Three stories that collapsed under the weight of the evidence, three instances of the White House doggedly sticking to its policy line despite everything. This president’s resistance to events in the actual world of space and time is more than ideology, however. It’s also good politics: By refusing to concede the facts of the case, Obama is able to hold his base and stay on offense against his true adversaries: Republicans, conservatives, and Bibi Netanyahu.
And now we have the Iran story. Iran, the president says, will reduce its centrifuges, dilute its enriched uranium, open its nuclear sites to inspectors, and turn its fortified underground reactor into a “research” facility in exchange for sanctions relief. The only alternatives, Obama goes on, are bombing Iran or ending negotiations and re-imposing sanctions. “If, in fact, Prime Minister Netanyahu is looking for the most effective way to ensure Iran doesn’t get a nuclear weapon, this is the best option. And I believe our nuclear experts can confirm that.”
Sure they can. Though I believe other nuclear experts, such as Charles Duelfer, can also confirm that this agreement has major holes, such as the spotty effectiveness of inspections and the failure to get Iran to disclose fully the possible military dimensions of its nuclear program. And there’s always the tricky issue of sanctions relief: The United States says the process of lifting sanctions will be gradual and contingent on Iranian compliance, but Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif says it will be immediate.