Friday, July 17, 2015

The Iranian Whipping Fest

The Iran nuclear agreement has been concluded, and to no one's surprise, the Presidenr has praised it as ground-breaking, life-affirming and presidential-saving. Anyone following this man to any degree had to know that reaching an agreement was as essential as passing nationalized health care.

He has used his natural sway with democrats marvelously and has used the preferential treatment he receives at the hands of the press with mastery. Republicans have been cowed into petrification when confronting him about anything. Whether it's a concern that they'll be blamed for a limited government shut down if he's challenged on economic conflicts or a worry that they have no standing to insist that an Iran nuclear deal is a "treaty" and not an "executive agreement", they have been cowed into inaction and are paralyzed by the notion of directly confronting the President. Was there ever an occasion or a subject that caused democrats to pause- even momentarily - to confront President Bush?

There has been unilateral capitulation to the Iranians on this agreement. No explanation or demand to explain the military ramifications of their nuclear program. No requirement to explain the secret installations only revealed to the West by intelligence sources that did not appear to be consistent with a civilian energy program. No agreement to inspections of any suspected nuclear facility without 24 days' notice and an unclear method of enforcement if a dispute arises after this notice. A release of the embargo on conventional weapons and ballistic missiles after several years. What possible need is there for a ballistic missile program if all Iran wants is a peaceful program to develop civilian power?

As an enthusiastic constitutionalist and supporter of Israel, a few caveats are in order. I've never opposed having conversations with Iran. Their demeanor has been so belligerent and their actions so provocative, it has been difficult to conceive that any discussions would yield a commitment from the mullahs to modify the rhetoric that has come to define the regime. But they would never have willingly come to a table at which the Great Satan was present had they not been forced. Economic sanctions have had a real impact on the health of their economy, particularly when it comes to oil exports.

Discussions with Iran, however, would also require a certain suspension of disbelief for the American participants: Iran has provided the IED's that have killed and maimed American sons and daughters in Iraq; Iran has killed American servicemen in Lebanon in 1983; and killed countless civilians through proxies in Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and now Yemen.

Fortunately, the mullahs found the perfect negotiating partners in Obama and Kerry. Desperate to secure a rapprochement for legacy purposes and to patch up the foreign policy disasters wrought by the "Arab Spring" and the embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood, Obama and Kerry are ideological brothers, bonded by a left wing distrust of the "military industrial complex", as we called it during the Vietnam era. They loathe American assertions of power and both have solidified their liberal bona fides with strident anti-war protest and actions.

But two critical factors make this particular foreign policy initiative so heinous.

First, like so many policy pronouncements from the Obama administration, this was predicated on simple misstatements of fact (we used to call them "lies" back in the day). That Iran would be forced to disclose the true nature of their past nuclear activity, that they would be forced to roll back their enrichment activities, that conventional weapon and ballistic missile sanctions would remain, that "anytime, anywhere" inspections would be required - you know the drill. Nothing seems to have survived the tenacious negotiating skills of the Obama team.

Second, the idiot Republicans in control of both houses have given away their constitutional authority to approve this agreement. It's not for the President to decide whether an arrangement among countries is an "agreement" or a "treaty". That's the Senate's call. But the Senate Republicans are so terrified of the media, so petrified about opposing the President and being labeled racists, that they refuse to confront the dangers associated with the substance of this agreement and have effectively relinquished any mechanism to stop it. The President will veto any attempt to block his agreement and there will not be enough democratic opposition to override.

It is an embarrassment from start to finish - the agreement itself and the weakness of our legislative bodies to analyze its contents in such a way that it could be rejected if determined to not be in the best interests of the country and its allies.

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