President Obama’s former Iran adviser Dennis Ross has for well over a year been writing and speaking, trying to buck up the administration and warn it against the very sort of deal Obama openly says he is pursuing. Ross writes in USA Today:
Accepting the mantra that “no deal is better than a bad deal,” [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu offers the alternative of insisting on better terms and increasing the pressure on the Iranians until a more credible agreement is reached. He does not fear the Iranians walking away from the negotiating table because, in his words, they need the deal more than the U.S. and its partners.
While the Obama administration is unlikely to accept his argument that it should simply negotiate better and harder, it should not dismiss the concerns Netanyahu raises about the emerging deal. Indeed, the administration’s argument that there is no better alternative than the deal it is negotiating begs the question of whether the prospective agreement is acceptable.
The language is so restrained and, if you will, diplomatic that you might have missed the message. Here is the plain-language translation: Mr. President, he’s reminding you what you said and what the policy of your administration and the George W. Bush administration has been for more than a decade. You’ve trying to ram through a stinker of a deal that even your own advisers aren’t bothering to defend. Now you say any deal is better than no deal?!
Ross slyly asks the administration “to explain why the deal it is trying to conclude actually will prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons for the lifetime of the agreement and afterwards.” He knows the answer: It won’t. It explicitly permits a bomb by treating Iran after 10 years like any other nuclear power. No sanctions, no means of coercing compliance. But the inspectors! Oh, puleez. Ross says ever so nicely that “there should be an answer on how the verification regime is going to work to ensure that we can detect, even in a larger nuclear program, any Iranian violation of the agreement. The issue of verification is critical not just because Iran’s past clandestine nuclear efforts prove it cannot be trusted, but also because the administration has made a one-year break-out time the key measure of success of the agreement. But we can be certain that Iran will be one year away from being able to produce a bomb’s supply of weapons-grade uranium only if we can detect what they are doing when they do it.” This is a not-so-subtle reminder that even with sanctions in place, the Iranians have not come clean on past activities.
While Ross maintains his diplomatic demeanor (not the least because he will want a job if Hillary Clinton makes it to the Oval Office), I suspect that the Arab leaders are a whole lot more blunt. After Netanyahu’s devastating speech, Secretary of State John Kerry was forced to fly to the Middle East to reassure our Sunni allies, who about now are ready to put their order into Pakistan for their own bombs. The Wall Street Journal reports:
It isn’t just about Bibi.
The Israeli prime minister’s public confrontation with President Barack Obama over the U.S. administration’s pursuit of a nuclear bargain with Iran may have drawn all the spotlight this week. But America’s other key allies across the Middle East—such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates—are just as distraught, even if they lack the kind of lobbying platform that Benjamin Netanyahu was offered in Congress. . . . Trying to assuage such concerns, Secretary of State John Kerry flew Wednesday to Saudi Arabia. There, he is slated to discuss with King Salman and foreign ministers of other Gulf nations their worries that the nuclear deal may enable Iran to dominate the region.
Netanyahu is more forthright, so for now the Arab leaders don’t need to be. (Their reticence “doesn’t mean the disgruntled allies won’t start looking for ways to torpedo any U.S. opening to Iran—and for alternatives, including a nuclear option of their own, if that fails. Their dismay with the administration’s Iran policy—while not displayed as publicly as Mr. Netanyahu’s—is just as strong.”)
So, House Speaker John Boehner, since the Israeli prime minister’s speech was such a hit and so informative, maybe your next invitee could be the king of Jordan. He’s a great friend of the United States, and such an invite would be a great act of solidarity after the burning of the Jordanian pilot by by jihadists of the Islamic State. Come to think of it, you could draw an Arab ally’s name out of a hat and invite him to speak and there would not, I suggest, be daylight between that leader and Netanyahu when it comes to Iran. It is Obama and his dim-witted far-left flunkies in Congress (who are close to tears when the president’s incompetence and mendacity are revealed) who are isolated. Gosh, if the king of Jordan came, you’d need a pallet of tissues for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.