Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Iran Deal

When carefully considered, it should be clear that this deal sets us on an ineluctable path towards war.

In the short term, Iran is likely to appease extremists opposed to the deal by generously, and disproportionately, financing their internal institutions and regional adventurism from its windfall. The suggestion that Iran's youthfully skewed demographics foretell future moderation and reform seems dangerously naive. Dylann Roof, to take one recent high profile example, was 21. To take another: It appears to be largely young adults who are leaving middle class western homes to wage genocidal Jihad as part of ISIS. Bottom line: Iran is not likely to be, a reformed, more moderate, regime in 10 years than it is today.

Critics of the deal are probably wrong to fear this deal will allow an unreformed Iran to, with our blessing, reduce its nuclear weapon breakout window to a matter of weeks for the simple reason that future Presidents will likely consider themselves no more bound to its terms then they are to their own campaign promises.

President Obama and those in Congress who have supported this deal have been very clear: A nuclear armed Iran is an intolerable threat to American national security and all options must be on the table to prevent it. Should Iran fail to reform, which seems likely, this will be as true in ten years as it is now. In other words, whatever this deal may envision, should Iran fail to reform, the demands of national security will compel any future President to insist on extension of the restrictions on the Iranian program that preserve the one year breakout window.

The future President will have fewer options than might be available today. The Iranians would view any American attempt at diplomatic renegotiation as reneging, as proof of American perfidy and would be unlikely to engage. There would likely not be sufficient time to reinstate comprehensive, effective, sanctions. Given Iranian military development between then and now, any pinprick attack would be less viable. In other words, the future American President will likely find herself with the stark choice of allowing an unreformed Iran to develop a nuclear weapon or launching a war of regime change. As undesirable as the latter option is, no President will be able to allow the former on her watch.

America, would have likely had better options today. Our allies and partners may not have supported continued sanctions, but is hard to imagine that strongly enforced secondary sanctions which presented the choice “do business with either us or Iran” wouldn’t have held.

While time will tell whether those who argue that the pro-Israel community severely damaged itself in taking on a fight it couldn’t win were correct, there are reasons to hope they will prove wrong. The generally sympathetic-to-Israel members of Congress who backed this deal are more likely to work to repair, rather than wash their hands of, the American/Israeli relationship. Down the road, should Iran engage in destructive adventurism and fail to reform, and so pose an unresolved intolerable threat to America, those who vigorously opposed the deal will be strengthened (and should it reform, American political attention will turn elsewhere). In addition, given the broad Israeli consensus, this effort provided a rare opportunity for the deeply politically divided pro-Israel community to work, more or less, arm in arm. If built upon, there is opportunity for strengthening the community. Finally, while most Democrats did, in the end, line up behind their President, Democratic strategists may be now more sensitive to the danger Israel poses, as a wedge issue, to their party unity.

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