I ask because with the election of Trump, there is a cry by some to keep the highly flawed agreement that the president-elect has called terrible, and which could be ended under his administration because the deal is nothing more than a presidential agreement rather than a treaty ratified by the Senate.
Sure, that Super Genius Kerry and his equally Nuanced boss front-loaded the financial benefits to Iran to make it almost a no-brainer for Iran to pull out of the 2015 nuclear deal at the slightest excuse (and to cheat on the deal to provoke inquiries that would give Iran the excuse to withdraw from the deal).
So I will wait to see if the Trump administration will find ways to enforce the provisions so strictly that it makes Iran's mullahs howl.
But this reason to keep the deal is absolutely at the bottom of any list of reasons to justify keeping the agreement in place:
First of all, it is improbable that Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany — the other five parties to the deal — would agree to jeopardize it. Pulling out would isolate the U.S. from the coalition it successfully created and leave no credible means for stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, the objective of the deal.
Any coalition that consists of our allies and foes tells you that there are different reasons to support the deal other than stopping Iran from going nuclear.
China and Russia would be fine with a nuclear-armed Iran that hates America. Our allies--along with our president--seemed more eager to avoid dealing with Iran by kicking the problem down the road.
The deal will not stop Iran from going nuclear. At best it delays it while allowing Iran to develop nuclear technology. At worst it shields Iran while they cheat. And it doesn't even prevent Iran from simply buying nuclear weapons from their partner in crime North Korea. You recall that the deal front-loaded cash and economic benefits to Iran, right?
The hope that Iran will, because of this deal, evolve into a friend by the time the deal expires is nuclear-powered stupidity:
Iran's Revolutionary Guards look set to entrench their power and shift the country to more hardline, isolationist policies for years to come following the death of influential powerbroker Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
Not that Rafsanjani (may he enjoy his stay in Hell) was a "moderate"--that mythical beast liberals assume exist because some mullah-approved Iranian leaders chant "Death to America!" at half the average rate and with a quarter of the flying spittle, and who they believe are poised to rise within the Islamic state's power structure if only we say the right words--but he was a rival for power and not an enemy of the mullah hardliners.
I suspect that it would be better to scrap the nuclear deal despite the foolishly granted benefits rather than pretend we have a real deal.
I say this because only scant four years after the Kerry-Lavrov chemical weapons deal that eliminated Assad's chemical arsenal, our government found it had to do this:
The United States on Thursday blacklisted 18 senior Syrian officials it said were connected to the country's weapons of mass destruction program, after an international investigation found Syrian government forces were responsible for chlorine gas attacks against civilians.
Fancy that. That agreement was air tight, the administration boasted. It was not.
And Iran, Syria's boss, will be no less able to work around the limits we think constrain the ambitions of evil men in Tehran.
By all means, examine the horrible deal to see if we can use the provisions to make Tehran howl.
But if we can't do that, I'd rather cancel the deal in the spirit of refusing to bury our heads in the sand in the hope evil people will just go away if we don't admit they exist.