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Best Arguments for an Iran Deal? No, not really!

Bret Stephens in his Global View column in today’s Wall Street Journal presents prolepsis arguments as to why the P5+1 deal with a nuclear Iran is a dangerous folly perpetrated by Secretary of State Kerry and President Obama on America, Israel and the World. It is a preview of the arguments that President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry and their spokespersons will use to seal this deal in Press Conferences in Vienna and on Capitol Hill in Washington later this morning when the President meets with Democratic members of Congress.

Congress, under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, will now have  the daunting task of reviewing the 100 page agreement that emerged from feckless deliberations in Vienna.  That  despite the blandishments to be offered by President Obama to fellow Democrats on Capital Hill today  will likely be a very bad deal with the apocalyptic Mahdist regime in Tehran.  An Islamo fascist regime and state sponsor of terrorism  seeking the destruction of Israel , America and faltering Middle East allies.

Read Stephens’ cogent rebuttal of the misguided hopes and  faulty logic of what passed for diplomatic appeasement of Iran successfully retaining the capability to be come a nuclear threshold state under the terms of this final Joint Plan of Action.

The Wall Street Journal

The Best Arguments for an Iran Deal

The heroic assumptions, and false premises, of our diplomacy.

By BRET STEPHENS

In formal rhetoric, prolepsis means the anticipation of possible objections to an argument for the sake of answering them. So let’s be proleptic about the Iranian nuclear deal, whose apologists are already trotting out excuses for this historic diplomatic debacle.

The heroic case.Sure, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is an irascible and violent revolutionary bent on imposing a dark ideology on his people and his neighborhood. Much the same could be said of Mao Zedong when Henry Kissinger paid him a visit in 1971—a diplomatic gamble that paid spectacular dividends as China became a de facto U.S. ally in the Cold War and opened up to the world under Deng Xiaoping.

But the hope that Iran is the new China fails a few tests. Mao faced an overwhelming external threat from the Soviet Union. Iran faces no such threat and is winning most of its foreign proxy wars. Beijing ratcheted down tensions with Washington with friendly table-tennis matches. Tehran ratchets them up by locking up American citizens and seizing cargo ships in the Strait of Hormuz. Deng Xiaoping believed that to get rich is glorious. Iranian President Hasan Rouhani, a supposed reformer, spent last Friday marching prominently in the regime’s yearly “Death to America, Death to Israel” parade.

If there is evidence of an Iranian trend toward moderation it behooves proponents of a deal to show it.

The transactional case. OK, so Iran hasn’t really moderated its belligerent behavior, much less its antediluvian worldview. And a deal won’t mean we won’t still have to oppose Iran on other battlefields, whether it’s Yemen or Syria or Gaza. But that doesn’t matter, because a nuclear deal is nothing more than a calculated swap. Iran puts its nuclear ambitions into cold storage for a decade. In exchange, it comes in from the cold economically and diplomatically. Within circumscribed parameters, everyone can be a winner.

But a transaction requires some degree of trust. Since we can’t trust Iran we need an airtight system of monitoring and verification. Will the nuclear deal provide that? John Kerry will swear that it will, but as recently as January Czech officials blocked a covert $61 million purchase by Iran of “dual-use” nuclear technologies. A month before that, the U.S. found evidence that Iran had gone on an illicit “shopping spree” for its plutonium plant in Arak. That’s what we know. What do we not know?

Also, how does a nuclear deal not wind up being Iran’s ultimate hostage in dictating terms for America’s broader Mideast policy? Will the administration risk its precious nuclear deal if Iran threatens to break it every time the two countries are at loggerheads over regional crises in Yemen or Syria? The North Koreans already mastered the art of selling their nuclear compliance for one concession after another—and they still got the bomb.

The defeatist case. All right: So the Iran deal is full of holes. Maybe it won’t work. Got any better ideas? Sanctions weren’t about to stop a determined regime, and we couldn’t have enforced them for much longer. Nobody wants to go to war to stop an Iranian bomb, not the American public and not even the Israelis. And conservatives, of all people, should know that foreign policy often amounts to a choice between evils. The best case for a nuclear deal is that it is the lesser evil.

Then again, serious sanctions were only imposed on Iran in November 2011. They cut the country’s oil exports by half, shut off its banking system from the rest of the world, sent the rial into free fall and caused the inflation rate to soar to 60%. By October 2013 Iran was six months away from a severe balance-of-payments crisis, according to estimates by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. And that was only the first turn of the economic screw: Iran’s permitted oil exports could have been cut further; additional sanctions could have been imposed on the “charitable” foundations controlled by Iran’s political, military and clerical elite. Instead of turning the screw, Mr. Obama relieved the pressure the next month by signing on to the interim agreement now in force.

