Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
While we try to figure out Russia’s intentions for Ukraine, Iran is getting closer to a deal that will leave it a nuclear power. Discussions in Vienna are back on, and hopeful dispatches are sent out by Western diplomats. But given Iran’s maximalist demands, and the Biden administration’s fetish of “diplomatic engagement,” things aren’t looking good for the region’s stability.
Ever since Biden rejoined the talks to restart the deal Trump wisely walked away from, Iran has shown patent contempt for this country and its diplomats. Meanwhile, the advanced centrifuges keep spinning weapons-grade uranium. What else explains the arrogant, dismissive tone Iranian negotiators take with the U.S., particularly the demand that we lift punitive sanctions before the real talks begin? When Biden’s team restored the sanctions waivers on European nations, “Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian called it ‘good but insufficient’ on Sunday, while Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh went further, calling sanctions relief a ‘red line’ in the talks.”
You don’t need a degree in foreign relations to see what Iran’s game is––keep talking until they can present their bomb as a fait accompli. North Korea successfully played that game for 30 years. With Biden’s team so eager for a deal that they’ll stand for this contempt, no wonder Iran thinks they can pull off that scam once again. In fact, they’re even more confident now that Russia and China are playing big-brother to the regime. China’s money and oil purchases have taken the sting out of U.S. sanctions. So of course, Biden restores the waivers so Europeans, faced with mounting energy costs, can contribute to Iran’s fisc as well.
But this cringing approach to the world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism has characterized our response to Iran’s aggression from the beginning. Jimmy Carter set the tone with his tentative handling of the hostage crisis, allowing the new regime to humiliate a great power. The Soviets got the message, and invaded Afghanistan that same year. The kidnapped diplomats came home after Carter paid the Iranians danegeld, and lost the election to Ronald Reagan.
Reagan’s tenure, however, was a mixed bag. In 1983 Iranian-trained terrorists blew up 241 of our military personnel. While the French and the Israelis bombed terrorists in the Bekka Valley in retaliation for attacks on their diplomats and personnel, our troops were moved onto a ship offshore. Then there was the Iran-Contra scandal of 1984-86, in which the U.S. used Israeli middle-men to sell Iran advanced weapons, and then used the profits to arm the Contras in Nicaragua. No one seemed to get the moral hazard that comes from doing business with a regime that calls you the Great Satan and has declared war on you, and whose leader, the architect of the revolution, the Ayatollah Khomeini, proclaimed, “We shall export our revolution to the whole world. Until the cry ‘There is no god but Allah’ resounds over the whole world, there will be struggle,” i.e. jihad.
Towards the end of the Iran-Iraq war, however, Reagan showed the mullahs a glint of steel. When the Iranians tried to disrupt tanker traffic in the Persian Gulf, Reagan ordered severe punishment on its navy and terrorist units fighting from oil platforms. The Tanker War ended when Ronald Reagan retaliated for a missile attack on an American warship by eventually destroying two Iranian oil platforms, two Iranian ships, and six Iranian gunboats.
Yet since then, we have seldom called Iran’s bluff. Indeed, Barack Obama telegraphed his desperation for a “legacy” nuclear deal, and signed an agreement that not only put Iran on the glide-path to nuclear weapons, but ignored its development of missiles capable of delivering nuclear bombs. Nor was Iran’s malign adventurism, its sponsorship of terrorist gangs across the Middle East, on the table. Iran just pocketed those gains for free, along with pallets of cash. Obama gave the mullahs everything, and got nothing other than the feckless praise of the “rules-based international order” clerks who put “diplomatic engagement” ahead of our country’s security and interests.
Then came Donald Trump. He knew, as did many Americans, that as the Russian fable has it, “You don’t talk to wolves until you’ve skinned them.” He ditched the preemptive cringe our diplomats employ to show hardened, ruthless enemies that we are noble and civilized. He left the deal, recognizing it was inimical to our security and interests. He also took steps that the foreign policy mavens all declared would ignite a war. He moved our Israeli embassy to Jerusalem, killed Republican Guard hero Qassem Suleimani, and brokered agreements between Israel and four Muslim states. Any of these achievements were impossible to the professional diplomats, who run on old paradigms they return to over and over, no matter how many times they’ve shifted.
So of course, such achievement would not be allowed to stand. They by comparison made the “lightworker” Barack Obama look juvenile. The simulacrum of a president we call Joe Biden followed his handlers’ instructions regarding the Iran nuclear deal, which was their great success in “diplomatic engagement,” instead of recognizing the Munich-class disaster it was.
At this point, our negotiators––with whom the haughty Iranians won’t deal directly––seem eager for a deal no matter what. The Europeans want oil and trade with Iran, and if they have to sup with the devil to get it, so be it. The can will be kicked down the road yet again. An enemy of over forty years, with the blood of thousands of Americans on their hands, will end up with weapons of mass destruction.
Finally, this renewed deal will harm the interests and security of our allies in the region, especially Israel. Allowing Iran to get nuclear weapons will put the whole region in peril––if only because Israel’s history has taught them that when a lunatic says he wants to destroy your people, you’d better listen and not wait for him to try conclusions.
The “international community,” as we call it, has abused Israel since the day it was created. Israel, a liberal democracy that acknowledges human rights and rule by law, has had to face three invasions and endless terror attacks, with its every defensive move second-guessed by “new world order” globalists who find Israel’s patriotism and faith gauche.
Finally, if we leave it up to Israel alone to take action against Iran’s nukes, we will have besmirched our country’s history forever.