Friday, January 22, 2016
Krauthammer: The GOP gets the Iran prisoner swap wrong
Give President Obama credit. His Iran nuclear deal may be disastrous but the packaging was brilliant. The near-simultaneous prisoner exchange was meant to distract from last Saturday’s official implementation of the sanctions-lifting deal. And it did. The Republicans concentrated almost all their fire on the swap sideshow.
Republicans say: We shouldn’t negotiate with terror states. But we do and we should. How else do you get hostages back? And yes, of course negotiating encourages further hostage taking. But there is always something to be gained by kidnapping Americans. This swap does not affect that truth one way or the other.
Yes, and so what? That’s just another way of saying we have the rule of law, they don’t. It doesn’t mean we abandon our hostages. Natan Sharansky was a prisoner of conscience who spent eight years in the gulag on totally phony charges. He was exchanged for two real Soviet spies. Does anyone think we should have said no?
The real story of Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016 — “Implementation Day” of the Iran deal — was that it marked a historic inflection point in the geopolitics of the Middle East. In a stroke, Iran shed almost four decades of rogue-state status and was declared a citizen of good standing of the international community, open to trade, investment and diplomacy. This, without giving up, or even promising to change, its policy of subversion and aggression. This, without having forfeited its status as the world’s greatest purveyor of terrorism.
And we’re arguing over an asymmetric hostage swap.
Posted by Mladen Andrijasevic at 4:32 AM