To understand what was wrong with the Iran Deal, we can gain insight by thinking of it in terms of World War II. Think of Hitler’s death camps as weapons of mass destruction. It is a very fair comparison.
Suppose we cut a deal with Hitler only on the subject of the death camps. In return for temporarily abandoning his Final Solution policy of exterminating Jews and others he deemed undesirable and dismantling the concentration camps, the western allies would agree to let him continue his plan to create the Third Reich. We would lift wartime sanctions and even provide him with financial resources that Hitler could spend on armaments to be used against targeted nations. He would be allowed to further develop more powerful rockets.
Like those who negotiated and still support the Iran Deal, those responsible for the hypothetical Hitler Deal could claim that it was good because it temporarily halted the use of gas as a weapon of mass destruction. They could argue – as do the Iran Deal proponents – that Hitler’s other unacceptable behaviors would be handled separately.
We would have been assured that our resolve to stop Hitler was undiminished even though there would be very little evidence of action – just as there has been very little evidence that the western allies have been doing much about Iran’s terrorist activities throughout the world. Because of such inaction, it is likely that Iran’s ally and America’s and Europe’s enemy, Bashar al Assad, will prevail in the Syrian civil war.
The comparison of the Iran Deal with a Hitler Deal is not entirely hypothetical. We need only recall Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s piece-meal Munich Agreement with Hitler. If the Fuhrer would relinquish his plans to take over all eastern and western Europe, he could keep Austria and the recently occupied portions of Czechoslovakia — renamed the Sudetenland. It was a deal that strengthened Hitler’s vision of a vast Arian empire by giving him an opportunity to further build up his military strength and cut his own deal with Benito Mussolini in Italy.
America’s chief negotiator, Secretary of State John Kerry often claims that the Deal prevents Iran from EVER having nuclear weaponry. That has no more validity than Hitler’s promise not to invade Poland.
It is important to keep in mind several basic truths. It was a deal between President Obama and Iran. It was never approved by the Congress because most members of Congress strongly opposed the deal. It was not supported by the American public. Just as members of Congress who voted in favor of the much-criticized Iraq War now lay the blame solely on the shoulders of President Bush the Second, the opponents of the Iran Deal are among the harshest critics of withdrawal. This is the product of establishmentarianism in which the only acceptable course of action is to maintain the status quo. The hypocritical reversals have also been the result of politics by a partisan #NeverTrumpism that has lost the ability for objective analysis and responsible decision-making.
Though much has been said, it is worth repeating that the Iran Deal did not stop state-sponsored terrorism; did not stop uranium enrichment; did not provide 100 percent inspection coverage; did not stop development of intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear war heads – and that should give strong indication of Iran’s future plans; did not stop Iran’s construction of nuclear facilities to produce nuclear material that can be repurposed to weapon-grade; did not achieve the release of American hostages; did not diminish Tehran’s capability to support Assad; did not maintain sanctions that were finally starting to bring down the Iran economy; and did not give encouragement and support to the significant democratic forces within Iran.
When critically examining the highly praised objective of the Iran Deal – a temporary halt in a nuclear weapons program that was not on the front burner in the first place. Iran’s strategy was focused totally on terrorism, regional warfare and conventional weaponry. Devoting enormous resources to an immediate nuclear program would be a waste of money and would misdirect funds from the shorter-term goals. Even if they had the bomb, it was virtually useless. Iran well understood that launching a nuclear attack on any nation would bring down the end of the regime. It can be reasonably argued that Iran gave up a useless chip to get across the board advantages.
More than anything, Iran needed money through the relief of sanctions and other payments – including the ability to sell oil on the world market. Iran was running out of the financial ability to wage terror and war just as Hitler did in his invasion of Russia. What the Iran Deal did was to restore that ability. While the inflow of money benefitted Iran’s aggressive activities, it did not provide the domestic economic benefits promised by the mullahs, with the result that many Iranians are coming to believe the Deal was not so good for them — and unrest has been on the rise.
The Iran Deal was nothing more than to kick the can down the road and thereby create a worse situation in the future. The Iran Deal was crafted by the same people and the same thinking that created the North Korean problem we have today. Iran says that if America pulls out, they will pull out. We should only hope they mean it. We either have a deal that will make Iran a responsible world player, or we must consider all other viable options. That does not mean a military option only, but it should not be off the table and be credible.
Much has been said in the media that the breaking of the Deal will strain relationships with our key allies and that they will not support any sanctions imposed on Iran by the United States. Those bonds and mutual goals are far too strong for any serious breach in the relationship.
With regard to abiding by American sanctions, Trump is betting that when push comes to shove, they will fall in line. The realization that they would lose sales to Iran was undoubtedly a factor in their opposition to withdrawal.
In their broad-brush criticism of the President, the #NeverTrump political/media combine proffer the argument that the breaking of the Deal will not make negotiations with Kim Jong-un more difficult. As the theory goes, Kim will be less trusting of any deal with the United States. It is more likely to create a better deal for the United States. Kim will understand that Trump will not commit America to any half measure agreement. It is also very possible that Trump will have any deal approved by Congress – giving it a durability that the Obama/Kerry side deal could not achieve.
Finally, Iran has to be put into the large Trump strategy for the Middle East. From the vanquishing of ISIS to the most recent Israel attack on Iranian forces in Syria are not unconnected events.