It’s true that nobody wants war. But a deal that gives Iran the right to enrich unlimited quantities of uranium after a decade or so would leave a future president no option other than war to stop Iran from building dozens of bombs. And a deal that does nothing to stop Iran’s development of ballistic missiles would allow them to put one of those bombs atop one of those missiles.

Good luck. Americans are a lucky people—lucky in our geography, our founders and the immigrants we attract to our shores. So lucky that Bismarck supposedly once said “there is a special providence for drunkards, fools, and the United States of America.”

Maybe we’ll get lucky again. Maybe Iran will change for the better after Mr. Khamenei passes from the scene. Maybe international monitors will succeed with Iran where they failed with North Korea. Maybe John Kerry is the world’s best negotiator, and this deal was the best we could do.

Or maybe we won’t be lucky. Maybe there’s no special providence for nations drunk on hope, led by fools.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

UPDATE: Victory for Iran — Hegemony Over the Arabian Peninsula

Iran has thrown  a lasso around Arabian peninsula with Houthi Shia takeover in Yemen.  Friends of ours here in Pensacola have two serving U.S. Marine Captains. One of them was in charge of  Marine Security for our embassies in the Middle East.  He called home to say that he was in the last group of 10 persons that  vacated the U.S. Embassy in Saana, Yemen, He told his parents in a phone call of the circuitous trip to the airport in Yemen’s capital evading Houthi checkpoints. The flight took the group to safety in Dubai. Yemen is now a failed state that will likely devolve into sectarian war between the minority Houthi and the divided majority Sunni.  It also marks another failure of this  exemplar  of the Obama ‘no name’ counterterrorism strategy.

Saudi Arabia’s fences on its northern and southern borders may become the equivalent of France’s Maginot Line that failed to stop the Nazi blitzkrieg in 1940 that saw the demise of Third Republic. The Kingdom has the largest number of Islamic State foreign fighters who will constitute a fifth column upon return to the Wahhabist realm.  That gives Iran virtual control of Iraq, Syria, Yemen, plus Lebanon with Proxy Hezbollah.  Then  there are restive majority Shia in Bahrain and oppressed Shia sitting atop Saudi Arabia’s oil fields in the eastern province on the Persian Gulf. Some argue that Iran may have even been complicit  fostering the rise of ISIS despite the alleged hatred between radical Islamist Salafist and Apocalyptic Twevlers in Tehran.

If President Obama’s quest for a nuclear pact with the Islamic Regime in Tehran occurs on March 24th with the P5+1 final agreement, Iran becomes a nuclear hegemon threatened the region, America’s ally Israel  and the West. Remember that agreement excludes ICBMs that may be capable of covering Europe and beyond.  Yesterday Uruguay arrested a senior Iranian diplomat  alleged to be involved in a possible repeat in Montevideo  of the Iranian sponsored 1992 Buenos Aires blast at the Israeli Embassy.

Obama’s ‘Strategic Patience”  document released Thursday amounts to capitulation and appeasement of Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, IS, Taliban and Al Qaeda. To say nothing of his failed Russian reset with Imperialist Putin in the Ukraine and  failed pivot to contain China’s saber rattling in East Asia  He even changed the wording of his original war declaration against IS  from “degrade and destroy” to “degrade and destroy”.  He is worse than British PM Neville Chamberlain at Munich in 1938 that sold out pre-war Czechoslovakia. At least Chamberlain brought Sir Winston Churchill into his cabinet after the declaration of war against Nazi Germany on September 3, 1939  as First Lord of the Admiralty, a prelude to Churchill being asked by King George VI to form a government on May 10,1940 following Chamberlain’s resignation.

Obama and  many Democratic Senators and Representatives deplore the proposed speech by Israel’s PM Netanyahu on the dangers of  Iran and radical Islam before a Joint Session of Congress on March 3rd at the invitation of U.S. House Speaker John Boehner. If that does occur then the leader of America’s only democratic ally in the Middle East, who is said to speak in Churchillian cadence, will like the fabled UK wartime premier, have a third opportunity to present his prescient views.

NOTE: This Twitchy headline and  tweeted  comments  posted on ‘Victory for Iran’: Shia rebels in ‘success story’ Yemen dissolve parliament, take charge

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of Houthi Shia rebels in Yemen.