Tag: Iran Nuclear Deal

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The Reddit site has a group called Explain Like I’m Five (ELI5). The purpose, from their sidebar, is E is for Explain – merely answering a question is not enough; LI5 means friendly, simplified and layman-accessible explanations – not responses aimed at literal five-year-olds. So I have the question in the subject line that I’d […]

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A Message for the Tyrants of Tehran

 

Watching Bibi Netanyahu addressing the UN’s General Assembly always makes me want to cheer. Two years ago, Israel alone opposed the horrible Iranian nuclear deal that the US negotiated and declared Israel would defend itself and that the world was making a terrible mistake. As Iran continues to develop its nuclear program and the IAEA appears emasculated, Bibi was back on Thursday to tell them:

I also have a message today for the tyrants of Tehran. Israel knows what you’re doing, and Israel knows where you’re doing it. Israel will never let a regime that calls for our destruction to develop nuclear weapons. Not now, not in ten years, not ever. And Israel will do whatever it must do to to defend itself against Iran’s aggression. We will continue to act against you in Syria. We will act against you in Lebanon. We will act against you in Iraq. We will act against you whenever and wherever we must act, to defend our state and to defend our people.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are in very good spirits as they savor three wonderful martinis for conservatives.  First, they celebrate the news that three American hostages are on their way home from North Korea in advance of the upcoming Trump-Kim summit.  They also applaud President Trump for withdrawing the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal, which was riddled with inspection loopholes and was never properly submitted to Congress.  And they cheer the victory of conservative Patrick Morrisey in the West Virginia U.S. Senate primary, the lopsided defeat for “Cocaine Mitch” accuser Don Blankenship, and strong turnout for Republicans in three primary states.

Richard Epstein analyzes Donald Trump’s recent gambits on North Korea and Iran, contrasts the Trump Administration’s approach to foreign policy with the Obama Administration’s, and explains how contract theory should inform negotiations with Pyongyang.

Jim Geraghty of National Review with Chad Benson filling in for Greg Corombos of Radio America. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claims to be in possession of tens of thousands of documents that reveal that Iran has been lying about its nuclear weapons program. Marco Rubio expresses skepticism toward the basic tenets of supply side economic theory, suggesting that the recent tax cuts will not help the middle class as promised. Lastly, Twitter is upset about a Chinese dress as claims of cultural appropriation strike prom.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America welcome President Trump’s refusal to certify that Iran is honoring its part of the 2015 nuclear deal but wonder whether the deal will eventually be scrapped or be allowed to stick around.  They also approach the delicate issue of aging Republicans missing considerable time in the U.S. Senate and when the right time is to decide another term is not a good idea.  And they shake their heads as Chuck Todd of MSNBC rightly castigates the rise of activism cloaked as journalism but cannot see or admit that’s what his employer does on a daily basis.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America react to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker deciding not to seek re-election by remembering his most significant moment in office was failing to stand up for the Senate’s power to consider treaties and instead greased the skids for President Obama to enact the Iran nuclear deal without any effective protest from the Republican majority.  They also slam Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price for using private planes on at least two dozen occasions to the tune of $400,000 in taxpayer money.  And they weigh in on the results of the Republican U.S. Senate run-off in Alabama and President Trump subsequently deleting tweets in support of Luther Strange after it was clear Roy Moore had won.

On this AEI Events Podcast, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley outlined some of the Trump administration’s key considerations in assessing Iranian compliance – an important matter given that next month, President Trump will need to announce whether he finds Iran complying with the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, better known as the Iran deal.

US law requires the president to certify every 90 days not only that Iran has not materially breached the deal but also that suspending sanctions against Tehran is appropriate and proportionate to Tehran’s behavior and is vital to US national security interests. Therefore, even if Iran has not surpassed the nuclear deal’s limit on uranium enrichment, the Trump administration could decide not to certify the deal if it violates one of the latter requirements. In such a scenario, Ambassador Haley emphasized that Congress would then have 60 days to decide whether to reimpose sanctions on Iran.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America endure three bad martinis today as two more GOP Senators bail on the plan to overhaul Obamacare and a new effort to vote on a clean repeal is already in grave danger of failing.  They criticize President Trump for keeping Obama’s infamous Iran Nuclear Deal without giving his advisers enough time to develop a new policy.  Attorney General Jeff Sessions is another source of disappointment today as he declares his intention to increase the use of civil asset forfeiture, which allows the federal government to seize the property of suspected criminals — without charging them with a crime.

Who Should We Send to Sing to Our Rebels in Syria?

