Saturday, September 30, 2017

A Legacy of Spies - Has John le Carré read Douglas Murray’s The Strange Death of Europe?

on September 30, 2017
I loved the book. We are 57 years back in time. The names are familiar: Control, Jim Prideaux , 
Millie McCraig, Connie Sachs, George Smiley, Peter Guillam, Bland, Alleline, Esterhase, Haydon…

But Europe has changed.

George Smiley: “If I had an unattainable ideal, it was of leading Europe out of her darkness towards a new age of reason. I have it still”. I would love to hear what George would have  said had he read Douglas Murray’s The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam

Thursday, September 21, 2017

I just cancelled my subscription to the Washington Post

Thank you for contacting The Washington Post. Your subscription has been set to cancel on the next bill date, which is 

Why did I cancel my subscription? Because the Washington Post is again censoring my comments. Last time ( Aug 27) I caught them red handed posting my comments so that turned out to be visible only to me and no one else.  I gave them one more chance. They blew it.  ( I am still subscribed to the Wall Street Journal ) 

From the correspondence of Aug 27:

My comments are visible when I am logged  in   

They are  NOT visible if I am not logged  in, i.emy comments are not visible to anybody else . I browsed the comments to the same article  from my son's laptop without logging in and I could not find my comments .  As you can see,  between Richard S Zoppo's comment at 8:45 and Lacey Sheridan's comment at 8:15 pm should be my comments posted at 8:22 pm  and 8:26 pm. They are not there!! 

So is this a deliberate attempt to make me think that my comments are posted?   I demand an explanation. If I do not get one I will cancel my subscription to the Washington Post 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Netanyahu paraphrases Churchill - An Iranian curtain is descending across the Middle East, a curtain of tyranny and terror

The full transcript of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to the UN General Assembly:

Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, we're in the midst of a great revolution. A revolution in Israel's standing among the nations. This is happening because so many countries around the world have finally woken up to what Israel can do for them. Those countries now recognize what brilliant investors, like Warren Buffet, and great companies, like Google and Intel, what they've recognized and known for years: that Israel is THE innovation nation. THE place for cutting-edge technology and agriculture, in water, in cybersecurity, in medicine, in autonomous vehicles. You name it, we've got it.

Those countries now also recognize Israel's exceptional capabilities in fighting terrorism. In recent years, Israel has provided intelligence that has prevented dozens of major terrorist attacks around the world. We have saved countless lives. Now, you may not know this, but your governments do, and they're working closely together with Israel to keep your countries safe and your citizens safe. I stood here last year on this podium, and I spoke about this profound change in Israel's standing around the world. And just look at what has happened since, in one year.

Hundreds of presidents, prime ministers, foreign ministers and other leaders have visited Israel, many for the first time. Of these many visits, two were truly historic. In May, President Trump became the first American president to include Israel in his first visit abroad. President Trump stood at the Western Wall, at the foot of the Temple Mount, where the Jewish people - or rather the Jewish people's temples stood for nearly 1,000 years, and when the president touched those ancient stones, he touched our hearts forever.

In July, Prime Minister Modi became the first Indian prime minister to visit Israel. You may have seen ten pictures. We were on a beach in Hadera, we rode together in a Jeep outfitted with a portable desalination device that some thriving Israeli entrepreneur invented. We took off our shoes, waded into the Mediterranean, and drank seawater that had been purified only a few minutes earlier. We imagined the endless possibilities for India, for Israel, for all of humanity.

In the past year, Israel has hosted so many world leaders, and I had the honor of representing my country on six different continents. One year, six continents. I went to Africa, where I saw Israeli innovators increasing crop yields, turning air into water, fighting AIDS. I went to Asia, where we deepened our relations with China and with Singapore and expanded our cooperation with our Muslim friends in Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. I went to Europe, where in London and Paris, Saloniki and Budapest, we enhanced our security and economic ties. I went to Australia, becoming the first Israeli prime minister to visit our great allies down under, and just last week, I went to South America, visiting Argentina and Colombia, and then I went on to Mexico, becoming, if you can believe it, the first Israeli prime minister ever to visit Latin America.

After 70 years, the world is embracing Israel, and Israel is embracing the world.


One year, six continents. Now, it's true: I haven't yet visited Antarctica, but one day, I hope to go there. I want to go there, too, because I heard that penguins are also enthusiastic supporters of Israel. Now, you laugh, but penguins have no difficulty recognizing that some things are black and white, are right and wrong, and unfortunately, when it comes to UN decisions about Israel, that simple recognition is too often absent.

It was absent last December when the Security Council passed an anti-Israel resolution that set back the cause of peace. It was absent last May when the World Health Organization adopted - you have to listen to this - the World Health Organization adopted a Syrian-sponsored resolution that criticized Israel for health conditions on the Golan Heights. As the great John McEnroe would say, you cannot be serious. I mean, this is preposterous. Syria has barrel-bombed, starved, gassed and murdered hundreds of thousands of its own citizens and wounded millions more, while Israel has provided life-saving medical care to thousands of Syrian victims of that very same carnage. Yet who does the World Health Organization? Israel.

