Saturday, March 21, 2015

Let's Make a Deal

I see that we are hoping to get Iran to release captive Americans in exchange for our pledge to believe Iran's pledge that they don't want nuclear weapons.

The talks over Iran's nuclear future will go on:

France was demanding more stringent restrictions on the Iranians under any deal than the other Western delegations, officials said.

A European negotiator said the six power group - the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China - was generally unified but voiced concern that the Obama administration was under pressure due to concerns Republican-led Congress might wreck any agreement.

Thank you, France. The Obama administration is so eager for a deal that they are apparently willing to agree to just about anything at this point.

But if we can't get Iran to agree to terms that require them to prove they have no nuclear weapons program, the administration will accept lovely parting gifts, instead:

U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday called on Iran's government to immediately release three detained Americans - Saeed Abedini, Amir Hekmati and Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian - and to help find Robert Levinson, an American who disappeared in Iran eight years ago, the White House said.

Give us Americans and we give you nukes. What's one more bad trade, eh?

But don't think the Obama administration can't be tough! Oh, no!

Following Obama’s warning that the United States would “reassess” its relationship with Israel, the administration is not only reconsidering the diplomatic cover it has long given Israel at the United Nations but is also looking at a range of other possibilities to put pressure on its historically close ally, U.S. officials said.

That'll teach you to elect someone The One doesn't like. And that's saying a lot since we seem to like Iran's rulers and are growing downright fond of Assad these days.

Let me just say that if the administration is going to sign a deal with Iran that gives Iran nuclear weapons one day, deterrence becomes more important. And if Iran can be deterred (a big "if" for a country on a mission from God), extended deterrence is not served by throwing your ally under the bus.

And speaking of Iran's nuclear program, I've long said that Iran has likely dispersed elements of their nuclear program abroad to protect them from American attack.

Iran has worked with North Korea on missiles and nukes--and North Korea claims to have nuclear missiles (they might not be able to put a nuclear warhead on a missile yet, but they are making progress on that). So Iran might buy nukes from North Korea to bridge that "breakout" gap--the time it would take Iran to violate agreements and enrich enough Uranium for a warhead--we think is so critical to stopping Iran.

And closer to home, Syria--Iran's client state--already attempted to build a nuclear reactor with North Korean help (Israel destroyed it in 2007). And a German magazine thinks Syria still has a nuclear program:

Now, secret information obtained by SPIEGEL indicates that the world is once again being misled by Assad. Syria's dictator has not given up his dream of an atomic weapon and has apparently built a new nuclear facility at a secret location. It is an extremely unsettling piece of news.

Unsettling? I'll say! What if those "treasonous" Republicans use this information to cast doubt on the wisdom of President Obama's effort to get a Nobel Peace Prize nuclear deal with Iran?

This could be part of Iran's nuclear program. Which is even more unsettling. Or should be.

Like I've said, the outline of a deal is clear: Iran will pretend to not want nuclear weapons; and we will pretend to believe them.

And in a perfect Obama/Kerry world, the Nobel Peace Prize people will pretend the deal advances world peace and our press corps will believe Iran released American captives in an effort to "reset" our relations without getting any American concessions on the deal!

The deal won't ensure that Iran doesn't have nuclear programs on their soil. It won't cover Iranian programs in other countries friendly to Iran. And it won't prevent Iran from purchasing nukes to deter attack while Iran breaks out of any paper restrictions to gain the ability to build their own nukes.

And if Iran then nukes Israel? Well, let that be a lesson to the next American ally that selects a leader we don't like. Sometimes you have to break a few eggs for the deal of the century.

Have a super sparkly deal!

UPDATE: When Iran goes nuclear, we will legitimately be able to tell the mullahs "you didn't build that" without extensive help from the American government.

UPDATE: Speaking of drooling idiocy:

Iran takes comfort in the fact that members of the coalition (Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, United States) they are negotiating with are divided with growing willingness among many coalition members to trust Iranian pledges to abide by any treaty. Many in the West (and the Arab world) don’t trust Iran and demand a deal with strict monitoring. Iran rules this out as a violation of their sovereignty, an affront to their honor and so on.

The Iranian religious dictatorship sees these negotiations as crucial to its survival. In part that is because most Iranians have decided that the ruling clerics and their Islamic Republic are a failure. This can be seen in the plunging birthrate, growing number of drug addicts and the many small protests against the rule of religious zealots. Young Iranians feel like prisoners serving life sentences in a nightmarish jail run by unpredictable religious fanatics who are also corrupt and unable to manage the economy. The sanctions have made this worse and while the damage has been controlled it is draining Iran’s limited cash reserves.

On the bright side, not everyone on "our" side is on board with the Full Monty of pretending to believe the Iranians. I assume I can thank France for holding the line on this issue.

Punish the Israelis (who don't want to be nuked by Iran) and reward the Iranians (who want to nuke Israel). Smart diplomacy in action.

UPDATE: Yes, the French are standing between Kerry and a lovely signing ceremony in Geneva:

"We have not yet reached the finish line but make no mistake we have the opportunity to try to get this right," Kerry said. "It is a matter of political will and tough decision making. ...

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said his country wanted an agreement that was sufficiently robust to guarantee Tehran could not acquire an atomic bomb.

There are two tough decisions standing in the way: convincing Iran to humiliate themselves by even pretending to bend to our demands that they halt nuclear weapon work; and convincing France to trust us to keep Iran from going nuclear under whatever deal we can convince Iran to sign.

UPDATE: We can't deter Iran's client, Syria, from using chemical weapons:

The United States is deeply disturbed by reports that Syrian government forces attacked the town of Sarmin using chlorine as a weapon on Tuesday, Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement on Thursday.

Yeah, they're disturbed that this might cast doubt on their plans to make Iran our regional partner through a dubious nuclear agreement.

Even if this is false, other events have been confirmed to our satisfaction. Yet Assad rolls on--despite the grand deal with Assad that purportedly ended his chemical weapons arsenal.

How do we deter Iran itself from using nuclear weapons if we look the other way about chemical weapons for our partner against ISIL, Assad?