John Bolton: On Obama's Iran deal, the choices are bad and worse (MUST READ)
Former US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton writes that no matter what Congress decides to do with President Hussein Obama's sellout to a nuclear-armed Iran, the only choice left now is a military one
. Or a nuclear-armed Iran.
Read the whole thing
Obama’s mistakes, concessions, and general detachment from Middle
Eastern reality for six and a half years make it impossible to travel in
time back to a theoretical world where sanctions might have derailed
Iran’s nuclear-weapons program.
If Obama can save the Vienna agreement from Congress, he will lift
sanctions for the remainder of his presidency. Alternatively, if his
veto is overridden and U.S. sanctions remain in place, Europe, Russia,
China, and everyone else will nonetheless proceed to implement the deal
on their own. (And given Obama’s propensity not to enforce laws with
which he disagrees, which he is already signaling in this case, U.S.
sanctions will almost certainly prove ineffective.) Either way, it is
naïve to think that a new Republican president in January 2017 will find
any takers internationally to revive sanctions.
However Congress votes, Iran will still be marching inexorably toward
deliverable nuclear weapons.
Deals don’t constrain the mullahs, who see
this capability as critical to the 1979 Islamic Revolution’s very
survival. Not surprisingly, therefore, existing sanctions have slowed
down neither Iran’s nuclear-weapons program nor its support for
international terrorism. General James Clapper, Obama’s director of
national intelligence, testified in 2013 that sanctions had not changed
the ayatollahs’ nuclear efforts, and this assessment stands unmodified
Tehran’s support for such terrorists as Hezbollah, Hamas, Yemen’s
Houthis, and Syria’s Assad regime has, if anything, increased. As for
the sanctions’ economic impact on Iran, Clapper testified that “the
Supreme Leader’s standard is a level of privation that Iran suffered
during the Iran–Iraq war,” a level that Iran was nowhere near in 2013
and is nowhere near today.
In short, to have stopped Tehran’s decades-long quest for nuclear
weapons, global sanctions needed to match the paradigm for successful
coercive economic measures. They had to be sweeping and comprehensive,
swiftly applied and scrupulously adhered to by every major economic
actor, and rigorously enforced by military power. The existing Security
Council sanctions do not even approach these criteria.
In recent history, the only sanctions regime to approximate the
ideal paradigm was that imposed on Saddam Hussein in 1990, just days
after Iraq invaded Kuwait. Security Council Resolution 661 provided that
all states “shall prevent . . . the import into their territories of
all commodities and products originating in Iraq or Kuwait” except food,
medicine, and humanitarian supplies.
That is the very definition of
“comprehensive,” and the polar opposite of the congeries of sanctions
imposed on Iran.
Significantly, while Resolution 661 approached the theoretical ideal,
even its sanctions failed to break Saddam’s stranglehold on Kuwait. Had
Washington waited much longer than it did before militarily ousting
Saddam, Kuwait would have been thoroughly looted and despoiled.
Labels: Barack Hussein Obama, Iran Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Iran sanctions regime, Iranian nuclear threat, Israeli attack on Iran, John Bolton