Opinion: The Iran nuke deal and The Obamacare Conundrum

(AP)

“My number-one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran.”

— Donald Trump, March 21, 2016, in a speech to the

American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)

In a required report to Congress this week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson grudgingly certified that the Iran nuclear deal that candidate Donald Trump denounced as “the worst deal ever negotiated” is in fact working as designed, and that Iran is fully honoring all of its commitments.  Its nuclear weapons program that was once two or three months from producing a bomb remains absolutely dormant.

Given the challenges that we face at the moment with North Korea, that ought to have been welcome news. But of course it is not.

Immediately after submitting his report that the deal is working fine, Tillerson called a press conference to denounce it as a failure. He also announced that the United States was reviewing its continued participation in the seven-nation agreement, warning that “Iran’s nuclear ambitions are a grave risk to international peace and security.”

“The (Iran deal) fails to achieve the objective of a non-nuclear Iran; it only delays their goal of becoming a nuclear state,” Tillerson said in prepared remarks. “This deal represents the same failed approach of the past that brought us to the current imminent threat we face from North Korea. The Trump administration has no intention of passing the buck to a future administration on Iran.”

The crux of Tillerson’s objection is that the deal does not permanently guarantee that Iran will never seek nuclear weapons, and he’s right. It does not, and in fact cannot. Because it focuses solely on nuclear issues, it also allows Iran to continue to be a significant — but non-nuclear — pain in America’s butt, so to speak, frustrating U.S. policy goals in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and elsewhere in the region, including Israel.

But here’s what Tillerson didn’t say: If we make it our goal to guarantee that Iran never seeks nuclear weapons and that it becomes more pro-American in its foreign policy, then we have limited our options pretty severely. We have to go to war, invade their country, topple their government, install a client ruler and then occupy a nation of 80 million angry people for decades to come. If there is any other way of accomplishing those goals, no one in the Trump administration has yet articulated them.

And if the situation is beginning to seem oddly familiar, it should.  What we have here is, for lack of a better term, The Obamacare Conundrum in a foreign-policy environment.

As you know, The Obamacare Conundrum has three basic steps:

Step One — You spend years attacking and belittling a policy as completely unacceptable, to the point that you have invested your entire credibility in its dismantling.

Step Two — However, when finally given the chance to undo the policy in question, you find yourself unable to propose a better alternative. Of all the options available, the one you hated turns out to be the least objectionable.

Step Three — Unable to reverse the policy, but also unwilling to accept its continuance, you then engage in a less-than-subtle effort to undermine it. You do so even though Step Two remains valid: You still have no idea how to handle the fallout should your sabotage effort succeed.

In this specific iteration of The Obamacare Conundrum, Tillerson already admits that Iran is honoring all of its obligations and is taking no steps toward nuclear weaponry. As a result, if we break the deal, the United States of America, not Iran, will get the blame internationally. We, not Iran, will be the rogue nation, and the notion that other countries will then work with us on some even better deal is fantasy.

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 motivation would North Korea have to negotiate the peaceful surrender of its own nuclear program?

 

Reader Comments 0

1143 comments
AzaleaAnnie
AzaleaAnnie

Former presidents should be seldom seen and rarely heard.  


Bush 43 gave that courtesy to Obama 44..........we will see if Obama can handle being ex-president as well as Bush 43 and Jimmy Carter have done.  

Paul42
Paul42

We know Trump has zero grasp of history or issues.  We know he's swayed by the last person he talked to.  We know he has no context, no filters, no ability to assess.  A fact is whatever he thinks at the moment.  Fiction is not believing him because he says something.


Thanks, cons.  He's now alienating our ally South Korea at a time when he's escalating tensions with North Korea.

Vote for him and what's the worse that could happen?  You figuring it out, yet?

"Trump said last week that Chinese President Xi Jinping told him during their recent meeting that Korea was once part of China.

“[Xi] Then went into the history of China and Korea,” he recounted to the Wall Street Journal. “And you know, you’re talki
ng about thousands of years … and many wars. And Korea actually used to be a part of China.”

