This post will not attempt to go into the details of how a more fool-proof Iran deal could have been structured. This has been examined well by scholars and military experts, and the many faults in the agreement have been made clear. I will instead give some idea on how the American people should move ahead assuming we won’t be able to renegotiate a better solid deal. But first a quick recap of how we landed in this dire situation.
Alan Dershowitz put it well when he stated that he wouldn’t let the Kerry led team negotiate a 30 day lease on his behalf. If they did attempt to, with the same aptitude they demonstrated in the Iran negotiations, one would walk away paying the car salesmen’s child support. Now what doomed these negotiations to end so horribly?
The first big mistake was Obama’s broadcasting to the world that the military option was off the table. While he spoke to the contrary, when pressed, his rhetorical inquiry about whether America wanted another Middle East war showed the Iranians that there was no real military option for this president. But this wasn’t just the president, a large portion of this nation made it clear to Obama and again to Iran, that our president was elected to end Middle East wars, not begin them. While violence is nothing to celebrate, one would not broadcast to a mugger that you categorically won’t fight back.
Equally important was the posture those negotiating on our behalf took during the negotiations. We treated the Iranians as our equals. In doing so we implied a willingness to give a “fair” amount back in return for what they give up; as if our fairness would simply melt the Ayatollah’s heart. We showed a willingness to treat them as equals, and in return we ended up giving them much more than what was due, all in return for an empty promise. We had a full house and we folded. As a matter of fact we had a better hand than in 2003 when shortly after our invasion of Iraq, Iran suspended their nuclear program and Qaddafi completely gave his up. A successful start would have been a more aggressive one and we would not be afraid of the possibility of the Iranians walking away. After all, Obama was right about one thing: they needed this deal more than we did.
I only see one way of salvaging our situation. The United States has to make clear that if Iran is even suspected of cheating and driving towards nuclear armament, the United States will institute a policy of regime change. We must make it clear that we mean it, and that it would be done with such resolve that they will not have a chance to respond themselves or with their proxies. This would not necessarily entail a military occupation of Iran. I don’t think anyone wants that. What will matter is that even if the next regime is not “friendly,” they will think long and hard about what military programs they will pursue. Yes, real life can is uglier than would be nice, but I don’t see a better alternative that doesn’t gamble a much bloodier confrontation with a much better armed Iran.
President Obama, in a recent interview, stated that we don’t know what kind of regime Iran will have in 15 years from now when they are free of the constraints of the current deal. Well actually, if we do nothing, we can bet it will look the same as it does now. If the Arab Spring showed us anything aside from the power of social media, it is that tyrants and regimes willing to massacre their own people will manage to retain power. It is up to the United States and Europe to do something about these genocidal regimes, and we should be proud, not be ashamed to do it. Not for oil, not for any financial gain, but to keep us safe and save hundreds of thousands of civilians caught between these murderous regimes.