INTO THE FRAY –  Iran: Are the wheels falling off Obama’s “signature” foreign policy endeavor?

For your perusal, my latest INTO THE FRAY column:

Iran: Are the wheels falling off Obama’s “signature” foreign policy endeavor?

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The ongoing turmoil in Iran highlights both the duplicity to which the Obama administration resorted & the missed opportunity for a better deal.

It appears this week on the following sites (in alphabetical order):

JERUSALEM HERALD: (To be posted)

Several short excerpts:

The alternative is a region wide explosion with totally unpredictable consequences….Just think how that would work out in the end… I think that is a policy of self-destruction – Zbigniew Brzezinski, trying to justify Obama’s Iran deal by scaremongering, Apr. 4, 2015, MSNBC.

We created an echo chamber…They [legions of ‘freshly minted” arms-control experts who became key sources for hundreds of often-clueless reporters] were saying things that validated what we had given them to say.– Ben Rhodes, Barack Obama’s Advisor for Strategic Communications, revealing the duplicity resorted to in order promote the 2015-Iran nuclear deal, New York Times, May 5, 2016.

Things are going badly—very badly—for the Barack Obama “legacy”.

Myopic, moronic or malicious?

Nowhere is this more apparent than with what had been dubbed his “signature foreign policy goal”—the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. Indeed, as time passes it is becoming ever-more evident that the entire arrangement with Tehran is on an inevitable collision course with recalcitrant realities.At least two recent developments have propelled this quandary into even sharper relief …

No rabid radical right-wing rag

The Politico expose’ on Obama’s impeding federal investigation into illicit Hezbollah activity
The Politico expose’ on Obama’s impeding federal investigation into illicit Hezbollah activity
The first of these developments was the December 2015 Politico exposé  charging that the Obama administration purposely impeded a federal investigation into the drug and weapons trafficking of Tehran’s terror surrogate, Hezbollah, to avoid undermining the nuclear deal… The fact that the almost 15,000 word exposé … was published in a major mainstream media outlet such as Politico, imparts weight to the gave allegations its lays out…

Obama’s obsession

… the fact that such grave allegations are not publicly perceived as totally implausible, is sufficient to cast a pall of doubt not only on the merits of the substantive content of the deal and the manner in which it was concluded, but inevitably, also on the underlying motivations of those who pursued it with such unswerving—read “obsessive”—vigor. Indeed, in the words of Bloomberg columnist, Eli Lake: “Obama from the beginning of his presidency tried to turn the country’s ruling clerics from foes to friends. It was an obsession.”

“A deal at any cost…”

Israel’s former ambassador to the US, Michael Oren
Israel’s former ambassador to the US, Michael Oren

Lake’s bleak analysis is largely corroborated by former Israeli ambassador to the US during the Obama-era, Michael Oren…In a recent interview, Oren noted that: “The Obama administration’s lack of support for the Green Revolution was part of a pattern in which it did not hold Iran accountable for any provocation. It would seem it was part of a general approach that began in Obama’s first week in office in 2009 of wanting to reach a deal with Iran at pretty much any cost.”

Disturbing divergence

US Secretary of State, John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Zarif
US Secretary of State, John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Zarif

… Obama himself proclaimed that the US’s goal was what he later claimed to be unattainable:Our goal is to get Iran to recognize it needs to give up its nuclear program and abide by the UN resolutions that have been in place…the deal we’ll accept is: They end their nuclear program. It’s very straightforward”… Of course, the deal eventually concluded, came nowhere close to meeting these professed goals. Indeed, former Secretary of State…Henry Kissinger, aptly articulated the abandonment of the original goals, lamenting that the US had shifted its focus from preventing, to permitting, proliferation.

Iran on a glide path to nuclear weapons

Underscoring the deadly detriments in the then-emerging Iran deal, John Hannah cautioned ominously in “Foreign Policy” a few months prior to its conclusion…

“Make no mistake…It puts us on a glide path to a world in which a militant Islamic theocracy — with the blood of at least a thousand Americans on its hands — that wants to destroy Israel and spread terror and violence across the Middle East is but a stone’s throw away from having the capacity to achieve a nuclear arsenal that… no one will have time to stop.”

What current unrest exposes: Cowardice or complicity

Iranian protesters chant slogans at a rally in Tehran, December 2017
Iranian protesters chant slogans at a rally in Tehran, December 2017

It is thus inconceivable that if a pre-deal Iran, facing economic implosion, social unrest and simmering political insurrection, were confronted with a resolute demand to dismantle its nuclear installations; or face the specter of enhanced sanctions backed by a credible threat of coercive action aimed at destroying its national infrastructure – dams, power-stations, bridges, harbors and airports –it would not have been compelled to comply. …Only cowardice or complicity of the US administration can explain why this policy was not adopted. 

Iran’s inalienable rights vs. the West’s unavoidable duty

To be sure, in an international system comprised of sovereign states, Iran, as a sovereign state, has an inalienable right to pursue weaponized nuclear capability. ..However, as the current regime is manifestly inimical to everything the Free World purportedly holds dear, the countries c   omprising that group (aka “The West”), led by the US, have an unavoidable duty to prevent it from exercising this right.

That is the unavoidable dialectic dynamic that must be maintained in the international system, if it is not to spiral into a cataclysmic nuclear confrontation…

As usual your talkbacks/comments/critiques welcome,
Best wishes,

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