Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Why we should keep the Iran nuclear deal

In his Sunday opinion column in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Jay Bookman explained very clearly why it is essential that we remain part of the Iran nuclear agreement.   He began with the jarring juxtaposition of:  (1) Secretary of State' Rex Tillerson's formal report to Congress, attesting to the fact that Iran is "fully honoring all of its commitments" in the deal;  and (2) Tillerson's press conference hours later in which he denounced this same deal as "a failure."

Yes, I know that's confusing.   But here's the thing.  From the Trump Team's point of view, anything that fails to achieve the objective of a non-nuclear Iran, both now and in the future, is a failure.    So, Iran may be fulfilling all its commitments required by the agreement;  but the agreement does not guarantee that Iran can never become a nuclear power.  It buys about ten years of time, at best.

We knew that at the time.   President Obama knew that.  Russia, China, Germany, the U.K., France and the other allied nations that were part of the multinational negotiating team, knew that.  But it was the best deal that could be obtained.  That's what grandstanding opponents, like Trump and most Republicans, fail to acknowledge.   Here's how Jay Bookman answers them:
"If we want to guarantee that Iran never seeks nuclear weapons . . . .  We have to go to war, topple their government, install a client ruler and then occupy a nation of 80 million angry people for decades.  If there is any other way of accomplishing those goals, the Trump administration has not yet articulated them."
Bookman likens the tactics of the opponents to attacks on the Affordable Care Act:
   1.  "You spend years attacking and belittling a policy as completely unacceptable, to the point that you have invested your entire credibility in its dismantling."
   2.  "However, when finally given the chance to undo the policy in question, you find yourself unable to propose a better alternative. . . ."
   3.  Unable to reverse the policy, but also unwilling to accept its continuance, you then engage in a less-than-subtle effort to undermine it. . . . even though . . . you still have no idea how to handle the fallout should your sabotage effort succeed."

What are the consequences, if we withdraw from the deal?   Listen to Bookman again:
"And if we break the deal with Iran, after it surrendered 98 percent of its low-enriched uranium and all of its medium-enriched uranium, and after it rendered its heavy-water reactor unusable for weapons work, what possible motive would North Korea have to negotiate the peaceful surrender of its own nuclear program?"
Add to that two more consequences:   (1)  The world would (rightly) blame us as the bad guys who scuttled the deterrence;  and (2)  We would have betrayed our allies, as well.  Why would they ever again trust us or participate in other globally necessary agreements?   The same can be said for the Paris Climate Agreement, if we pull out of that.


No comments:

Post a Comment