Opinion | Morgan Liddick: Reject a toothless deal with Iran’s murderous mullahs
On Your Right
The hour is late, if not too late. But, a concerted effort must immediately be made to let Congress know how we feel about the president’s nuclear deal with the murderous mullahs of Iran. The message is simple: No deal — for two reasons.
The first is that the agreement made by a deal-at-any-cost Secretary Kerry and a desperate-for-a-legacy president is far worse than it first seemed, even by the administration’s own benchmarks. On April 6 of this year, the president said that any deal with Iran must allow International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors “to go anywhere.” They can’t. According to both Iran’s President Ali Khamenei and the mass murderer who runs their nuclear program, military facilities are off limits.
The president and Secretary Kerry also promised “snap inspections” to ensure Iranian compliance — essential with a regime that has lied and cheated consistently in the past. That won’t happen either. The window for haggling over inspections of specific sites is up to 24 days. The president promised that “Iran would not have a veto” over inspections. They do, both for military sites and, de facto, any other site from which they want to withdraw material during the 24-day negotiation period.
Secretary Kerry said on multiple occasions that Iran would have to “come clean” about previous nuclear research, including providing access to scientists involved in these activities. They haven’t and, based on recent announcements from Tehran, won’t.
On April 6, President Obama promised a “snap back” of sanctions should Iran misbehave. But, by submitting the agreement directly to the United Nations, he has precipitously torn up a meticulous and effective sanctions regime constructed over more than a decade. There’s no putting this Humpty-Dumpty back together, and anyone who pretends otherwise is either a charlatan or a fool.
We agreed to give Iran almost $150 billion that they can use to buy weapons from Russia and China to use against our interests in the Middle East. A “snap-back” would cut into their profit, so we should expect no help from that quarter should the need arise. The sheer reality-denying lunacy of it would be hilarious were it not so deadly dangerous to the security of our country and our interests.
Perhaps the surreal quality of this agreement traces to the president’s cluelessness about Iran. Discussing the negotiations a few weeks ago, Obama made the offhand comment that the Iranians are “a tough read” in terms of their intentions. Really? Not grasping the intent of a regime whose leaders deny the Holocaust; back and arm Shi’ite militias who killed hundreds of US soldiers in Iraq, not to mention the Assad regime in Syria and both Hezbollah and Hamas; who promise the obliteration of Israel; and whose standard phrase of art is “death to America” requires a willful failure to understand that beggars the imagination? These are not European geopolitical strategists. They are single-minded authoritarian religious militants who intend to do exactly what they say. We ignore this at our peril.
And, please, no nonsense about “It’s this deal or war.” The antidote to a bad deal is a better deal – remember, strict sanctions and strong support for regional associates forced Iran to the table to begin with.
Strategic considerations aside, there is a second reason for rejection: to begin the process of restoring balance to the federal government. Since 2010 but particularly since 2014, the president has taken to ruling by fiat rather than forging agreements through compromise with a Congress dominated by his political foes, à la Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan. His “pen and phone” approach brought us many innovations of dubious legality and dangerous precedent: executive amnesty; prospective economy-crushing restrictions on fossil fuels; eliminating work requirements from welfare reform law; and many more. These are the tactics of one who wishes no compromise and no argument with his desires; a petulant child, not a serious leader who understands that he may not have all the good ideas in a room.
Now, this attitude threatens our security. President Obama recognizes no solutions but his own and brooks no compromise or opposition, so he makes common cause with Tehran, while accusing his foes of the same. He has marginalized Congress because he knew this proposal had no chance of approval in the normal course of “advise and consent”; he chose instead the path of one-man rule in frenzied search for a “legacy.” Considering the spinelessness of Congress in past confrontations with this president, he is very likely to get it.
It will further the irrelevance of the legislative branch and add enormously to the instability and uncertainty in the Middle East, where the president’s legacy will be written in blood and slaughter.
Unless we act. So, write everyone. Call everyone. Email. Twitter. Instagram. Everyone. It’s late, but not too late.
Morgan Liddick writes a weekly column for the Summit Daily.
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