Loose Canons

Three Speeches and a Funeral

Obama and Rouhani spoke, but Netanyahu had the last word.

By 10.7.13

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Liberals and Third Worlders are eager to celebrate events that haven’t happened on the assumption that they will. After the speeches President Obama and Iranian President Rouhani gave at the UN the other week they are celebrating the new framework for peace and security in the Middle East that is supposed to erupt from an agreement between Obama and Rouhani.

Obama has spoken to Rouhani and both are evidently enthusiastic about reaching an agreement. But knowing Iran as we do -- and knowing Obama’s diplomatic strategy -- such an agreement will inevitably be one that bases the new framework on a nuclear-armed Iran that would dominate the Middle East and be able to do what it has often proclaimed its national ambition: the obliteration of Israel.

Rather than celebrate, it would be better to ask, can civilization survive such an Obama diplomatic triumph?

We know after almost five years of his presidency that Obama’s diplomatic strategy is to make concessions without obtaining anything of consequence from the adversary. You need only examine the terms of, for example, his strategic arms treaty with Russia to determine that. You could, if you really wanted redundant proofs, see what he’s negotiated with Putin on Syria, the new UN small arms treaty, and every other agreement Obama’s made.

But let’s not divert our reverie with facts. If a U.S.-Iran agreement comes to pass, liberals say, Obama will have succeeded where America has failed for three and a half decades. There’s even the likelihood, we are told, that Obama will settle the Sunni-Shiite feud that has kept much of Islam at war with itself since the 7th century. While he’s at it, he’ll also make peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians and probably patch up the crack in the Liberty Bell.

All that is necessary is to achieve the Pax Obama is a deal that verifies Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei’s alleged pledge to not build atomic weapons, as Washington Post columnist David Ignatius writes, with provisions that ensure against Iranian uranium enrichment past the point at which Iran can quickly produce a nuclear weapon.

All of this sounds so real, so easily achievable that it feeds the world’s endless appetite for wishful thinking. But standing against all this utopian dreaming are the facts. Facts that are undeniable, facts that anyone knows if they make an attempt to read or listen. All but one of those facts were presented to the UN last week by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Obama’s gauzy speech spoke of Iran’s right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes. He based his case for a peace agreement with Iran on the alleged Khamenei fatwa against development of nuclear weapons and Rouhani’s statement consistent with it. Netanyahu’s missing fact, according to Yigal Carmon, president of the Middle East Media Research Institute, is that there is no such fatwa.

The idea that there is one is a lie, a deception that Obama fell for head over heels and on which he is now betting the existence of Israel and any prospect for a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear problem. (I know Carmon, and how reliable MEMRI’s research and translations are. My book In the Words of Our Enemies could not have been published but for MEMRI’s work.)

Rouhani’s speech was, even more than Obama’s, a concatenation of false promises, counter-factual recitations, and smooth persuasion. That is, lies.

Rouhani ran down the path Vladimir Putin paved for him with the Syria agreement. Eager to take full advantage of Obama, Rouhani first tut-tutted about a world troubled by fear and answered his own worries by glomming on to Obama’s “new hope” mantra, saying that Iran has chosen peace and wants only peace, stability, and tranquility. Without naming America -- and with a wink to the rest of the Third World -- he blamed us (and Israel, also without naming it) for everything that’s gone wrong in the past fifty years or so.

Rouhani, president of the world’s principal sponsor of terrorism, called for the formation of “WAVE,” a new organization of the “World Against Violence and Extremism.” And, of course, he proclaimed that Iran’s peaceful intentions should relieve it of the UN economic sanctions.

Rouhani’s charm offensive left his UN audience in a smiling stupor. They loved it. Like Obama, they have already decided that whatever agreement can be made with Iran will promote peace. There are no criteria on which they will judge such an agreement. They will take anything and call it a victory.

It was left to Israel’s Netanyahu to clear away the fog that Obama and Rouhani created. He did so in a relatively short speech that fell on willfully deaf ears.

As a college professor might coax inattentive students, Netanyahu tried to get the world to pay attention to who Rouhani is and how his charm offensive offers the world nothing but the final step toward a nuclear-armed Iran. Netanyahu reminded us that Rouhani is just the messenger of Khamenei. Rouhani was one of six candidates that the ayatollahs permitted to run for the presidency. He is their faithful servant.

Khamenei and the other ayatollahs hold the messianic belief that an Islamic heaven on earth can be created by an apocalyptic event, of which a nuclear war is certainly one. They aren’t to be taken lightly when they promise America’s destruction (and Israel’s), as they have since they came to power in 1979. And they cannot be trusted to live up to any agreement that would bar their nuclear ambitions.

Netanyahu pointedly reminded us that Rouhani’s protestations of peaceful intent are belied by Iran’s actions, including those on Rouhani’s watch. In the role of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council leader from 1989-2003, Rouhani had to have approved terrorist attacks including those in Berlin, Buenos Aires. and the U.S. barracks at Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia. In 2003-2005 Rouhani was Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, successful in hiding Iran’s progress toward nuclear weapons with his lies.

Rouhani’s assurance that Iran never chose deceit and secrecy is the Iranian’s most fundamental lie. In 2002, Netanyahu reminded us, Iran was caught secretly building an underground uranium enrichment facility in Natanz. In 2009, it was caught building another, larger one in Qom. Why, Netanyahu asked, would Iran defy one UN resolution after another if its nuclear program were peaceful?

He asked why Iran -- if its nuclear program were peaceful -- would be developing ICBMs to deliver warheads. No nation does that to deliver conventional weapons. Iran’s uranium enrichment program continues as fast as Iran can manage it under Rouhani’s presidency. It now includes development of a heavy-water reactor to produce plutonium. (We know, from other sources, that Iran has been developing nuclear weapon trigger mechanisms as well as the technology to mate nuclear weapons to missiles.)

Netanyahu said, “…can diplomacy stop this threat? Well, the only diplomatic solution that would work is one that fully dismantles Iran's nuclear weapons program and prevents it from having one in the future.” But Iran -- driven by its messianic religion cum ideology -- will never agree to that.

Obama’s peace plan is to accept some agreement -- really any agreement -- with Iran that creates the perception that Iran has surrendered its nuclear program and relieves Iran of the economic sanctions. Based on Obama’s consistent record, we know he will agree to a deal that provides the perception of peace without attaching any conditions that would force the perception into reality.

To paraphrase Churchill after Munich, Obama is faced with the choice between war and dishonor. He’s sure to choose dishonor, because Iran won’t accept any verifiable limitation on its nuclear weapons program and Obama will let them get away with it. He -- and we, and Israel -- will have war anyway, probably nuclear war, because Iran will not delay or deprive itself of the products of its nuclear weapons program.

Netanyahu’s facts, not Obama’s wishful assumptions, should be the basis of American policy. But that will not happen. Israel is now left truly alone to face the threat of a nuclear Iran. If Netanyahu is bitter at that, he showed no sign. But he did make it clear that Israel will act alone if it has to.

Netanyahu said, “I want there to be no confusion on this point. Israel will not allow Iran to get nuclear weapons. If Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone. Yet, in standing alone, Israel will know that we will be defending many, many others.” If Israel attacks Iran, as it must, it will be fighting our war as much as its own.

After those three speeches, all that’s left are the funerals.

Photo: UPI

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About the Author
Jed Babbin served as a Deputy Undersecretary of Defense under George H.W. Bush. He is the author of several bestselling books including Inside the Asylum and In the Words of Our Enemies. He is coauthor (with Herbert London) of the new book The BDS War Against Israel. You can follow him on Twitter@jedbabbin.