By David Harsanyi • The Federalist
Isn’t it odd how every pundit and politician who’s been antagonistic towards Israel is also super excited about an Iranian deal that’s allegedly going to help protect the Jewish State from the threat of nuclear Iran?
All the peacemongers love it.
“We are satisfied that the solution found is based on the principle of phasing and mutuality which our country has been consistently supporting at every stage of these complicated negotiations,” says Vlad Putin, the leader of the country that made Iranian nuclear power a possibility. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says he’s confident his ally in Iran will now step up its efforts to back his “just causes” after the nuclear deal is wrapped up. And really, why wouldn’t it?
The backing of a war criminal doesn’t necessarily mean we have a bad deal. The “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” is a bad deal because it’s the first time the United States has offered extensive concessions to a nation that openly seeks to destabilize our interests. It’s the first time we will be offering an oppressive theocracy (one that still holds American hostages) hundreds of billions of dollars to menace our (former) allies via its proxies throughout the Middle East. For the first time in history a president has legitimatized an openly anti-American state with expansionist aims to help him expand political legacy at home.
To our neighbours: Do not be deceived by the propaganda of the warmongering Zionist regime. #Iran & its power will translate into your power
— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) July 14, 2015
The above tweet from the Iranian president was sent out after the deal was reached, by the way. Yet, many in the media have already framed Obama’s Iranian deal like so: Are you with the United States or are you with Israel? (When a confused chief foreign correspondent for NBC News asks whether it is even legal for Israel to lobby Congress on the deal, you’re getting a taste of the underlying antagonism the press often has towards Israel.)
The real question, as Rouhani understand well, is this one: Is the United States going to stand with the Jewish State or with Iran? We know where Obama stands.
Obama is now locked in no matter how poorly implementation goes and no matter how uncooperative Iran will be. Otherwise, it is another political failure. And most Democrats are probably locked in to supporting the deal for a number of partisan and ideological reasons. Signing it, they will argue, proves that diplomacy, not war, can work. Liberals have been offering this false choice for so many years, so it’s doubtful they can back away from it now.
Others will claim that conservatives have an ideological predisposition to opposing any foreign-policy agreements, as Jonathan Chait and others have already done, so this hostility can only be vacuous, as well. That sure makes debate easy.
Or maybe, it’ll be Netanyahu’s fault for opposing an Iranian deal that pushed the president to allow Iran to become a nuclear power.
I wonder if Israel could have influenced the Iran deal if it had a prime minister who didn’t spend his entire tenure antagonizing Obama.
— Spencer Ackerman (@attackerman) July 14, 2015
Even if you have an unfettered belief in diplomacy, what’s the point of being a superpower if you’re going to negotiate with enervated regimes as if they were equals—or worse? What’s the point of creating leverage through years of sanctions, if we don’t demand Iranians stop, at the very least, using technology that can be quickly re-engineered to enrich uranium? There are a number of possibilities, among them: 1) The administration doesn’t really care if Iran becomes a nuclear power one day. As long as it’s not today. 2) The administration does care if Iran becomes a regional nuclear power, but it doesn’t really mind at all.
Turns out everything those conspiracy theorists were claiming about the president’s policy of generating conflict with Israel was probably right. One point of the deal—or, at the very least, the unintended outcome—is to dramatically alter the balance of power in Middle East. Who do you think Obama believes is a bigger threat to peace in the region? Likud or the Supreme Leader? Put it this way. The Obama administration has called Javad Zarif a patriot and Netanyahu a chickenshit.
There’s little doubt Obama desires to see Iran as a counterbalance to Israeli power in the region. There’s little doubt this deal would accomplish that goal. Yes, there is a relationship in place with the Jewish State that can’t be discarded by the administration for legal, practical, and political reasons. But the same administration that has no compunction demanding Israel stop building neighborhoods was unable to extract anything but the most rudimentary concessions from Iran. Not even snap inspections. And though Netanyahu has already claimed that Israel is not bound by this deal, attacking the Iranian program itself becomes far more perilous—if it’s even possible without our help—as Iran is essentially under the protection of the United States and six other nations.
If the new Iranian deal doesn’t significantly change the Jewish vote in the United States, then Israel really isn’t as an important issue as we think. Very soon, it will be entirely partisan.
At least, we have a better idea when the Iranians will possess the nuclear weapons that will allow them to function with impunity in the region: Around ten years from now. By that time, Tehran will be securely situated on the threshold (if they uphold their end of the deal) of spurring a nuclear-arms race in Middle East. Although a ban on trading ballistic missiles will expire after only eight years, unless the IAEA says Iran can have them earlier. “All the sanctions, even arms embargoes and missile-related sanctions… would all be lifted,” President Hassan Rouhani correctly notes.
Why? Did you think Iranians were spilling into the streets to celebrate access to a new source of energy?