The big foreign policy story over the weekend was the Obama administration's agreement, along with five other nations, of a sweeping arms deal with Iran that involved Iran agreeing to a freeze of its nuclear program in exchange for relief from U.S. sanctions and the ability to sell some of its oil on the international market.
There's one small problem with the administration's deal: it just made war in the Middle East more, not less, likely.
The deal, as it stands now, is merely a temporary freeze. Iran is not dismantling its program, nor is it transferring its nuclear technology or nuclear materials out of Iran. It is merely stopping its nuclear program in its tracks ... if you believe that Iran is going to hold up its end of the bargain. Seventy-five years ago, four countries met in Munich, Germany to discuss peace and security in Europe. The Munich Pact has become infamous in the world of international relations and security as an act of appeasement toward a military power, subscribing to an uncompromising ideology, that threatened to disrupt the international order through belligerence and aggression. In that agreement, the European powers agreed to allow Germany to annex the Sudetenland and continue its policy of Lebensraum across Europe. At the time of the arrangement, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain infamously said "I believe it is peace in our time."
Less than a year later, the world was at war.
So too does this nuclear deal with Iran provide the Obama administration and the rest of the world with the idea that there is peace in our time, with no real evidence that Iran is at all interested in peace. Up to this time, Iran has had no interest in limiting its nuclear capability for any reason whatsoever, even when previous administrations have not ruled out the idea of force. There is no reason why Iran has now all of a sudden lost interest in abandoning its nuclear ambitions in order to come to an agreement with western powers. On the other hand Iran, like many totalitarian dictatorships, is interested in U.S. currency, U.S. commerce, and the capability of selling its oil internationally. Naturally the regime is interested in trying to obtain access to the international marketplace by hook or by crook.
Which of course makes us ask an important question: Do you really think Iran is freezing their nuclear weapons program? Has Iran really earned the trust of the free wold to assume that it will not be working in secret to advance its nuclear ambitions anyway, regardless of any deal? Do you really think that a nation which has been, just as an example, increasing its sponsorship of terrorism, really somebody who can be trusted with this type of nuclear deal?While those in the Obama administration think that the Iranian regime has earned that level of trust, those in Iran's neighborhood are reacting in a much different light:
In Israel: "The Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, on Sunday called the proposed nuclear agreement with Iran "an exceedingly bad deal", as he intensified his campaign to convince world powers to toughen terms ahead of fresh negotiations this week.
"To give the most dangerous regime of the 21st century the world's most dangerous weapons is a big, big mistake," he told CNN.
Netanyahu said the deal would leave Iran with 18,000 centrifuges to enrich uranium. "They are not giving up one centrifuge, not one," he said."We've been around for about 4,000 years, the Jewish people, and we are not about to let ayatollahs armed with nuclear weapons threaten that," he said. He said it was "no secret" that many Arab leaders held the same opinion."In Saudi Arabia: Mohammad bin Nawwaf, the Saudi ambassador to Britain, warned at the weekend that the kingdom would not "sit idly by" if Iran acquired a nuclear weapon.
According to the British Guardian, diplomats predict that the Saudis and their Gulf neighbors, especially the United Arab Emirates, may seek to obtain security guarantees from the U.S. in the event of a final agreement with Iran. Saudi Arabia has long signaled that it would also seek to acquire nuclear weapons – most likely from Pakistan – if Iran had them, noted the newspaper.
Israel, of course, has been down this road before. Israel bombed an Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981's Operation Opera and a Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007's Operation Orchard. In both strikes, Israel bombed nuclear reactors that had been build to provide nuclear materials for weaponization. In both instances, Israel acted on itsown to protect its national security interests. If Israel believes that their allies are falling asleep on the switch and that Iran is continuing with its nuclear programs, I have little doubt that Israel will take matters into its own hands and attack the Iranian nuclear program unilaterally.
Peace is a noble goal, when done appropriately and with an appropriate comprehension of the national interest of all parties involved. While it is a good thing for U.S. interests that Iran would freeze or being to dismantle its nuclear program, there is absolutely no reason to trust Iran in any temporary deal to freeze their program in exchange for sanctions and oil concessions. In six months, we will likely be much worse off than we are now because of one of two outcomes: Iran's nuclear program will be in even better shape given the influx of commerce from the reduction in sanctions; or one of Iran's neighbors will have engaged in a preventative strike on Iran's nuclear program, which raises the likelihood of an all out regional conflagration.
Either way, we could very well look back on this weekend's agreement in Vienna as another round of appeasement, and a Nuclear Munich is a bad policy for all sides involved...
--Brian GriffithsRed Maryland has strived to be the premier blog and radio network of conservative and Republican politics and ideas in the free state since 2007. Its posts appear regularly on baltimoresun.com.