Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
The hawks in Congress and the media have been jumping all over President Obama for the agreement the United States is working out with Iran on curtailment of its progress toward the capability to produce a nuclear bomb. Even stronger opposition came last week from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Bibi) in his address to Congress.
House Speaker John Boehner
John Boehner, speaker of the House of Representatives, invited Netanyahu to address the body, and he willingly agreed. It was a flagrant violation of protocol to go over the head of the president in recruiting a foreign head of state to make the case against the president’s policy, and was a new low in the shameful way that the Republican Congress, with both the House and Senate in the majority since the November elections, have behaved toward President Obama ever since he entered the Oval Office in February 2009. With their arrogant hold on power, they publicly humiliated him in a way no president in memory has had to face. Of 232 Democrats in the House, some 60 boycotted Netanyahu’s appearance. In this observer’s opinion, all of them should have stayed away.
On its face, the chief objection to the agreement with Iran would appear to have merit. The deal calls for a 10-year time period, after which it no longer would be in effect unless voluntarily. Then Iran could resume work on the bomb.
But cooler heads point out the emptiness of that argument. They say failure to negotiate a deal on limits to nuclear expansion, which would allow inspections on compliance, would be a green light for Iran to forge ahead with its nuclear weapons development.
Bush quashes deal
Ah, but the hawks say, the way to stop that is to increase economic sanctions on the country. These birds seem blind to history. Between 2003 and 2005, Iran’s practical president, Mohammad Khatami, worked with the European Union on a deal for limits and inspections in the nuclear program. The Bush administration vetoed it.
What happened next? As Washington Post/CNN columnist Fareed Zakaria pointed out Sunday, the sanctions failed to deter Iran and, with no inspections crimping it, went on a nuclear rampage, increasing its 164 centrifuges to 19,000, accumulating more than 17,000 pounds of enriched uranium gas, and ramping up construction of a heavy-water reactor in Arak for producing weapons-grade plutonium.
Dream, and they might come true
Netanyahu told Congress the United States should drop the deal under way and demand that Iran permanently abandon its nuclear program. China, Russia and Europe would then work in concert to tighten sanctions and increase pressure, resulting in Iran’s caving, the prime minister said. As Zakaria wrote, quoting Peter Pan, “Dreams do come true, if only we wish hard enough.”
Harvard University’s Graham Allison
On CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, Graham Allison of Harvard University, a leading expert on nuclear issues, declared that after the Bush veto of a deal to limit nuclear expansion, Iran’s time for capability of producing a bomb zoomed from 10 years to months. Ten years from now, without an agreement, the country would have 50,000 centrifuges, experts on the program said.
As the Iraq War loomed in 2002, Netanyahu predicted it would “have enormous positive reverberations on the region.” And we want to give credence to this guy?
What will our options be if sanctions are deepened but don’t check Iran on its road to a bomb? Only one: a U.S.-led war. Nobody wants that – except … You guessed it. Benjamin Netanyahu.