As I am sure you have heard President Obama gave away American security to Iran. I am here to tell you that most of what you are hearing is really a smokescreen and there is a lot going on behind the scenes that isn’t being talked about.
First, this isn’t about keeping Iran from getting the bomb. Conservatives don’t think sanctions work, or have selective memory when they do work. (Anybody remember that whole Iraq thing?) Or the fact that North Korea has the harshest sanctions in the world and keep expanding their nuclear arsenal. So the idea that sanctions could keep Iran, who is backed by Russia and keeps building nuclear reactors for Iran, from getting a nuclear bomb is only a little bit absurd. The only reason sanctions worked in Iraq is because we would bomb nuclear facilities, and Iraq had no big backers willing to defy the U.S. Iran has Russia and we have seen over the last two years Russia is more than happy to defy the United States.
So then if sanctions don’t work in changing a regime’s behavior then why have them at all? The answer to that is, “We just negotiated remember?” What is so overlooked in all this is Obama was able to get such strict sanctions in place, from nations like China and India, by promising we would negotiate with Iran. If he had walked away from a deal that the international community had found reasonable then we would have lost all leverage with Iran, but now it is all on Iran to honor its agreement, and if they deny UN inspectors once, then sanctions snap back. That is the only way we could’ve gotten Iran frozen out of the international banking system which is what nearly destroyed their economy. Honestly any deal that allows UN inspectors unlimited and unrestricted access to Iran’s nuclear facilities and causes harsh sanctions to snap back is a darn good deal. So then if it’s such a good deal why are Republicans, and more than a few Democrats, upset about it?
Part of this is the standard “Obama did it so its bad” stick that we have gotten from the GOP for his entire presidency, but there is something deeper going on here and to understand it, we have to talk about Israel. The current Prime Minister of Israel has made no secret his displeasure with the Obama foreign policy, and this deal is a good representation of why the two men don’t see eye to eye. Obama views the world through a pragmatist lens, trying to accomplish long term goals but not caring so much who he works with to do so. He is also very very conscious about getting involved in foreign entanglements and bombing Iran would have been a big one. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel views the world from a purely tactical framework. Anything that makes Israel safer in the short term is good, anything that could put Israel in more danger is bad. His fear, and the fear of the GOP, Pro Israeli U.S. politicians, and our Arab allies, is that by working with Iran, we legitimize them, giving them more power at a time they seem to be on the rise. You see the thinking is, is that now the United States isn’t as committed to our Arab (specifically Saudi Arabia and gulf states) allies and that we can’t be counted on to aid them against Iran like we used to. Not only that but in Isis we have a common enemy with Iran and rumors have been persisting that we are aiding each other covertly.
So the real reason isn’t the deal, the real reason is Iran has been an enemy for so long, that by not being confrontational with them and finding common ground with Iran that we can’t be counted on if a war breaks out against Iran. If you are Israel, and you still remember former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wanting to wipe Israel off the face of the earth this is a big freaking deal. Israel has a lot to fear from Iran, and honestly they have every right to be nervous about any change of policy to Iran. Iran sponsors Hezbollah and used to be a big ally of Hamas. Hezbollah is a major player in the Syrian civil war and has launched hundreds, if not thousands of rocket attacks at Israel since 2005. Saudi Arabia hates Iran for different reasons. For Israel its about survival, for Saudi Arabia, its about power. They are the two biggest powers and rivals for influence in the Muslim world and that rivalry is playing out in different ways. It is also a near certainty that if Iran develops a Nuclear weapon, Saudi Arabia would do so as well.
So just to make sure you understand, the opponents of the Iran deal, would hate ANY deal with Iran. I mean honestly, even if Iran had totally dismantled every Nuclear plant, it would be very likely Israel, and thus the GOP would oppose the deal for the simple fact it is perceived to undermine our allies in the region. See, it’s days like these I miss the cold war. If we struck a deal with the Soviet Union or China, or one of their allies, our allies wouldn’t think we are about to abandon them. Our opposition to communism would still remain, we would just work with them on a case by case basis, like nuclear non-proliferation.
So where does this leave a deal for the next administration? Well a Democrat would try to make it work, but a Republican would be put in the awkward position of trying to kill and deal, without making it look like he is trying to start a war with Iran, or looking like we would be unhappy with any deal with Iran. Because ultimately those are the stakes with a nuclear deal with Iran, sanctions will only delay Iran from getting the bomb, to keep that from happening, you must either pick the sword against Iran, or old out an olive branch.