I ask for your indulgence for a few more weeks. I understand that the Iran agreement which has been the subject of several postings over the weeks will go into effect. Congress either cannot or will not exercise any - ANY - constituional authority to even force a vote on the stillborn Corker bill, so the President can in effect use his power as commander in chief to force the agreement into effect.
Still, it is interesting to observe and comment on his actions in the weeks leading up to a vote or filibuster. Perhaps the most interesting document or statement on the Iran matter has come to light this week. The President wrote a letter to Rep. Jerry Nadler, a democrat from New York, who claims that he decided to support the Obama deal predicated upon this letter. He is the sole Jewish member of the New York delegation to support the deal, and he has been subjected to very rough treatment from Jewish voters who oppose.
I have mentioned in prior posts that I felt this agreement would create a permanent division among American Jews. It has very little to do with religious observance and much more to do with the definitional notion of "ally" and "strategic commitment" and broad concepts of that nature. When those issues become the focus of a foreign policy challenge, it is impossible to separate the language of today with the actions of this administration in other circumstances. Rep. Nadler published the letter from Obama on his website and it is extremely revealing.
Perhaps the essential observation I would make about the letter is that it is filled with odd revelations. It presents an unconvincing argument and raises many new questions. If you have any investment in this deal whatever, you should read it for yourself. I'm not going to waste your time by critiquing the individual points, but I will comment on several of them. Obviously, the White House permitted Nadler to release this.
Obama admits that a nuclear armed Iran would present a significant security threat to the U.S. and its allies, particularly Israel. He maintains this will not happen during the term of the agreement. Further, he claims that "his administration" is not removing the military option to prevent this from happening. Of course, he's only in office 17 more months and can't speak authoritatively beyond his term.
He says Israel's security is "sacrosanct" and he is committed to an expansion of Israel's defensive capabilities "in light of our shared concerns vis a vis Iran". If this agreement is intended to usher in new era of cooperation between the U.S. and Iran, this would seem to suggest otherwise. I have been extremely critical of Obama on many issues, but he has backed up these words with action. He has supplied Israel with generous levels of military support, particularly in Iron Dome-like technology. The only thing he has really denied Israel is access to is the MOAB - massive ordinance air blast, the largest non-nuclear bomb which is thought to be the only conventional ordinance that can penetrate deeply buried targets.
Of course, this begs the question: why would Obama feel the need to expand defensive support to Israel and other allies if this agreement makes everybody safer? He claims that sanctions will remain in effect preventing Iran from supporting Hizballah, the Assad regime, its missile program and its human rights abuses at home. How is this supposed to happen when there is nothing in place that prevents that today? I have seen nothing before this letter that makes such an assertion.
He also addresses the subject of "snap back" sanctions in the event of Iranian violations. He seems to suggest that the P5+1 partners have a mechanism and agreement in place to restore sanctions should Iran violate the agreement. No serious observer has suggested that Russia or China will reinstate sanctions after they are lifted.
Finally, he guarantees (through the creation of yet another governmental entity under supervision of the State Department) that the JCPOA implementation office will report Iranian compliance to Congress every 90 days and every 180 days a report will be submitted describing the details of "Iranian terrorism, human rights, ballistic missiles and money laundering activities among others." So, the president openly acknowledges the regime engages in terrorism, denies its citizens basic human rights, has engaged in ballistic missile development (only needed for long distance delivery of nuclear payloads), and launders money - presumably to elude sanctions or to sell oil in violation of sanctions or to hide the sale of weapons in violation of sanctions.
How is it that letter pushed Rep. Nadler over the edge and convinced him that was something he should support? This agreement was negotiated by John Kerry with Russia, France, China, Germany and the UK. How is it that these economic superpowers got out negotiated by a religious autocracy, ostracized for nearly 30 years and economically crippled? Wasn't the strategic point of this agreement, in addition to shutting down all military dimensions of the Iranian nuclear program, to extract behavioral concessions, so they could rejoin the community of nations?
It is impossible, especially in light of the IAEA side deal which permits Iran to essentially examine their own compliance at Parchin, to not conclude that there was NEVER an intention to extract these concessions from Iran. The only objective was to get Iran to commit to an agreement - any agreement. Obama is served by securing a legacy agreement he insured Congress would not have to approve; China and Russia can sell military gear and nuclear infrastructure to a country flush with $150 bil; France, Germany and the UK can reestablish economic ties with Iran, can buy their oil and pat themselves on the back that their social multiculturalism has restored Iran's legitimacy.
It's no wonder abuse has been heaped on Nadler. I wholly reject any attacks that slam him antisemetically, but if he's using this letter as his rationale for accepting this agreement, his stupidity supersedes any of his Jewishness.
His devotion to his liberal ideology and his obligation to join with his democrat colleagues to insure that Obama and Kerry get their agreement at any cost trumps all.