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Nihilist Diplomacy

August 17th, 2015 by Bill Brown · 4 Comments · Foreign Affairs, Politics

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.

If the leader of that country publicly lauded the results of each scenario, how would you characterize the country’s (and, specifically, its leader’s) values?

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.]

4 Comments so far ↓

  • Bill Brown

    From the bonus reel:

  • 10x10

    This analysis is incomplete. While it is true that the Left is treacherous, the entire mainstream right including Objectivism is entirely clueless about the true cause of our Muslim problems and what to do about them. Our problem is Islam itself and the presence of Muslims in the Western world.

    It is true that no Muslim nation should be allowed to have wmds but if there were no Muslims in the West then there would be no Muslims to commit acts of Muslim aggression in the West. We are not threatened primarily by “terrorists”, we are threatened by Muslims who are a 5th column in any nation they migrate to.

    The solution to this problem is not primarily war oriented, as all Objectivists believe. It is immigration oriented. We’ve opened our borders up to an immigrant group that requires an entire surveillance apparatus to monitor them; an apparatus which is incredibly costly not to mention intrusive. But rather than kick out the Muslims, you would rather wage war against Iran; with 40 million Muslims on the European continent no less.

    I hope our Chinese overlords will be benevolent.

  • Michael Neibel

    10×10, You’re mistaken about objectivists. Read the writings at The Objective Standard on Islam. Or at the ARI. I don’t think we have to go to war with Iran but that will be up to Iran. We need to stop supporting our Islamic enemies like Saudi Arabia and others with money. No more nation building. This deal with Iran will guarantee Iran gets the bomb. Any number of nations could just give Iran a bomb. They won’t do it. They know what a death worshiping regime that nation is.

  • Romello Dellomand

    Mr. Neibel.

    You are incorrect. The standard ARI approach to Islamic terrorism is to attack Islamic states.

    Here is Craig Biddle of The Objective Standard:

    Declare war on Iran; eliminate its current regime; and announce to the world that, from now on, this is how America will deal with regimes that threaten our citizens, our immigrants, or our allies. Turn next to the Saudi regime. Repeat as necessary.

    Ok, it’s infantile writing, but we are dealing with Biddle.

    Here is Harry Binswanger just a couple weeks ago:

    Militarily crush Iran and its ally-states, in an all-out campaign (it would be too short to call it a war). That, coupled with a proper foreign policy, would end the rise of Islam and worry about Muslim immigration.

    So, yes, ARI associated Objectivists are calling for war against Islamic states; not a peep about the Islamic immigration into the west.