Thursday, July 23, 2015

Hillary's Iran Decision

Hillary Makes the Most Important Decision of Her Presidency
- Lee Smith

The truth is that wherever the Republican candidates profess to stand, none of them has the slightest practical influence over the Iran deal. The one and only presidential candidate who does is Hillary Clinton, who can crash the deal a year and a half before the 2016 election.

Sure, she already came out with a statement tentatively praising the deal, but with a vote in Congress due in the fall, she still has time to shape the results. If Clinton comes out against the deal, she will start a chain reaction in her own party, with Democrats on the Hill abandoning President Barack Obama’s signature foreign policy initiative like a sinking ship and joining Republicans in an overwhelming No.

If on the other hand Clinton says nothing, stays loyal to the president she served, and maintains party unity, the deal will almost certainly sail through Congress untouched.

Barring an Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear facilities...there are no more wild cards left in the great Iran debate. Everyone is locked in, except for Clinton.

Many Arabs aren’t happy about the deal, but what choice do they have? They know they’re not loved on Capitol Hill or by the American public, so they have little room for a public spat with a president they fear still might hurt them, even with only 15 months left in office. The way the Saudis see it, they’re not family like Israel is, so they’ll accommodate the White House and to a certain extent their Iranian rivals as well and wait to see what happens next.

The Israelis are unified in their opposition to the agreement. It’s not just Bibi who bellows that an Iranian bomb is an existential threat to the Jewish state—opposition leader Isaac Herzog also believes it’s a dangerous deal and intends to make his feelings known to U.S. congressmen and senators.

[I]t’s not easy to go against the head of your own party, who is enjoying a surge of popularity right now—especially when he threatens to run primary candidates against you as Obama is rumored to have threatened potential Democratic deal opponents. Some observers think this is Chuck Schumer’s big moment, but the reality is that if Schumer were going to go against the Iran deal, he’d have joined forces with Menendez long ago. Schumer knows there’s a heavy price to be paid within his own party for opposing the president and no price to be paid for going against Israel.

This of course is one of the great innovations of the Obama White House. They discovered that you can stick it to Israel and trot out anti-Semitic conceits to scare off potential critics in the pro-Israel community.

Clinton’s decision, meanwhile, isn’t really about Israel or the American Jewish community either. It’s about what kind of party—and what kind of country—she wants to lead.

If Clinton were to come out against the Iran deal, she’d give cover to all the Democrats on the Hill who don’t like the deal and don’t trust Obama—and who don’t want to have to explain to their constituents why they voted for an Iranian nuclear mushroom cloud in the desert, or somewhere worse. The Democratic Party would be able to escape being portrayed as the party that gave in to Iranian demands because it was so bedazzled by the promise of a second Nobel Peace Prize and the illusory hope of peace at any price. Consequently, the JCPOA would be resoundingly defeated, letting the Democrats slip the noose of Obama’s foreign policy failures, and stripping the Iranian nuclear weapons program of the international legitimacy granted by the deal.

It’s a no-brainer for Clinton, unless she wants to be the last one standing in a game of musical chairs and inherit an international order more dangerous than at any time since the Cold War.

The problem for Clinton in opposing the deal may be something closer to home—the threat that Obama will support a primary challenger to her and release those 30,000 emails from her private server that the White House has in its possession and is now presumably investigating. If she comes out against the Iran deal, the administration will leak something—or many things—capable of doing irreparable harm to her candidacy.

If Clinton comes out against the Iran deal, she might not get to be president. If she gives the deal her blessing, she’ll be wrestling for eight years with a tiger that her predecessor left on her doorstep and she brought in the door. Either way, Obama has booby-trapped Clinton’s White House.

Related UPDATE:

Saudi Press: We Must Have Military Nuke

Following the July 14 announcement of the Iran nuclear deal, the Saudi press has featured numerous articles openly calling for Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states to use the coming decade to develop their own military nuclear program, against the nuclear threat that they say Iran will constitute after the agreement expires.

For example, Dr. Hashem 'Abdu Hashem, columnist for the official Saudi daily Al-Riyadh, in his column "There Is No Alternative to the Option of a Nuclear Arms Race," wrote: "Just as Iran has opened the [nuclear] door wide, we must not delay in breaking [the nuclear door] down, with all necessary speed....We are facing a new reality, with no room for tiptoeing around the arms race issue.

The countries of the region must confer on how best to cooperate and coordinate on this vital issue, now that it has become the preferred option."
In addition, Saudi Arabia has in recent months taken practical steps to develop a civilian nuclear program, signing nuclear agreements with France, Russia, and South Korea, which include the establishment of civilian nuclear reactors in the kingdom. 


LHwrites said...

It’s funny how so many people see these things as black and white and those same people are the ones who saw everything else black-and-white that then chose the wrong solutions and created the awful mess they have today in the MidEast.
Netanyahu and Israel pretty much got everything they wanted in the Mideast. Except of course for the actual results they wanted. As we discussed here, Netanyahu was all for the Iraq invasion and promised it would usher in a peaceful and wonderful Mideast. You claimed Israel was less certain and pointed out that Iran was the real enemy, however when we examine the evidence there is very little to back up that assertion. Your fine blog and your opinion that Israel was keeping that stuff quiet and behind closed doors is not credible. Israel made no public statements or attempt to stop Netanyahu from making his ridiculous assertions to Congress about what a wonderful thing the Iraq war would be. Yes, they did know that Iran was the bigger threat. But Bush also know that Iraq’s people were unhappy and there is less dissension in Iran. Bush thought would be welcome in the streets of Iraq and we were not. But we know we won’t be welcome in the streets of Iran but that people might take up pitchforks and bayonets and fight us in the streets. Israel might not care about such a massacre but many people in the US and Europe would. So there will be no invasions of Iran until they actually develop a nuclear weapon and begin pointing it at Israel or really, anyone else.
Israel and Netanyahu got exactly what they wanted. Except of course they didn’t expect, as Bush didn’t, but scholars on the Mideast most assuredly did expect, that this would create an unstable and reckless Iraq that led to the empowerment of Iran and the creation of ISIS.
Now, in your fine blog and other venues you’ve pointed out that Obama should have left troops in Iraq. You leave out that Iraq didn’t want them, that they refused our conditions, and that after all, Iraq is now the sovereign nation we set out to create with Bush’s nationbuilding. And we can’t always dictate to other countries as much as the U.S. Congress and Israel would like to believe.
Of course, Congress and Netanyahu like to talk tough. But we know reality is a little different. Israel has not found it so easy to clean up against Hamas in the last decade; not like it used to be. When Congress was pushed to debate on Syria and Isis they cowered out, unlike the English Parliament. The only one doing anything to fix the Mideast and reverse bushes morass is Obama. The man who took at Osama bin Laden, who was taken out more Al Qaeda leaders than Bush’s wars and who has organized the only fight against ISIS.

Bruce said...

You're still fighting with Bush.
I suspect Hillary may oppose this deal. Hopefully, she'll have the guts to speak out. Dems have to be brave [hint].