Featured Post

Castro and the Nazis: Makes Perfect Sense

As we come up on the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, we see newly declassified German intelligence documents reporting that Fi...

Monday, November 25, 2013

Obama, Kerry & Iran: Having A Kellogg-Briand Moment?

"Obama: "If you like a nuke-free Iran, you can keep a nuke-free Iran."
Time to invest in fall-out shelters. Diplomad tweet, November 24, 2013

The last hundred years have seen a large number of absurd international treaties and agreements that achieved the exact opposite of their stated intent. I am sure readers can come up with more from around the world, but off the top of my head I can think of Versailles, the creation of the League of Nations, the Washington and London naval conferences, Munich, Yalta, and the Paris agreement "ending" the Vietnam war. To that list we can now add the "deal" reached this weekend in Geneva on Iran's nuclear program.

I wrote before about having an Edouard Daladier moment when hearing of Obama's election to the presidency. Readers will recall that Daladier was the French prime minister at the time of the Munich conference and that,
Daladier desperately tried to convince Britain's Neville Chamberlain to take a firmer stance against Hitler. Chamberlain would have none of it, and France's parlous military state prevented Daladier from striking out on his own. Chamberlain had decided to yield to Hitler's demand for the Sudetenland, and to the effective dismemberment of Czechoslovakia. Daladier argued against this, but found himself helpless to do anything but go along. To his life-long shame, Daladier became a signer of the September 1938 Munich Agreement, the now universally recognized monument to appeasement. Heading back home from Munich, Daladier assumed angry French patriots would rip him to shreds. He, instead, got a hero's welcome. Enthusiastic crowds sang his praises, prompting him to turn to an aide, and utter the famous, bitter, and prophetic words, "Ah, the fools! Why are they cheering?"
The French, who had formed the bulwark against Kerry's crazy deal--one apparently worked out secretly by the US and Iran and then presented as a fait accompli to our allies--caved in at the end, much as Daladier did when he got the rug pulled out from under him by Chamberlain. Without the backing of the United States, Europe can do essentially nothing about the Iranian threat. 

What, in effect, we have done is acknowledge Iran's nuclear program, give it legitimacy, not cripple it in any significant way, and begin to release billions of dollars in frozen funds, all in exchange for Iranian promises of good behavior over the next six months and a commitment to negotiating a new deal by the end of that period. They keep their thousands of centrifuges, have the right to repair any broken ones, and can enrich up to 5%, and we have no reliable way of knowing if they go beyond that.

As noted in the excellent analysis in The Tower,
The U.S. has long rejected Iran’s claim that it has a “right” to enrich, and last October lead U.S. negotiator Wendy Sherman told Congress that “the President has circumscribed what he means by the Iranian people having access… access, not right, but access to peaceful nuclear energy in the context of meeting its obligations.” The interim language, however, describes a future comprehensive solution as involving “a mutually defined enrichment program with practical limits and transparency measures to ensure the peaceful nature of the program.” Iranian state media carried boasts by among others Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif that the U.S. had caved on its long-standing position. The U.S. and Britain both flatly denied Iran’s interpretation of the interim language with Secretary of State John Kerry saying as much and the White House further denying it on a late-night background call. 
The Washington Post‘s Jackson Diehl this morning noted that the plain text of the agreement favors the Iranian interpretation.
Of course the text favors the Iranian interpretation. If, furthermore, it didn't, who believes we would do anything about it? This is smoke and mirrors. Given this pathetic misadministration's track record of deception, outright lies, grotesque incompetence, and a default setting to favor our enemies, who believes anything the White House says? Well, anybody beyond those hopelessly addicted to the Obama Kool-Aid we saw dispensed during Fast and Furious, "Arab Spring," Benghazi, IRS targeting, Solyndra, unemployment figures debacle, NSA scandal, the Obamacare disaster, and on and on. The misadministration is lying, yes, lying. The United States has acquiesced to an Iranian nuclear program which can be weaponized very quickly. As implied above, we are left relying on Iranian good intentions for that not to occur.

This deal is the logical consequence of Obama's foreign policy (see here, here, and here, for example): his apology tour in the early days of the misadministration, his selling out of allies, the shrinking of the US military, and the clear lack of genuine interest in protecting and promoting US interests. It all came out very clearly in the Syrian fiasco, and the "red lines" that appeared and disappeared as needed for Obama's domestic political interests. The Iranians then knew, for certain, that there was no American "red line" on anything, and that they need not fear or respect Obama. He was no strong horse, and more of a frilly skittish pony.

