An Agreement in the Fine European Tradition of Appeasement
In a rush to chalk up some diplomatic achievement in the waning days of a presidency characterized by foreign policy naivete, confusion and failure, President Obama trumpeted the deal reached today with Iran. This agreement confirms international recognition of Iran as a nuclear power while allowing Iran to continue weapons research while impeding production during its term. In exchange Iran grants inspection rights to the United Nations while simply ignoring the question of access to all military facility. Most notably the international sanctions placed on Iran, one of the worlds foremost terrorist nations come to an end. After the 15 year term of the agreement restrictions on and access to Iran’s nuclear facilities come to an abrupt end. Welcome the Islamic Bomb. Neville Chamberlin would be proud of this uniquely European deal which has as its center peace appeasement.
The central failure of this agreement involves its failure to restrict Iran’s research and the development of capability. Assuming it is honored by Iran, a very big assumption, it allows Iran to maintain 2% of its enriched uranium. Simplistically this sounds good as they must dispose of 98%. However all enriched uranium is not equal and weapons grade material requires considerable research and refinement. This is most important if a nation wants to not simply produce a crude bomb which can be delivered in the back of a truck. Iran has an aggressive ballistic missile development program not affected by this deal in any way. A warhead size bomb requires a very sophisticated design and Iran has just been given a green light to continue its work towards a nuclear ballistic missile capability.
Proponents are pointing to a two thirds reduction in centrifuges, however we again run into the question of technological quality; all centrifuges are not created equal. Only a small number of centrifuges are required to continue full scale research. At the end of the agreement, of at any point during its term if Iran chooses to violate, they can simply commission a large number of new centrifuges, a process which would take months if not weeks.
In exchange for relatively minor concessions from Iran President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry have given up the store. The sanctions which brought the Iranians to the table will be gone. Make no mistake our appeasement friendly allies in Europe will quickly move to commercially profit from this and once gone will never return. The Iranians showed up for these negotiations with a weak hand and leave with the candy store near fully stocked. Not bad for the leading terrorist state in the world.
President Obama today reminded us that while congress has the right to review and vote on this his veto pen stands ready to stop any congressional “interference”. Well done President Obama; by classifying this as an agreement not a treaty you seem to have dodged the Treaty Clause of the Constitution. Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution grants to the President the ability to negotiate and sign treaty but then requires the advice and consent represented by a 2/3 vote of the Senate for the treaty to be ratified. Constitutional government is an inconvenient thing to leaders who seek to exercise unilateral power. Foreign parties should be fully aware that this agreement is not binding on the Government of the United States of America but only on the Obama Administration. At 12:01pm EDT on January 20, 2017 there will be a new administration in power. One only hopes they have a different view of appeasing terrorist states.
Desperation in diplomacy is never a good thing. To be sure the Iranian nuclear threat may be the most complicated and serious foreign policy dilemma since the fall of Soviet Communism. There are no good military options and the use of diplomacy is itself a positive thing. But bad deals are just bad deals and they help nobody in the long run. President Obama in advancing this agreement has imposed a terrible price of the future of the United States, one his successors will have to clean up, simply to get a hideous agreement he can put on a display wall at his soon to be built presidential museum and claim it as an accomplishment.