Get ready for the return of the Iran Deal

17 August 2020

1:36 AM

17 August 2020

1:36 AM

The Trump administration has the first successful foreign policy of any administration since that of George H.W. Bush. It must be stopped.

This, incredibly, is the message from the Democrats. And that, disastrously, is what will happen if Joe Biden wins the elections. Get ready for the revival of the failed foreign policy of the Obama administration, and brace yourself for the return of the Iran Deal.

Visionaries like Obama, Susan Rice and Ben Rhodes thought it would be smart to have the Muslim Brotherhood in charge of Egypt. They thought it would be strategic to smash up Libya because the French asked nicely. Obama reckoned he had ‘bonds of trust’ with Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, an Islamist and neo-Ottoman imperialist. And, most dangerously of all, the Obamanites were willing to do anything at all to secure an Iranian signature on the JCPOA (the ‘Iran Deal’).

At the time, Henry Kissinger described the Iran Deal as putting the mullahs on ‘a glide path’ to getting nuclear weapons. A better metaphor for the deal had already been supplied by John Kerry: same image, different glide path — the one Kerry took over the handlebars of his racing bike during the negotiations. That ended with a face-plant on a Swiss road and two broken wrists. And that is how the Iran Deal landed, too.

The deal sent pallets of cash and a mountain of credibility to the regime into Tehran. The regime responded to Obama’s feebleness and largesse by stepping up its campaign of imperial terrorism and redistributing the money to terrorists around the region and beyond.

The deal told America’s regional allies, the Israelis and the Gulf Arabs, that the US was not a serious global arbiter, and that it had no real foreign policy: only the projection overseas of unappealing aspects of its domestic politics, glib idealism and fickle partisanship.

The Obama administration didn’t dare to put the deal to Congress, or dignify it with the legal status of a treaty. The Obama administration didn’t need to: its real domestic constituency were the pro-Democratic media. They were happy to be primed with propaganda. ‘We created an echo chamber,’ Ben Rhodes foolishly boasted.

Thinking you can bribe your enemies as easily as you can bribe your representatives in Congress. Dropping your allies and clients for a regime that has made hatred of you a key principle of its rule for 40 years. Cheating the American people of their elected representation, then boasting about it. The mullahs call this sort of thing ‘imperial arrogance’ — and they’re right to.

Somehow, the Obama administration arrived at Middle East policies that were as vain and fantastical as those of the second Bush administration. The result was more of the same: the waste of Arab lives, the fracture of Arab states, the collapse of America’s moral and strategic standing, the strengthening of the anti-Western quasi-empires of Turkey and Iran.

Joe Biden now claims credit for the single success of this failed play, pushing Israel and the Gulf Arabs into a defensive alignment against Iran. At the same time, the Democrats and the left-wing media are claiming that the Israel-UAE breakthrough isn’t a breakthrough at all; that the Trump administration, the first to avoid foolish wars in decades, is perpetually about to press the button; and that Mike Pompeo, who inherited chaos and is building a stable 21st-century strategy, is somehow a threat to world peace. Meanwhile the Europeans, who complain that the Trump administration has left them exposed, continue to conspire with the Democrats, even if it means exposing themselves to Iranian missiles.

This week, there was a mass abstention when the UN Security Council voted on renewing sanctions on Iran’s weapons-related programs. This abstention from responsibility creates a diplomatic vacuum. If Biden wins in November, the Iran Deal will be dropped into this vacuum, and sold once more as the only alternative to war.

That will be untrue, as it was untrue in 2015. The Democrats are promoting false oppositions in foreign policy as in domestic life. We are told that Israel must either surrender or face ‘apartheid’, but the Israel-UAE deal proves that a middle path exists. We are told that everyone must surrender to Iran or face war, but appeasement makes war more likely. We are told that Trump means war and Biden means peace, but the truth is that it’s the Trump administration that has sought the realistic middle ground, and the Democrats that remain impenitent Wilsonians.

For the left to be right at all costs, the right must be wrong about everything. The Iran Deal is the quintessence of Democratic foreign policy failure. This is why the Trump administration’s realism and achievements must be mocked or annulled — and why the Deal must be restored at all costs. Those costs, of course, will not be passed on to the amateurish policy professionals in Washington or the professing amateurs of the press. They will be paid by the peoples of the Middle East and, sooner or later, American servicemen and women.

Dominic Green is Life & Arts editor of The Spectator US.

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