"Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government." Thomas Jefferson

Spinning White House Yarns and Iranian Nukes

Melanie Sturm | @ThinkAgainUSA Read Comments - 11
Publish Date: 
Thu, 12/19/2013


Unable to ignore millions of cancellation letters and a rare presidential apology, fact-checkers at PolitiFact and the Washington Post designated “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it” as their “Lie of the Year.”


Reeling from Obamacare’s deceptive sales tactics, Americans dread its fallout, but know our system allows us to Think Again.  We can repeal and replace bad laws.


But we can’t reverse the fall-out from Iranian nukes, which explains President Kennedy’s warning that while “domestic policy can defeat us; foreign policy can kill us.”


It also explains the backlash from allies and Congress to the recently signed interim agreement with Iran, the world’s most dangerous regime and self-described deceiver. As Alan Dershowitz suggested, it “could be a cataclysmic error of gigantic proportions.”


The secretly negotiated Iranian deal is a painful reminder of a Turkish general’s observation: "The problem with having the Americans as your allies is that you never know when they'll turn around and stab themselves in the back."  


The pact departs from our long-standing bi-partisan consensus to prevent -- not contain -- a nuclear Iran, and undercuts our negotiating position before winning proportionate concessions.


Just as ratcheted-up sanctions were forcing Iran to choose between economic collapse and dismantling its nuclear program to comply with six UN resolutions, we’ve relieved their pain in return for no irreversible concessions, sending $8-10 billion into its beleaguered economy while effectively ratifying what the UN wouldn’t -- Iran’s right to enrich uranium.


As with Obamacare, the truth is that if we like what we have – a world in which the planet’s largest exporter of terrorism is denied the most devastating weapons capability – this pact means we can’t keep it, despite breezy assurances from the Obama Administration that painstakingly-conceived coercive sanctions can be flicked on like a light switch.


Former secretaries of state George Schultz and Henry Kissinger are concerned, writing in the Wall Street Journal that the agreement leaves Iran ”in the position of a nuclear threshold power—a country that can achieve a military nuclear capability within months of its choosing…with profound consequences for global nonproliferation policy and the stability of the Middle East.”


“We must avoid an outcome,” they conclude, “in which Iran, freed from an onerous sanctions regime, emerges as a de facto nuclear power leading an Islamist camp, while traditional allies lose confidence in the credibility of American commitments.”


Haven’t we learned from the failed North Korea deals that bribing nuke-obsessed tyrants doesn’t work? When US forces were in Afghanistan and Iraq, sanctions backed by a credible military threat induced Libya’s nuclear abandonment, and a two-year Iranian timeout.


Feeling backstabbed and abandoned, America’s Middle Eastern allies insist the pact undercuts mutual interests – safety, sovereignty, and open thoroughfares – by guaranteeing Iranian domination of the Gulf.  They believe “it doesn’t do anything about Iranian ambitions; it just takes the United States out of the equation as a force that’s helping box Iran in,” according to Jon Alterman of the Center for Strategic Studies.


“It’s an issue of confidence,” Saudi Prince al-Faisal said, when allies aren’t sure that “what you say is going to be what you do.” Now, after displaying indecision, inconsistency and weakness in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt and Iran, America has less influence than at any time since before World War I, rendering the warring region unstable and the world more perilous.


Americans have noticed. A 53 percent majority believes America is less important and influential than it was a decade ago, up from 20 percent in 2004 -- an all-time high in Pew Research’s half-century of polling.


Yet having learned the lessons of the Cold War – that international peace, security and prosperity depend on America’s credibility and commitment to defend our interests – we know that all aspects of American statecraft are necessary to defeat menacing despots and existential threats. Successive presidents backed by overwhelming bi-partisan congressional majorities have affirmed America’s peace through strength strategy, insisting “all options are on the table” to prevent an Iranian nuclear weapon.


Was it President Obama’s intention to break with these time-tested American principles when he was caught on an open mic assuring Russian President Medvedev that he’d have “more flexibility” after the 2012 election?


