May 4, 2018

REUEL MARC GERECHT: The Iran Deal Is Strategically and Morally Absurd. “It is less an arms-control agreement than cover for American inaction.”

With Iran, Obama certainly appeared to have a cause, something beyond just avoiding a fight. The Islamic Republic for Obama, and Secretary of State John Kerry, too, appeared to be a left-wing “realist” dream, offering a progressive version of Richard Nixon’s opening to Communist China. The many debilitating weaknesses of the JCPOA—for one thing, the strategic and moral absurdity of paying, via sanctions relief, for Iranian imperialism in the Middle East so we can have a short surcease to the mullahs’ quest for the bomb—stem directly from Obama’s paralyzing fear of war, as well as his aspiration for a Middle Eastern détente.

The suggestion that going to war with the clerical regime is too high a price to pay to stop the mullahs from acquiring nuclear weapons (which is what’s implied by defending the limited, temporary utility of the JCPOA) is downright odd. Obama was, in theory, willing to do just that in the nuclear negotiations. In theory, when he uttered the mantra that “all options are on the table,” Obama was—to borrow from La Rochefoucauld—giving the homage that hypocrisy pays to virtue. The nuclear deal wasn’t just “far from ideal”: It is the hinge of America’s downsizing in the region, the guarantor of a decent interval before nuclear proliferation comes to the Middle East.

It was always about downsizing American power, prestige, and influence.

Plus:

Obama’s “wishful thinking” about the region was never more fully on display than when he speculated that his nuclear agreement with Tehran ought to allow the Iranians and the Saudis time to learn “to share” the region.

Heckuva job, Barry.

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