So is there no limit to the UN's absurdities when it comes to Israel? Well, apparently not. Because in July, UNESCO declared the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron a Palestinian World Heritage Site. That's worse than fake news; that's fake history. Mind you, it's true that Abraham, the father of both Ishmael and Isaac, is buried there, but so, too, are Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca - Sarah's a Jewish name, by the way - Sarah, Rebecca and Leah, who just happened to be patriarchs and matriarchs of the Jewish people. Well, you won't read about that in the latest UNESCO report, but if you want to, you can read about it in a somewhat weightier publication. It's called "the Bible." I highly recommend it. I hear it even got four and a half out of five stars on Amazon. And it's a great read. I read it every week.

Ladies and gentlemen, a moment to be serious. Despite the absurdities, despite the repetition of these farcical events, there is change, slowly but surely. There are signs of positive change, even at the United Nations.

Mr. Secretary-General, I very much appreciate your statement that denying Israel's right to exist is anti-Semitism, pure and simple. Now that's important because for too long, the epicenter of global anti-Semitism has been right here at the UN, and while it may take many years, I'm absolutely confident that the revolution in Israel's ties with individual nations will ultimately be reflected here in this hall of nations.

I say that because there's also a marked change in the positions of some of our key friends. Thanks to President Trump's unequivocal support for Israel in this body, that positive change is gathering force. So thank you, President Trump. Thank you for supporting Israel at the UN, and thank you for your support, Ambassador Nikki Haley. Thank you for speaking the truth about Israel.


But ladies and gentlemen, here at the UN, we must also speak the truth about Iran, as President Trump did so powerfully this morning. Now, as you know, I've been ambassador to the UN, and I'm a long-serving Israeli prime minister, so I've listened to countless speeches in this hall, but I can say this: None were bolder, none were more courageous and forthright than the one delivered by President Trump today. President Trump rightly called the nuclear deal with Iran - he called it "an embarrassment." Well, I couldn't agree with him more. And here's why: Iran vows to destroy my country. Every day, including by its chief of staff the other day.

Iran is conducting a campaign of conquest across the Middle East, and Iran is developing ballistic missiles to threaten the entire world.

Two years ago, I stood here and explained why the Iranian nuclear deal not only doesn't block Iran's path to the bomb, but actually paves it. Because the restrictions placed on Iran's nuclear program have what's called "a sunset clause." Now let me explain what that term means. It means that in a few years, those restrictions will be automatically removed, not by a change in Iran's behavior, not by a lessening of its terror or its aggression: they'll just be removed by a mere change in the calendar. And I warned that when that sunset comes, a dark shadow will be cast over the entire Middle East and the world because Iran will then be free to enrich uranium on an industrial scale, placing it on the threshold of a massive arsenal of nuclear weapons.

That's why I said two years ago that the greater danger is not that Iran will rush to a single bomb by breaking the deal, but that Iran will be able to build many bombs by keeping the deal.

Now, in the last few months, we've all seen how dangerous even a few nuclear weapons can be in the hands of a small rogue regime. Now imagine the danger of hundreds of nuclear weapons in the hands of a vast Iranian-Islamist empire with the missiles to deliver them anywhere on earth. I know there are those who still defend the dangerous deal with Iran, arguing that it will block Iran's path to the bomb. Ladies and gentlemen, that's exactly what they said about the nuclear deal with North Korea, and we all know how that turned out.

Unfortunately, if nothing changes, this deal will turn out exactly the same way. That's why Israel's policy regarding the nuclear deal with Iran is very simple: Change it or cancel it. Fix it or nix it. Nixing the deal means restoring massive pressure on Iran, including crippling sanctions until Iran fully dismantles its nuclear weapons capability. Fixing the deal requires many things, among them inspecting military and any other site that is a suspect, and penalizing Iran for every violation. But above all, fixing the deal means getting rid of the sunset clause. And beyond fixing this bad deal, we must also stop Iran's development of ballistic missiles and roll back its growing aggression in the region.

I remember when we had these debates. As you know, I took a fairly active role in them - and many supporters of the deal naively believed that it would somehow moderate Iran. It would make it a responsible member, so they said, of the international community. Well, you know, I strongly disagreed. I warned that when the sanctions on Iran would be removed, Iran would behave like a hungry tiger unleashed, not joining the community of nations, but devouring nations one after the other. And that's precisely what Iran is doing today.

From the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean, from Tehran to Tartus, an Iranian curtain is descending across the Middle East. Iran spreads this curtain of tyranny and terror over Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere, and it pledges to extinguish the light of Israel. Today, I have a simple message to Ayatollah Khamenei, the dictator of Iran: The light of Israel will never be extinguished.


נצח ישראל לא ישקר.


Those who threaten us with annihilation put themselves in mortal peril. Israel will defend itself with the full force of our arms and the full power of our convictions. We will act to prevent Iran from establishing permanent military bases in Syria for its air, sea and ground forces. We will act to prevent Iran from producing deadly weapons in Syria or in Lebanon for use against us. And we will act to prevent Iran from opening new terror fronts against Israel along our northern border. As long as Iran's regime seeks the destruction of Israel, Iran will face no fiercer enemy than Israel.

