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Thursday, August 06, 2015

Fear before facts on Iran

Bloomberg's editorial board blasts President Obama's speech on Wednesday for fear-mongering rather than arguing based on facts. They have examples. Lots of them. Here are a few:
"We have achieved a detailed arrangement that permanently prohibits Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon." Actually, the deal's restrictions end abruptly after 15 years, with some of the constraints on uranium enrichment fading away after just 10. Late in the speech, Obama made the case that much can change in a decade and that the West could be in a stronger position then to continue to block Iran's nuclear desires. But the temporary nature of the deal remained disguised.
"Much can change in a decade" would be a great argument if the deal was clear (there seem to be at least two and possibly three different versions of what's in the deal - US, Iran and UN), and if we felt we could trust Iran to abide by its end of the bargain. Based on past experience, there is no rational reason to trust Iran on this. None.
"Before the ink was even dry on this deal, before Congress even read it, a majority of Republicans declared their virulent opposition." That's true, but ignores that opponents had plenty of time to study the draft agreement reached last spring. The real problem is that Congress still hasn't read the entire accord, its side agreements and the inspections plan negotiated by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Even Secretary of State John Kerry says there are aspects of the deal he has never seen.
Remember when Obama promised "the most transparent administration ever"? Sounds like a sick joke today, doesn't it? Is that promise what got you to vote for him? If so, you can be excused for 2008 but not for 2012.
"If there is a reason for inspecting a suspicious undeclared site anywhere in Iran, inspectors will get that access even if Iran objects. This access can be with as little as 24 hours' notice." The key words here are "as little as." Iran can draw that process out for as long as 24 days if it so chooses. Foreign Minister Javad Zarif says some military sites will remain off-limits to IAEA personnel.
Obama's phrasing here is totally disingenuous. As Mrs. Carl would put it, "he's acting like a lawyer."
"I've had to make a lot of tough calls as president, but whether or not this deal is good for American security is not one of those calls, it's not even close." Maybe this deal is the best chance to delay the mullahs' race to the bomb and keep the Middle East out of a nuclear arms race. But the case is anything but open-and-shut. It's hard to see what the president gains from denying this.
Well, perhaps one thing: Obama may hope that denigrating those who disagree with him will rally Democrats in Congress to support a veto of any measure of disapproval. Tactics aside, it would be far better to win this fight fairly. The pact is not a treaty: A future president and Congress might overturn it, arguing that it was sealed without proper consideration. And history often looks with disgust at causes built on fear, especially if they go awry. Obama wouldn't want to face the kind of scorn he heaped on George W. Bush today.
 But face it he will if this deal goes through.

And by the way, while the driving consideration for Obama should be America's security, what about America's allies? If this deal goes through, does he really believe Israel, for example, is ever going to trust an American guarantee again? Okay - we already have plenty of reasons not to trust American guarantees. But this deal will surely close the door.

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