Barack Obama’s August 4 defense of the nuclear agreement with Iran distills the essence of the worst features of his disastrous presidency. Every one of his multiple audacious claims withers under scrutiny.
Marinating in his trademark arrogance and condescension, Obama insisted the deal provides adequate mechanisms for verification. Yet his own words belied it. The process for resolving a dispute about access to any suspicious undeclared site in Iran “can take up to 24 days,” the President conceded.
The President insisted likewise that the agreement would prevent Iran from crossing the nuclear threshold. Yet Iran retains its nuclear infrastructure, ballistic missile program, and a nuclear breakout capability of no more than one year that will diminish to zero over the 15 year duration of the agreement — even in the best case that Iran complies with, rather than subverts, its provisions.
The President’s speech confidently downplayed the danger of infusing the crippled Iranian economy with hundreds of billions of dollars of sanctions relief while insisting untenably that sanctions would inevitably snap back automatically in the event of Iranian violations. By the terms of the nuclear deal, however, the other signatories would have to agree to re-impose sanctions, including an increasingly aggressive, assertive, anti-American, and uncooperative Russia and China. The chances of that happening in reality range from slim to none.
Even worse, the President demonized Republicans who oppose the deal as warmongers, while giving a malevolent, fanatical anti-American Iranian regime every benefits of the doubt in a triumph of delusional thinking over decades of grim experience. President Obama unconscionably equated his Republican critics with what he fatuously considers the aberration, not the essence, of the Iranian regime — Mullahs shouting death to America. President Obama thus posed the choice the United States ultimately faces as a false dichotomy between Congressional “approval of this deal” or just “one option, another war in the Middle East.”
To discredit critics of the Iran deal further, President Obama ascribes to them guilt by association “for the consequences of the decision to invade Iraq,” including the sectarian conflict now raging and “the emergence of al-Qaida in Iraq that has evolved into ISIL… And , ironically, the single greatest beneficiary in the region of that war was the Islamic Republic of Iran, which saw its strategic position strengthened by the removal of its longstanding enemy, Saddam Hussein.”
This is, however, dangerous nonsense on stilts. By prematurely withdrawing from Iraq, President Obama snatched defeat from the jaws of victory that the Bush Administration’s 2007 surge had significantly but provisionally achieved. Vice President Biden acknowledged that the Obama Administration inherited a vastly improved situation in Iraq. Biden predicted, moreover, that the American war in Iraq would ultimately result in a great success. Even two of Obama’s former Secretaries of Defense — Robert Gates and Leon Panetta — along with Hillary Clinton and liberal New York Times reporter Dexter Filkins writing in the New Yorker, have the integrity and awareness to acknowledge the overwhelming evidence; namely, Obama’s improvident withdrawal from Iraq, aversion to wielding American power, and deep denial about the threat of radical Islam, which the President still refuses to acknowledged precipitated the disintegration of Iraq, the rise of ISIL, and emboldened Iran.
In his defense of his indefensible Iran deal, the President insults the intelligence of the American people and scorns stubborn facts to the contrary by professing his longstanding steadfast support for Israel, claiming no President has done more to strengthen Israeli security. Yet the renowned historian and former Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren demolishes this preposterous claim in his recently published definitive account of how the Obama Administration has sought sedulously to put distance between the United States and Israel from day one. Indeed, Oren fears all too plausibly that the President will follow up his Iran deal by pressuring Israel in the final year of his administration to accept a settlement that would imperil Israel’s survival, or else face delegitimization at the United Nations, with the United States no longer exercising its veto to prevent the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian State that does not accept Israel’s right to exist within secure boundaries.
The President ‘s speech also had the effrontery to invoke Ronald Reagan’ legacy as a justification for his perilous course of shrinking American power, appeasing America’s adversaries, and demoralizing America’s democratic friends. This is mendacious. Throughout his political life, Reagan always stood categorically against the perverse logic underlying Obama’s Iran agreement, which envisages accommodation as the only alternative. Reagan eloquently demolished this pusillanimity masquerading as prudence in his famous Time For Choosing speech in words that resonate powerfully for American foreign policy in general and the Iran debate in particular:
There is only one way you can have peace — and you can have it in a second — surrender. Admittedly, there is a risk in any course we follow other than this, but every lesson in history seems to tell us that the greater danger lies in appeasement, and this is the spector our well-meaning liberal friends refuse to face — that their policy of accommodation is appeasement, and it gives us no choice between peace and war, only between fight and surrender. If we continue to accommodate, continue to rack and retreat, eventually we will have to face the final demand — the ultimatum. And what then… The martyrs to history were not fools, and our honored dead who gave their life to stop the adance of the Nazis did not die in vain.
America’s vital moral and geopolitical interests depend on Republicans in Congress and the leading Republican presidential candidates having the fortitude and foresight to oppose with no pale pastels the President’s Iran deal and his campaign of disinformation propelling it.