But I also have a message today for the people of Iran: You are not our enemy. You are our friends. (Farsi: Shoma duste ma hesteed.) One day, my Iranian friends, you will be free from the evil regime that terrorizes you, hangs gays, jails journalists, tortures political prisoners and shoots innocent women like Neda Soltan, leaving her choking on her own blood on the streets of Tehran. I have not forgotten Neda. I'm sure you haven't, too. And so, the people of Iran, when your day of liberation finally comes, the friendship between our two ancient peoples will surely flourish once again.

Ladies and gentlemen, Israel knows that in confronting the Iranian regime, we are not alone. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with those in the Arab world who share our hopes for a brighter future. We've made peace with Jordan and Egypt, whose courageous president, Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi I met here last night. I appreciate President al-Sissi's support for peace, and I hope to work closely with him and other leaders in the region to advance peace.

Israel is committed to achieving peace with all our Arab neighbors, including the Palestinians. Yesterday, President Trump and I discussed this, all of this, at great length. I appreciate President Trump's leadership, his commitment to stand by Israel's side, his commitment to advance a peaceful future for all. Together, we can seize the opportunities for peace, and together we can confront the great dangers of Iran.

The remarkable alliance between the United States and Israel has never been stronger, never been deeper. And Israel is deeply grateful for the support of the Trump administration, the American Congress and the American people.

Ladies and gentlemen, in this year of historic visits and historic anniversaries, Israel has so much to be grateful for. One hundred and twenty years ago, Theodore Herzl convened the First Zionist Congress to transform our tragic past into a brilliant future by establishing the Jewish state. One hundred years ago, the Balfour Declaration advanced Herzl's vision by recognizing the right of the Jewish people to a national home in our ancestral homeland. Seventy years ago, the United Nations further advanced that vision by adopting a resolution supporting the establishment of a Jewish state. And 50 years ago, we reunited our eternal capital, Jerusalem, achieving a miraculous victory against those who sought to destroy our state.

Theodore Herzl was our modern Moses, and his dream has come true. We've returned to the Promised Land, revived our language, ingathered our exiles, and built a modern, thriving democracy. Tomorrow evening, Jews around the world will celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of our new year. It's a time of reflection, and we look back with wonder at the remarkable, the miraculous rebirth of our nation, and we look ahead with pride to the remarkable contributions Israel will continue to make to all nations.

You look around you, and you will see these contributions every day. In the food you eat, the water you drink, the medicines you take, the cars you drive, the cell phones you use, and in so many other ways that are transforming our world. You see it in the smile of an African mother in a remote village who, thanks to an Israeli innovation, no longer must walk eight hours a day to bring water to her children. You see it in the eyes of an Arab child who was flown to Israel to undergo a life-saving heart operation. And you see it in the faces of the people in earthquake-stricken Haiti and Nepal who were rescued from the rubble and given new life by Israeli doctors. As the prophet Isaiah said, (says in Hebrew first) "I've made you alight onto the nations, bringing salvation to the ends of the earth."

Today, 27 hundred years after Isaiah spoke those prophetic words, Israel is becoming a rising power among the nations, and at long last, its light is shining across the continents, bringing hope and salvation to the ends of the earth.

Happy new year. Shanah tovah from Israel. Thank you.


Winston Churchill’s presented his Sinews of Peace, (the Iron Curtain Speech),at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri on March 5, 1946:

“From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the Continent.”


President Trump on Iran at the UN General Assembly

We face this decision not only in North Korea. It is far past time for the nations of the world to confront another reckless regime, one that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing death to America, destruction to Israel and ruin for many leaders and nations in this room.

The Iranian government masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy. It has turned a wealthy country with a rich history and culture into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed and chaos.

The longest suffering victims of Iran's leaders are, in fact, its own people. Rather than use its resources to improve Iranian lives, its oil profits go to fund Hezbollah and other terrorists that kill innocent Muslims and attack their peaceful Arab and Israeli neighbors.

This wealth, which rightly belongs to Iran's people, also goes to shore up Bashar al-Assad's dictatorship, fuel Yemen's civil war and undermine peace throughout the entire Middle East.

We cannot let a murderous regime continue these destabilizing activities while building dangerous missiles. And we cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program.

The Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into. Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don't think you've heard the last of it, believe me.

It is time for the entire world to join us in demanding that Iran's government end its pursuit of death and destruction. It is time for the regime to free all Americans and citizens of other nations that they have unjustly detained. And above all, Iran's government must stop supporting terrorists, begin serving its own people and respect the sovereign rights of its neighbors.

The entire world understands that the good people of Iran want change and, other than the vast military power of the United States, that Iran's people are what their leaders fear the most.

This is what causes the regime to restrict internet access, tear down satellite dishes, shoot unarmed student protesters and imprison political reformists.

Oppressive regimes cannot endure forever, and the day will come when the people will face a choice: Will they continue down the path of poverty, bloodshed and terror, or will the Iranian people return to the nation's proud roots as a center of civilization, culture and wealth, where their people can be happy and prosperous once again?

