The White House’s political war on Iran deal opponents reconfigured the debate as a partisan issue, as Rhodes had planned. With the very notable exception of the Associated Press’ Matt Lee, most of Washington’s journalists, who are supposed to be the eyes and ears of the American people, actively helped them.
In the New York Times Magazine, Rhodes—and, by extension, the president he continues to work for—confessed to misleading the media, members of Congress, and the American people, all in service of a truly massive re-alignment of the nation’s interests and security.
Abandoning longtime allies while embracing states that have long been enemies is a massive strategic shift more momentous than what can ordinarily be explained as “foreign policy”; in a free society, it requires the assent of the American people. Like its manipulation of the Constitution’s treaty process, this White House subverted that assent to convince Americans that they live in a different, less dangerous world.
Operating as if we live in that different world, though, is a treacherous illusion. Some of the tangible results, not yet a year after the Iran deal: the consolidation of hard-liner power in Iran; the collapse of the ban on Iran’s testing of ballistic missile sales; the collapse of the arms control regimes preventing Iran from buying heavy weapons and missiles from Russia; Iran’s staging of multiple new ballistic missile tests; and, finally, that Iran has generated so much new enriched uranium, they’ve had to ship tons to Russia.