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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Rubio would rescind Iran agreement

In the current issue of Foreign Affairs, Republican Presidential candidate Marco Rubio sets out his foreign policy vision for the United States. One of its key pillars deals with Iran. 
My foreign policy would restore the post-1945 bipartisan presidential tradition of a strong and engaged America while adjusting it to meet the new realities of a globalized world. The foreign policy I propose has three pillars. Each can be best described through an example of a challenge we face in this new century, but they all reveal the need for all elements of American power—for a dynamic foreign policy that restores strength, promotes prosperity, and steers the world toward freedom.

The first and most important pillar of my foreign policy will be a renewal of American strength. This is an idea based on a simple truth: the world is at its safest when America is at its strongest. When America’s armed forces and intelligence professionals, aided by our civilian diplomatic and foreign assistance programs, are able to send a forceful message without firing a shot, the result is more peace, not more conflict. Yet when the United States fails to build or display such strength, it weakens our global hand by casting doubt on our ability and willingness to act. This doubt only encourages our adversaries to test us.
The Obama administration’s handling of Iran has demonstrated this with alarming clarity. Tehran exploited the president’s lack of strength throughout the negotiations over its nuclear program by wringing a series of dangerous concessions from the United States and its partners, including the ability to enrich uranium, keep the Arak and Fordow nuclear facilities open, avoid admitting its past transgressions, and ensure a limited timeline for the agreement.
How did a nation with as little intrinsic leverage as Iran win so many concessions? Part of the answer is that President Obama took off the table the largest advantage our nation had entering into the negotiations: military strength. Although the president frequently said that “all options are on the table” with regard to Iran, his administration consistently signaled otherwise. Several senior officials openly criticized the notion of a military strike, and the president himself publicly said that there could be no military solution to the Iranian nuclear program. This was underscored by a historic reluctance to engage throughout the Middle East, from pulling troops out of Iraq at all costs to retreating from the stated redline on the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
President Obama became so publicly opposed to military action that he sacrificed any option that could have conceivably raised the stakes and forced the mullahs into making major concessions. Iran recognized that it could push for greater compromise without fear that the United States would break off the talks. The president’s drive for a deal caused him to forsake a basic principle of diplomacy with rogue regimes: it must be backed by the threat of force. As president, I would have altered the basic environment of the talks. I would have maneuvered forces in the region to signal readiness; linked the nuclear talks to Iran’s broader conduct, from its human rights abuses to its support for terrorism and its existential threats against Israel; and pressured Tehran on all fronts, from Syria to Yemen.
It is true that Iran, in response to these displays of strength, may have broken off negotiations or even lashed out in the region. History, however, suggests that even if Iran had created more trouble in the near term, increased pressure would have eventually forced it to back down. That is exactly what happened in 1988, when Iran ended its war with Iraq and its attacks on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf after the Reagan administration sent in the U.S. Navy. More recently, after the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, Iran halted a key component of its nuclear program.
It’s not too late to mitigate the damage of the administration’s mishandling of Iran. By rescinding the flawed deal concluded by President Obama and reasserting our presence in the Middle East, we can reverse Iran’s malign influence in this vitally important region and prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. The security of the region, the safety of Israel, and the interests of the entire world require an American approach toward Tehran marked by strength and leadership rather than weakness and concession.
This is excellent. And by the way, the mentions of Israel above are the only two times it's mentioned in the entire article.

Read the whole thing.

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