There’s good news and bad news in Barack Obama’s sucker deal with Iran. The Iranians get all the good news, and the West gets all the bad news. The only good news for the good guys is that the deal, like Obamacare, is President Obama’s baby. Sometimes, the baby daddy has to pay up.
The president and his administration, having done the full grovel in Geneva, is now into full defensive mode. Stung by the cries of disbelief in Washington from a growing number of his partisan allies in Congress, the president insists that his handiwork “halted the progress of the Iranian nuclear program.”
But it has done no such thing. The deal, or the “interim accord” as the Western deal-makers insist on calling it, does not even meet the requirements of several United Nations resolutions insisting on suspension of all enrichment of uranium before it gets relief from the sanctions that were driving the mullahs in Tehran to cry “uncle.”
Mr. Obama, the crafty Chicago politician, is counting on the maxim that “all politics is local,” that the talk of centrifuges, the plutonium reactor at Arak, and oxidation of 5 percent against the enrichment of 20 percent, will quickly make everyone’s eyes glaze over and we can get back to the important affairs of state that everyone understands, such as whether to change the name of the Redskins.
The deal, signed at 3 o’clock in the morning, when diplomats are supposed to be in bed, was meant to distract attention from the spectacular collapse of Obamacare. But the point of “all politics is local,” as any Chicago alderman could tell the president, is that if you fix the pothole, the suckers will pay no attention to the mischief at hand, but you’ve got to actually fix the pothole. This pothole — the Affordable Care Act — is unfixable, a pothole without a bottom.
Mr. Obama sold himself as the man who could charm the Muslims into the 21st century because he understood the Islamic mind. Hadn’t he grown up in the Islamic world, listening to the call to evening prayer, “the prettiest sound in the world”? He would make nice with the Muslims, and they would make nice with the West. But they’re not even making nice with Barack Obama.
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Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, who decides whose deal gets ratified and who loses his head, couldn’t resist playing the game by his own rules. He spent the weekend crowing, not bothering to hide his agenda. “I thank God that … the new government … was able to legitimize the Iranian nation’s nuclear program on the international stage and take the initial step in a way that the nuclear rights and the enrichment rights of the Iranian nation are acknowledged by world powers.” The new president, Hassan Rouhani, did a little taunting himself. “No matter whether the world wants it or not,” he said, “this path [to the bomb] will, God willing, continue to the peak.”
The “peak,” as everyone with eyes and ears understands, is the development of the nuclear bomb to destroy Israel and intimidate everyone else in the Middle East. For all their comic bluster, meant for the Muslim street, the big ayatollah and all the little ayatollahs in Tehran have always believed that America and the West have no choice but to accept Islam as a nuclear equal.
“Looking back at the past decade,” wrote Mohammad Mohammadi, regarded as an Iranian authority on his country’s nuclear affairs, “all the red lines by America and the West over Iran’s nuclear issue have now been transformed into acceptance. America has always adopted radical actions at first that have changed to symbolic measures later.” After that, the acceptance.
He’s right about that. The governing elites in the West have trouble recognizing deep belief and conviction as calls to action. Having abandoned religious faith themselves, except for the convenient rituals of weddings and funerals, the elites do not understand those who act on religious conviction, however perverted the convictions may be.
The threats and boasts by the mullahs in Tehran, like the braggadocio of the fanatics in Pyongyang, can sound like the stuff of “Saturday Night Live.” But despite the promises of the leaders of the West that it could never happen, North Korea has the bomb, and Iran is well on its way to raising the dust and making the noise of the big one. The Israelis, so scorned by Mr. Obama and his friends, stand alone as the West’s last hope.
Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.
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