—Walter Russell Mead: ‘A Deal Iran’s Hardliners Can Love‘
‘But the real reason the deal is a gift to Iran isn’t in the language of the deal itself; it’s the path the deal opens up for Iran in the region. At a time of unprecedented crisis among Iran’s Sunni Arab rivals, the nuclear deal offers Iran a historic opportunity to aim for the hegemony of the Persian Gulf and to achieve the kind of world power that Shi’a religious enthusiasts and Persian nationalists believe is their due.’
You haven’t gotten rid of a repressive, corrupt, theocratic, authoritarian mullah-ocracy, you’ve empowered it with $150 billion up front along with some hoops to jump through for a few years as they really build leverage and legitimize their nuclear program.
Addition: You may not have addressed the hard choices preventing a nuclear armed Iran, either, just kicked the can down the road and riven a lot of interests constraining the Iranian regime. [end]
—This is what happens when you take force off the table, a not very good deal, Richard Epstein argues (podcast).
—Noah Rothman notes that the Reagan’s 1987 INF treaty analogy doesn’t really hold-up to scrutiny:
‘The USSR is long gone, but the INF remains in place. Opponents of the Iran nuclear deal are advised to pay close attention to what that arrangement has become. It is no longer an arms control agreement but a political relic that serves little purpose but to shield from public scrutiny the extent to which Russia has become an irresponsible and revanchist international actor.’
This all strikes me as rather naive, leading to deep skepticism. The Left and Left-liberal internationalism, solidarity-seeking (plus great anti-colonial, anti-realist, anti-nationalist animus), the attendant progressive idealism and activism motivating the deal assume good faith, rational actors, robust ‘international institutions and oversight.’
How about discussion of the ‘purely democratic,’ bureaucratic, top-down control oriented way an activist might come to consolidate power for what are his minority interests in conducting foreign policy?
Where are this administration’s successes and accurate preparation for the possibility of Syrian chemical weapons and bitter civil war, Putin’s recalcitrance and trouble-making, Libya’s anarchy, most Israelis lived experience and the costs of IS’s expansion etc. ?:
Are the costs, trade-offs, lifted sanctions, delayed breakout times and downside risks properly being accounted for?