Hillary Clinton’s ability to take vague positions on every major issue, then claim she has always been in favor of whatever seems convenient tomorrow, is a remarkable demonstration of media indulgence.
Perhaps the media’s patience is running thin, if ABC’s Jake Tapper is a leading indicator. He responded to a Clinton flack’s dissembling about how everyone lives “somewhere between support and opposition” by snarking that Hillary Clinton has a timeshare condominium in that land of uncertainty.
Clinton looked down from the balcony of that timeshare and pronounced Obama’s Iran deal either good, or bad, depending on how things go, how badly the Iranians cheat, and what she thinks people want to hear in 2016. After a bit of initial confusion, her campaign seems to have settled on supporting the deal in a wishful-thinking way, while getting its most crucial elements wrong.
Most curiously, Clinton appears to think The Deal prevents Iran from developing nuclear weapons, when it does nothing of the kind. Even the President’s most devoted footmen admit it will only delay the advent of “zero breakout time” by some number of years — originally 10 to 13, although it may surprise Clinton to know the current estimate is more like eight, assuming Iran does not cheat. When backed up against the wall, Obama apologists claim this is roughly comparable to how long the Iranian bomb could have been held at bay without The Deal, by maintaining sanctions.
“As president, I would use every tool in our arsenal to compel rigorous Iranian compliance,” Clinton declared, as quoted by the UK Guardian. She went on to admit she is still “studying the details” of the plan, so maybe she did not get to the part where our “arsenal to compel rigorous Iranian compliance” was completely drained of ordnance, or the part where it does not say anything about making it impossible for Iran to build nuclear bombs.
“The message to Iran should be loud and clear: we will never allow you to acquire a nuclear weapon. Not just during the term of this agreement. Never,” Clinton threatened. Yes, no doubt the Iranians tremble in fear at the thought of Benghazi Clinton’s wrath descending upon them. Her husband was equally adamant that North Korea would never have nuclear weapons and would be made to rigorously comply with the terms of their non-proliferation deal.
“Based on the briefings I received and a review of the documents, I support the agreement because it can help us prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon,” said Clinton, which gives her wiggle room to claim later that she was briefed incorrectly, when The Deal goes south. “With vigorous enforcement, unyielding verification and swift consequences for any violations, this agreement can make the United States, Israel and our Arab partners safer.”
Team Obama is already trying to claim it never even asked the Iranians for vigorous enforcement or unyielding verification. Clinton’s own idea of “vigorously enforcing” Iran sanctions involves generous exceptions for big donors to her Foundation.
As for “swift consequences,” it would be interesting if someone in the press asked her to clarify what she thinks those might be. Hint: sanctions won’t be coming back, as the patrons of the new Iranian super-power, Russia and China, would never allow it.
“In light of the international community’s long history and experience with Iranian behavior, the highest priority must be given to effective enforcement of the agreement,” Clinton said. “Signing is just the beginning. As president I would use every tool in our arsenal to compel rigorous Iranian compliance.”
That sounds like awfully qualified support for a deal she is supposedly going on the record as endorsing. Lately, she has been trying to run against the Obama economy without holding him responsible for any of it. It will be interesting to watch her do the same thing with the Iran deal, if there are some embarrassing incidents between now and November 2016.
As for the Iranians, they have been given so many concessions that cheating excessively on this frail agreement seems like more trouble than it is worth – why not just wait out the eight-year clock, more or less, and declare their nuclear empire in 2023 or thereabouts? They face no serious threat until then, and they have never been held to account for sponsoring terrorism, not even when it kills American soldiers. One reason they might feel obliged to stir up some mischief is when they think an ineffectual blowhard is tossing around a lot of big talk about “compelling rigorous Iranian compliance” and needs to be taken down a peg or two. Obama talked real big in 2008 and 2012, too, and look where we are.