The Iranian regime's support for terror is in stark contrast to the recent commitments of many of its neighbors to fight terrorism and halt its finance.

In Saudi Arabia early last year, I was greatly honored to address the leaders of more than 50 Arab and Muslim nations. We agreed that all responsible nations must work together to confront terrorists and the Islamic extremism that inspires them.


Remarks on “Beyond the Echo Chamber: Considerations on U.S. Policy Toward Iran” at the American Enterprise Institute

Monday, September 18, 2017

Douglas Murray: Europe’s got it way worse than Trump’s America

If you think America feels slightly unstable at present, relax. At least you’re not European.

Currently, Britain is still going through the fallout from last year’s Brexit vote. A year after that shock result, Prime Minister Theresa May put herself before the public to strengthen her hand in negotiations with Brussels. In their wisdom, the British public responded by clobbering May in a general election that stripped her party of its majority in Parliament.

Meanwhile, France has just seen the first presidential election in which neither of the two main parties even made it through to the final round. Instead, the country chose young leader Emmanuel Macron, who had to form his party after being elected. All this is against the usual backdrop of a eurozone staggering from crisis to crisis and a political elite that celebrates when the far-right Austrian Freedom Party “only” receives 46 percent of the votes for the presidency.

In the midst of all this chaos, one country and one woman appear to be standing strong: Germany and its chancellor, Angela Merkel.

On Sept. 24, the Germans will go to the polls. These are the first federal elections since 2013, and quite a lot has happened since then.

The minds of German voters will be on many things. They will be thinking about how to stabilize the eurozone, the 19 EU countries that have adopted the euro as their common currency. They will also be wondering how to stop other countries from following Britain in exiting the European Union. During that process, Berlin (along with Paris) will have to pull off the double trick of persuading people that the building is not on fire and reassuring them that the fire doors are in any case jammed. But one more thing also hovers over these elections.

It is now seven years since Chancellor Merkel told her country in a speech in Potsdam that “multiculturalism has utterly failed.” It had been a mistake, she admitted, to think that the guest workers invited into the country since WWII would leave. They did not leave. They stayed. Since then, thanks to growing immigration from the developing world, parallel societies have formed in Germany. All of which was a damning, unprecedented admission by the chancellor. But then in 2015 she did something even more unprecedented and with far more damning consequences. Having admitted that mass immigration into her country had been a disaster when it had been at a relative low point, she opened up her country’s borders to bring in a historically unprecedented number of migrants.

During 2015 up to 1.5 million economic migrants and asylum seekers from Africa, the Middle East and Far East entered Germany, adding an extra 2 percent to the country’s population in just one year. Merkel’s actions spurred a crisis across the entire continent. In the days and months following her unilateral decision, she and her colleagues attempted to bully other European leaders to take on a share of the problem she had presented them with. Some supported her. Others bailed.

As I argue in my latest book “The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam,” there are specific local and historical reasons why the German chancellor did what she did in August 2015. But she also exacerbated an immigration challenge which threatens the whole future of our continent. Any culture would find it hard to accommodate the rapid movement of so many people. But for it to happen at the same time that the European continent is suffering from such a weight of historical guilt, fatigue and lack of self-belief makes it all but impossible.

The situation Merkel identified as a failure in 2010 was turned into a disaster by that same leader during her subsequent term in office.

Naturally, like other leaders across Europe, the German government occasionally recognizes it must do something about this. Its main answer is to occasionally talk tough about the problem. Like the politicians of Sweden and other countries, it even occasionally suggests that it will start deporting the hundreds of thousands of illegitimate asylum seekers who (by the EU’s own figures) should never have entered Europe in 2015. But the words “horse,” “gate,” “shut” and “bolted” are on everybody’s minds, even when not on their lips.

In regional elections last September, Merkel’s party was severely punished by the electorate who elected the anti-immigration Alternative for Deutschland party to the country’s regional assemblies. Moreover, the AfD was just three years old when it beat Merkel’s own party into third place in her own constituency. The chancellor subsequently gave what was reported as an “apology,” saying that Germany should have been better prepared for the 2015 crisis. In reality, this was no apology at all.

With the rise of politicians like Geert Wilders in Holland and Marine le Pen in France, there were those who predicted a drubbing for Merkel this year. But both Wilders and Le Pen under-performed in their national polls earlier this year. The AfD is also struggling to break through, and it appears that the German people already expressed their anger last year. This year they look set to maintain the status quo. A recent poll showed most Germans (63 percent) now to be satisfied with the job the Chancellor is doing.

It was Hilaire Belloc who famously gave the advice: “Always keep ahold of nurse/For fear of finding something worse.” The German people — surveying the continent around them — are most likely to hold on. The realization that nurse is part of the problem may have to wait for another day.

Douglas Murray is the author of “The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam” (Bloomsbury), out now.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Parsons Green bombing suspects were refugees

A quote from The Telegraph article:

“As an unaccompanied child he was allowed entry to the UK and after being processed through a migrant centre in Kent, was found a home with a foster family in Sunbury on Thames.