Trump’s remarks have become an issue in South Korea’s presidential election ahead of a May 9 vote."

http://thehill.com/policy/international/asia-pacific/329751-south-korea-to-trump-weve-never-been-part-of-china

Fl0ydLiberal
Fl0ydLiberal

I know I lived outside of the South for a few years, but doesn't Sessions' Southern accent sound like a parody of Southern accents?

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

@Fl0ydLiberal Well, if you lived in/visited Mobile, Alabama, you'd hear the thick southern accent that sounds like the parody. 


Go on! visit sometime! 

Paul42
Paul42

I think I may know why, moments after his State Department certified Iran was in compliance with the nuclear deal, Trump said "Iran is not living up to the spirit" of the deal.

Remember, Trump was a guy who would enter into contracts with others, then repeatedly stiff them the money he owed.  Didn't matter what the contract said, this was business, and in his business, it all got down to what you could get away with.

So why the deal was entered into was of no matter.  What was agreed to was of no matter.  What the other party is doing is of no matter.  In Trump's business world, which he has never left behind, it's all about what Trump thinks is too his advantage.

As Jay noted, good luck on getting any kind of an agreement with that lesson learned.  Cons, you still have not addressed that important part of the column.  Aren't you even going to try?

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@Paul42

 Cons, you still have not addressed that important part of the column.  Aren't you even going to try?

They will not.

THBAEOSATSQ.

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

@Paul42 @LogicalDude Jay had a good take on it too. 


Increase military spending while decreasing diplomatic spending?  That's a recipe for war. 

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

@Paul42 Yeah, Trump will make up stuff so he can attack Iran. 

He'll also see some red line that North Korea crosses so he can attack there too. 

Syria? Already attacked. 


So, when I predicted war if Trump got elected. 

Paul42
Paul42

@LogicalDude

I hope you are not correct.  But we seem to have returned to the time of 100 years ago when incompetent leaders mindlessly blundered into horribly brutal and costly wars.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

CORRECTION!

RW's blog was entitled "Dancing MADLY Backwards Through a Liberal Minefield"

How soon we forget.

I only witnessed him getting mad twice. 

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@gotalife @FIGMO2

It took his mind to get you back online here, Getalife.

Yours was probably foggy due to your frequent "opining".

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@FIGMO2

Is that blog still live? I do miss RW. We rarely agreed politically but enjoyed one another's banter, mostly.

gotalife
gotalife

Yup, he was a likable con with a pet rat.
 

Paul42
Paul42

@DownInAlbany There were 50 police officers involved in the investigation.  You're saying NO information from the immigrant community was necessary in solving the case?

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@Paul42 @DownInAlbany  I'm not sure.  The one thing that I DO know, is, this young lady died a senseless death at the hands of someone that should not have been in this country.  You and those that support sanctuary cities have blood on your hands.  And, it will never wash off.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@DownInAlbany

You do realize that you're falling prey to EXACTLY the same tactic used by Nazis to smear Jews, right?

Heading upstairs.

Mary
Mary

Renegade cities

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@DownInAlbany @Paul42  You and those that support sanctuary cities have blood on your hands.  And, it will never wash off. 

Oh - we're playing the "you are responsible for the behavior of a criminal" game, are we?  Supporting the concept of sanctuary cities makes any crime by an immigrant your responsibility?  Does that mean people who support the ready availability of firearms have the blood of 20 dead elementary school children on their hands?

gotalife
gotalife

I think trump is blowing up rw media.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@gotalife

You already said that.

Are you opining this early in the morning?

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@gotalife Its important.


He is still a young man with decades left to live.


And it helps if nothing else to act as a contrast to the buffoonery and incompetence we are seeing now.

Mary
Mary

Sure, BO did such a fantastic job bringing the country together.

Mary
Mary

Can you provide me with an example where he "turned red and blue to purple?"

honested
honested

Captain Beyond had a song a few decades ago that describes the chump administration........


Dancing Madly Backwards, On A Sea Of Air.......


Theme song for the first 100 days.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@honested

RW (the original)'s blog.

"Dancing Mindlessly Backwards Through A Liberal Minefield".

I remember it well.

RW was adept!

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@gotalife @FIGMO2 @honested

He wasn't heavily invested in either party.

It's what gave him his edge.

Did he not help you get back online here at the AJC.

You should be ashamed of yourself, Getalife.

Truly ashamed.