Imagine two scenarios:
1) A country is attacked by terrorists. In response, it targets the terrorists and the countries that aid those terrorists. It successfully captures a bunch of the terrorists and imprisons them. During the course of its operations, an enlisted man deserts and is captured by the terrorists. Its leader exchanges a handful of the detained terrorists for the soldier, as several of the released terrorists vow to continue the fight.
2) A country wants to prevent another country from getting nuclear weapons. Its negotiators meet with the other country and hammer out a plan that has the appearance of restricting arms development but actually allows it to continue out of the world’s eye. Concessions are given readily and the leader spurns any opposition to it domestically.
Obama’s stated purpose is to prevent nuclear proliferation. But his professed rationale is severely undercut by the path he’s taken:
- Compliance inspections are limited in access and spontaneity, requiring at least 24 days notice and only for specified facilities.
- Parts of the agreement can’t be revealed to the public or even Congress.
- We aren’t allowed to be part of the inspection process.
- As part of the deal, Iran will receive approximately over $100 billion frozen as part of sanctions.
- They can keep enough of their enrichment centrifuges running.
- Failure to comply will result in resumption of sanctions, but any resumption of sanctions removes all non-proliferation restrictions.
The negotiation failures are too plentiful to be accidental. This is not a case of our representatives being outgunned by their team. There is even a recent episode that closely parallels this situation—North Korea’s non-proliferation agreement—and we know exactly how that turned out. They knew what they were doing.
(Incidentally, Iran is really in a difficult bind due to the sanctions and low oil prices. It desperately needs the sanctions lifted and increased trade with the world to prop up its regime. We could have achieved countless concessions through a tougher negotiating stance. The comparisons with the recent Cuban deal are apt, especially the end result.)
Iranian leaders are gloating about the deal. Our leaders are professing a worry that a failure to rapidly approve of the deal will upset Iran, devastate our economy, and embolden the Iranian hardliners. If the deal is going to—at best—delay Iran’s nuclear capacity and—at worst—accelerate it with the influx of cash, then why would the administration be pressing so hard for its passage?
I can only think of two reasons: removing Israel’s advantage and subverting America’s interests in the region. This is not an administration that regards Iran and other Islamist governments as “Evil Empires” that must be undermined or countered. For this administration, we are the aggressors, the causes of radical Islam. That this course of action could lead to our destruction (or the destruction of our ally Israel) isn’t a bug—it’s a feature. Scenario #1 above is of a piece with this as well.
It’s really hard to believe that an American president can be anti-America and anti-value, but the conclusion is inescapable: his actions have eliminated any generosity or benefit of the doubt that could be assumed by the office.
[UPDATE (8/19/2015): Apparently, part of the secret agreement between Iran and IAEA is that Iran will inspect its own nuclear site and report back its compliance.]