However detectives will be now seeking to establish if those responsible for the failed attack had traveled to Britain as genuine refugees, or if they were actually members of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) who had been sent to specifically carry out an attack.

But how is this possible? This must be going through the heads of many Europeans. Even if they had a criminal record in the country of origin what is it that makes them suppress their compassion for fellow human beings and plan such an atrocity?

Well, Europeans are well aware what political ideologies of the twentieth century had made their supporters do. But they seem not quite aware what the ideology of the twenty-first century is capable of. 

Here is a short film 'The Last Day of Silence' about the planned march in London on September 23rd which explains the ideological drive behind the attacks. 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Has Israel got its priorities right?

Letters to the Editor, Jerusalem Post, September 11, 2017

With regard to “A-G tells Sara of intent to indict” (September 8), the recently investigated affairs were the Prepared Food Affair, the Waiters Affair, the Electrician Affair and the Father’s Homecare Affair. Apparently, Sara Netanyahu will likely be indicted only in the Prime Minister’s Residence Affair.

This comes at a time when US Defense Secretary James Mattis says that the Americans “are not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea, but as I said, we have many options to do so.” Has Israel got its priorities right? 


Krauthammer: Hyperproliferation: Can We Survive It?

I have been reading Charles Krauthammer’s Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics when I came to this article published in Time in 2006. Could not be more relevant today.

Time | Thursday, March 30, 2006

Like many physicists who worked on the Manhattan Project, Richard Feynman could not get the Bomb out of his mind after the war. "I would see people building a bridge," he wrote. "And I thought, they're crazy, they just don't understand, they don't understand. Why are they making new things? It's so useless."

Feynman was convinced man had finally invented something that he could not control and that would ultimately destroy him. For six decades we have suppressed that thought and built enough history to believe Feynman's pessimism was unwarranted. After all, soon afterward, the most aggressive world power, Stalin's Soviet Union, acquired the Bomb, yet never used it. Seven more countries have acquired it since and never used it either. Even North Korea, which huffs and puffs and threatens every once in a while, dares not use it. Even Kim Jong Il is not suicidal.

But that's the point. We're now at the dawn of an era in which an extreme and fanatical religious ideology, undeterred by the usual calculations of prudence and self-preservation, is wielding state power and will soon be wielding nuclear power.

We have difficulty understanding the mentality of Iran's newest rulers. Then again, we don't understand the mentality of the men who flew into the World Trade Center or the mobs in Damascus and Tehran who chant "Death to America"--and Denmark(!)--and embrace the glory and romance of martyrdom.

This atavistic love of blood and death and, indeed, self-immolation in the name of God may not be new--medieval Europe had an abundance of millennial Christian sects--but until now it has never had the means to carry out its apocalyptic ends.

That is why Iran's arriving at the threshold of nuclear weaponry is such a signal historical moment. It is not just that its President says crazy things about the Holocaust. It is that he is a fervent believer in the imminent reappearance of the 12th Imam, Shi'ism's version of the Messiah. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been reported as saying in official meetings that the end of history is only two or three years away. He reportedly told an associate that on the podium of the General Assembly last September, he felt a halo around him and for "those 27 or 28 minutes, the leaders of the world did not blink ... as if a hand was holding them there and it opened their eyes to receive" his message. He believes that the Islamic revolution's raison d'être is to prepare the way for the messianic redemption, which in his eschatology is preceded by worldwide upheaval and chaos. How better to light the fuse for eternal bliss than with a nuclear flame?

Depending on your own beliefs, Ahmadinejad is either mystical or deranged. In either case, he is exceedingly dangerous. And Iran is just the first. With infinitely accelerated exchanges of information helping develop whole new generations of scientists, extremist countries led by similarly extreme men will be in a position to acquire nuclear weaponry. If nothing is done, we face not proliferation but hyperproliferation. Not just one but many radical states will get weapons of mass extinction, and then so will the fanatical and suicidal terrorists who are their brothers and clients.

That will present the world with two futures. The first is Feynman's vision of human destruction on a scale never seen. The second, perhaps after one or two cities are lost with millions killed in a single day, is a radical abolition of liberal democracy as the species tries to maintain itself by reverting to strict authoritarianism--a self-imposed expulsion from the Eden of post-Enlightenment freedom.

Can there be a third future? That will depend on whether we succeed in holding proliferation at bay. Iran is the test case. It is the most dangerous political entity on the planet, and yet the world response has been catastrophically slow and reluctant. Years of knowingly useless negotiations, followed by hesitant international resolutions, have brought us to only the most tentative of steps--referral to a Security Council that lacks unity and resolve. Iran knows this and therefore defiantly and openly resumes its headlong march to nuclear status. If we fail to prevent an Iranian regime run by apocalyptic fanatics from going nuclear, we will have reached a point of no return. It is not just that Iran might be the source of a great conflagration but that we will have demonstrated to the world that for those similarly inclined there is no serious impediment.

