There is no shortage of pundits who, in pointing out the negatives inherent in the deal the Obama administration struck with Iran over its pursuit of nuclear power, suggest the president and his secretary of state were hoodwinked by the Iranians.
We think there is something else in play and while the president and secretary of state would have liked to get a better deal, they proceeded roughly according to plan. What happened in Geneva fits in perfectly with the administration’s determination to adjust to what it sees as the new international reality of indigenous movements and insurgencies and the inadequacy of modern military power to address them.
The administration’s failures are not in the details but in its judgment that Third World challenges must be accommodated rather than confronted.
To be sure, the concessions seem astounding.
Despite being forced to the table by crippling sanctions, Iran was accorded the status not of a supplicant but of a full negotiating partner permitted to make demands. Iran’s not being required to commit to the immediate dismantling of its nuclear infrastructure essentially obliterated the red lines established in no fewer than six United Nations Security Council Resolutions spearheaded by the U.S. and other Western powers.
Granting Iran interim relief from some of the imposed sanctions as well as access to frozen bank accounts pending further negotiations on a full agreement not only lessens the pressure on the Iranians before a full agreement is reached, it enables Iran to continue its financial sponsorship of terror groups around the world and the murderous Assad regime in Syria.
In addition, the agreement cannot help but dampen the threat of a re-imposition of relaxed sanctions, never mind putting in place enhanced ones. Does anyone really think Russia and China will again cooperate as they did at the outset after much arm-twisting by the U.S.?
There is also little doubt that President Obama was not unaware that the deal would necessarily have a negative effect on America’s Mideast allies, such as Israel and Saudi Arabia, and several other Arab countries with more than a passing interest in the dangers posed by a nuclear Iran.
One does not have to believe that Mr. Obama seeks their harm to accept that he is dangerously indifferent to their plight.
Moreover, we find it hard to believe that even the Obama administration has any confidence in the efficacy of the various monitoring systems to verify that Iran will actually meet its commitments. It is almost as though the administration has accepted the probability that at some future date Iran will present the world a nuclear fait accompli. And the president’s unwillingness to consider a military option tells us he has no stomach for such a confrontation no matter how imminent Iran’s nuclear capacity looks to be.
In fact, Mr. Obama’s stance is traceable to his 2008 campaign pledge that he was prepared to stretch out a hand to America’s adversaries and speak to any foreign leader without preconditions. He is certainly implementing that commitment in his dealings with Iran.
We are encouraged by movement in the Senate and House of Representatives – including among members of the president’s own party – to pass legislation providing for the imposition of greater sanctions in order to bring Iran into compliance with international norms.
Not only does it seem logical to continue the policy that convinced Iran it had to address Western concerns, but such a policy, vigorously enforced, could ultimately result in regime change in Iran.