Thursday, July 16, 2015

How I learned to stop worrying and love Iran

“The truth of the matter is that Iran will be and should be a regional power.” –President Obama, July 15, 2015

The Iran deal (we can’t call it a treaty because treaties have to be approved by Congress) trades regional hegemony to Iran for a weak nuclear inspection and sanctions apparatus. Negotiating from a position of weakness, leading from behind, as is post-America Obama’s wont, wasn’t going to succeed in pressuring Iran to abandon becoming a nuclear power. So rather than fail at that, he succeeded at achieving something worse.

Obama and Kerry’s long-term gamble is that a stronger Iran will be chastened by sitting at the big boys’ table, grows up, and uses its influence to stabilize the region. It’s a hopeful deal, not a wise one, because Iran itself is a force for destabilization. They sponsor Hamas, Hezbollah, and at one time the Iraq insurgency. What will enhanced international credibility give them that they’ve willfully sacrificed until now?

Sure, they’re a check against the horrific, evil ISIS, but remember ISIS was a foreseeable result of our disengagement from Iraq. We were a check on nascent Muslim militias, as well as on Iran, when we were in Iraq. We wouldn’t have to strengthen Iran to degrade ISIS had we not mistakenly followed liberals advice to leave Iraq, leaving a power vacuum that allowed ISIS to thrive in the first place. Where’s Saddam Hussein when you need him?

The worst part of the deal is it strengthens Russia and China, who are already in a superior position to project power in Europe and the Pacific, respectively. Iran will not use its growing influence to support Western interests because we have been the enemy for so long, recent concessions notwithstanding. Iran is more likely to stand with its friends Russia and China when it really counts.

Finally, what a coup for Iran’s mullah-ocracy! In 2009 they were on the ropes. The spotlight was on their filthy, Islamofascist regime after Ahmadinejad’s reelection. The right assurances, the right backing could have toppled the mullahs. Now Iran’s on the brink of American-backed regional hegemony. What a difference 6 years makes.

Contrast that to our reaction to Egypt’s revolution a year later, in which we accepted an ally’s ouster as a foregone conclusion. We supported an attempted populist coup in Honduras by outgoing president Manuel Zelaya, not to mention formally recognized the Communist dictatorship in Cuba. It seems since Obama became president that we’ve completely flipped on how we deal with our allies and enemies. The Iran deal is the starkest proof of that.

Further reading: “Here’s what’s really wrong with the Iran deal” by Robert Satloff.

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