This Geneva accord will draw comparisons with Munich, of course. It is appeasement and a sell-out of our allies and of our long-standing role as guarantor of security in the Middle East. Except that in this case neither Israel, Saudi Arabia nor any Gulf State is ready to play Czechoslovakia, and roll over for Tehran. Israelis and Saudis have options not available to the Czechs in 1938. One, of course, I mentioned before in connection with the misadministration's bungling of Syria,
The irony is that the Saudis will find that their best "friend" in the region is none other than--surprise!--Israel, another US ally feeling very alone and vulnerable now thanks to the madness in the White House. Don't be shocked to hear of an increasing rapprochement between Israel and Saudi Arabia, with the US left on the sidelines prattling on about the Palestinians (Note to Obama and other fretting liberals: The Saudis don't give a camel's behind about the Palestinians; they know it's all for show and all a fraud).
Press reports indicate that the Saudis and Israelis are, in fact, in touch and exploring possibilities. In short, therefore, this deal will lead to greater instability and increased rather than lessened chances of a war in the region.

The deal also reminds me of the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928. The Pact, signed in Paris, began as a bilateral deal between the USA and France to "outlaw" war, and is named after the American Secretary of State and the French Foreign Minister. The Pact, however, at US insistence, grew in scope, and on August 27, 1928, fifteen nations signed with another forty-seven subsequently joining over the following year. Among the adherents, naturally, were Germany, Japan, and Italy. The Pact had two clauses: the first, outlawed war as a tool of policy; the second, called upon signatories to settle disputes via peaceful means. The Senate ratified the treaty by an overwhelming vote, 87-1 (only John Blaine of Wisconsin, a fascinating and weird character, voted "No.") It is perverse fun to go back and read the press hoopla-la over the Pact, and see how many people actually thought it would outlaw and end war. I could see the pompous John Kerry selling that vial of snake oil just as he will soon be selling the vial he has brought back from Geneva.

The Geneva deal on Iran is bad for Israel, for the region, for peace and for America. So, of course, Obama and Kerry are for it.

49 comments:

  1. The only other time I've seen of such monumental international realignment was when Reagan won the Cold War and caused the Soviet Union to collapse. In contrast, this realignment is not going in our favor. And speaking of the Russians, one wonders what private words Sergei Lavrov has about Kerry and Obama.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. His hysterical laughing probably prevents him from uttering anything.

      Delete
  2. So we are giving Iran Billions of dollars to end a weapons program they say doesn't exist.
    Why does Clinton/Carter and North Korea's nuke program keep coming to mind?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Probably because what these idiots have done is essentially a reprisal of the failed NK agreement.

      Delete
  3. Mr. Mad I know that history teaches that people (regardless of who they are) are capable of anything, but this is one of a different order. I wonder if they really know what they did just to save their political hides, or they thought they were the only ones smart enough to turn the right key to unlock the regions problems? Well they let the devil himself out and it'll be hell to pay before he's back in.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If the other Gulf States don't have nukes, I believe they soon will.

      Delete
    2. Maybe not. Making nuclear weapons is hard--or a lot of nations would have them by now.

      Every once in a while you read a scare story about how easy it is to get plutonium, or how a bright high-school student can design a U-235 bomb. But it's extremely difficult and expensive to get U-235; and likewise extremely difficult to make plutonium explode.

      Not difficult enough, obviously. But don't count on a lot of nuclear powers.

      Delete
    3. Not nearly difficult enough. And one of the problems, of course, is that some of the less-savory already possessing the tech might give or sell it to others.

      Delete
    4. I am certainly no nuclear expert, but in the interest of time, can't a complete nuclear device minus one key part, be delivered to an ally complete with short range launch capability? Or would this break a dozen international laws?

      Delete
    5. "Or would this break a dozen international laws? "

      And that would matter to those who would do this why exactly?

      Delete
  4. I'm another who trusts this "deal" about as far as I could throw a solid mahogany conference table (I'm already a 60-year-old grandfather). I further guess that we'll start seeing a Pyongyang-Beijing-Tehran axis forming, with Moscow as a well-wisher. There are plenty of smoldering anti-Americans out there, and Mr. Hip and Cool O has probably got them thinking that the USA is ready to be knocked off of its hegemonal perch.

    And whaddaya wanna bet (figuratively speaking) that the NorKs put that 85-year-old veteran on trial for "war crimes", with PRChina smirking encouragement, in order to extort a few extra concessions from us? Sorry for going off topic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kepha, you are on topic as there is a pattern here with this sell out of our Middle East allies. The world's bad actors will indeed link up one way or another...militarily or maybe even against our dollar and try to exclude it even more as a means for trade. Dollar exclusion arrangements.

      Delete
    2. ... in order to extort a few extra concessions from us?

      "OK, ok, we'll go ahead and resume above-ground nuclear testing... and we really need to reconfirm ours still work east of the International Date Line, ya know."

      (A fella can dream, can't he?)

