Save 75% - Only $49.99 for 1 full year! digitalPLUS subscription offer ends 12/1
NewsOpinionOp-Eds

President Obama's Munich [Commentary]

IranIranian Nuclear TalksIsraelBarack ObamaJohn Kerry

Seeking to create an analogy with the deal the United States negotiated with Iran to supposedly limit further production of its centrifuges, Secretary of State John Kerry chose to recall disarmament agreements between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.

A better analogy would be the 1938 Munich Pact, which gave Hitler part of Czechoslovakia in the vain hope that war could be avoided. It is worth noting that several of the nations that were signatories in Munich — namely Germany, France and Britain — are also part of the current deal with Iran.

There is another flaw in Mr. Kerry's analysis. Deal or no deal, Iran says it will never stop enriching uranium. According to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, it is Iran's "inalienable right" to develop nuclear technology. This does not bode well for Israel, Iran's sworn enemy. Just days before this deeply flawed agreement was announced, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, described Israel as "the rabid dog of the region." Did Mr. Kerry and his U.S. negotiators confront this recalcitrance before signing off? I doubt it. This is not an auspicious beginning.

The New York Times reported that Hilik Bar, a member of Knesset for the Israel Labor Party, secretary general of the Labor Party and deputy speaker of the Knesset, wrote a letter to Secretary Kerry and Catherine Ashton, the European Union's top foreign policy official, urging them to "stand up against the dark, racist statements and incitement." Of course they did nothing of the kind, because reaching an agreement was apparently more important than confronting the reality of Iran's hatred toward Israel, especially in light of President Obama's falling approval numbers.

In exchange for Iran's promise to halt progress in its nuclear program, the United States agrees to unfreeze some of Iran's foreign assets and lift a few trade sanctions. The Washington Post quotes "officials" as saying Iran's "concessions" will "make it virtually impossible for Tehran to build a nuclear weapon without being detected." Anyone familiar with the history of the Middle East knows that subterfuge is a skill learned early.

Did the negotiators ask the Iranians if they've consulted Allah about this deal? If Iranian leaders claim to be doing the will of God, why would they tell infidel Western diplomats Iran intends to disobey Allah and not build nuclear weapons to be used against a nation — Israel — that Allah seemingly wants obliterated?

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rightly labeled the deal "a historic mistake." It isn't enough to halt progress on Iran's nuclear program. It must be dismantled. Israeli officials say they will spend the next six months — the duration of the interim agreement — trying to persuade the Obama administration and Israel's friends (the two are not always synonymous) to negotiate a deal that will roll back Iran's progress toward building a nuclear weapon.

The Anti-Defamation League has compiled a useful list of some of the anti-Semitic statements from Iran's leaders. They are worth reading to understand the intent and motivation of the Iranian leadership. It's more than just language. It is also about a political goal. Last May 24, Saeed Jalili, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator and leading presidential candidate said during a campaign event in Tehran: The goal of Iran and its allies is to "uproot capitalism, Zionism and Communism and promote the discourse of pure Islam in the world."

How does any nation negotiate with that?

History can be a great teacher if the "students" pay attention. Many things in the world have changed since the disastrous Munich Pact, but human nature never does. Tyrants respect an agreement only so long as it allows them to further their objectives. Munich only delayed the onset of World War II; it did not prevent it.

This latest agreement will similarly delay the inevitable need to confront Iran with force and will likely be seen by history as the Obama administration's Munich.

Cal Thomas is a syndicated columnist. He can be reached at tcaeditors@tribune.com.

To respond to this commentary, send an email to talkback@baltimoresun.com. Please include your name and contact information.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
IranIranian Nuclear TalksIsraelBarack ObamaJohn Kerry
  • Iran deal falls apart — again
    Iran deal falls apart — again

    Our view: Collapse of talks leaves at least some room for hope for a deal over the nation's nuclear program

  • Iran's mixed signals
    Iran's mixed signals

    Our view: 'Peace offensive' in nuclear talks could signal a desire for better relations with the West — or an effort to run out the clock in order to build a bomb

  • The nuclear deal with Iran [Editorial]
    The nuclear deal with Iran [Editorial]

    Our view: Agreement restricting Iran's nuclear program while releasing some assets is an historic first-step — but hardly a certain one

  • Chuck Hagel leaves Obama's war against war
    Chuck Hagel leaves Obama's war against war

     The surprising decision of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to leave his Pentagon post after only 21 months of service has been widely greeted as a combination of his frustration in the job and a conclusion at the White House that he turned out to be the wrong man...

  • Don't reduce city schools' capital funding
    Don't reduce city schools' capital funding

    Baltimore should be proud of its tremendous achievement to secure approximately $1 billion to fully rebuild and renovate up to 28 school buildings over the next 5 years — the first phase of the city schools' 21st Century Buildings program. This is the single largest investment in...

  • Giving thanks for ugly fruit
    Giving thanks for ugly fruit

    It was the last outing of our harvest season, and 500 pounds of apples lay before us in 25 bags. A group of nine harvesters from the Baltimore Orchard Project combed through the fruit trees for the last of the yield at this impeccably-kept orchard so we could give the fruit to those in need.

  • 'OUR Walmart' is a union front
    'OUR Walmart' is a union front

    The Friday after Thanksgiving, also known as Black Friday, is reliably one of the busiest shopping days of the year. And, just as reliably, you can expect a group called OUR Walmart, which is financed by the United Food and Commercial Workers union (UFCW), to attempt to disrupt the day with...

  • Cold War all over again?
    Cold War all over again?

    Reading the latest headlines transports me into my childhood, which was spent in a country that no longer exists. I grew up in St. Petersburg, then in the USSR, in the mid '70s and '80s. The Cold War was in full swing. The news stories that involve Russia now are almost identical to the ones...

Comments
Loading