Our planet is 4,500,000,000 years old, and we've had nukes for exactly 61. No one knows the precise prospects for human extinction, but Feynman was a mathematical genius who knew how to calculate odds. If he were to watch us today about to let loose the agents of extinction, he'd call a halt to all bridge building


Friday, September 8, 2017

Remarks on “Beyond the Echo Chamber: Considerations on U.S. Policy Toward Iran” at the American Enterprise Institute

Ambassador Nikki Haley
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
September 5, 2017

Thank you very much. It’s great to see so many people in the room, and thank you for hosting me today. Arthur Brooks is one of the coolest people I know. The Conservative Heart was brilliantly written and impacted me greatly, so I value his friendship and the contributions AEI continues to make.
I’m here today to speak about Iran and the 2015 nuclear agreement. This is a topic that should concern all Americans, as it has a serious impact on our national security and the security of the world. It’s a topic that comes up frequently at the United Nations. And it’s a topic we’ve been looking at carefully, including recently visiting with the Iran nuclear monitors at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. We were impressed by the IAEA team and its efforts.
Director General Amano is a very capable diplomat, and he’s a serious person who clearly understands the critical nature of his task. In our discussion, Amano made an observation that stood out to me. He said that monitoring Iranian compliance with the nuclear deal is like a jigsaw puzzle. Picking up just one piece doesn’t give you the full picture. That’s a very appropriate metaphor, and it goes well beyond the work of the IAEA. It goes to the entire way we must look at Iranian behavior and American security interests. Many observers miss that point. They think, “Well, as long as Iran is meeting the limits on enriched uranium and centrifuges, then it’s complying with the deal.” That’s not true. This is a jigsaw puzzle.
Next month, President Trump will once again be called upon to declare whether he finds Iran in compliance with the terms of the deal. It should be noted that this requirement to assess compliance does not come from the deal itself. It was created by Congress in the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, also known as the Corker-Cardin law. That’s a very important distinction to keep in mind, because many people confuse the requirements of the deal with the requirements of U.S. law. I’m not going to prejudge in any way what the president is going to decide next month. While I have discussed it with him, I do not know what decision he will make. It is his decision to make and his alone.
It’s a complicated question. The truth is, the Iran deal has so many flaws that it’s tempting to leave it. But the deal was constructed in a way that makes leaving it less attractive. It gave Iran what it wanted up-front, in exchange for temporary promises to deliver what we want. That’s not good.
Iran was feeling the pinch of international sanctions in a big way. In the two years before the deal was signed, Iran’s GDP actually shrunk by more than four percent. In the two years since the deal and the lifting of sanctions, Iran’s GDP has grown by nearly five percent. That’s a great deal for them. What we get from the deal is not so clear.
I’m here to outline some of the critical considerations that must go into any analysis of Iranian compliance, and I hope to debunk some of the misperceptions about the decision the president will face next month.
The question of Iranian compliance is not as straight forward as many people believe. It’s not just about the technical terms of the nuclear agreement. It requires a much more thorough look. Iranian compliance involves three different pillars. The first is the nuclear agreement itself, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA. The second pillar is UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorsed the nuclear deal, but also restricted numerous other Iranian behaviors. And the third pillar is the Corker-Cardin law, which governs the president’s relationship with Congress as it relates to Iran policy.
Before diving into these details, it’s important to lay a foundation for exactly what we’re dealing with when we talk about the Iranian regime. Judging any international agreement begins and ends with the nature of the government that signed it. Does it respect international law? Can it be trusted to abide by its commitments? Is the agreement strong enough to withstand the regime’s attempt to cheat? Given those answers, is the agreement in the national interest of the United States?
The Islamic Republic of Iran was born in an act of international lawbreaking. On November 4, 1979, a group of Islamic revolutionary students overran the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. In violation of international law, they held 52 American Marines and diplomats hostage for 444 days. For the 38 years since, the Iranian regime has existed outside the community of law-abiding nations. Henry Kissinger famously said that Iran can’t decide whether it is a nation or a cause. Since 1979, the regime has behaved like a cause – the cause of spreading revolutionary Shiite Islam by force. Its main enemy and rallying point has been, and continues to be, what it calls the “Great Satan” – the United States of America. And the regime’s main weapon in pursuit of its revolutionary aims has been the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC.
Soon after the revolution, the IRGC was created to protect the revolution from its foreign and domestic enemies. The IRGC reported not to elected government, but to the Supreme Leader alone. Soon after its own creation, the IRGC founded Hezbollah to spread Iran’s influence and its revolution abroad. Then came the bombing of the U.S. embassy in Beirut in 1983 – 63 Americans killed. Then came the bombing of the Marine barracks – 241 Americans killed. Then the kidnapping and murder of CIA station chief William Buckley. In 1985, a TWA airplane was hijacked. The body of a U.S. Navy diver was dumped on the runway at the Beirut airport. In 1988, U.S. Marine Colonel Robert Higgins, a UN peacekeeper in South Lebanon, was kidnapped and executed. Under the IRGC’s direction, Hezbollah then expanded its lethal reach to Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas in search of victims to kill. In 1994, a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires was bombed – 85 killed. In 1996, a truck bomb blew up Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia – 19 U.S. airmen killed.