      Delete
    3. I am more worried about a China-Saudi axis. What makes me weep is that it so unnecessary. We had the Iranians by the shorthairs 3 years ago. What do these fools hope to gain?

      Delete
    4. What do they hope to gain? What they *are* gaining--for Kerry, a chance to strut around and look important; for Obama, a chance to take America down a peg or twenty.

      Delete
  5. The Israelis must be looking askance at this capitulation by your maladministration to a State which sponsors terrorism and which has openly avowed to destroy them.

    They are probably once again considering the words of Golda Meir in considering their fall back position.

    "We have always said that in our war with the Arabs we had a secret weapon - no alternative".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. By now the Israelis can't even see askance in the rear-view mirror.

      Delete
    2. G'day Alpha,

      I think you got that spot on. Probably up to the stage of checking the tyre pressures on their aircraft "just in case".

      Delete
    3. Antiochus: Young Prince of Tyre, you have at large receiv’d
      The danger of the task you undertake.
      Pericles: I have, Antiochus, and, with a soul
      Embolden’d with the glory of her praise,
      Think death no hazard in this enterprise.

      Delete
    4. G'day Alpha,

      Pericles, Prince of Tyre
      Act I. Scene I.

      I love the works of "the Bard"

      Delete
  6. In the words of Lucien Bouchard, "I have never known a more vulgar expression of betrayal and deceit". We can only hope the Israelis saw this coming have followed the advice of Tennessee Williams: "We have to distrust each other. It is our only defense against betrayal."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Although that quote is attributed to Bouchard in Internet quotation reference sites, they are actually the words of Brian Mulroney talking about Bouchard's move from the federal Conservative Party to the Parti Quebecois.

      Delete
  7. Why does the USA with all its wealth to fund great scholars and think-tanks seem to be so inept at foreign policy analysis and predictions?, For examples, a three way civil war in Iraq does not look like a good solution, nor does the post-Karzai Afghanistan look very nice.
    Is it because Presidents don't listen? But then what does the State Dept. do?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good question for Mr. Mad: what does the State Department do?

      Delete
    2. It's, uh, classified . . . no,actually that is a good question and I think I will address it in a post.

      Delete
    3. I would suspect it has something to do with the mindset of the people that work in State vs the type that works in Defense.
      I found it striking that in the Kerry/Bush election on military bases you invariably saw Bush stickers. In the parking lots of State Dept and Social Service Offices it was the Kerry sticker that dominated.

      Delete
  8. Under the Kellogg-Briand Pact, never actually repealed, all our wars since 1928 have been illegal.

    Ditto for Afghanistan, Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Chile, China, Cuba, Danzig (separate signatory; fought Defense of the Polish Post Office in Danzig on the first day of World War II), Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, Greece, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Liberia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Persia (so-called when a signatory), Peru, Portugal, Romania, the Soviet Union, the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, Siam, Spain, Sweden (Congo Crisis, Bosnian War, Afghanistan War), and Turkey. (Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, and Venezuela were also signatories, but I don't think they had any wars. Guatemala fought a civil war, but I don't know if the K-B pact covers civil wars.)

    Noticeably missing from this list: Germany, Italy, Japan.

    Well, I feel so much better knowing all those wars were illegal. It's as safe as living in a gun-free zone.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This is not much more than symbolic, Canada does not after all have much of a military, nor do I suspect that we have much influence on Iran's economy. We could I suppose provide uranium oxide or even plutonium to Israel and Saudi if they wished to construct weapons. All the same, Israel has a friend.
    USA our instinctive best friend and ally in comparison seems like a stranger, Britain, Germany and France are just pathetic.
    Obama of course revealed his inept and cowardly style when the Iranian students were bravely resisting Ahmadinajad's phony election and got zero help. Iran realised at that point he was a very weak poodle.

    "Striking a distinctly harsher tone than its closest allies, Canada is balking at lifting any of its sanctions against Iran until the Islamic regime fully abandons its nuclear weapons’ ambitions.

    Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said Sunday he is “deeply skeptical” of a weekend deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program signed with six leading powers – the United States, Russia, China, Germany, Britain and France.

    At least in tone, Canada is positioning itself somewhere between Israel, which has called the agreement a “historic mistake,” and the optimism expressed by the negotiators of the breakthrough deal.

    “We have made-in-Canada foreign policy,” Mr. Baird explained to reporters in Ottawa. “We think past actions best predict future actions, and Iran has defied the United Nations Security Council and defied the International Atomic Energy Agency. Simply put: Iran has not earned the right to have the benefit of the doubt.”

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Canada remains one of the few adults in the playground.

      Delete
    2. We may have to count on Canada and Australia to remind us how to be Americans when the time comes. I hope they are keeping good notes.

