It is rarely asked why critics blame “Obama'” for the deal’s alleged flaws.
The deal had to pass muster with David Cameron, Angela Merkel, Francois Hollande, NATO, and all their combined military and intelligence analysts and regional specialists and multitudes more.
Yet critics – what’s new? – focus on “Obama.”
But the deal covers the whole Western Free World alliance’s expert brain power and collective wisdom.
Meanwhile the alternatives seem reducible to three:
1. The deal.
2. Continued sanctions and eventual Iranian unrestrained and unsupervised acquisition of nuclear arms (if it really wants them, which it denies).
3. Following straight out of 2–an attack on Iran and war that would collapse Hassan Rouhani’s government and become then so extremist as to make Ahmadinejad look moderate.
And would either immediately or ultimately cause massive conventional — or nuclear — retaliation.
This bears repeating. Iran could either act right way or bide its time to make Israel– purely in retaliation for such an attack – a massive conventional or nuclear massive target. In a war that could be quick and obliterative of whole populations on both sides and drag on years.
This would not only cost inestimable numbers of Western soldiers’ and innocent Iranian and Israeli lives, but also with Israel’s infrastructure and population devastation and mass emigration destroy its demographics and economy:
In short, would basically destroy the country.
As well as explode the entire region into an unpredictable orgy of street extremism in which today’s alliances and feuds could well be obliterated in the fact of an Israeli-American attack to form a new anti-Western extremist street alliance.
No critic can point out any other alternative to this actually very good deal—which, inescapably, turns out to be even indispensable.
This is where I am coming from.
To the nitty-gritty. I wish I knew skeptics’ of the Iran deal’s responses on a number of absolutely critical matters:
American-Israeli nuclear expert Avner Cohen wrote in brief summation in Haaretz on March 2 before the deal became as actually good as it is:
“The Iranian nuclear deal looks like a reasonable compromise. There is only one alternative: continued sanctions, renewed enrichment and in the end military conflict.”
The same point was elaborated on in President Obama’s television address to the nation. As Daniel Shapiro, United States Ambassador to Israel wrote, it bears reading in full.
President Obama said:
“[T]he fact is, we only have three options for addressing Iran’s nuclear program.
“First , we can reach a robust and verifiable deal — like this one — and peacefully prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
” [S]econd,… we can bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities, thereby starting another war in the Middle East, and setting back Iran’s program by a few years — in other words, setting it back by a fraction of the time that this deal will set it back.
“Meanwhile we’d ensure that Iran would race ahead to try and build a bomb.
” Third, we could pull out of negotiations, try to get other countries to go along and continue sanctions that are currently in place or add additional ones, and hope for the best — knowing that every time we have done so, Iran has not capitulated but instead has advanced its program , and that in very short order, the breakout timeline would be eliminated…..
“[T]he third option leads us very quickly back to a decision about whether or not to take military action, because we’d have no idea what was going on inside of Iran.
“Iran is not going to simply dismantle its program because we demand it to do so …. Iran has shown no willingness to eliminate those aspects of their program that they maintain are for peaceful purposes, even in the face of unprecedented sanctions.
“Should negotiations collapse because we, the United States, rejected what the majority of the world considers a fair deal, what our scientists and nuclear experts suggest would give us confidence that they are not developing a nuclear weapon , it’s doubtful that we can even keep our current international sanctions in place.”
My summation of what Obama said:
- Sanctions ultimately won’t work.
- We couldn’t successfully even a total embargo miniscule and adjacent Cuba after over a half-century of trying.
- So how could we embargo oil-rich and giant Iran on the other side of the world, with which much of the world is eager to do business, such as immense oil consumer China to buy its oil.
- All we would be doing is making the Iranians plunge ahead in unsupervised efforts to reach their nuclear program’s goals.
- Since sanctions won’t work in the real world, we cannot get better deal, but rather the breakdown of ***–all — sanctions*** and again Iranian continuation or acceleration on its program and then war.
6. Therefore: It is not a question of this deal **OR** renewed or increased sanctions.
Rather : It is this deal or it is no deal — combined with the breakdown of sanctions and Iran (if it wants) accelerating its nuclear program with no way to stop it but war.
7. So that: Ultimately we cannot at the same time reject the deal and avoid war: Rejection of the deal would eventually and definitely lead to war.
This appears to sum up what the President of the United States, Barack Obama, said on nationwide television addressing the American People.
And we can and will again discuss again the definite catastrophic consequences of war.
These catastrophic consequences involve common sense and logic that is available to us all, to amateurs who in a democracy make the decisions on the basis of logic which is democratically accessible to us. This case, found everywhere, is well said in this letter in the Jerusalem Post (Sept. 10, 2012) by Bernhard Lazarus from Tel Aviv who employs available common sense:
“We would have to fly over 3,000 kilometers …and cause major losses among our aircraft….
“An attack would cause…[m]issiles on densely inhabited central Israel, rocket attacks from the North by Hezbollah and from the South by Hamas.
“Business would come to a standstill, immigration [to Israel] would stop and emigration [from Israel] would rise.
“The entire world might come to a complete economic standstill, too, as Iran would close the Straits of Hormuz… .
“…Should a conflict last more than a few weeks there is no Nixon to replenish our arsenal.
“And what… [would] stop a rogue Pakistan or North Korea from ultimately supplying a bomb to Iran?”
Lazarus notes also the lack of any alternative to–successful negotiations –but, rather, again, only war.
We have noted that sanctions will not indefinitely work and that Iran will give only so much and then can cut negotiations and go on as it wants.
Lazarus also reminds us that an attack would be catastrophic and may cause years of war and spiked extremism throughout the Middle East.
And as Lazarus again points out for us:
Iran could mount a massive conventional strike or bide its time until it or a proxy stole or obtained on the black market rogue nuclear arms, to make Israel its – purely in retaliation – the target.
Not because of Israel’s or an American failure to attack, but precisely and exactly just because of such an attack.
Here we are in especially deep waters. The devil of the details that politicos regularly discuss. And the experts. But we are amateurs. As one, I wish I knew the response, as in the New York Times report on major nitty-gritty details of the negotiations.
On the Centrifuges:
Obama brought in “Ernest Moniz, his energy secretary and one of the nation’s leading nuclear scientists….When the Iranians insisted on keeping some centrifuges at Fordo, Mr. Obama approved the concession after Mr. Moniz assured him the facility, devoid of fissile material under the accord, would pose no threat. His credibility carried the day.
And administration officials were struck by the fact that Iran was willing to waste 1,000 centrifuges, essentially spinning uselessly, to preserve national pride.”
On the Arak heavy-water reactor:
“The same thing happened in finding a solution for the Arak heavy-water reactor, which they agreed to redesign. “Moniz said this will not produce any weapons-grade plutonium,” said a senior American official, and that if the Iranians cheated it would be detectable right away.”
This is also why on April 7th CIA Director John Brennan said at Harvard:
“Opponents of Iran’s initial agreement to curb its nuclear program… who say that this deal provides a pathway for Iran to a bomb are being wholly disingenuous, in my view, if they know the facts and understand what is required for a program,” Brennan said….”I certainly am pleasantly surprised that the Iranians have agreed to so much here.”
Which returns us to the first basic point and question:
That again very few of us are nuclear experts. So that we have to decide whose judgment and whose experts to judge.
But also that logic is democratically available to all of us.
And that, so again:
Skeptics never make clear why they single out President Obama. This deal was coordinated with David Cameron and Great Britain, Angela Merkel and Germany, Francois Hollande and France, and both their and regional specialists, analysts, intelligence services, and experts, including NATO’s. As for the US, we already saw that it passes the scrutiny – with all his intelligence resources – of CIA Director John Brennan.
And it’s a deal of the whole wide entire seasoned Free World Alliance which has already had the tough military and intelligence and diplomatic and regional experience and expertise to have successfully negotiated and bargained its way through a decades-long Cold War with no less than the Soviet Union itself. There is a universal Free World Alliance consensus and brain-trust of experience and expertise.
As The New York Times editorialized on April 7th:
“Netanyahu is acting as if he alone can dictate the terms of an agreement that took 18 months and involved not just Iran and the United States but Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China.”
And indeed it would seem that Netanyahu is the loner and outsider whose view is marginal and peripheral to the western allies’ combined brain-trust of experience and expertise—in short, to the basic and experienced – through the crucible of the Cold War itself — Free World alliance’s long and very experienced, expert, tough, seasoned consensus.