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The nuclear arms race is on

TOM BURGUM
Staff Columnist
burgum@lbknews.com

The Obama administration is a gift that keeps giving to anyone having to write opinion pieces about our government. There never seems to be a day goes by absent some new misstep or scandal that would make a suitable subject for a column.

Tuesday last week dawned with the news that Secretary of State John Kerry had finally led the Iranians to water and had induced them to drink. The five nations now have a treaty with the Iranians wherein Iran is pretty much guaranteed nuclear weapons in 10 years, or maybe a year if they get anxious and decide to cheat.

It’s a bit early to fully judge a lengthy, complex document but there is one very unmistakable warning sign. Clearly, the ability to verify Iranian compliance is paramount and the administration’s claim that Iran’s nuclear facilities can be inspected at any time is false.

UN inspectors can demand access to nuclear facilities on Iranian military sites but if Iran objects, such demands would first have to be approved by a joint commission composed of one member from each of the negotiating parties.  This process could take as many as 24 days, that is if a majority agree to the inspection.

Whatever else this is, it is not anywhere anytime inspections. Of course, after years of administration’s promises that inspections would take place anywhere anytime, on Tuesday, Mr. Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes, told CNN’s Erin Burnett, “We never sought anywhere anytime inspections.” Okay, I guess that’s alright then.

In short, there is no guarantee that there will be any meaningful verification. There will simply be more and more and more dispiriting negotiations with an Iranian government that routinely sponsors “death to Israel and death to the Great Satan” rallies in Tehran. (In case you‘re wondering, we are the Great Satan.) “There have been a lot of depressing lies from this administration and its friends,” according to Jim Geraghty in National Review Online, “ — ‘if you like your plan, you can keep your plan,’ ‘I didn’t call the Islamic State a ‘JV’ team“; ‘I believe marriage is between a man and a woman,’ – but the fact that the administration and its allies will lie to the public about an issue as important as Iran’s nuclear program is thoroughly dispiriting.”

The United States has the power bring Iran to real negotiations  and there was an alternative to what looks like an ill-advised agreement. The mullahs should have been told that there are several non-negotiable items: Stop supporting world wide terrorism, drop anti American propaganda, and acknowledge Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.

Forget Mr. Obama’s straw man military option. There would have been no need to invade Tehran and commit 300,000 or more American troops for a decade or more. Since Iran is, in fact, an enemy state − the mullahs proudly claim Iran was responsible for at least one-third of the American casualties in Iraq − our response could easily include financial dealings, trade, diplomacy, military intelligence, and even covert operations, if called for. At the same time they should be told that further development of intercontinental ballistic missiles is absolutely unacceptable as those would obviously be aimed at the Great Satan, they would need ICBM’s to strike Israel − that‘s us. We would not have to reveal our exact plans but it would be instructive to the Iranians if we assured them that a military option is not off the table.

Iranian leaders must harbor such a distain for the United States and our leaders. They certainly heard Mr. Obama when he declared that the Islamic State “has no place in the twenty-first century,” and when John Kerry opined that Russia’s invasion of another country belonged in the 19th Century and they likely understood that our leaders were channeling the progressive view of history: ever upward and onward toward the broad sunny uplands of justice and peace. I suspect Putin and his Iranian friends are still snickering about the reset button with Russia.

If you recall, during the negotiations last month, one of the top Iranian military commanders announced that as far as Iran is concerned, “erasing Israel off the map” is “nonnegotiable.” How would it be if Mr. Obama and Mr. Kerry occasionally moved them off one of their bottom lines rather than always abandoning our own?

Such distain have The Iranians have such distain for this country and its leaders, that they never ceased their drum beat insults. Iran’s foreign minister took time out from the negotiations to lay a wreath at the grave of Hezbollah commander, Imad Mugniyah, who orchestrated the 1983 attack that killed 241 Marines in Beirut. While Kerry was hailing what he called progress in the negotiations, Iranian officials continued their anti- American rhetoric, including “the American navy is one of our targets.”

Mr. Obama has long cited his opposition to nuclear proliferation but the treaty just signed almost guarantees a nuclear arms race in the Mideast. Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other gulf states have publicly signaled that they will seek nuclear arms if Iran succeeds in bamboozling the West and now that Iran has, the race is on.

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