Why It's Too Late to Scrap the Iran Deal
. . . including the Republican Presidential candidates.
More below the fold!
"'My No. 1 priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran," Donald Trump says. Ted Cruz promises, "On my first day in office, I will rip this catastrophic Iranian nuclear deal to shreds." Even John Kasich vows to "suspend" the agreement and bring back the sanctions that were dropped."
Ultimately, the problem is the Cold War mentality which still permeates the Republicans. They act as if we are still locked in the Cold War with the USSR. We are not. This is a strategy which should have changed while George H. W. Bush was President, instead we are locked into an inane struggle, fighting a foe long gone.
Today, Iran is making an attempt to return as a functional member of the international community. They will need to do this if they are going to engage the House of Saud in a theological war of reformation. Our enemy, is not Iran, but the House of Saud. Our enemy has always been the House of Saud. The problem we had with Iran was driven by the nascent Iranian state being unable to control some of the rebellious students, with the end result being the US embassy was sacked and more than 60 Americans were taken prisoner for 444 days. This crisis cause a serious deterioration in relations between Iran and the US, a deterioration which continued up to the point where President Obama negotiated the US Iranian nuclear deal.
There was never any reason for this dispute to become infinite in length. The normalization of relations needed to happen, and it should have happened much sooner. We seem to forget that we have little or no control over nations like Iran once they are in sanction. We do have some modicum of control over nations we trade with, negotiate with, and work with. Like Cuba, the Iranian sanctions ceased being useful long ago.
"When the deal was reached, Republicans opposed it with a unanimity rarely seen outside the North Korean Politburo. It's safe to say that in all their presidential debates since the campaign began, not a single candidate has had anything good to say about it.
The GOP doesn't trust Barack Obama and doesn't trust the Iranians. So the idea that the two could jointly produce something valuable was beyond belief."
Obama and Iran did produce something of value. Obama did not do it for reasons I would have liked but that is irrelevant, it provided a useful outcome, and that is far more important that getting the motivation right.
What would happen if we were to renounce the deal?
"What would we lose from renouncing the deal? Just every concession Iran had to make and implement. So far, it has submitted to an outside inspection regime, scrapped some 12,000 centrifuges, shipped 98 percent of its nuclear fuel to Russia and wrecked a nuclear reactor. Without the deal, Iran would be free to evict the international monitors and resume the activities it was compelled to stop.
In exchange for those curbs, the Obama administration agreed to lift some economic sanctions and release some $100 billion in Iranian funds that had been frozen. The latter is what Trump had in mind when he charged, "We give them $150 billion, we get nothing." That's what Cruz was talking about last summer when he claimed the deal would make Obama "the world's leading financier of radical Islamic terrorism."
But we didn't give Iranians that money; it was theirs all along. Regaining access to it was one of the chief incentives for them to negotiate. In any case, they got their money. And it does not seem to have dawned on Trump or Cruz that they are not about to give it back.
For us to abandon the agreement would mean the Iranians would keep those funds but be released from their obligations. They'd get to keep the new car without making the payments.
The Republicans talk as though we control everything. But the deal was not just between Iran and the U.S.; it included China, Russia, France, Germany, Britain and the entire European Union. The other signatories might not be content to behave like potted plants. If we abandoned the accord, they'd blame us.
The U.S. could restore the old sanctions, which wouldn't have much force because we'd be alone. Even our European allies probably wouldn't follow suit—to say nothing of the Chinese and Russians. More likely, they'd all rush to grab the business opportunities created by our absence. Good for Airbus and Lenovo; bad for Boeing and Apple."
This is essentially the opportunity for a Republican to act in a foreign policy matter the way Obama has acted for the past 7-1/2 years, like a feckless, dithering, President. Brilliant. This is the primary problem we need to avoid in the foreign policy arena.
We would get nothing good, we would lose all potential control over the Iranians, and we would have already given the Iranians everything they negotiated. Even a kindergartner can see this is a terrible deal for the US. Well, except for the three Republican Monkeys of Evil!
What we need to do now, is treat the deal as a trade deal, and free American businesses to begin to trade with the Iranians. This mechanism is one of the most powerful mechanism we have to help stabilize relations with other countries, and to tame any latent antisocial behaviors the Iranian rulers may have. This has worked very well with China, since Nixon began the normalization of relations. Today we are substantial trading partners both profiting from our relationship.
It is time for the Cold Warriors of the Republican party to grow up, and accept the world as it is not as they wish it were.