Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Some Deal

Given that Russia and Syria are speaking very highly of the newly announced nuclear arms deal between the Western powers and Iran, one might think that seeing who supports the deal tells you all you need to know. Never mind that our allies in the region say it's a bad deal.

Iran can continue to enrich uranium - up to a point. Iran can still develop advanced centrifuges. The Arak heavy water reactor stays open, with some modifications. The IAEA does not get complete access to all sites. Sanctions will be ending soon, and Iran will see an infusion of $100-150 billion, all of which can be used to continue their unprecedented sponsorship of terrorism.

That's right. We did not ask any change in Iran's behavior. Just this past weekend, at a rally attended by the Iranian President, the crowd was chanting "Death to America" and "Death to Israel." Iran may continue its support of terrorism, and continue to threaten to wipe Israel off the map. As for the Americans being held hostage by Iran (Pastor Saeed, former Marine Amir Hekmati, Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, and retired FBI agent Robert Levinson)? You don't think Obama insisted on their release, do you?

As for the Israelis, there is no separation of opinion from left to right to center of the political spectrum. Isaac Herzog, of the left wing Zionist Union Party (formerly Labor), said: "...with regard to security, I am more extreme than Netanyahu." Conservative Education Minister Naftali Bennett said: "...this day will be remembered as a black day in the history of the free world."

Centrist Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid said it's "a bad day for the Jewish people." Right wing former Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said "the agreement with Iran will be remembered in history the same way as the Munich Agreement that led to World War II and the agreement with North Korea that led to its nuclearization."

Obama today, in announcing the deal, said the US negotiated from a position of strength. While the US was clearly the stronger power, we acted like the far weaker power. One concession after the next was given to Iran. Virtually none of the original red lines drawn by Obama made it into the final deal.

In 1939, when British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain met with Hitler, the deal then was that Germany would be able to take over part of Czechoslovakia (the Sudetenland). Chamberlain triumphantly returned to Britain famously announcing that he had achieved "peace in our time." Signing off on the deal with Britain were France and the US. Starting to sound familiar? Czechoslovakia was not invited; rather, they were sold out by the other Western powers. Only, history has shown that appeasing a tyrant like Hitler did not lesson the likelihood of war. Those odds were enhanced as Germany perceived the West as being weak. What do you think Iran thinks of the West, after they made one concession after the next?

Guess who was not included in the negotiations with Iran? Israel. Out of a tragic past, and therefore necessity, the Israelis are, if nothing else, students of history. There is no doubt that they see themselves as the Czechoslovakia of the Iranian deal. A nuclear armed Iran constitutes the greatest threat to Israel's very existence.

I could not get two different scenarios out of my mind today. The first: In six months or so, a White House aide goes running into the Oval Office. "Mr. President! Iran secretly developed nukes and has launched them at Israel. Millions of Israelis may be dead." Obama: "This won't delay my golf game I hope. We tee off in 5 minutes." The second: The aide runs into the Oval Office and announces "Mr. President! Israel has launched a major assault on Iran's nuclear facilities." Obama: "That son of a bitch Netanyahu! Send in the 6th Fleet and have them bomb Israel's nuclear facilities. I'll show Netanyahu who the boss is!"

Far fetched? Impossible? What's most scary to me is that I could not imagine ever getting to the point where such things are even imaginable. Yet here we are. What do you think Obama would do if Israel "ruined" his major foreign policy achievement and bombed Iran? Think Obama would stand by Israel then? Who would you stand with - Obama or Israel?