The Iranians are dancing in the streets, and why not? They won. There’s not enough sugar in Louisiana to coat the disaster that President Obama and John Kerry agreed to in Iran. Everyone expected something bad, and now that the details of the deal are emerging the dimensions of the disaster are larger than anyone imagined. Mr. Obama wanted a legacy, and he got one, writ large.
This is not what he promised. He offered lots of big talk when the talks began in earnest, like a little boy in his first pair of long pants, about what he would deliver: Iran’s nuclear program would be dismantled, not delayed; there would be unannounced inspections anywhere, any time; there would be curbs on the manufacture of Iran’s ballistic missiles needed to deliver nuclear explosives; the arms embargo would continue, and there would be severe curbs on the terror that Iran ships to the rest of the world.
President Obama accomplished none of this, and gave Iran a bonus of $140 billion in return, a “signing bonus,” money held by the West that was to be returned when Iran renounced its wicked ways and proved that it could be trusted to keep its word.
Worse, the United States and the other nations party to the negotiations with Iran have agreed to a deadly race by Muslim nations throughout the Middle East for an Islamic bomb of their own. There’s no reason to expect that Iran won’t scrap the Obama-Kerry agreement to win that race.
The world has rarely seen the United States put itself in such an abject position of supplication to lesser men without the law. President Obama, through the machinations of Mr. Kerry, was never straight with the people he took an oath to protect and defend, putting out contradictory and inconsistent accounts and explanations of what was going on behind those closed doors. Exaggeration was followed by capitulation, transparent excuse by dishonesty and deceit. When the Iranian side disclosed what was really going on with the negotiations, and the United States offered a contradictory account, the Iranian version turned out to be the correct one. Rarely has an American government shown itself to be so deeply untrustworthy.
Congress is now hobbled, but not emasculated, unless it wants to be. Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Republicans in the U.S. Senate, sounded the call to arms, but with a toy trumpet, tooted without the defiant breath needed to rally the troops. He promised “a fair review,” but said “it appears we’ve lost the chance today to dismantle Iran’s nuclear program — and that will now become a challenge for the next president regardless of political party.” Perhaps Hillary? But even she was reluctant to say nice things about the deal Tuesday.
The many candidates to be that next president must take control of the congressional examination of the details of the deal, with no reluctance to hurt anybody’s feelings or worry about not being polite and nice. When the nation’s security is at stake, everything is at stake. No one outside the White House actually likes this deal, and the Democrats must for once rise above loyalty to party and prevent the catastrophe the deal promises.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose country has the most to lose and would lose it first, rightly calls the deal “a historic mistake for the world,” and said the United States and other world powers made concessions to get an agreement “at any price.” Iran, he said, “will receive hundreds of billions of dollars with which it can fuel its terror machine and its expansion and aggression throughout the Middle East and across the globe.
President Obama came to office determined to turn things around in the Middle East, and his recipe included making Iran a power in the region and the world, and persuading it to be a friendly ally of the United States. With this deal, he is well on the way to giving it the power to be a nuclear bully.
He may think that the mullahs in Tehran who share his affection for the evening call to Islamic prayer — “the sweetest sound on earth,” he calls it — will share his belief that their deal can assure peace in the region. Congress, like the rest of us, must regard the deal not as a sweet sound but as a fire bell in the night.