Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.
Obama loves to play dress up. Sometimes he likes to play FDR, but his favorite costume is JFK. By claiming to be FDR or JFK, he convinces Democrats that he is part of a historical continuity, instead of a horrible aberration, and that he is doing exactly what FDR or JFK would do if they were alive today.
The costumes make Obama seem American instead of Un-American.
Now Obama put on his JFK costume to play the leader who believes in a “practical” and “attainable peace.” His analogy of the USSR to Iran is both terrible and telling.
Nuclear war was not averted because of arms control. The USSR, like Iran, cheated blatantly. Unlike Iran, its leaders weren’t crazy enough to want to see the world burn.
The same can’t be said of the Supreme Leader of Iran who chants “Death to America” and means it.
Treaties did not end the Cold War. The collapse of the USSR, under the pressure of its economic failures, did. Had Obama kept the sanctions in place, Iran’s regime might have also collapsed.
Instead Obama chose to bailout Iran’s regime to the tune of anywhere from 50 to 150 billion dollars; just as he spat on the legacy of JFK by bailing out Castro when the Cuban regime was on its last legs.
By talking about multilateral arms control and the USSR, Obama implicitly admits that this isn’t about preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, but about opening communications with the Mullahs.
His accusation that opponents of the deal are like those who want “to take military action against the Soviets” is dishonest after he had just admitted that even taking out Iran’s nuclear program would not lead to a war between Iran and the United States.
But Obama’s whole speech is a collection of lies.
He insists that the nuclear deal is “a detailed arrangement that permanently prohibits Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon”.
There’s nothing “permanent” about it. Even Obama admitted that by Year 13, “breakout times would have shrunk almost down to zero.” In the same speech in which he makes that claim, he admits (optimistically) that Iran might get a nuke in fifteen years. That’s not what permanent means.
Later he again insists that, “Iran is never allowed to build a nuclear weapon” and puffs up his chest and declares, “Let me repeat: The prohibition on Iran having a nuclear weapon is permanent.”
This sounds impressive to audiences at home, but it’s completely meaningless.
Iran is an NPT signatory so it was never allowed to build nuclear weapons to begin with. That hasn’t stopped it from trying to do so.
The deal will be as useless as the NPT when it comes to actually stopping Iran from going nuclear.
Obama and Kerry have tried to sell the deal by confusing existing international obligations and laws with an effective enforceable agreement. When Obama says that Iran is not allowed to build a nuke, that means as much as Kerry telling PBS that Iran is “not allowed” to use the sanctions relief to aid terrorists.
The 9/11 hijackers were also “not allowed” to fly planes into the World Trade Center.
In this speech, Obama admits that even though it’s “not allowed” to, Iran will use the money to fund terrorists and he has already admitted that Iran can go nuclear even though it’s “never allowed” to.
Both men are deliberately misleading audiences that aren’t well versed in lawyerly technicalities.
Obama claimed that the deal, which lets Iran build up its nuclear program, "cuts off all of Iran’s pathways to a bomb." In reality, the deal lets Iran conduct enrichment, run centrifuges and do everything but have official permission to nuke New York or Tel Aviv.
He already admitted that the breakout time drops to zero. If there were no pathway to a bomb, there would be no breakout time, let alone a breakout time of zero.
Obama insisted that the deal "contains the most comprehensive inspection and verification regime ever negotiated" when Iran has stated that not even Obama knows what its military site inspection arrangements with the IAEA will involve.
Essentially the real agreement has been outsourced to the IAEA based on secret side agreements that the Senate and that even the White House may not be privy to. And the IAEA’s director-general is already complaining that Iran is refusing access to nuclear scientists and military officers.
This deal maintains Iran’s nuclear program while promising that this time the IAEA will have more access for inspections than it did before, assuming Iran doesn’t break this agreement, like it broke the NPT.
Obama insists that if Iran goes back to defying the IAEA, as it has all these years, the sanctions will “snap back”. He even goes further, claiming that, “We won’t need the support of other members of the U.N. Security Council; America can trigger snapback on our own.” America can go to the Security Council. It can’t however restore the full set of sanctions now in place on its own. This is one of those cases where Obama is so deliberately misleading audiences that it’s downright criminal.
Since the facts aren’t on his side, Obama falls back to accusing critics of being warmongers who want to invade Iran just like they wanted to invade Iraq. Does that include his Secretary of State, who carried these negotiations, and who stated, “I was in favor of disarming Saddam Hussein, and I’m glad we did.”
Obama mentioned Iraq twelve times in his speech. He ominously warned that “Many of the same people who argued for the war in Iraq are now making the case against the Iran nuclear deal.”
Does that include Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden?
Obama speaks of ending “a mindset characterized by a preference for military action over diplomacy.” When he attacks George W. Bush as a warmonger who liked unilateral invasions, lying to Americans about the cost of war and imposing his will on “a part of the world with a profoundly different culture”, he forgets his illegal invasion of Libya, the murder of four Americans and the rise of ISIS in Libya.
But Obama isn’t just a liar, he’s also a hypocrite.
“The deal we'll accept is they end their nuclear program,” Obama said, during a presidential debate with Romney.
In this speech, he sneered at his own campaign promise, reframing the idea of dismantling Iran’s nuclear program, as coming from critics who are “are either ignorant of Iranian society, or they’re just not being straight with the American people”.
“Sanctions alone are not going to force Iran to completely dismantle all vestiges of its nuclear infrastructure,” Obama claims.
He seems to have forgotten how he boasted that, “The work that we’ve done with respect to sanctions now offers Iran a choice. They can take the diplomatic route and end their nuclear program or they will have to face a united world and a United States president, me, who said we’re not going to take any options off the table.”
The only options Obama won’t be taking off the table are surrendering and then lying about it.
This is exactly the type of rhetoric that he just now condemned as ignorant, dishonest and impossible to achieve. So was Obama being ignorant or dishonest then? Or is he being dishonest now?
Obama insists that we face a choice between diplomacy and war. As Churchill told Chamberlain, you can have both. “You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor, and you will have war.” Appeasement of an aggressive conqueror doesn’t prevent war. It makes it inevitable.
The Appeaser-in-Chief tells the audience that it shouldn’t overreact to the “hardliners chanting ‘Death to America’ who have been most opposed to the deal. They’re making common cause with the Republican caucus.”
These “hardliners” include the Supreme Leader of Iran. The man Obama has made common cause with.
While Obama never misses an opportunity to accuse Republican opponents of treason, when he isn’t accusing them of warmongering, he is the traitor. He has made common cause with those who chant, “Death to America.” And sometimes it’s hard not to wonder whether he agrees with them.
All Obama has to offer in this speech, and in every speech, is a selection of the same dishonest arguments that have been disproven even by his own allies in the Senate and in the media.
He’ll smugly repeat the same lies about Iran’s tiny military budget (the secret one is much bigger), about its “permanent” inability to get a bomb (until it does get one) and the sanctions that can snap back with a snap of his fingers, but will vanish the moment Congress votes down this deal.
There’s nothing new here and there’s nothing truthful here.
Even while Obama spins lies, Iran spins centrifuges. Even as he promises rigorous inspections, Iran covers up its nuclear activities at Parchin.
Obama has violated his own promises on Iran. He mocks the same arguments that he used to advance. He keeps talking about a military option when he won’t even stand up to Iran as it threatens American ships and helicopters, as it takes over Yemen and Iraq, And when in doubt, he begins bashing Bush without ever being honest about his own terrible legacy of military and political interventions.
It’s a petty performance from a man who likes to dress up as FDR and JFK, but who when it comes to Iran can’t even measure up to Jimmy Carter.