 

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 08.06.44Well, goodness. Think anyone’s going to notice that? I hope not. It might make future allies a little uneasy about allying with us.

Russia has targeted Syrian rebel groups backed by the Central Intelligence Agency in a string of airstrikes running for days, leading the U.S. to conclude that it is an intentional effort by Moscow, American officials said.

The assessment, which is shared by commanders on the ground, has deepened U.S. anger at Moscow and sparked a debate within the administration over how the U.S. can come to the aid of its proxy forces without getting sucked deeper into a proxy war that President Barack Obama says he doesn’t want. The White House has so far been noncommittal about coming to the aid of CIA-backed rebels, wary of taking steps that could trigger a broader conflict.

The Strategika Podcast: Angelo Codevilla on the Futility of Arms Control Agreements

 

In the first of three new Strategika podcasts tackling the subject of arms control (and, specifically, the nuclear deal with Iran), Angelo Codevilla, Professor Emeritus of International Relations at Boston University, goes one step further than many critics of the agreement with Tehran. He doesn’t just argue that this deal is unworkable. He argues that the entire framework of arms control that the West has embraced for the last century is unworkable. It’s a fascinating discussion and you can listen in by subscribing to Strategika through iTunes or by listening in below.

The Iran Nuclear Deal: A Dangerous Game of Chance

 

iran-nuclear-dealUpon first hearing of the Iran Nuclear Deal I, like so many others, felt that Western leaders had made a grave error in judgment. A careful review of the text of the deal has removed all doubt. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the vast majority of people who hold this view do not do so out of a desire for war. We simply understand that the Iran Nuclear Deal makes war more, not less, likely.

As details of the deal became clear, many were left scratching their heads in wonder. The E3/EU+3 (US, UK, China, France, Germany, Russia and UN) effectively abandoned every objection to the Iranian nuclear program based solely on Iran’s promise to operate henceforth in accordance with the standards established by the International Atomic Energy Agency. All sanctions will be reversed and the signatory nations have agreed to aide Iran in further developing her nuclear industry. More importantly, they will assist Iran in the development of a uranium enrichment program. For those not familiar with nuclear energy, enriched uranium of the kind sought by Iran  has one purpose: weapons. Moreover, international observers will not be allowed to inspect some of Iran’s nuclear facilities. So how, you ask, are they planning to ensure that Iran is in compliance with the already lenient terms of the agreement? Well, Iranian officials will inspect their sites and report their findings to the IAEA. All of this is predicated on a mere promise of good-faith and fair dealing by the Iranian government.

It is only reasonable then that so many have been left in a state of bewilderment about the benefits of the agreement for world peace. What exactly do the leaders of the US, EU, and UN expect to gain from an agreement so fraught with potential dangers? Let us not forget that the Iranian regime has been quite candid in its hostile intentions toward Israel and the United States. How does arming such an acrimonious oligarchy advance the cause of world peace?

Calling Mona Charen

 

SchumerFrom Politico:

Chuck Schumer is getting an earful from opponents of the Iran nuclear deal.

More than 10,000 phone calls have flooded his office line the past two weeks, organized by a group looking to kill the deal. Another group has dropped seven figures on TV in New York City to pressure Schumer and other lawmakers to vote against the plan. The powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee has put its muscle behind an effort to lobby the New Yorker against it.

Anything But Cecil: The Franco-American Iran-Nuclear Diplomatic Mystère

 

Okay, gentle ladies, gentlemen, and wingèd seraphs of Ricochet, today is Anything But Cecil Day. Indeed, it’s Anything But Whatever’s on Drudge Day, because while that’s on the front page, a lot of other stories aren’t being covered. Here’s an item about which, perhaps, you’ve heard, but I figure Cecil might be crowding out everyone’s news feeds to the extent that it might not hurt to bring it up. And I have a bit to add to it.

As Josh Rogan reported for Bloomberg, a senior diplomatic adviser to President Francois Hollande seems to be in a bit of a disagreement with John Kerry about the Iran nuclear deal:

Is Iran Rational?

 

Seyyed_Ali_KhameneiThough it is as old as the debate about the Iranian nuclear program itself, the question now seems more apt than ever. The usual phrasing is whether Iran is truly bent on destruction or on the verge of becoming a modern-day Soviet Union, i.e., a nuclear power that can be deterred by mutually assured destruction (leave aside whether you believe the current or potential future occupants of the White House would, in fact, respond in such a fashion). On the one hand are people who point out that, though the Soviets were power-hungry totalitarians, they wanted to live and knew that using nukes was a suicide pact. On the other, you have people who argue that Iran isn’t rational in that way, and would be happy for martyrdom — or, more likely, the martyrdom of their ordinary citizens — for the cause of Islam, the Caliphate, and the return of the Twelfth Imam.

