Lessons From The Iran Deal
The UN today voted unanimously to approve the nuclear weapons deal negotiated by the six major powers and Iran. The UN is now poised to remove its sanctions and will be joined quickly by the rest of the world… except probably the US. The tentative deal still requires a sign off from Iran’s Supreme Leader and a review by the US Congress. Either a veto proof rejection by Congress or a “no thank you” by Iran will be necessary to put the agreement back in the bargaining phase. Hmmm.
Israel and GOP Congressional members seem aligned and opposed to the deal. They argue, without much rationale, that the deal is a “bad one” and the West should hold out for a “better” deal. Unfortunately, “better” is left either poorly defined or containing some suggestions which are obviously non-starters. Why do these groups want to keep the current status quo when it should be clear that Iran will proceed with nuclear development and eventually weaponize its technology? At that point there will be no alternative than military intervention with a nuclear capable country.
The US has already said it will not tolerate a “nuclear Iran” and that can only mean (with no agreement) that the use of force will be necessary to prevent Iran from developing or deploying nuclear weapons. This is a terrible outcome.
To be sure, the US cannot be afraid of war and sign just any agreement. On the other hand, a well crafted agreement should be able to set clear boundaries and detect Iran violations of the agreement. At such a point, sanctions could be returned and the use of force could just as easily be applied as in the caae where there had been no agreement. The main difference is that with no agreement, the outcome is clear. With an agreement, there is a chance to avoid war. Hmmm.
So why again are the GOP, especially the Presidential candidates, so outspoken about rejecting the agreement?
Certainly on one level the disagreement is about politics. How can GOP candidates who have openly sided with Israel against President Obama suddenly embrace this agreement. Also from a certain perspective, being against the agreement is a subtle bet that the Iranians might cheap as Israel has predicted, and more importantly, the Iranians might get caught in this trickery. Wouldn’t it be great next year, as a GOP candidate, to say “see I told you so” and “you can’t trust Democrats with national security” The price of poker just went up.
No one knows at this point whether the tentative agreement is a “good one” or not. If the agreement is a “good one”, there is no way at this time to know whether the Iranians will try and “cheat” anyways. The only thing certain is that with no agreement, war is inevitable or the world will have to accept another nuclear capable country, this time Iran.
Sadly, just as with Saddam Hussain, the world is not going to be a better place with a nuclear free Iran. War with Iran over its national nuclear aspiration interest is not going to make the world a better place. What about North Korea or Pakistan or India or China?
The post cold war world is a different place than when the West wore the white hats and the Soviets wore the black ones. The public needs to think more deeply about what their politicians are saying, compare their words to the facts, and especially to what they have said in the past.
The lessons here show the GOP playing the same “Remove Saddam Hussein” tune in the face of the historical record which clearly shows the invasion and occupation of Iraq to have been a devastatingly bad decision.
There may be 16 GOP candidates (today). Listen carefully to see whether any of them get it right.
(Note – There is a rational position GOP members could hold against this agreement which says war may not be inevitable. Tough sanctions held in place long enough might weaken Iran so much that events lead to a natural Iran regime change. So the better course of action now, this argument goes, would have been to keep sanctions in place while negotiating and allow time to pass (no deadlines). If you believe Iran will not weaponize their nuclear technology or won’t socialize it among the many Iranian client radical groups, then this might be a defensible option. It is, however, not a low risk option.)