      Delete
    3. We experimented with a commie leader........twice in the seventies and eighties, still dealing with some of his ridiculous legislation and bloated bureaucracy, and now his ditzy son wants to be prime minister! So we are not exactly celebrating or recommending how the USA gets itself unentangled by from it's current uninspiring representatives.

      Or perhaps we declare we wish to be ruled by new monarchical regimes where power is vested in a few incompetent families, that seems to be the favoured course by the electorate.

      Delete
    4. In recent years, Canada has made me retain my pride in being a North American.

      Delete
    5. Thank you, but once again let me reiterate-we got there first, we experimented with a commie leader and the dopes that fawned around him spouting soft power. As you are doing now. Only in recent times have we redeemed ourselves.

      I would return your compliment during your Thanksgiving holiday and say thank you to the USA for covering our ass during that juvenile experiment.

      Delete
  10. There is one way to beat the Iranians, and only one way.... Iran is made up of thirteen nationalities who all hate each other. Give all of them small arms and promise them each a nation. Stage a decapitation raid and let the hot civil war sort it out.

    Anything else is doomed for immediate failure or long-term reprisal.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Would the world have been that much worse off if Daladier had taken France to war in 1938 despite its weakness?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Perhaps. Had a relatively united Europe stood up the Hitler in 38 he may well have held of going into Poland and starting WW2. National Socialism would have then spread via the Political Process (being able to use the rebirth of the German economy as a huge propaganda tool with the people). At some point...1948 perhaps...Hitler would then be free to attack Russia (perhaps having developed the bomb himself since you would not have had the pre-war exodus of scientific talent leaving for the US) having conquered Continental Europe through political means.

      Delete
    2. The question comes back to whether the Czechs could have resisted Hitler in 1938. A lot of panzers were, in fact, Czech tanks that could have held the border with Germany. The weakness was the Sudeten Germans and how much they would have aided the Reich. We'll never know but Israel remembers.

      Delete
  12. "Europe can do essentially nothing about the Iranian threat”

    The EU’s soft power plan is succeeding brilliantly. The EU and its allies in anti-Semitism plan to wipe out the Zionist Crusader State, and the EU can use the USA’s lack of interest as beard. It can shout and protest ineffectually while getting exactly what it wants: the destruction of the Jews.


    Seriously, this assumes too much. Prove that strong EU would oppose Iran. Don’t cite a lot talk either. Anyone can talk big. Has the EU taken strong, effective steps against Moslem immigration? Against anti-Semitism in its institutions (e.g., fired the BDSers)?

    ReplyDelete
  13. Great analysis! I walk away having learned something. Thanks! I'm now shuddering to think where we're headed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's what makes this blog so good ! We are better informed because of it and its participants. For me, it validates some long held beliefs as well as gives me much more to worry over. A "twofer".

      Delete
  14. A bit of news http://www.catholicvote.org/obama-snubs-vatican-with-embassy-downgrade/ OBAMA ADMINISTRATION SNUBS VATICAN WITH EMBASSY DOWNGRADE "The Obama administration has decided that the free-standing American embassy to the Holy See will soon be closed, and the offices for the Ambassador to the Vatican will be moved inside of our Italian Embassy."

    ReplyDelete
  15. Greetings from Downunder,

    You are too hard on yourself D.

    You have at least seven regular readers - and will surely have more bearing in mind the quality of this post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many thanks. It is gets depressing seeing what's happening to the West.

      Delete
  16. Doesn't anybody in the US State Department read any history? FRom the time of the Hittites the Persians have been the Middle East's foremost troublemakers; greedy devious and duplicious. Betrayal is the national sport of Persia/Iran and always has been, the 21st century will be no different.
    That bozo John Kerry has been led by the nose like a prize bull at the county fair.

    ReplyDelete
  17. This idiot just restarted the arms race. The damn fool.
    leaperman

    ReplyDelete
  18. dunno.. I guess encouraging Iran to build a bomb moves us one step closer to a big reminder of their destructive capabilities. Much like our financial crises, these things simply fall out of cultural memory and must inevitably refresh themselves, I fear. I don't like it, but I'm not the one forgetting the lessons of those of our forefathers who supported appeasement.

    - reader #1482

    ReplyDelete
  19. One thing that really bugs me is the decades of media misinformation surrounding Iran. They wait with baited breath for Iranian election results, when their head of state is actually never up for election.
    It's a puppet show and our media covers it up and asks that nobody look behind the curtain.
    When Khamenei is subject to legitimate popular election, then I'll admit that Iran has started taking steps towards sanity.
    As is, there should never be a news story about how this or that faction manipulated voting in Iran, because there isn't actually any voting occurring unless the government is actually subject to change as a result of elections.
    It's a huge victory for the enemies of freedom that our media even reports such things in Iran as 'elections'.
    - reader #1482

    ReplyDelete