Quote of the Day:
President Barack Obama has effectively shredded the foreign-policy playbook that had guided the U.S. on the world stage for decades.
After a series of postponed deadlines, the United States and five other powers and Iran have announced a nuclear deal. If ObamaCare, however long it endures, transforms the United States in basic ways, this deal is potentially as transformative on an even larger scale.
We knew the deal would happen, one way or another, because there were never any circumstances under which the United States would walk away, no matter what Iran demanded. In a piece headlined "The Iranian Nuclear Paradox," published last week in the Wall Street Journal, Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former CIA officer specializing in Iran and now with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, and Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation, argued that the deal ironically makes a confrontation with Iran more likely:
[H]awks who believe that airstrikes are the only possible option for stopping an Iranian nuke should welcome a deal perhaps more than anyone. This is because the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is tailor-made to set Washington on a collision course with Tehran. The plan leaves the Islamic Republic as a threshold nuclear-weapons state and in the short-term insulates the mullahs’ regional behavior from serious American reproach.
To imagine such a deal working is to imagine the Islamic Republic without its revolutionary faith. So Mr. Obama’s deal-making is in effect establishing the necessary conditions for military action after January 2017, when a new president takes office.
Republican Senator Ben Sasse from Nebraska also did not see the deal as giving peace a chance:
“Sadly, the Administration just lit the fuse for a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. We all know Iran’s neighbors will not sit idly as the world's largest state-sponsor of terror becomes a nuclear-threshold state.
“Congress will thoroughly review it in the coming weeks but this much is immediately clear: this deal abandons America’s historic bipartisan commitment to preventing nuclear proliferation, and instead begins the era of managed proliferation—a descent into chaos and an even more dangerous world.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose country stands most immediately to be affected by the deal, is calling it "a bad mistake of historic proportions." Speaking on Tuesday, Netanyahu said Israel would continue to try to prevent Iran, whose leaders have stated that the Jewish state should be obliterated, from gaining a nuclear weapon:
"Iran is going to receive a sure path to nuclear weapons. Many of the restrictions that were supposed to prevent it from getting there will be lifted," Netanyahu said. "Iran will get a jackpot, a cash bonanza of hundreds of billions of dollars, which will enable it to continue to pursue its aggression and terror in the region and in the world."
"One cannot prevent an agreement when the negotiators are willing to make more and more concessions to those who, even during the talks, keep chanting: 'Death to America,"' Netanyahu added. "We knew very well that the desire to sign an agreement was stronger than anything, and therefore we did not commit to preventing an agreement. We did commit to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, and this commitment still stands."
Culture and sports minister Miri Regev, a former military spokeswoman, said the deal gave Tehran a "license to kill." Regev also described the pact as "bad for the free world (and) bad for humanity." She called for further lobbying against the deal and said that the U.S. Congress could still block it.
Will that be possible? The Wall Street Journal lays out the situation:
Some of the core milestones for the implementation of the agreement, sealed in Vienna on Tuesday, will overlap with the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, the one that will choose Mr. Obama’s successor, ensnaring them in an unpredictable political dynamic. And after more than three decades of hostility and mistrust between the U.S. and Iran, American officials are uncertain how compliant Tehran will be over the deal’s time frame.
That means the true test of Mr. Obama’s foreign-policy doctrine of engaging American adversaries, outlined in his earliest days as a presidential candidate, won't be complete until long after he’s left the White House.
The deal faces political headwinds in Congress, where criticism crosses party lines. Lawmakers have 60 days to review and vote on whether to approve it. Mr. Obama has vowed to veto any rejection of the deal. But the White House is concerned lawmakers could amass a veto-proof majority and is mounting an aggressive campaign to thwart such an outcome.
Speaking only for myself, I am not confident that Congress will block the deal. Democrats engaged in exotic legislative maneuvers to bring us ObamaCare, and, though ObamaCare remains vastly unpopular with the public, Democrats will be loath to weaken the president, whose reputation will be important for their retaining the White House.