"So when you hear the inevitable critics of the deal sound off, ask them a simple question," Obama said. "Do you really think that this verifiable deal, if fully implemented, backed by the world's major powers, is a worse option than the risk of another war in the Middle East?"
The simple answer is, yes, I think that the deal as outlined is a worse option than the risk of another war in the Middle East.
Mostly because I think that the risk of a war earlier before Iran has the nukes and money to afford a war is the better option.
But I don't think that this deal is verifiable.
At the heart of it, it rests on the assumption that we can keep Iran's efforts limited to a one-year "breakout" period that would require Iran a year to have a nuke if they completely abandon the limits on their nuclear programs.
We assume we will have the time to react in that year.
One, that's our estimate. I doubt the Iranians told us, "No, no! We could actually break out in 8 months according to our calculations." So don't consider this some law of physics.
Two, I doubt we've considered all the angles. If Iran agrees to the deal, I assume they see a way around the terms.
It may be a way to push the envelope of the deal terms enough to reach their goal but with actions ambiguous enough for the West to say we don't have enough evidence to trash the whole deal.
Plus, just what is the deal when nobody agrees on what the proto-deal even says?
Or can't you imagine President Obama saying "Are we really going to abandon the deal and allow Iran to race to a nuclear weapon when at worst this violation--if it is a violation--only shortens the breakout time by a month?"
Sure you can.
I can completely imagine Iran using their underground enrichment facility for Uranium the day after the Western inspection team leaves, and if the team wants to visit again the Iranians say it is too soon, let us get back to you about scheduling one.
Would sanctions "snap back" on that level of suspicion? When we have no clear proof anything is going on? (Or do you really believe the standard will be that Iran has to prove nothing is going on?) Will we launch air strikes on that kind of noncompliance?
With enough of those small shortcuts that undermine full implementation, the Iranians will make real progress to shortening the breakout time to a time frame short enough to last beyond our ability to admit Iran is cheating and work up the resolve to do something about it.
And this ignores the ways of shortening the breakout time that aren't part of the deal. What if Syria stores enriched Uranium for Iran? What if Venezuela does?
What if North Korea sells Iran completed nuclear warheads?
As for being backed by the world powers, is he that deluded? Does he still think that Russia is "reset" and that China isn't happy to have us tied down in the Middle East while we try to pivot to the Asia-Pacific region? And they have Security Council veto power.
Britain and France lack the military power to do anything of substance to stop Iran's nuclear programs short of a nuclear strike on Iran.
That leaves us. And if we are willing to agree to this flawed deal, by definition we aren't going to enforce the deal unless the Iranians go on live TV, curse out President Obama as a fool on Twitter, and show live footage of their nuclear test. Short of that, what "red lines" could Iran cross that would spark a real reaction?
So yeah, I expect that opponents of the deal sounding off is inevitable. The deal is too flawed to expect anything else. It makes it inevitable that Iran will get nukes.
And I love this level of idiocy:
Obama listed three options for curbing Iran's nuclear ambitions. The first, he said, was "a robust and verifiable deal like this one" that would "peacefully prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon."
"The second option is: we can bomb Iran's nuclear facilities, thereby starting another war in the Middle East and setting back Iran's programme by a few years - in other words, setting it back by a fraction of the time that this deal will set it back."
The third option, Obama said, was to pull out of negotiations, try to get other countries to continue economic sanctions against Iran "and hope for the best."
Straw man much?
We have more options than the president admits.
The first option is a robust and verifiable deal. Period.
The second is the deal like this one.
The third is a single campaign that sets back Iran's nuclear program by a few years.
The fourth is continuing economic sanctions to throttle their options for sowing more unrest in the region.
But these choices are not the only ones we have to make. We also have to choose to deny Iran nuclear weapons without thinking of any single option as the silver bullet that stops them. Because none of those four options will stop Iran if they are determined enough and if the same nutballs remain in power.
In addition, we have the choice of what our view of Iran is (and if Iran doesn't also choose the same view, ours is not just wrong but potentially enabling).
If we think of Iran as a friend we haven't made yet, you go with option two. We just want to buy time for Iran to realize they are our friend.
If you think of Iran as a foe that is vulnerable to internal change that will cripple mullah power and lead to a non-nutball regime before Iran can go nuclear, you go for option one.
If you think of Iran as a foe that is solidly in control of their country, you choose options three or four depending on whether you think Iran is far from or close to a nuclear capability.
If you choose option four, you hope that the population might grow restive enough to perhaps shift to option one with an option to go for option three.
And if you choose three or four, you have to accept that we are essentially at war with Iran--as Iran demonstrates with their efforts to destabilize the region and even take the war to Washington, D.C., where Iran attempted to bomb two embassies here--and view sanction and strikes as just individual campaigns not designed to win the war on their own but as parts of a whole nation effort.
In what world would we simply bomb Iran and then walk away, saying, "Hey, we gave it our best shot," letting Iran rebuild without doing something else?
When you strike a king, kill him, eh?If we bomb, we have to work for regime change, tighten sanctions, perhaps blockade Iran, and certainly be prepared to strike Iran again in a couple years.
Perhaps we declare a no-fly zone over Iran and patrol it with our UAVs to watch for targets for our missiles and aircraft.
And we certainly work for regime change.
Sadly, the only way President Obama ratifies his Nobel Peace Prize and the only way Kerry gets his is through option two. So that's what the White House will inevitably seek.
UPDATE: We're not quite to the Onion Gambit, but we haven't expanded our proto-deal into a real deal. So have a little strategic patience, eh? Tip to Mad Minerva--who has emerged from her undisclosed location to blog again.