Hillary Clinton's Iran trap

Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have insisted that their agreement enhances Israel’s security. If they opened a secret channel to Iran, if they overrode Israeli concerns, if they dismissed the protests of Israel’s prime minister—well, they just knew better, that’s all. Some of their briefers even suggested that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s concern about the Iranian nuclear program were not sincere, that he was really concerned not to stop an Iranian bomb, but to sabotage an emerging Iranian-U.S. friendship. (You can see the impress of this briefing in a November 20 Tom Friedman column, which restates this very argument.)

If the deal proves less than a resounding success, we may hear more of this line of argument: a denigration of critics of the deal as people not worth listening to. Awkwardly for Clinton, those critics may number more and more of the people whose support brought her as far as she has come.

We’ll also hear more of the backstory of how the Geneva deal was made: of the quiet relaxation of sanctions enforcement in the second half of 2013, as reported by Eli Lake and Josh Rogin in The Daily Beast earlier this month; and of the administration’s arguments in Congress against additional sanctions all this fall.

By then, of course, Clinton will be repositioning herself as a tough-on-Iran realist.