A Hollow Victory

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“They should know that we have sustained a defeat without a war, the consequences of which will travel far with us along our road.”

– Sir Winston Churchill

Once again, Secretary of State John Kerry came home from Geneva this past Sunday, amidst a great deal of euphoria, boasting of an agreement between the P5 plus 1 nations and Iran that is scheduled to take effect on January 20th, saying, “As of that day, for the first time in almost a decade, Iran’s nuclear program will not be able to advance, and parts of it will be rolled back, while we start negotiating a comprehensive agreement to address the international community’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program.”

These triumphant words were over a signed agreement, the details of which are so fabulous that the Obama administration absolutely refuses to reveal them to journalists or the public at large.

This sense of triumphalism over the agreement has not been shared by most Americans. According to a Pew Research and USA Today Poll, (taken December 2nd through 9th), 43 percent of Americans disapprove of the deal, while only 32 percent approve of it.

However, the triumphalism is shared in Iran, where on Wednesday morning, President Rouhani spoke before a demonstration of throngs of thousands of ecstatic supporters, where he boasted, ‘Do you know what the Geneva agreement means? It means the surrender of great international powers against the nation of Iran.”

The Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister, Abbas Araqchi, told the country’s state-run television on Sunday, “We will in no way, never, dismantle our nuclear centrifuges.”

Yet they are getting an estimated 20 to 25 billion dollars in sanctions relief, plus an additional 8 billion dollars from the unfreezing of the assets that have been frozen in America since the 1979 Islamic revolution. There is a tremendous economic, psychological boost. Businesses from many regions in the world are flying into Tehran seeking new markets. The stock market in Tehran is soaring.

The Iranian mullahs are nothing, if not masters in cunning. They understand this American president, and its war-weary population.  They understand that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost the American taxpayer over 4 trillion dollars, and more importantly that over 4,400 American servicemen lost their lives in Iraq, and 2,108 in Afghanistan.

They know that President Obama repeatedly pledged that when it came to Iran’s nuclear program, “all options are on the table.”

The Iranians are very careful observers. They watched vigilantly when President Obama had vowed in a press conference on August 20, 2012:

“We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.”

Then on August 21, 2013 in Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, the unthinkable happened. At the hands of Syrian leader Bashir Assad, over 1,429 people, including 426 children were brutally gassed to death. Our television screens showed the ghastly images of rows and rows children lined up, some flinching and quaking in agony, screaming and writhing in pain, without bullet wounds or scars. It was obvious that these were victims of a chemical attack.

At which point, Secretary of State John Kerry took to the airwaves and made an impassioned plea. “A thug and a murderer like Assad is trying to get away with this,” Kerry said, adding, “We are the USA, the country that’s tried to honor a set of universal values around which we’ve organized our lives…This crime against conscience, this crime against humanity, this matters to us. It matters to us and who we are. It matters to leadership and our credibility in the world. It matters if nothing is done-if the world speaks out in condemnation, and nothing happens.”

And then, President Obama put his finger to the wind, and realized he did not have the support of the American people. He then decided to take it to Congress, and when he realized he did not have the votes in Congress for the authorization for the use of force, he did an interesting little international pirouette, and made Iran and Russia responsible for the disposal of their chemical weapons (which is about as responsible as letting two known pedophiles baby sit for your children).

Not only did that elevate the status of both of those countries’ international credibility, it sharply diminished ours. To make matters, worse, in a press conference in Stockholm, President Obama stated, “I did not set a red line. The world set a red line.”

The Iranian mullahs have been taking careful notes. They appreciate the fact that this administration is, despite the strong rhetoric, almost constitutionally adverse to any renewed military action. They also understand that the biting sanctions that had been put in place by the United States Congress and the international community were breaking their economy, although it had little or no impact on the nuclear program.

They realized that their former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s honest rhetoric about “wiping Israel off the map,” was serving to isolate them economically. So they allowed a pretty, fresh face to run, that of Hussein Rouhani. Of course, Mr. Rouhani had to be approved by the reigning mullahs. And it is hardly known that Mr. Rouhani was a close friend and confidant of both Ayatollah Khomeini and Ayatollah Khamenei, or that he had been part of the committee that had planned the attack on the Argentenian Jewish Center in 1994.

The overall Iranian objectives of regional and global hegemony and Shiite supremacy, let alone their genocidal intentions, have never diminished one iota. Their tactics, however, changed.

While running for office last May, Mr. Rouhani was interviewed on Iranian National television, in which he boasted about how, when he was chief negotiator for the Iranian nuclear program between 2003 and 2005, the Iranians went from 150 centrifuges to 1,750; that he introduced the yellowcake, and the heavy water plutonium enrichment facility in Arak.

When elected, papers such as The New York Times and the Washington Post wrote glowing editorials about him as a “reformer” and a “moderate.”  They failed to mention that the very day before Mr. Rouhani came to New York to embark upon his charm offensive, he spoke in front of a military parade where a fleet of trucks carried a convoy of Shahab II missiles that can easily reach Tel Aviv with the words in English, Farsi and Arabic, “Israel shall cease to exist.”

Mr. Rouhani came to the United Nations and delivered a speech on September 25th that seems reminiscent of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, or Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream Speech.”  Among the lovely words of Mr. Rouhani were phrases such as, “Nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction have no place in Iran’s security and defense doctrine, and contradict our fundamental religious and ethical convictions.” He expressed the hope of “universal acceptance by the people and the elite all across the globe of ‘yes’ to peace and ‘no’ to war, the hope of preference of dialogue to conflict, and moderation over extremism.”

Like offering candy to a baby, the trap had been eloquently set. Mr. Rouhani was speaking Mr. Obama’s language. Never one to distinguish reality from rhetoric, President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have done everything in their power to ignore the ominous signs coming out of Iran and have decided to proceed with a package of inducements, including the lifting of sanctions.

Meanwhile, none of us mere mortals are actually able to see what this agreement is that has been signed. According to an article on January 13th in the Los Angeles Times, Abbas Araqhi said that there is a 30-page side document or non-paper, where many significant details about how the deal is implemented are outlined.

The State Department of course vociferously denies the existence of the non-paper. When asked about the details of the agreement, State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf, said, “We will make the details available to Congress and the public as it becomes available.”

Of course the questions become: If we have already signed it, why is it not available? And, if it is such a good deal, why all the secrecy?

Secretary of State John Kerry was right when he said, “…This crime against humanity, this matters to us. It matters to leadership and our credibility in the world. It matters if nothing is done-if the world speaks out in condemnation, and nothing happens.”

Originally published at https://www.frontpagemag.com/2014/sarahnstern/a-hollow-victory/

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About the Author

Sarah Stern
Sarah Stern is founder and president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET).

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