Thursday, April 02, 2015

From the "Well, Duh" Files

"Mr. Obama, according to two people familiar with the discussion, told Mr. Kerry and Mr. Moniz to ignore the deadline, make it clear that the president was ready to walk away and leave all sanctions on Iran in place, and see if that would change the dynamic."

Of course the deadline was meaningless.

The surprise would be if our president acted as if Iran had a deadline to comply with Western demands to neuter their nuclear programs.

Actually, the surprise is that the president belatedly realized that appearing over-eager for a deal was working to Iran's advantage. Whether the Iranians believe our Gumby-like top diplomat suddenly had a spine infusion is another question altogether.

While it is good that existing sanctions remain, it would be better if we started adding sanctions as the deadline passed.

Remember, Iran has gotten good at evading sanctions. As time goes on, the Iranians get to know the ins and outs of the sanctions in place and how to exploit loopholes or find the right people willing to violate them for a price. We need new sanctions just to maintain the pressure.

And even if we convince Iran that we are not so desperate for a deal this week, I don't think we can convince the Iranians that they need a deal more than we do.

President Obama bizarrely thinks a (good) legacy requires an Iran deal.

UPDATE: We have peace for our times:

U.S. President Barack Obama said the outcome was a good deal, comparing it to nuclear arms control deals struck by his predecessors with the Soviet Union that "made our world safer" during the Cold War.

"Today, the United States, together with our allies and partners, has reached an historic understanding with Iran, which if fully implemented, will prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon," he declared.

No, it isn't anything at all like US-Soviet nuclear deals. Those were between nuclear weapons powers where the importance wasn't the limits on our over-kill capabilities but the limits on systems to reassure the other that their Cold War foe wouldn't break out and surge ahead in capabilities.

By putting our growth on open and predictable growth paths, we reduced the fear of falling behind. How is paving the way for Iran to get nuclear weapons in the first place anything at all like our Cold War deals?

We have a deal that if it really would prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons Iran would not sign it.

Hopefully, whatever skeletal framework we have can be stopped by our allies. Or maybe Iran will refuse to pretend to give up their nuclear ambitions, thus denying us the opportunity to pretend to believe them.

We are so screwed. Iran will get sanctions lifted and will then buy nuclear missiles from North Korea to bridge whatever "breakout" period that they have to cross under any deal.

Have a nice day.