Guided by these principles, and understanding the ancient credo “those who are kind to the cruel, in the end will be cruel to the kind,” President Reagan challenged Soviet leader Gorbachev at the Berlin Wall in 1987. In making the moral and security cases for freedom and Western resolve, he entreated, “if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity…. if you seek liberalization…tear down this wall!”


Twenty-nine months later, the wall was rubble.  May Obama heed these lessons so Iran’s nuclear installations meet the same fate.


Think Again -- Woe to humanity if ever Obama’s pledge to prevent an Iranian nuke is declared "the lie of the year."

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Here we go again. Iran, Iran,

Here we go again. Iran, Iran, Iran, Iran, Iran. Who cares? What about the real issues? That duck dynasty guy said something the other day.

The Saudis would not be doing

The Saudis would not be doing this as a favor to the Israelis. They would not be doing it to help save Israel. They’d be doing it because they know the difference between a serious and threatening enemy (Iran) and a useful enemy that lets you sleep at night (Israel).

I just worry about what

I just worry about what tradeoff (relative to the Palastinians) Netanyahu might feel compelled to give in return for landing rights.

Very promising on the

Very promising on the sanctions bill at this moment A growing number of Democrats are not buying the WH/DoS line that the Iranians are negotiating in good faith, and are willing to make significant concessions in return for the sanctions relief we’ve begun to provide (which we estimate at about 3X what the administration is claiming).

I doubt the bill will pass before the holidays – not enough time -- but there’s a strong chance that mounting pressure will produce a vote in January – and credible folks on the Hill predict it could have 75 Senators (30 Ds, 45Rs) in favor.

Both Saudi Arabia and Israel are existentially threatened by Iran’s rulers. What this alliance of convenience may or may not net is another question. But, for example, if the Israelis should have the need to make emergency landings of aircraft in the deserts of eastern Arabia, they might find protests of this violation of Saudi sovereignty muted.

I noticed that an Iranian

I noticed that an Iranian sympathizer and former Operating For America writer got an early heads up and Foreign Policy magazine had to retract parts of his story which most certainly came from the White House. Thank you for an easy to understand article that should concern us all. And, at this moment, the senate is in revolt against Obama's Iranian policy. Who knew they had a spine?

Good article. But I still

Good article. But I still fail to understand why we view sanctions as necessarily tied to preventing nuclear capability. Yes, that is how we can sell it to otherwise reluctant nations, but it seems to me, regardless of whether the mullahs have nukes or not, they remain essentially the world's biggest supporter of terrorism. Which, in any rational international setup, should make them a pariah. Why on earth should they have access to anything in the global setup they're trying so hard to overturn? The sanctions should stay on until they either collapse or abandon their strategy of using violence to achieve foreign policy goals.

Thank you for your balanced

Thank you for your balanced and insightful analysis of a foreign policy gone wrong. I believe the President is trying to reduce American influence in the World based on his writings and the teachings of his biological father. Making Europe and the Southwest Asian Governments responsible for their own governance is a laudable objective, but it is as you so elegantly point out is not worth the instability and deaths that secret deals tend to encourage. Any regional deal needs to have a majority of Nation States behind it and actively participating in it. I believe this is a sanctions first with a military option second. The Iranians are using the military option openly and rather effectively in Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria. Thank you again for an excellent analysis.

Obama is a tyrant. How the

Obama is a tyrant. How the hell he did the right thing with Iran, I don't know. Maybe Putin coerced him.
But anyway, this article is just another in a long line of neoconish articles insinuating that this step towards peaceful relations gives Iran a greater chance to build the nuke they don't really want. Propaganda folks, and you know it.
The deal would open up Iran to greater inspections. Iran would enrich at 5% (80-90% is needed for a nuke). If you think that is giving Iran the green light to build a nuke, I have some ocean front property in Iowa to sell to you.

I liked how you tied 'the lie

I liked how you tied 'the lie of the year' to Obama's retreat from responsibility in Iran. In foreign policy, he retreats; in social policy, he operates on full speed ahead. He is a two front destroyer.

There´s an overwhelming

There´s an overwhelming bi-partisan Congressional consensus to increase -- not decrease -- pressure on Iran. This column explains why Americans must support it.

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