by Austin Bay
July 14, 2015
An Iranian nuclear arms deal?
Arms controllers hailed the post-World War 1 Washington Naval Arms Treaty as the diplomatic instrument to prevent another peace-destroying naval arms race. Yet it came to pass that war erupted, with the warships of signatories Britain, France and the U.S. battling treaty partners Italy and Japan.
Counting battleships is several quanta easier than verifying Iranian compliance with the Obama administration's dreadful deal. Russia's Vladimir Putin claims he helped write it. Given its murk and iffiness, I believe him. Vlad's Crimea and Ukraine crimes demonstrate how little respect he has for deals that seek to curb the desires of authoritarian killers.
Here's the Real Deal Part 1: It begins with a broken promise. Once upon a time, President Barack Obama vowed to halt Iran's nuclear weapons quest. Promise made, promise broken. Well, he promised Americans, "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan."
Obama warned Syria's dictator that using chemical weapons was a "red line" -- employing deadly gas incurs punitive strikes. Yet Syria killed 1,500 civilians with nerve gas, and nothing happened. Iran noticed Obama's failure to enforce. Syria is Tehran's client. Iran supports it financially. Iran's Lebanese Hezbollah proxies reinforce it militarily.
Real Deal Part 2: Iran will cheat. It always does. The ayatollahs will build nuclear bombs and deploy ballistic missiles capable of targeting London. The ayatollahs need, oh, two-dozen nukes, initially. A dozen will destroy Israel and selected targets on the Arabian Peninsula side of the Persian Gulf. The other warheads will top missiles aimed at London and Paris.
Real Deal Part 3: The deal will ignite a Middle Eastern nuclear arms race. Saudi Arabia will seek nukes to deter Iran. U.S.-delivered NATO nukes ostensibly defend Turkey from Iranian attack, but in the Age of Obama Red Lines, what constitutes an ironclad promise? Obama's words are perishable products; Ankara may acquire its own deterrent.
Real Deal Part 4: Verification is iffy. Iran can temporarily deny inspectors access to military facilities. Denial begins a two-week negotiating period -- time to remove illegal equipment. One source claimed Iran could continue this temporary denial game for months.
Real Deal Part 5: Iran makes money. Lifting sanctions kick starts Iran's economy; its GDP may expand 7 percent a year. The ayatollahs know this, Obama argues. Should they violate the agreement, sanctions can be reimposed. Alas, Mr. President, money-hungry Moscow and Beijing would have to approve new sanctions and enforce them. Remember, Russia is invading Ukraine and confronting NATO, and China is bullying U.S. allies in the South China Sea. Got their U.N. votes lined up, sir?
Real Deal Part 6: It's not a done deal. Despite Obama's touts and John Kerry's gloats, key elements of this mess are provisional and require further complex international negotiations. As I understand it, the U.N. must withdraw old sanctions resolutions and then replace them with a new one. The U.S. wants this new resolution to limit Iran's missile programs and curb its ability to sell and obtain other arms.
The deal faces domestic opposition. Congress has 60 days to review the muck, murk, touts and gloats and then vote yea or nay. Obama quickly threatened to veto a "nay." Yet the White House could confront a veto-proof bipartisan coalition. Numerous Democrats still support Israel and know sarcastic ayatollahs call it a "one bomb state." These Democrats understand the deal is not breakthrough arms control diplomacy, but is an Iranian nuclear weapons breakout with deadly consequences. The ayatollahs could threaten Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt with nuclear immolation.
For those countries, this deal isn't an Obamacare-level debacle that can be managed politically. Losing your health care plan doesn't begin to compare with losing your country and five million lives to an Iranian nuclear blast.