Saturday, February 27, 2016

Not As Snappy as We've Been Led to Believe

Apparently, there will be no snapbacks on rearming Iran:

The Obama administration said Thursday that a proposed Russian sale of fighter jets to Iran would violate a U.N. arms embargo on Tehran, setting up another standoff related to last year's nuclear negotiations.

If this is in John Kerry's inbox, we're doomed. Is Spongespine Spandexpants really going to make the Russians back down?

I'm sure the Russians will file our protest with their usual efficiency.

Given our past responses to Iran's weapons shopping list, I have little to hope for:

Addressing concerns that a landmark nuclear deal reached this year could boost Iran's military power, the Obama administration reassured critics that it would maintain and enforce its remaining tough sanctions against the country.

Yet the U.S. government has pursued far fewer violations of a long-standing arms embargo against Iran in the past year compared to recent years, according to a review of court records and interviews with two senior officials involved in sanctions enforcement.

That was from back in October 2015.

Yet still, there are idiots who actually believe that we forced Iran to agree to the deal!

The story of how American muscle brought Iran to heel

That's the title. And it is about the sanctions that pressured Iran. It is true enough that the sanctions put real pressure on Iran. But if Iran had to be forced to take this deal, truly they are too stupid to win.

What horrifies conservatives is that we got nothing of value from ending them and lost all our leverage over the nutball regime in Tehran.

But the delusions continue in regard to that soft power:

If the nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), collapses, previous sanctions can be reinstated under the principle of ‘snap-back’. Or new sanctions can be imposed if the US or any other P5+1 partner – Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia – determines that Tehran’s continued support for terrorism, regional adventurism or violations of human rights merits this.

This is delusional. Everyone knows that Iran and its trade partners are working a huge loophole that makes any existing agreements immune to snapback. So big deals are being signed for long periods.

As for the ability of a single permanent member to put new Security Council sanctions into place, I'll believe it when I see it. Because as I mentioned when I looked at the deal, I don't think that provision could possibly stand:

Can the United Nations charter be amended by this deal to carve out an exception to the veto power of the 5 permanent members of the Security Council?

Here's what the Chapter V, Article 27 of the UN charter says about the veto:

1. Each member of the Security Council shall have one vote.
2. Decisions of the Security Council on procedural matters shall be made by an affirmative vote of nine members.
3. Decisions of the Security Council on all other matters shall be made by an affirmative vote of nine members including the concurring votes of the permanent members; provided that, in decisions under Chapter VI, and under paragraph 3 of Article 52, a party to a dispute shall abstain from voting.

Because I can see the Russians or Chinese objecting to the whole notion that UNSC resolutions can be reimposed after 30 days of inaction by the Security Council. What do we do when the Russians and Chinese (probably correctly, but it has been a long time since I had an international law class) argue that this deal provision is invalid and that no sanctions resolutions can go into effect without 9 votes, including the concurrence of the five permanent members, and they will not go along with it?

Are you willing to tell me that the Russian and Chinese (and possibly the French) won't tie up this issue for years or decades--even if they ultimately lose--to defend their Security Council veto?

Oh, and the actual deal says that Iran will consider the reimposition of sanctions as grounds to abandon the deal--thus pocketing all their financial gains and moving on with nukes without even the flimsy restrictions of the deal in place.

God, our State Department sucks. The president's fanboys are worse for proudly pointing to the pile of poo that we made.