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.