Did I hallucinate the part of the deal that gives Iran the west’s blessing to start enriching uranium again in 15 years? And not just to enrich but to enrich with far more efficient technology, shrinking the “breakout” period to almost nothing? And not just that, but to arm up as the ballistic missile embargo is lifted in just eight years? Even if Iran shocks the world by not trying to cheat, they’ll be a mortal threat to Israel come 2030 at the latest. The idea that the deal “solves” that problem makes sense only if you think, as this guy does, that history will end on January 20, 2017. In fact, the way the 15-year timeline will operate in practice is as a ticking clock for American and Israeli weapons manufacturers to design something sophisticated enough to take out Iran’s enrichment facilities while somehow eliminating the radioactive contamination that a conventional military strike will cause. It’s a window for preemptive war. It’s almost unimaginable that Netanyahu or one of his successors won’t strike before the deal expires, precisely because it doesn’t solve the existential threat.
Obama can afford this rhetorical flourish, though. He’s routed the GOP and Democratic hawks in the political battle over the nuclear agreement, thanks to lefty supporters who threatened to primary Dem fencesitters in Congress while lefty opponents of the deal sat on their hands and threatened nothing. The latest argument being used to twist arms is that letting the GOP pass a resolution of disapproval over a filibuster and forcing Obama to veto it would undermine American credibility abroad because it would mean the president could no longer guarantee foreign powers when making deals with them that those deals will take effect in the United States. To which I say … yes, that’s the point of the Treaty Clause in Article II. If the president was supposed to have the power to singlehandedly ensure that the treaties he signs are implemented, there’d be nothing in there about the advice and consent of the Senate. In fact, the whole point of the Treaty Clause is to make sure that the president doesn’t try to negotiate any deals with foreign powers that he doesn’t have good reason to believe will appeal to two-thirds of the Senate. If he’s foolish enough to do so then he’s the one who’s undermined American credibility by brokering a deal that he has no reason to think will pass. But since O is the alpha and omega and only wingnuts care about stupid legal niceties like this anymore, somehow Congress is in the wrong here for demanding a say. Just like Netanyahu’s in the wrong for feeling jittery about Obama handing Iran a nuclear scimitar in exchange for a promise that they won’t use it for 15 years or so.
Speaking of which, another interesting soundbite from today’s interview:
“Those who support the deal have tried to stay focused on what we believe are the logical conclusions and facts, the nature of the deal and what alternatives are available,” Obama said during a White House webcast where he answered questions from the Jewish community about the agreement. “At no point have I ever suggested, for example, that somebody is a warmonger, meaning they want war.”
He certainly has suggested that. It’s been one of his side’s core messages throughout this fiasco, in fact, along with idly wondering whether Jewish legislators who oppose the deal might not have a little dual-loyalty problem with Israel. The only alternative to the deal is war, Democrats have told us repeatedly. Framed that way, what else is any critic of the deal but a “warmonger”? In fact, the lowest moment in this entire months-long episode was all about accusing O’s opponents of craving war with Iran. That was what Obama implied when he said Republicans were making “common cause” with the most hardcore fanatics in Iran in resisting the deal. The “common cause,” supposedly, is their mutual belligerence; Republicans want perpetual war and Iran’s nuttiest nuts welcome it as a way of exploiting the resulting anti-Americanism in Iran to consolidate their power. The “common cause” crack was about nothing more or less than Obama as peacemaker standing between two crazed opponents with the taste of blood on their lips. He’s anti-war — as long as you don’t think 15 years into the future.
And the punchline? Here’s what the White House press shop was up to today while Obama was assuring everyone that he doesn’t think opponents of the deal want war:
— Julie Davis (@juliehdavis) August 28, 2015
This guy and his team can’t even get their smears straight anymore.