By Robert Mann
We probably won’t attack Iran over its nascent nuclear program – not today, not next year, not the year after that. Israel probably won’t attack, either. Its leaders know the United States is loath to plunge into another Middle East conflict. The Israelis don’t want to go it alone and, at best, could retard Iran’s nuclear program by two years. Most of all, they surely understand that the consequences of a military strike are extremely high for the all-too-uncertain returns.
So, what’s left when war is a very unattractive option? Diplomacy, of course, which is exactly what President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and our allies have wisely employed.
The deal brokered in Geneva requires Iran to halt some nuclear activities. In exchange, the United States and its allies will allow about $7 billion in sanctions relief. The deal expires in six months, during which time the two sides hope to negotiate a permanent, comprehensive agreement.
“We’re testing diplomacy; we’re not resorting immediately to military conflict,” President Obama said. He has also noted, correctly, “Tough talk and bluster may be the easy thing to do politically, but it’s not the right thing for our security.”
Judging by the outcry on the right, you’d think Obama had committed treason.
“This is abject surrender by the United States,” John Bolton, George W. Bush’s former U.N. ambassador, thundered. Bolton believes Obama wants “to jerry-rig yet another argument to wield against Israel and its fateful decision whether or not to strike Iran.”
“This latest agreement,” columnist Cal Thomas laments, will “delay the inevitable need to confront Iran with force and will likely be seen by history as the Obama administration’s Munich.”
Spare us the Munich analogies. Such lazy comparisons cheapen the debate. And anyone who suggests we can destroy Iran’s nuclear program with an aerial bombardment also believed we’d be greeted as liberators in Iraq.
Speaking of Dick Cheney, the former vice president also seems to be rooting for a military strike. “I have trouble seeing how we’re going to achieve our objective short of that,” he said. “And I doubt very much that the diplomacy will be effective if there’s not the prospect that, if diplomacy fails, that we will, in fact, resort to military force.”
- Neocons let loose (msnbc.com)
- John Bolton: The Only Option in Iran Is War (motherjones.com)
- Iran deal: A lesson for the war hawks? (edition.cnn.com)