I have gone back and forth between the two sides myself, but a thought occurred to me today: Iran wouldn’t be the first instance in the modern era of an “ideological regime” driven to irrational action by nutty ideas. Thankfully, the last such regime — the Third Reich — existed in the pre-nuclear age.

I know people hold their breath when Nazis are mentioned, but please hear me out. Hitler was an ideologue, committed to racist and anti-Semitic ideas. If you look at the military history of WWII, you see that, even as the war turned against the Germans, they continued — indeed escalated — their effort to exterminate European Jewry, diverting trains, personnel, and materials away from the war to do so. The murder of slave laborers also meant an ever-diminishing ability to produce munitions and other war necessities. This was totally irrational from a military or a survival standpoint (I can’t be certain, but I imagine no high-ranking Nazi official believed that he’d get out alive if the war ended in defeat; either he would be killed in the effort, or condemned to death for his actions). Even within the war itself, Hitler was often irrational, invading the USSR out of hatred for Bolshevism and then throwing more and more soldiers into the maw after the cause had turned hopelessly against him.

Understanding Obama’s Strategy

 

I am attempting to understand Obama’s position on Iran.  What I write below is what I think Obama and his cohorts think they are doing. I am trying to write from their perspective, so it will be sympathetic.

Obama’s Grand Strategy:
The real problem in the world is Sunni extremism.  ISIS, al-Qaeda, and all their affiliates are Sunni. Iran is the natural enemy of Sunni extremism, and is thus the natural ally of the United States. Sure, the Iranians have killed many Americans, but that is because America threatened Iran’s interests in the region. Iran’s true ambitions have always been regional. If America shows a willingness to see Iran succeed regionally and to become a protector of Shia everywhere in the region, they will no longer see the need to be hostile to the United States. An opportunity exists to cultivate Iran as an ally and make Iran a proxy in the America’s war on Sunni terror networks.

Obama Not Offended Enough by Anti-Semitism

 

obamarouhani_s640x427What to make of President Obama’s interpretation of the Iranian leadership? Challenged by The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg to account for the seeming inconsistency of relying on the rationality of a regime that holds a profoundly anti-Semitic worldview, the president denied that the “venomous anti-Semitism” (his words) of the mullahs is a barrier to rational decision making.

Well the fact that you are anti-Semitic, or racist, doesn’t preclude you from being interested in survival. It doesn’t preclude you from being rational about the need to keep your economy afloat; it doesn’t preclude you from making strategic decisions about how you stay in power; and so the fact that the supreme leader is anti-Semitic doesn’t mean that this overrides all of his other considerations. You know, if you look at the history of anti-Semitism, Jeff, there were a whole lot of European leaders—and there were deep strains of anti-Semitism in this country . . .

Walter Russell Mead of The American Interest made an important observation:

Obama’s Iranian Vision Is Creating a Powder Keg

 

shutterstock_165080393If recent news accounts are to be believed, the framework of agreement between the U.S. and Iran is on the rocks. Iran’s top officials, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani, are saying economic sanctions must end immediately and that UN inspectors will not be granted unfettered access to military installations and nuclear construction sites.

But this may be nothing more than Iranian domestic political spin. And as long as there’s a potential deal, a critical point needs to be made: There is no provision for, or even discussion of, putting political restraints on Iran. That is, there is nothing in this deal that would force Iran to change its terrorist ways. Iran will continue to be the number-one state sponsor of terrorism in the Middle East, no matter what the deal.

How can this be?

Don’t Ask Me to Explain The Iran Nuclear Agreement

 

1000If anyone is hoping for foreign policy wisdom from me about this, you’re looking to the wrong person. Nothing about this makes sense. Adam Garfinkle’s piece in the American Interest strikes me as closest to rational. He rejects the idea that the negotiations are “a cover for shepherding that bomb into being as an ante toward bringing about an Iranian-U.S. condominium to ‘stabilize’ the Middle East,” this on the grounds that the explanation is essentially a conspiracy theory:

It behooves those who hold such views to explain why an American President would think that multinational nuclear proliferation in the Middle East suits mid- to long-term U.S. national security interests. It obviously doesn’t, and so they cannot explain their position rationally.

But he notes that it would seem the President was willing to accept any deal, however unfavorable: