Former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. reacts to details of nuclear agreement
“The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs, is to be ruled by evil men.” — Plato (429-347 BC)
If Iran remains a threat, the deal bars the US from taking any steps to counter it aside from all-out war.
Washington Post columnist David Ignatius is a reasonable man. After hearing back to back interviews with US Secretary of State John Kerry and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the Obama administration’s pact with Iran’s ayatollahs, he tried to balance them out.
Speaking Sunday on CBS’s Face the Nation, Ignatius equivocated that on the one hand, “My takeaway [from Kerry] is that the details of this deal are pretty solid, that it’s been carefully negotiated, that it will hold up for 10 years or more.”
On the other hand, he said, “Netanyahu is right. Iran is a dangerous destabilizing force in the Middle East. So somehow good policy seems to me to use the deal to cap the nuclear threat that Iran would pose for 10 years but work on that other problem.”
Ignatius’s remarks serve to justify supporting the deal. After all, if Obama’s agreement caps Iran’s nuclear program for 10 years, then it’s a good thing. As for the other stuff, it can be dealt with separately.
Unfortunately, while eminently reasonable sounding, Ignatius’s analysis is incorrect. Kerry’s details of the deal are beside the point. The big picture is the only thing that matters. That picture has two main points.
First, the deal guarantees that Iran will develop nuclear weapons. Second, it gives $150 billion to the mullahs.
The details of the deal – the number of centrifuges that keep spinning, the verification mechanisms, the dispute resolution procedures, etc. – are all debatable, and largely irrelevant, at least when compared to the two irrefutable aspects of the big picture.
According to the administration, today Iran needs a year to use the nuclear materials it is known to possess to make a nuclear bomb. Other sources claim that Iran requires several months to accomplish the task.
Since these materials will remain in Iran’s possession under the deal, if Iran abandons the agreement, it will need at most a year to build nuclear weapons.
Then there are the unknown aspects of Iran’s nuclear program. We must assume that Iran has ongoing covert nuclear operations in unknown installations through which it has acquired unknown capabilities.
These capabilities will likely reduce the time Iran requires to make bombs.
Under the deal, the US and its negotiating partners are required to protect Iran’s nuclear assets from sabotage and other forms of attack. They are required as well to teach Iran how to develop and use more advanced centrifuges. As a consequence, when the agreement expires, Iran will be able to build nuclear bombs at will.
If Iran remains a threat, the deal bars the US from taking any steps to counter it aside from all-out war.
The agreement ends the international sanctions regime against Iran. With the sanctions goes any prospect of an international coalition joining forces to take military action against Iran, if Iran does walk away from the deal. So sanctions are gone, deterrence is gone. And that leaves only war.
In other words, far from diminishing the chance of war, the deal makes it inevitable that Iran will get the bomb or there will be a full scale war, or both.
Then there is the jackpot payback.
Who knows? Maybe the mullahs will use their $150b. to finance new women’s universities in Tehran and Mashhad, and a seminary for Islamic liberalism in Qom.
Or maybe the money will be used to fund insurgencies and proxy wars and terror campaigns throughout the region and the world.
The extraordinary thing about the deal is that the only person who gets a say in how that money is spent is Iran’s dictator Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. And Khamenei has been pretty clear about how he intends to use the cash.
In back to back anti-American rants on Friday and Saturday, Khamenei repeatedly threatened the US and extolled calls for its destruction. Speaking in front of a banner at Friday prayers which declared “We will trample America,” Khamenei praised calls for “Death to America.”
Saturday he promised to continue to fund and sponsor terrorism and proxy wars. Just as notably, he refused to commit to upholding the nuclear deal with the US and the other five powers.
As far as the Obama administration is concerned, now that the UN Security Council has anchored the agreement in a binding resolution and so given the force of international law to a deal that guarantees Iran will receives the bomb and $150b., the deal is done. It cannot be walked back.
But this is not necessarily true. Congress may have more power than it realizes to kill the deal before Iran gets the money and before its other provisions are implemented.
Over the months leading up to the conclusion of negotiations last Tuesday, Obama refused to acknowledge that he was negotiating a treaty. Rather he said it was nothing more than an executive agreement.
Consequently, he argued, the US Senate’s sole authority to ratify treaties by two-thirds majority would be inapplicable to the deal with Iran.
Obama also said he would further sideline Congress by anchoring the deal in a binding UN Security Council resolution. This resolution would force Obama’s successor to uphold the deal after he leaves office.
Obama mitigated his position slightly when Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, drafted the Corker-Cardin bill with veto-proof majorities in both houses. The bill, which Obama reluctantly signed into law, requires Obama to submit the deal to an up or down vote in both houses. If more than two thirds of Senators and Congressmen oppose it, then the US will not abrogate its unilateral sanctions against Iran.
In other words, Obama agreed that if Congress turned the Constitution on its head by replacing the two-thirds Senate majority required to approve a treaty with a two-thirds bicameral majority necessary to disapprove his executive agreement – then he wouldn’t go to the Security Council until after Congress voted.
When Obama betrayed his pledge and went to the Security Council on Monday, he gave Congress an opening to reconsider its position, ditch the restrictive Corker-Cardin law and reassert the Senate’s treaty approving authority.
As former US federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy argued in National Review last week, by among other things canceling the weapons and missile embargoes on Iran, the six-power deal with Iran went well beyond the scope of the Corker-Cardin law, which dealt only with nuclear sanctions relief. As a consequence, Congress can claim that there is no reason to invoke it.
Rather than invoke Corker-Cardin, Congress can pass a joint resolution determining that the deal with Iran is a treaty and announce that pursuant to the US Constitution, the Senate will schedule a vote on it within 30 days. Alternatively, Congress can condition the Iran deal’s legal stature on the passage of enabling legislation – that requires simple majorities in both houses.
Dan Darling, foreign policy adviser to Republican Senator and presidential hopeful Rand Paul wrote Monday that senators can use Senate procedure to force the Foreign Relations Committee to act in this manner. Darling argued that House Speaker John Boehner can either refuse to consider the deal since it is a treaty, or insist on passing enabling legislation under normal legislative procedures.
Monday Netanyahu explained that by keeping US sanctions in force, Congress can limit Iran’s capacity to move beyond the current sanctions regime even after it is canceled. Every state and firm considering business opportunities with Tehran will have to weigh them against the opportunity cost of being barred from doing business with the US.
Iran for its part may walk away from the deal entirely if Congress acts in this manner. If it does, then the US will not be obligated by any of the deal’s requirements. The continued viability of the Security Council resolution will be something for the lawyers to argue over.
The devil in Obama’s deal with Iran is not in the mind-numbing details, but in the big picture. The deal guarantees Iran will get the bomb. It gives the Iranian regime $150b.
To secure these concessions, Obama has trampled congressional authority.
If the American people think this doesn’t advance their national interest, they should encourage their congressional representatives to ditch Corker-Cardin and use their full authority, as a co-equal branch of the government, to scupper it.
Author Ronald Kessler On Bill Clinton: ‘He Has A Blonde, Busty Mistress’
Author Ronald Kessler defends secret service agents and makes some sensational claims about former Presidents in his new book, The First Family Detail: Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of the Presidents.
Kessler told Chris Stigall on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT that the recent struggles of the agency detailed in the media is more the fault of management culture than individual agents.
“The culture that has led to this corner-cutting, it’s a culture within the management, not among the agents. Agents…are patriots. They sign up to take a bullet for the President. The management has the attitude of covering up, dismissing problems, retaliating against agents that do reports problems. Unfortunately, President Obama’s decision to appoint Joseph Clancy, a veteran agent, to continue as Director, has just continued the same culture, because he really represents that culture.”
He reports some very scandalous stories in the book, including allegations of former President Clinton carrying out liaisons with another women when his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is not around.
“He has a blonde, busty mistress, and she’s been code named Energizer by agents. This is unofficially, but that is what they call her…She comes in to the Chappaqua [NY] home whenever Hillary leaves. The details coordinate to make sure they don’t cross paths. She, unlike Hillary, is very nice to the agents. She’ll bring cookies.”
Kessler also contends the Clinton’s relationship is only based on their desire to return to the White House in 2016.
“Hillary Clinton pretends to be this champion of the little people — she’s gonna help the middle class, she’s compassionate. But the reality behind the scenes is she treats her agents and others less powerful than she is with contempt.
People who entered the United States illegally may be called “undocumented” in politically correct circles, but what is all too well documented is the utter irresponsibility of both political parties in dealing with immigration issues.
Both Democratic and Republican administrations have left the border with Mexico porous for years — porous not just for Mexicans but for anybody else, including terrorists from the Middle East.
Two very different issues have gotten jumbled together in the political stew called “comprehensive immigration reform.” The first and most fundamental issue is whether we are going to have an immigration policy at all. The second issue is: Just what should that immigration policy be?
If we do not control our own border, then we do not have any immigration policy. We may have immigration laws on the books, but if anybody can cross the border who wants to, those laws are just words on paper and a bad joke.
Polls showing the surprisingly favorable reactions of some Republican voters to Donald Trump’s irresponsible generalities about immigrants probably reflect many people’s frustrations with politicians’ weasel words on the subject, and politicians’ failure to do anything about a festering problem.
The recent murder of Kate Steinle in San Francisco by an illegal immigrant with multiple felonies and multiple expulsions, followed by multiple illegal returns to this “sanctuary city,” has been galling to many people.
One immediate consequence of this outrage has been a drive to pass “Kate’s law” prescribing mandatory prison time for anyone who has been expelled from this country and comes back again illegally. It is overdue.
It is a painful sign of the deterioration of respect for law that a new law has to be passed to prevent a “sanctuary city” from obstructing justice, which is already a crime.
The larger issue is control of our own borders. We can debate forever whether building a fence is the best way to get control. But too much time has been wasted already.
One thing is certain. Building a fence won’t hurt. If other things can be done to secure the border, then do those things as well. The American people deserve some concrete reassurance that Congress is finally getting serious.
Donald Trump’s sweeping smear of immigrants does not need to be answered by an equally sweeping celebration of immigrants. Nor should we use the old cop-out, “the truth lies somewhere in between.” The truth is wherever you find it. But too many politicians of both parties do not even want to look for the truth.
Instead of holding extensive congressional hearings, airing all the arguments pro and con on immigration issues, and bringing out all the available facts, some politicians seek to rush through “comprehensive immigration reform” — meaning some sweeping legislation that neither the public nor the Congress has had time to consider.
Congress did that when it passed ObamaCare. Do we want to let immigration laws become something else that we learn about only after the fact, when it is too late?
No doubt immigrants, like any other large group of human beings, range from some of the best people to some of the worst. But it makes a huge difference what the proportions are.
What are the crime rates, the disease rates, the automobile fatality rates, the educational records of the children of immigrants from different countries?
Above all, we need the facts. There has been too much rhetoric already. If our politicians are too gutless to bring out the facts, perhaps some think tank or television station can hold an hour-long debate between some proponent of expansive immigration and some opponent.
Jason Riley of the Manhattan Institute has written a book titled “Let Them In,” and columnist Ann Coulter has written a book on the other side titled “¡Adios, America!” Both cite empirical studies.
A spirited debate between knowledgeable and articulate advocates could bring out which evidence stands up under scrutiny and which does not. Regardless of who might “win” the debate, we could all become more enlightened. This issue needs all the light it can get.
Source: Investor’s Business Daily: