It seems hyperbolic to say that Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran — if Ayatollah Khamenei, in his “wisdom,” allows it to happen — will be the worst deal ever made. But if what we have been learning about it is true, it almost certainly will be.
To begin with, the agreement is said to have a sunset clause of 10-15 years. Whatever the number turns out to be, that tells us that Iran is free to do anything it wants in the nuclear weapons field after a set amount of time, assuming that it hadn’t disobeyed the strictures of the agreement before then — a monumental assumption given past history. (Ironically, in this one way Iran is not unlike other states, all of which, to my knowledge, do their best to hide their nuclear programs, including the U.S.)
The idea — if it can be called that — behind this sunset clause is a kind of bet that Iran will turn into a normal country during the time frame, abjuring the fanatical religious doctrines (global war bringing about the twelfth Imam/Mahdi, etc.) inherent in Khomeinist Shiism that would make allowing Iran the bomb equivalent to giving a loaded gun to a two year old, only with global implications. Of course the more modern view of the world is true for many Iranians now, but will it be true in the future for all or even most? Who will be in power? The ayatollahs — almost all, from what we know, true believers in this apocalyptic ideology or willing to pretend they are — seem to have a stranglehold for now. And what about the Revolutionary Guard, evidently a universe unto itself in Iran, with expansionist goals that already have been largely successful across the Middle East through Iraq, Lebanon and Syria and now into Yemen?
Is all the endless chanting of “Death to America! Death to Israel!” merely “patriotic rhetoric” to appease the Iranian version of low-information voters? Or is it, like many things repeated literally since birth, buried deep in the unconscious of the populace? If it’s merely rhetoric, why are those same Revolutionary Guard now on the border of Israel hundreds of miles from home, apparently plotting an invasion with their Hezbollah lackeys over the Golan Heights? (As a sidelight, it has been shown that those who talk most about suicide are those most likely to do it.)
And why exactly is Iran building ICBMs — not part of the deal evidently — if not to deliver nuclear weapons? And just what weapons would Iran be building in 10-15 years, if not now? The atom bomb itself was 1944-45 technology. The U.S. detonated the first hydrogen bomb at Eniwetok in 1952, making the Hiroshima bomb seem like a pop gun. Are the Iranians that far behind that they can’t do as well, or close enough, 70 or more years later?
Consider this: a thermonuclear weapon dropped on Tel Aviv would have fallout extending throughout the Arab world (the part it hadn’t already demolished — bye-bye, Beirut and forget about the Dome of the Rock) and probably beyond to Greece (certainly to Cyprus) and possibly more of Southern Europe and Northern Africa down to the Sudan. And that’s if the winds were favorable. Israel would certainly reciprocate with its arsenal of nuclear submarines and weapons that no doubt dwarf the Iranian. The results of this would be catastrophic to the entire world. Who knows where it would end?
And yet Obama, Kerry and Wendy Sherman wish to give the Iranians a sunset clause. That’s sunset for everybody. And this is the “negotiation” that began supposedly to prevent Iran from enriching uranium while destroying all it had enriched. It’s hard even to remember that.
No wonder our (sadly former) allies in the Middle East are alarmed. What would you do sitting in Cairo, Riyadh or Ankara? Would you trust this deal? Personally, I’d rather have Egypt’s al-Sisi negotiating with Iran than Obama. He seems more level-headed and clearly more courageous. No doubt the nuclear laboratories of all these countries have been at work for some time. It’s also no surprise that Egypt and Saudi Arabia have quietly been building security alliances with Israel. (Turkey’s Erdogan is obviously another matter.)
I hate to sound like Mr. Armageddon, but what we are dealing with here is not a Chamberlain-style appeasement. It is something far more dangerous. Even that administration favorite Jeffrey Goldberg seems alarmed in a new article in The Atlantic (“Danger Ahead for Obama on Iran”) in which he quotes from his own interview with the president when Obama claimed he has “Israel’s back.” I guess that depends on what your definition of “back” is. Goldberg’s one defense of Obama is that — although Netanyahu will undoubtedly offer a solid critique of the administration when he speaks to Congress on Iran Tuesday — the Israeli PM does not have anything better to offer.
Not true. Serious economic sanctions — the truly crippling kind — have not even been tried. If we don’t do something like that for starters, and go further if we have to, we may all soon be in a war more horrible than anything imagined, something that would indeed make the Islamic State seem like the jayvee.
I for one am obviously not ambivalent about Netanyahu speaking to Congress, even though I wouldn’t want to be him. There is far too much riding on his shoulders for one human being. But I hope for the sake of all of us Bibi does a remarkable Churchillian job. At this moment, he’s the only one who could do it.
POSTSCRIPT: I don’t enjoy making predictions because I’m usually wrong, but this is what I suspect will transpire as of Sunday night, March 1. A deal ultimately will not be made. Khamenei never wanted one in the first place, only to mark time for more nuclear research. To make a deal would, for him, undermine too many years of hating America, undercutting the rationale for his hideous regime. BUT… Israel (specifically pushy Netanyahu), not Iran, will be blamed for the failure by the U.S. administration and its MSM minions, led by the New York Times. Iran will collude with this, dropping the proper hints — if it weren’t for those Israelis we would have had an agreement, but you know they can’t be trusted. The Republican presidential candidates will be swept up in this. They better be ready, but I fear they are not. They don’t impress me as a particularly sophisticated bunch on the international front, I’m sorry to say, and the Iranians know how to play disinformation-hardball almost as well as the Russians. I hope I’m wrong in all this. I hope Netanyahu knocks that same hardball out of the proverbial park and with it some sense into the American public. But I worry.
FINAL NOTE: To the Democratic senators and congressmen and women not attending Netanyahu’s speech, in the famous words of George Orwell, you are “objectively pro-Fascist” (in this case pro-Islamofascist). To the members of the Congressional Black Caucus, you are racist with a capital-R if you do not attend. Netanyahu is no more coming here to “disrespect the president” than he is because Obama is part black. Netanyahu is coming here because he takes the words “never again” more seriously than any phrase imaginable. That is the primary job description for the prime minister of Israel.