Republicans “drove the car in the ditch … and now they want the keys back.”
For years, President Barack Obama would trot out this analogy to attack his rivals’ fecklessness and obstructionism. How could the very same people who got us into the financial crisis lecture those who were getting us out of it?
Well, after driving the United States into a foreign-policy wreck, it’s time for former members of the Obama administration to ask themselves the same question.
According to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel has recovered documents that demonstrate Iran is seeking nuclear weapons. These clandestine plans for five 10-kiloton nuclear warheads were hidden and stored by Iran while it was developing a ballistic-missile program that would be able to carry them to Tel Aviv.
So not only did the United States end up saving the Islamic Republic from economic ruin with the Iran deal, it allowed the nation to solidify its foothold in Syria and strengthen its terrorist proxy Hezbollah. And not only did the Obama administration allow a humanitarian disaster to unfold in Syria while it was placating Russia to save the deal, it destroyed a sanctions program that was working.
On top of that, we also now know that the Iran deal was sold to the American public in bad faith. Yet, even after these revelations came to light, the former Obama aides who established a media echo chamber meant to silence critics and mislead citizens were still taunting and whining from sidelines, offering one bizarre justification after the next to continue the charade.
Tommy Vietor, former spokesman for Obama’s National Security Council, defended the Iran deal by making the bewildering accusation that President Trump was “cooking up intel with the Israelis” to start a war.
Now, it’s worth noting that accusations of Jewish warmongering were also thrown around by Iran-deal advocates during the lead-up to the deal, prompting a condemnation from the Simon Wiesenthal Center. This kind of vitriolic rhetoric is reserved for Israel’s allies but never for the theocratic Holocaust-denying state-sponsor of terror housing plans for a nuclear arsenal.
Moreover, though intelligence is rarely a sure thing, the idea that Mossad “cooked up” documents of the Iranian nuclear plan seems rather implausible considering Israel is sharing all of them with participants of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and the International Atomic Energy Agency.
A more prevalent position among Iran-deal fans is to simply pretend the Iranian documents do not matter.
“There is literally nothing new here,” claims arms-control expert Jeffrey Lewis. But there’s plenty new.
When Diplomacy Works and other Iran-deal proponents were selling us the deal, one of the most popular talking points was to claim that the deal would be contingent on the Islamic Republic agreeing not to “attempt to design, pursue, build or otherwise seek a nuclear weapon,” any of which “would be an explicit and detectable violation of the agreement.”
Believe it or not, you don’t have to be a foreign-policy expert to understand that hiding a giant cache of secret documents with instructions on how to jumpstart a program to build a nuclear arsenal undermines both the spirit and purpose of a nonproliferation agreement. It’s the definition of attempting to design, pursue, build or otherwise seek a nuclear weapon.
Lewis wasn’t alone. Ben Rhodes, perhaps the leading booster of the Iran deal within the Obama administration, argued that “by reminding everyone of the well-known pre-Iran Deal history, Netanyahu inadvertently made the case for why the Iran Deal needs to stay in place.”
If these documents are so well known, why didn’t Rhodes or anyone in the administration ever mention them? Where is the interview or the statement by the former president or by then-Secretary of State John Kerry letting Americans know that Iranians were in possession of hundreds of thousands of documents and plans that would allow Iran to quickly weaponize? Did the administration know and not let the American people in on the secret?
“What this means is the deal was not constructed on a foundation of good faith or transparency,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently noted. “It was built on Iran’s lies.”
Indeed. But let’s not forget that it was not only Iran but the Obama administration echo chamber that sold the deal in bad faith. Now it will be Pompeo, John Bolton and Donald Trump who have to get the United States out of a ditch.
David Harsanyi is a syndicated columnist and senior editor at The Federalist.
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