onto the nuclear scene. The exception is Russia, who is banking on an Israeli attack on Iran so as to unleash a wider war in the Middle East and send the price of oil through the roof. Although an Israeli attack will now be made more difficult by the fact that as part of the deal, Iran gets our help to protect their nuclear program and they will also soon have in place the air defense systems that Russia has sold to them.
Iran even denied us the face-saving gesture of releasing the Americans it is holding hostage, even as we returned one of their top nuclear scientists to them.
Now we are being told that should Congress actually manage to reject this deal and override a Presidential veto, the American economy will be put in jeopardy. This warning stems from apparent threats that other parties to the deal will seek to end the U.S. dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency should we back out of the deal. So the choices Kerry and Obama have put before us are economic disaster should we back out of the deal or an inevitable nuclear disaster should the deal reach its logical conclusion (unless an Israeli attack on Iran ignites World War III before Iran can develop a nuclear bomb).
Somehow Obama has painted us into a corner where we will be made out to be the villain if we stand up and say “no, we do not want a nation that chants Death to America and Death to Israel to have nuclear technology”. We are being told to just stand by while our enemies sharpen the sword they plan to use to destroy us. Indeed they have even demanded that we assist with the sharpening.
But yes, this was still the best deal Obama was going to get, which points out the absurdity of having participated in the negotiations in the first place. When you are negotiating with a dishonest enemy who has vowed to destroy you and you have on your side of the table partners who wouldn’t mind seeing that enemy take you down a peg or two so as to advance their own power, it’s time to walk away from the table. Should you continue to negotiate under those conditions, you are merely haggling over the terms of your own destruction.