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Obama, the new Neville Chamberlain

And now, Obama is concluding an agreement with Iran that will enable Iran to more rapidly and aggressively threaten the security of our long-time friends in the region.  The Arab nations have expressed particular concern about that, along with the expected concern of Israel.  Astonishingly, these nations’ chief patron has made an agreement gravely prejudicial to their interests, with the most aggressive, disruptive state in the region.

4.  The agreement thus will destabilize the Middle East further.  It will spark an accelerated conventional arms race, as the regional nations seek to outpace an unleashed Iran.  It will drive more nations to seek nuclear weapons.


It will make an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear program – with the attendant consequences – much more likely.

It will undermine the security assumptions of everyone in the region.  Israel’s basis for security will be eroded, but so will Saudi Arabia’s, Jordan’s, and Egypt’s.  The regional dynamics are about more than whether and when Iran has a bomb.  They are about Iran’s ability to foment instability, fight proxy wars, and menace territory further and further abroad.  These capabilities will all grow significantly with the release of sanctions.

But Iran’s increased ability to consolidate gains close by – e.g., in Iraq and Afghanistan – will also change the security calculations of Turkey and Pakistan.  All the old patterns of confrontation in the region will reassert themselves, garbed in modern technology.

Unleashing a radical Iran, as a geopolitical instigator, is about much more than the bomb.  And that’s exactly what the Obama agreement is set to do.

5.  The agreement will undermine one of the core pillars of modern NATO policy.  This aspect of the matter has gotten little play in the Western media, but it is of profound importance to Western security.

Russia has already framed the point in the way most favorable to her desires.  Within hours of the JCPOA being announced, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was telling Russia media that the agreement would obviate the need for NATO to deploy missile defenses to Eastern Europe.

This has been a Russian refrain for the last six years, with the Russians referencing Obama’s speech in Prague in 2009 in which he called for the full elimination of nuclear weapons.  Obama cited a nuclear-armed Iran as the concern driving the NATO missile defense policy.  But he also reportedly sent Dmitry Medvedev a secret letter early in 2009 in which he offered to back off entirely from the NATO missile defense plan if Russia would help prevent Iran’s nuclearization:

The letter to President Dmitri A. Medvedev was hand-delivered in Moscow by top administration officials three weeks ago. It said the United States would not need to proceed with the interceptor system, which has been vehemently opposed by Russia since it was proposed by the Bush administration, if Iran halted any efforts to build nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles.

Obama went ahead after this overture with a revised missile defense plan that focused exclusively – unlike the Bush plan – on defending Europe against Iranian missiles, while providing no defense for North America.  The Obama plan is in execution, in fact, with missile defense ships now permanently homeported in Spain, and preparations being made for land-based elements to be deployed in Romania and Bulgaria.

Russia continues to vehemently oppose all these measures.  And it’s a legitimate question how NATO should now review its missile defense policy – if, as Obama will argue to his Congress, the JCPOA with Iran will in fact prevent Iran, for the next decade, from menacing Europe as well as the U.S. with nuclear missiles.


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J.E. Dyer is a retired US Naval intelligence officer who served around the world, afloat and ashore, from 1983 to 2004.