Iran Proves War is Politics By Other Means

Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during the final press conference of Iran nuclear talks at Austria International Centre in Vienna, Austria on July 14, 2015. Major powers clinched a historic deal aimed at ensuring Iran does not obtain the nuclear bomb, opening up Tehran's stricken economy and potentially ending …
Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images

Now that people have been given a chance to digest President Obama’s sellout to Iran, they’ve realized the deal is even worse than initial reports made it out to be.

We’re giving sanctions relief to the terrorist mastermind of a thousand murders of American troops in Iraq? We’re going to help Iran beef up security at their nuclear facilities? (I can get on board with the latter, provided congressional Republicans force Obama to send former Office of Personnel Management chief Katherine Archuleta to supervise the effort.)

The last-ditch fallback from the Administration and its apologists is that their lousy deal was the only alternative to war. Over the past 24 hours, this message has bubbled from virtually every official and volunteer Obama mouthpiece, in one form or another. The softer form of this spin involves congratulating Obama for making a deal that “reduces tensions” in the region. He finally earned his Nobel Peace Prize, by giving billions of dollars, nuclear weapons, and super-power international prestige to the blood-soaked dictators of an oppressive, aggressive regime!

I’d like to hear some more about this “war” Obama flacks are so convinced Iran was about to unleash upon us, if Obama didn’t give the store away to the mullahs. Sometimes you’ll hear this quackery phrased as a schoolyard taunt to critics of the deal: if you seriously want to do something about Iran’s nuclear weapons, and you don’t support Obama’s lousy deal, you must want to bomb Tehran.

Even if that childish argument was taken seriously, it still boils down to Iran winning a military confrontation with the United States. Any way you slice it, the bottom line is the same: Iran wanted something the civilized world judged it unfit to possess – including Barack Obama, up until two years ago – but they got it anyway, and they did so with a combination of actual and threatened violence. Their sponsorship of terrorist activities created those “Middle East tensions” Obama is now accepting congratulations for defusing by appeasing them. They proved they were serious about using violence, including criminal violence, to get what they want. The United States and its allies, under Barack Obama’s “leadership,” is not. Iran won the war without firing a shot.

The Iranians most certainly understand this, as you can see from the joyous celebrations in their streets, and the belligerent tone of their state-run media. Serious people in the West shouldn’t need to watch triumphant Iran giving Obama a wedgie to understand that war, and the threat of war, are serious instruments of foreign policy only when backed by will.

All conflicts are tests of will, whether they become violent or not. No one can look a the outcome of Obama’s Iran negotiations without concluding his will was vastly weaker than theirs. One reason for this is Obama’s conscious desire to strengthen Iran and hand it the keys to the Middle East, as the Administrations’ brain trust has been increasingly willing to admit off-the-record as Iran and its proxies became more important for holding ISIS at bay in Iraq.

Nevertheless, Iran – which stands to gain far more from Obama’s vision of a new Persian Empire taming the Middle East than anyone – was unwilling to concede anything of substance to get this nuclear deal. They stood firm on every goal they expressed at the outset, leading to 22 months of Obama’s hapless “negotiating team” scarfing down Twizzlers, running up bills at luxury European hotels, and caving on one Iranian demand after another.

The deal Obama just announced includes significant concessions from even the Lausanne framework announced just months ago. Iran got virtually everything it declared it wanted after the Lausanne conferences concluded. Obama’s spinmeisters are reduced to claiming they never even asked for some of the concessions they loudly boasted they would absolutely require of Iran, notably “snap inspections” anywhere and any time. Obama’s mouthpieces told the Israelis that snap inspections were non-negotiable; Iran said no; Team Obama now claims they were never on the table at all.

Obama himself used to loudly brag about how sanctions against Iran were crippling it – this was one of his major foreign-policy themes during the 2012 elections, although of course his voters have completely forgotten about it. When Republican candidates warned that Obama was mishandling the Iranian nuclear problem, his swarm of campaign munchkins replied that sanctions were working great, the Iranian economy was collapsing, and soon they’d be ready to throw their nuclear dreams away to get the boot off their necks.

That’s the exact opposite of what actually happened. Iran accepted only the most trivial restraints on its nuclear ambitions – scarcely eight years until they reach the zero-breakout nuclear threshold, and they’ll probably do it faster than that, given how laughably weak the inspections regime is. The sanctions are gone forever, and Iran gave up nothing of value. We probably could have gotten a “deal” like this by politely offering them an eight-year glide path to nuclear weapons, without imposing sanctions at all. That would also have given them less ill-gotten regional prestige than allowing them to win a showdown with the Great Satan. Also, they can now make a not-entirely-illogical case that absent sanctions, they would have had more money to prop up the Assad regime in Syria, and perhaps defeat the rebellion early enough to prevent ISIS from metastasizing into an international cancer.

There were many alternatives to this clown show other than war… but while we’re on the subject, the side that recoils from the prospect of hostilities, and offers unlimited concessions to avoid it, is known as the “loser” of the contest. Every mugger and his victim understand this relationship. Every terrorist desires the endgame Iran has achieved: all the money, power, and prestige that should be reserved for law-abiding nations, stolen with tactics forbidden to them as war crimes. Iranian big shots who personally arranged for the war-crime murder of American soldiers in Iraq are being rewarded by Barack Obama. The Iranians aren’t even under any great pressure to release American citizens they’re holding hostage right now. If Obama formally surrendered to them on the deck of a battleship, at least there would be a traditional exchange of prisoners.

Iran can go on merrily oppressing Christians, using deadly force to silence dissent, and murdering homosexuals – all things the United States is supposed to be foursquare against – while Obama and his foreign-policy team parade around and declare the mullahs our new regional partners in peace. The explicitly stated core principle of Obama’s diplomacy is that the Iranians are reasonable, responsible statesmen – given to fiery rhetoric in front of domestic audiences, sure, but at the end of the day, they just want what’s best for their own people.

They want economic prosperity more than international conflict and military aggression.  That’s obviously not true. Iran’s leadership behaved irresponsibly, actively worked to destabilize the rest of the Middle East, and to this day sponsors violence against America and her long-standing allies… but the result of Obama’s deal is that they will be treated as if none of those things happened. They cheat, but win the rewards of lawful, constructive competition. That, once again, is what victory in asymmetrical warfare looks like.

“War is a mere continuation of politics by other means,” Carl von Clausewitz famously proposed. Iran apparently knows their Clausewitz better than any of the teenagers and America-loathing Sixties fossils working for Obama’s State Department. They used war – real, bomb-setting, bullet-throwing war, absent the uniforms and codes of conduct – plus the threat of war to get what they wanted. It worked, so they’ll do it again, as will every other bad actor who realizes Obama has succeeded in his lifelong ambition to bring down the curtain on the American century.