Throughout the Iraq war, the number one killer of U.S. troops was improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, the deadliest of which were supplied by the IRGC. Thousands of American men and women were wounded or killed. In 2005, Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was assassinated. In 2011, the U.S. disrupted an IRGC plot to bomb an American restaurant less than two miles from here. The target was the Saudi Ambassador.
Today, Hezbollah is doing the Iranian regime’s dirty work supporting the war crimes of Syria’s Assad. And it is building an arsenal of weapons and battle-hardened fighters in Lebanon in preparation for war. This is the nature of the regime and its quest to overturn the international order. Its power and influence has grown over time, even as it remains unaccountable to the Iranian people. It’s hard to find a conflict or a suffering people in the Middle East that the Iranian regime, the IRGC, or the proxies do not touch.
In parallel with its support for terrorism and proxy wars, Iran’s military has long pursued nuclear weapons, all while attempting to hide its intentions. For decades, the Iranian military conducted a covert nuclear weapons program, undeclared and hidden from international inspectors. In 2002, Iranian dissidents revealed the existence of a uranium enrichment plant and heavy water reactor – both violations of Iran’s safeguards agreement with the IAEA. The regime went on to break multiple promises to abide by international inspections and limits. It hid its nuclear weapons development and lied about it until it got caught.
In 2009, American, British, and French intelligence revealed the existence of a secret uranium enrichment plant deep inside a mountain, deep inside an IRGC base. The British Prime Minister summed up Iran’s behavior well, calling it, “the serial deception of many years.”
It was soon after this that President Obama began negotiating a deal with Iran. The deal he struck wasn’t supposed to be just about nuclear weapons. It was meant to be an opening with Iran, a welcoming back into the community of nations. President Obama believed that after decades of hostility to the U.S., the Iranian regime was willing to negotiate an end to its nuclear program.
Much has been written about the JCPOA. I won’t repeat it all here. Let’s just say that the agreement falls short of what was promised. We were promised an “end” to the Iranian nuclear program. What emerged was not an end, but a pause. Under the deal, Iran will continue to enrich uranium and develop advanced centrifuges. We were promised “anytime, anywhere” inspections of sites in Iran. The final agreement delivered much less. The promised 24/7 inspections apply only to Iran’s “declared” nuclear sites. For any undeclared but suspected sites, the regime can deny access for up to 24 days.
Then there’s the deal’s expiration dates. After 10 years, the limits on uranium, advanced centrifuges, and other nuclear restrictions begin to evaporate. And in less than 10 years, they have the opportunity to upgrade their capabilities in various ways. The JCPOA is, therefore, a very flawed and limited agreement. But even so, Iran has been caught in multiple violations over the past year and a half.
In February 2016 – just a month after the agreement was implemented – the IAEA discovered Iran had exceeded its allowable limit of heavy water. Nine months later, Iran exceeded the heavy water limit again. Both times, the Obama Administration helped Iran get back into compliance and refused to declare it a violation. If that’s not enough, the biggest concern is that Iranian leaders – the same ones who in the past were caught operating a covert nuclear program at military sites – have stated publicly that they will refuse to allow IAEA inspections of their military sites. How can we know Iran is complying with the deal if inspectors are not allowed to look everywhere they should look?
Another major flaw in the JCPOA is its penalty provisions. Whether an Iranian violation is big or small – whether it is deemed material or non-material – the deal provides for only one penalty. That penalty is the re-imposition of sanctions. And if sanctions are re-imposed, Iran is then freed from all its commitments that it made. Think about that. There is an absurdly circular logic to enforcement of this deal. Penalizing its violations don’t make the deal stronger, they blow it up. Iran’s leaders know this. They are counting on the world brushing off relatively minor infractions – or even relatively major ones. They are counting on the United States and the other parties to the agreement being so invested in its success that they overlook Iranian cheating. That is exactly what our previous administration did.
It is this unwillingness to challenge Iranian behavior for fear of damaging the nuclear agreement that gets to the heart of the threat the deal poses to our national security. The Iranian nuclear deal was designed to be too big to fail. The deal drew an artificial line between the Iranian regime’s nuclear development and the rest of its lawless behavior. It said “we’ve made this deal on the nuclear side, so none of the regime’s other bad behavior is important enough to threaten the nuclear agreement.” The result is that for advocates of the deal, everything in our relationship with the Iranian regime must now be subordinated to the preservation of the agreement.
The Iranians understand this dynamic. Just last month, when the United States imposed new sanctions in response to Iranian missile launches, Iran’s leaders threatened once again to leave the JCPOA and return to a nuclear program more advanced than the one they had before the agreement. This arrogant threat tells us one thing: Iran’s leaders want to use the nuclear deal to hold the world hostage to its bad behavior. This threat is a perfect example of how judging the regime’s nuclear plans strictly in terms of compliance with the JCPOA is dangerous and short-sighted. More importantly, it misses the point.
