“Open covenants, openly arrived at”
That whishing sound is Woodrow Wilson, for the nth time turning in his grave, as Pres. Obama defies the World War I president’s cardinal point in the search of “a permanent peace”.
The leaks picked up by visiting Congressmen to the UN International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna inform us that there are secret “protocols” to the announced agreement Obama has slipped through with the mullahs in Tehran. Like so much that has already been rationalized about the “deal”, some of our pseudo-sophisticate talking heads claim that is always the way with such undertakings.
But they add – although we are still not sure what they are exactly – these new secret dimensions add to a vague and failed effort to block Tehran from developing intercontinental weapons of mass destruction. That, we remind our readers, was the original intent announced so many times by members of the Obama Administration.
Instead, at best and we are giving everyone concerned the benefit of the doubt, we have an agreement that would permit Iran to have all the makings of a nuclear weapon and its delivery system to these very shores. But out of the goodness of their heart and a system of international inspection, they would not choose to actually make a weapon – at least for a decade or so.
It is hard to exaggerate the failings of this so-called agreement:
• There is a long history of the Tehran mullahs hiding developments from the international community. Especially when the UN IAEA has had lackluster chairmen, it has been ignorant of Tehran’s violations of its signature to non-proliferation agreements. In fact, our first knowledge of their uranium activities came to us from the Persian exile community, some 17 years after they had begun, not from the UN body.
• Despite their denials, by their own quotations, spokesmen for the Administration have contradicted their earlier claims that any agreement would leave the mullahs open to immediate inspection at any time. Under what purports to be the agreement – is this too covered by other secret protocols? – we would now get inspection rights after we asked them and gave them up to 24 days to destroy any evidence.
• What really upsets us, however, is all this talk of what happens a decade or more from now. Would anyone really try to make any prediction about the Middle East a few months from now, much less a few years, on the basis of what has gone passed us in the last few months, not to say years?
• Certainly by releasing the mullahs from the economic sanctions Washington so laboriously put together and the flood of trade, capital and technology which will now flow to them, Iran’s situation vis-à-vis the U.S. and its regional neighbors will be completely changed in a matter of months. To talk about “snap-back” sanctions which would be put into place if and when they were found to violating the terms of the “deal”, is equally ludicrous.
• Obama’s reliance on the UN is therefore in every sense nonsensical. Going there for an endorsement of the “deal” before the Congress has had a chance to examine it – with or without the newly discovered secret protocols – was an affront to the American people’s representatives. The UN imprimatur on the “deal” in no way strengthens it. Would the UN Security Council – given the Russian and Chinese veto over its long history of inadequacies in international emergencies – really act in the face of flagrant violations of the covenant the Five + 1 have now made with the mullahs under American leadership?
Remembering Wilson’s admonitions, which like so much the idealistic if largely unsuccessful President did not achieve at the end of The Great War, we may again be facing a terrible dilemma: Obama has made the prestige of the international organization now as part of the “deal” he has wangled with the mullahs. In addition to the domestic political calculations — particularly Democratic — Senators and Congressmen must make, they must also now decide if the American legislative branch is to take on a confrontation with the UN.
That smacks all too much of Wilson’s failure to persuade the U.S. even to accept membership much less the leadership of his proposal for international government, the League of Nations. And that, alas! contributed mightily to the long series of misadventures of the 1930s when American chose “isolationalism” and then “neutrality” and then, finally, plunged into World War II.
Just as Obama has led the U.S. and the rest of the world into this Iranian disaster, it now behooves the greatest statesmanship on the part of the Congress to retrieve any part of the situation for peace and stability.