Why Is the Administration So Credulous About Iran?
“Wary” is my word of 2014 so far. On front after front, we, the American public, are being asked to accept on faith that the big changes afoot will lead to good outcomes, despite ominous indicators. The State of the Union Address might as well begin with John Williams’ Jaws theme.
It’s full speed ahead on the individual mandate despite the headaches and messes so far. Full speed ahead for the employer mandate in 2015, despite the fear that some employers will prefer to pay the fine and dump their employees into the exchange. We’re told expanding Medicaid won’t leave state governments or federal taxpayers on the hook for much higher costs of providing medical care. We’re assured that raising the minimum wage to $10 per hour will help all the low-income workers and won’t slow down already sluggish hiring, and we won’t notice the price hikes at the cash register. Let’s leave Iraq to sort out its own troubles. Let’s get out of Afghanistan. “Trust us,” they say.
And oh, by the way, the Iranians say they’re giving up their nuclear weapons.
Now, we know these guys. We know these guys from taking over our embassy from 1979. We know these guys from the Khobar Towers attack. We know these guys from our recent State Department report on terrorism:
Despite its pledge to support the stabilization of Iraq, in 2011 Iran continued to provide lethal support — including weapons, training, funding, and guidance — to Iraqi Shia militant groups that targeted U.S. and Iraqi forces. Iran also continued to provide weapons, training, and funding to Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups, including Palestine Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command. Since the end of the 2006 Israeli- Hizballah conflict, Iran has provided significant quantities of weaponry and funding to Hizballah, in direct violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701.
In 2011, the United States discovered that elements of the Iranian regime had conceived and funded a plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the United States in Washington D.C. Mansour Arbabsiar, an Iranian-born U.S. dual-national working on behalf of the IRGC-QF, was arrested in September 2011 for his role in the plot; also indicted in the case was an IRGC-QF officer who remains at large. Arbabsiar held several meetings with an associate whom Iranian officials believed was a narcotics cartel member. This associate, in fact, was a confidential source for U.S. law enforcement. The thwarted plot underscored anew Iran’s interest in using international terrorism — including in the United States — to further its foreign policy goals.
Qods Force provided training to the Taliban in Afghanistan on small unit tactics, small arms, explosives, and indirect fire weapons, such as mortars, artillery, and rockets. Since 2006, Iran has arranged arms shipments to select Taliban members, including small arms and associated ammunition, rocket propelled grenades, mortar rounds, 107mm rockets, and plastic explosives. Iran has shipped a large number of weapons to Kandahar, Afghanistan, in particular, aiming to increase its influence in this key province.
In 2011, Iran remained unwilling to bring to justice senior AQ (al-Qaeda) members it continued to detain, and refused to publicly identify those senior members in its custody. It also allowed AQ members to operate a core facilitation pipeline through Iranian territory, enabling AQ to carry funds and move facilitators and operatives to South Asia and elsewhere.
This is, arguably, the most ruthless, underhanded, amoral and dangerous regime in the world. (Maybe North Korea. I’ll take other nominations, but let’s face it, Iran is top three, even in a rebuilding year.)
Why would we think these guys are going to honor their word?
When the Iranians aren’t insisting that the deal guarantees their right to enrich uranium — contradicting John Kerry — and claiming that they have a secret side agreement with the U.S. — meaning either they’re lying, or our government is lying to us — they’re offering messages like this:
Here’s Jeffrey Goldberg’s pitch:
So why support negotiations? First: They just might work. I haven’t met many experts who put the chance of success at zero. Second: If the U.S. decides one day that it must destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities, it must do so with broad international support. The only way to build that support is to absolutely exhaust all other options. Which means pursuing, in a time-limited, sober-minded, but earnest and assiduous way, a peaceful settlement.
Er, really? That’s the best argument? Most experts put the chance of success at better than zero? Or we need to go through the motions to persuade the world we’re not warmongers? Look, the world’s opinion on our alleged warmongering has very little to do with our actual mongering of any wars. If we were “warmongers,” we wouldn’t have “led from behind” in Libya and Bashir Assad would be a red spot on Damascus rubble right now. Besides, the world’s usual suspects are going to call us “warmongers” no matter what we do.
Here’s the Israeli Defense Minister with a . . . different interpretation of what’s driving our foreign policy:
Ya’alon had lashed out at Kerry and savaged Washington-led peace talks in private conversations, according to a report Tuesday in the Yedioth Ahronoth daily. The paper recounted the defense minister lambasting the proposed security arrangements drawn up by Kerry as part of his peace proposal, saying it was “not worth the paper it is printed on” and would not provide security for Israel.
The report also quoted Ya’alon calling Kerry “inexplicably obsessive” and “messianic” in his efforts to coax the two sides into a peace agreement. The defense minister reportedly said Kerry has “nothing to teach me about the conflict with the Palestinians. All that can ‘save us’ is for John Kerry to win a Nobel Prize and leave us in peace.”
Legacy time, baby! Time to reach out to the world’s worst and get their signatures on the dotted line, because nobody ever garnered a reputation for being a peacemaker by warily assessing their foes.