In our imperfect world there was no alternative to the Iran Deal — no possible “better deal” and no alternative to it — except catastrophe.
Netanyahu’s famous UN ticking time bomb toward Iran’s breakout — without any deaI — backfired. It only confirmed the deal’s necessity.
It had never been more vital to think clearly. There were four alternatives:
1. No deal?
Peter Beinart notes: “The point is simple: In life, what matters most isn’t how a decision compares to your ideal outcome. It’s how it compares to the alternative at hand.”
Israeli journalist Gershon Baskin noteed that that “with “no agreement Iran made it to breakout in four months, thousands of centrifuges, and stockpiles of 20% enriched uranium. So [the idea that] no agreement is better is” nonsense.
“No-deal” leads straight to a bomb.
Peter Beinart reported that “top American and Israeli officials have warned that military action…could ignite a catastrophic regional conflict and would be ineffective.”
Meir Dagan, former “head of Israel’s external spy agency, the Mossad, from 2002 to 2011, has said, an attack “would mean regional war, and in that case you would have given Iran the best possible reason to continue the nuclear program.” In which Israel would be, solely in retaliation for the initial attack against it, the first target.
Israeli journalist Bradley Burston noted that “Michael Hayden, who ran the CIA under George W. Bush from 2006 to 2009, has warned that an attack would ‘guarantee that which we are trying to prevent: an Iran that will spare nothing to build a nuclear weapon.’”
3. Sanctions forcing a “better deal”?
Eugene Robinson (Washington Post ) noted that “other possibilities are absurdly remote”:
“Negotiators could not make tougher demands on Iran than the Chinese, Russians, and Europeans were prepared to support.”
And: “If Congress overrides Obama and squelches the deal, the sanctions regime that brought Iran to the table will quickly crumble. Economic pressure from the United States alone… is not enough to compel Iran to give up more.”
Alan Solow, Former Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said: “We know what the history is of the United States having sanctions by itself of Iran’s nuclear program, and they didn’t work.”
4. Catastrophic Security Nightmare: Congress rejecting this Deal.
George W. Bush’s CIA Director Michael Hayden said, “ Walk away from the agreement in hopes of getting tougher restrictions and you’re guaranteeing, at least for the time being, that there are barely any restrictions on the program at all.”
J.J. Goldberg interviewed former Shin Bet director Ami Ayalon who said: “I don’t think the Russians will decide to maintain the sanctions because the United States doesn’t like the agreement. So what will happen is that Iran will escape sanctions, inspections will deteriorate, nuclear work will go on and we will lose on every front.”
Trudy Rubin of the Philadelphia Inquirer said that “Ayalon notes, if ‘Congress votes down the deal and overrides a veto, he believes Israel will be the loser…This would be the worst scenario,’ Ayalon contends, because he doesn’t believe China, Russia, or even Europe would be willing to go back to the status quo ante. The entire deal would collapse, negotiations would end, and the international sanctions regime would crumble.”
“Worst scenario” and “lose on every front.” For these reasons Thomas Friedman went from critic to supporter– Congress “scuttling” the deal “would be a mistake that would isolate us, not Iran, and limit our choices [either] to going to war or tolerating an Iran much closer to nuclear breakout, without any observers, and with crumbling sanctions.”
And if Friedman were Prime Minister he says he’d “recognize that if my lobbyists in Washington actually succeeded in getting Congress to scrap this deal, the result wouldn’t be a better deal. It would be no deal, so Iran would remain three months from a bomb — and with no intrusive inspectors, with collapsing sanctions and Israel, not Iran, diplomatically isolated.
Alan Solow summed up: “The deal reached between the P5+1 and Iran will make the United States, Israel and the world more safe. It places severe restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program for an extended period and provides for unprecedented and intrusive inspections. As a Jewish communal leader, I have worked for years to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. This agreement is the largest step forward that we have ever been able to take in achieving this goal.”
As Solow warned against the catastrophe of rejection:
There was no ‘better deal’ available should Congress foolishly reject this opportunity to advance our defense. The rejection of this deal will lead to an Iran with no restrictions on its nuclear program and no international sanctions against it.”
Former Shin Bet Director Ami Ayalon added: “The notion of forever in Judaism is not a pragmatic program. When the messiah comes, things will be wonderful. In the meantime we need to be practical.”
This was the best alternative. The only alternative. As Ayalon might have said: “Practicality means Congress must at all costs avoid a rejectionist catastrophe and decisively affirm American and Israeli security.
And, today, at long last, with 34th Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland.
— America, Israel, and the world just became a great deal more secure.