Everything about the so-called deal with Iran, including the reputations of the men who negotiated it, is a lie. It’s likely to be a deadly lie for millions of people who will die on account of it. The world should mark well everyone responsible for it.
The first lie is that an agreement for more talk is already “a deal.” So far the only agreement is to further pursue “a deal.” President Obama couldn’t wait to take a victory lap. But not even Mr. Obama, desperate to make something he can call “a deal,” says there’s an actual deal. Look closely at the slippery “clinton clauses,” as they were once called, in his announcement Thursday: “I am convinced that if this framework leads to a final comprehensive deal, it will make our country, our allies and our world safer.”
That was Lie No. 2. There’s nothing in the “framework” that leads to a conclusion like that. The world won’t be safer, because when Iran gets the bomb — and there’s wide agreement that it’s not “if” but “when” — a half-dozen Islamic countries in the Middle East will start work on a bomb of their own. Saudi Arabia has already hinted that once it’s clear that America can’t be counted on to do what Mr. Obama emphatically said America would do, Saudi Arabia must do what it has to do. Survival makes its own rules.
Once there’s an Iranian bomb, every crackpot mullah and deranged Islamic holy man will want one. Who’s to stop them? Israel? The situation by then will be so out of control that nobody could do what only a superpower could have done.
The Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, wanted to say complicit things at a press conference in Lausanne on Thursday, but his carefully chosen words were revealing to anyone familiar with parsing words: “Our program is exclusively peaceful, has always been and always will remain exclusively peaceful.” (Lies No. 3, 4 and 5.) “We will continue enriching. We will continue research and development.”
Secretary of State John F. Kerry, feeling his own nose growing longer by the hour, attempted to defend his compromises. “Simply demanding that Iran capitulate makes a nice sound bite,” he said, “but [a sound bite] is not a policy, it is not a realistic plan.” He should know. He doesn’t want anyone to remember Mr. Obama’s sound bite that Iran would never get a bomb of its own because he wouldn’t allow it.
The Iranian foreign minister concedes that Iran is “still some way away from where we want to be.” No doubt. But he’s entitled to his satisfied mind. Relief from sanctions, and an easily frustrated inspection scheme, is exactly what the mullahs in Tehran set out to achieve. The only price they pay is to cooperate to enable the leaders in the West to pretend they have accomplished something they haven’t.
Once the final agreement is in place, the mullahs can proceed to do what they will say they are not doing, until their bomb is real and they can use it at will. Islamic good faith is good enough for Mr. Obama, who has a soft spot in his heart for Islam. Islamic good faith is not good enough for the rest of us. The president is entitled to indulge that soft spot in his heart, but he is not entitled to indulge a soft spot in his head at the expense of the nation. He doesn’t have to be the secret Muslim some of his critics say he is to be a faithful guardian of the interests of the Islamic world.
Describing Mr. Obama as an appeaser, in the tradition of Neville Chamberlain caving at a similar nexus of history in 1938, misses the point. Mr. Obama may not be appeasing at all, but enabling. Everything about Barack Obama suggests that he believes America must be cut down to size, that it’s the arrogance of thinking America is something special, the exceptional nation, that is the source of intractable trouble in the world. Once America is brought to heel, men of wisdom, brilliance, kindness, intelligence and good will — rare men just like himself — can make the rough places smooth and forge a lasting peace.
These negotiations have exposed the president as few events have. “Mr. Obama,” says the New York Observer, no particular friend of Republicans and conservative critics of the president, “is an amateur who is enthralled with the sound of his own voice and incapable of coming to grips with the consequences of his actions. He is surrounded by sycophants, second-rate intellectuals and a media that remains compliant and uncritical.”
History won’t be able to say it better.
• Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.