Why did we need to prevent the Iranian regime from acquiring nuclear weapons in the first place? The answer has everything to do with the nature of the regime and the IRGC’s determination to threaten Iran’s neighbors and advance its revolution. And that is where the other two pillars that connect us to the nuclear deal come into play. The second pillar directly involves the United Nations. When the nuclear agreement was signed, the Obama Administration took Iran’s non-nuclear activity – the missile development, the arms smuggling, the terrorism, the support for murderous regimes – and rolled it up into UN Security Council Resolution 2231.
Critically, included in this supposed “non-nuclear” activity is the IRGC’s ongoing development of ballistic missile technology. You can call it “non-nuclear” all you want – missile technology cannot be separated from pursuit of a nuclear weapon. North Korea is showing the world that right now. Every six months, the UN Secretary-General reports to the Security Council on the Iranian regime’s compliance with this so-called “non-nuclear” resolution. Each report is filled with devastating evidence of Iranian violations. Proven arms smuggling. Violations of travel bans. Ongoing support for terrorism. Stoking of regional conflicts. The Secretary-General’s report also includes ample evidence of ballistic missile technology and launches. The regime has engaged in such launches repeatedly, including in July of this year when it launched a rocket into space that intelligence experts say can be used to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile. They are clearly acting in defiance of UN Resolution 2231 by developing missile technology capable of deploying nuclear warheads. Unfortunately, as happens all too often at the UN, many Member States choose to ignore blatant violations of the UN’s own resolutions.
In this way, we see how dangerously these two pillars of Iran policy work together. The international community has powerful incentives to go out of its way to assert that the Iranian regime is in “compliance” on the nuclear side. Meanwhile, the UN is too reluctant to address the regime’s so-called non-nuclear violations. The result is that Iran’s military continues its march toward the missile technology to deliver a nuclear warhead. And the world becomes a more dangerous place.
That’s where the third pillar of our Iran nuclear policy comes in: the Corker-Cardin law. As you recall, President Obama refused to submit the Iran deal to Congress as a treaty. He knew full well that Congress would have rejected it. In fact, majorities in both houses of Congress voted against the deal. Among the “no” votes were leading Democrats like Senators Chuck Schumer, Ben Cardin, and Bob Menendez.
Despite President Obama’s constitutionally questionable dodge of Congress, the legislative body did attempt to exercise some of its authority with passage of the Corker-Cardin law.
The law requires that the president make a certification to Congress every 90 days. But, importantly, the law asks the president to certify several things, not just one. The first is that Iran has not materially breached the JCPOA. That’s the one everyone focuses on. But the Corker-Cardin law also requires something else – something that is often overlooked. It asks the president to certify that the suspension of sanctions against Iran is appropriate and proportionate to Iran’s nuclear measures and that it is vital to the national security interests of the United States.
So regardless of whether one considers Iran’s violations of the JCPOA to have been material, and regardless of whether one considers Iran’s flouting of the UN resolution on its ballistic missile technology to be “non-nuclear,” U.S. law requires the president to also look at whether the Iran deal is appropriate, proportionate, and in our national security interests. Corker-Cardin asks us to put together the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle.
Under its structure, we must consider not just the Iranian regime’s technical violations of the JCPOA, but also its violations of Resolution 2231 and its long history of aggression. We must consider the regime’s repeated, demonstrated hostility toward the United States. We must consider its history of deception about its nuclear program. We must consider its ongoing development of ballistic missile technology. And we must consider the day when the terms of the JCPOA sunset. That’s a day when Iran’s military may very well already have the missile technology to send a nuclear warhead to the United States – a technology that North Korea only recently developed.
In short, we must consider the whole picture, not simply whether Iran has exceeded the JCPOA’s limit on uranium enrichment. We must consider the whole jigsaw puzzle, not just one of its pieces. That’s the judgment President Trump will have to make in October. And if the president does not certify Iranian compliance, the Corker-Cardin law also tells us what happens next. What happens next is significantly in Congress’s hands. This is critically important and almost completely overlooked. If the president chooses not to certify Iranian compliance, that does not mean the United States is withdrawing from the JCPOA. Withdrawal from the agreement is governed by the terms of the JCPOA. The Corker-Cardin law governs the relationship between the president and Congress.
If the president finds that he cannot certify Iranian compliance, it would signal one or more of the following messages to Congress. Either the administration believes Iran is in violation of the deal; or the lifting of sanctions against Iran is not appropriate and proportional to the regime’s behavior; or the lifting of sanctions is not in the U.S. national security interest. Under the law, Congress then has 60 days to consider whether to re-impose sanctions on Iran. During that time, Congress could take the opportunity to debate Iran’s support for terrorism, its past nuclear activity, and its massive human rights violations, all of which are called for in Corker-Cardin.
Congress could debate whether the nuclear deal is in fact too big to fail. We should welcome a debate over whether the JCPOA is in the U.S. national security interest. The previous administration set up the deal in a way that denied us that honest and serious debate.
If the president finds that he cannot in good faith certify Iranian compliance, he would initiate a process whereby we move beyond narrow technicalities and look at the big picture. At issue is our national security interest. It’s past time we had an Iran nuclear policy that acknowledged that.
Thank you.