Liberty Expose: The Iran Deal Was Doomed From Inception
The Iran Deal was diplomatic malpractice of the highest order; it was predicated on the false notions that Iran will join the community of nations if only shown the light of prosperity. It assumes that the regime would spend its newfound wealth on the Iranian people, and not to promote Iranian hegemony throughout the Middle East. It places trust in a group of people the West likes to call “moderate” yet time and time again, these “moderates” have either proven to not be moderate at all or to have no control over the so-called hardliners.
It does not solve a problem of a nuclear Iran, rather, it kicks it down the road so future generations would have to deal with an Iran in a more powerful negotiating position. How virtuous. It was only supported by 21% of the American people, and sold through an orchestrated media campaign. One could study the Iran Deal for a century and still never understand why so many believed it was a good idea. There have been many broader arguments in support for the American withdrawal, and you can read a good one by Bret Stephens of the New York Times here.
Let’s instead focus on one particular aspect of the Deal: how it came into existence. Critics of President Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Deal say that the incoherence will lead to a lack of American credibility in the world. Ben Rhodes, the Deputy National Security Advisor responsible for getting the press on board, tweeted “Beyond the potentially catastrophic consequences with Iran, Trump’s decision is devastating to U.S. credibility globally. After this, why would anyone trust an international agreement that the U.S. negotiates?”
There is some truth to this. In international relations, where trust is almost non-existent, why should other nations put faith in the U.S. when we back out of international agreements? In the global community, the only currency is competence. Nations that go back on their words are nations that do not fare well in the international arena. This is another reason why the Iran Deal was terrible.
You might notice the term “international agreement” thrown around instead of “treaty.” That’s because the Iran Deal was not a treaty, despite what some of the more partisan and ill-informed amongst us might say. Treaties require consent of the Senate. That did not happen. What President Obama did was essentially use an executive order to sign a deal with a regime that holds more disdain for America than any other regime on the planet. Though not a perfect analogy, it would be like President Trump going behind the backs of the Senate to significantly ease pressure off Vladimir Putin – a done so deplorable American approval.
Indeed, one of the selling points for the Iran Deal is that the president, whether it be President Obama or a future administration, could pull out whenever the president deems it necessary. In this respect, President Trump did exactly what the strongest selling point was.
Think about the irresponsibility shown towards American allies and adversaries alike. The most powerful countries in the world participated in the negotiations: the U.K., France, Germany, Russia, and China. We made a deal with them that could be swept away with the stroke of a disapproving president’s pen. That is the result of going over the heads of the American people and placing blind faith in the next administration.
This is the sobering aspect of the imperial presidency that partisans seem to forget: power is temporary. One party may dominate the government one year, then lose it all the next. As it turns out, the pen and the phone will eventually go to someone you may not like. This is not just a foreign affairs issue so much as it is a federalism issue. American political culture has evolved to the point to where policies that should be concrete change with the administration. More permanent policies taken up by Congress, or heaven forbid, state legislatures, has fallen out of fashion. If politics seems to be “broken,” as many believe it is, it might be because the American political order is running contrary to its design.
Just because America withdrew from the Iran Deal does not mean it could not have been handled in a more strategic manner. As with many things with this administration and the president who leads it, when on occasion something positive does happen, it is delivered in the most chaotic fashion possible. The optimal outcome would have been a united diplomatic assault to reapply pressure on Iran. It would be a one in which American allies were notified of a common policy toward Iran, not one that will evolve over times, as it is now. The State Department is still in chaos and needs to be reformed, so the likelihood of a united strategy is not high.
Aside from the lack of coherence and organization, this is a step forward. Hopefully, pressure can be reapplied to the Iranian regime and its adventurism throughout the Middle East can be curved. Above all, this Deal and how it was handled provides a good moral for future administrations: don’t go over the heads of a disproving Congress and people. You might have your legacy washed away.