There is no sign that our leaders understand this or, if they do, care to do anything to win. Rare is the national figure, Democrat or Republican, in or out of the government, who speaks the well-documented truths about Iran (they just talk about nukes). The president himself continues to seek a deal with Khamenei; that is the clear meaning of President Obama’s plea to “give diplomacy more time.” And Khamenei gives him hope. The recent announcement that one of the American hostages, the Marine (Hekmati) recently condemned to death for espionage, will be retried, is a coded message to the White House: we’re going to make you look good. Khamenei is quite capable of making little cosmetic changes in the nuclear policy (letting IAEA into some sites previously declared off limits, once the damning evidence has been sanitized), or even promising to do “everything in his power” to facilitate a peaceful American retreat from Afghanistan. These gestures would likely take place during the summer, during the political conventions.
If such things do happen, they would give Khamenei more time to crush the opposition in Syria, kill more of his critics in Iran, increase his sway over the new Islamic Republics in gestation in Egypt and Libya, shore up his ally Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, and continue whatever he’s doing on nukes. In response, the president would promise to continue to lecture the Israelis on the importance of patience, demonize those of us who dare call attention to the existence of the real war, and campaign as a brilliant peace maker.
Can you imagine the effect of a Marine hostage appearing on stage with the president at the Democrat Convention?
A real deal — not likely to happen — would require Iran to terminate its support for terror, cease its involvement in the Syrian civil war, end the shipment of dangerous materiel to anti-American governments in South America, and, yes, shut down the nuclear weapons program.
But we can’t even begin to talk about such things so long as the “debate” is all about nukes. Nukes are important because a nuclear Iran would be able to kill even more Americans. But they are not the main point. They’re a fanciful distraction from the life-and-death war that has been waged against us for decades.