A predominantly one-topic blog: how is it that the most imminent and lethal implication for humankind - the fact that the doctrine of "Mutually Assured Destruction" will not work with Iran - is not being discussed in our media? Until it is recognized that MAD is dead, the Iranian threat will be treated as a threat only to Israel and not as the global threat which it in fact is.
A blog by Mladen Andrijasevic
Monday, November 24, 2014
Iran Cheats, Obama Whitewashes
The administration thinks
a nuclear Iran is inevitable—but lacks the courage to say it
Does it matter what
sort of deal—or further extension, or non-deal—ultimately emerges from the
endless parleys over Iran’s nuclear program? Probably not. Iran came to the
table cheating on its nuclear commitments. It continued to cheat on them
throughout the interim agreement it agreed to last year. And it will cheat on
any undertakings it signs.
We knew this, know it
and will come to know it all over again. But what’s at stake in these
negotiations isn’t their outcome, assuming there ever is an outcome. It’s the
extent to which the outcome facilitates, or obstructs, our willingness to
continue to fool ourselves about the consequences of an Iran with a nuclear
confirmation of the obvious comes to us courtesy of a Nov. 17 report from David
Albright and his team at the scrupulously nonpartisan Institute for Science and
International Security. The ISIS study, based on findings from the
International Atomic Energy Agency, concluded that Iran was stonewalling U.N.
inspectors on the military dimensions of its program. It noted that Tehran had
tested a model for an advanced centrifuge, in violation of the 2013 interim
agreement. And it cited Iran for trying to conceal evidence of nuclear-weapons
development at a military facility called Parchin.
“By failing to address
the IAEA’s concerns, Iran is complicating, and even threatening, the
achievement of a long term nuclear deal,” the report notes dryly.
These are only Iran’s most recent evasions, piled atop two
decades of documented nuclear deception. Nothing new there. But what are we to
make of an American administration that is intent on providing cover for Iran’s
coverups? “The IAEA has verified that Iran has complied with its commitments,”
Wendy Sherman, the top U.S. nuclear negotiator, testified in July to the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee. “It has done what it promised to do.” John Kerry went one
better, telling reporters Monday that “Iran has lived up” to its commitments.
The statement is
false: Yukiya Amano, the director general of the IAEA, complained last week
that Iran had “not provided any explanations that enable the Agency to clarify
the outstanding practical measures” related to suspected work on weaponization.
Since when did trust but verify become whitewash and hornswoggle?
That’s a question someone ought to ask Mr. Kerry or Ms. Sherman
at their next committee appearance, especially since it has become clear that
the administration has a record of arms-control dissembling. To wit, the State
Department under Hillary Clinton
had reason to know that Russia—with which the U.S. was then in “reset” mode—was
violating the 1987 treaty on Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces. Yet it didn’t
disclose this in arms-control reports to Congress, nor did it mention the fact
prior to the Senate’s 2010 ratification of the New Start treaty on strategic
“We’re not going to
pass another treaty in the U.S. Senate if our colleagues [in the
administration] are sitting up there knowing somebody is cheating.” That was
then-Sen. John Kerry in November 2012, complaining about the coverup. The
administration only came clean about the Kremlin’s breaches last summer,
presumably after it had finally given up hopes for its Russian reset.
Why the spin and
dishonesty? Partly it’s the old Platonic conceit of the Noble Lie—public
bamboozlement in the service of the greater good—that propels so much
contemporary liberal policy-making (cf. Gruber, Jonathan: transparency, lack
of). So long as the higher goal is a health-care bill, or arms control with
Russia, or a nuclear deal with Iran, why should the low truth of facts and
figures interfere with the high truth of hopes and ideals?
But this lets the
administration off too easily. The real problem is cowardice. As a matter of
politics it cannot acknowledge what, privately, it believes: that a nuclear
Iran is undesirable but probably inevitable and hardly catastrophic. As a
matter of strategy, it refuses to commit to the only realistic course of action
that could accomplish the goal it professes to seek: The elimination of Iran’s
nuclear capabilities by a combination of genuinely crippling sanctions and
targeted military strikes.
And so—because the
administration lacks the political courage of its real convictions or the
martial courage of its fake ones—we are wedded to this sham process of
negotiation. “They pretend to pay us; we pretend to work,” went the old joke
about labor in the Soviet Union. Just so with these talks. Iranians pretend not
to cheat; we pretend not to notice. All that’s left to do is stand back and
wait for something to happen.
will happen. Perhaps Iran will simply walk away from the talks, daring this
feckless administration to act. Perhaps we will discover another undeclared
Iranian nuclear facility, possibly not in Iran itself. Perhaps the Israelis
really will act. Perhaps the Saudis will.
All of this may suit
the president’s psychological yearning to turn himself into a
bystander—innocent, in his own eyes—in the Iranian nuclear crisis. But it’s
also a useful reminder that, in the contest between hard-won experience and
disappointed idealism, the latter always wins in the liberal mind. *** Hello, Bibi and Bogie – it is time to act!