The fatal flaw of Obama’s appeasement of Iran
Shoula Romano Horing/Ynetnews /Published: 10.16.14/ Israel Opinion
Op-ed: US president seems to have made up his mind that normalizing ties with Tehran is an even more important American interest than preventing a nuclear Iran.
The New York Times reports that the Obama administration has retreated from its longstanding demand that Iran dismantles its nuclear centrifuges, and instead seems to be willing to agree that Iran will simply disconnect some centrifuges.
In plain English, this means that US President Barack Obama has agreed to let Iran keep its nuclear enrichment capacity and in exchange received nothing. The Iranians can in a short time reconnect the centrifuges and resume their progress towards a nuclear weapon whenever they wish.
This latest concession follows many other one-sided US concessions since the beginning of the negotiations with Iran. This is illogical and flabbergasting when one remembers that the US began the nuclear negotiations from a position of strength and leverage after Iran was brought to its knees economically and only came to the negotiating table due in large measure to the crippling economic sanctions drafted by Senators Mark Kirk and Robert Menendez.
On September 27, it became clear why the US has acted so weakly and eager to make concessions throughout the negotiations and the reasoning behind this calculated appeasement.
Philip Gordon, the White house coordinator for the Middle East said in a speech to the National Iranian American Council that “a nuclear agreement could begin a multi- generational process that could lead to a new relationship between our countries (Iran and US)” and that “Iran could begin to reduce tensions with its neighbors and return to its rightful place in the community of nations.”
While the US, at the beginning of the nuclear talks between the major powers and Iran, were adamant that the only relief Iran should expect from any deal was the removal of sanctions, Gordon’s characterization of a nuclear deal as part of a normalization process and not an end in itself revealed a major strategic shift in Obama’s policy.
It seems that Barack Obama has made up his mind that normalizing ties with Iran is an even more important American interest than preventing a nuclear Iran. Apparently, the president believes that he is the one who can civilize Iran and reason with them about weaponizing their nuclear program if only he has cordial relations with Iran and facilitate their re-entry into a community of civilized nations.
Such a naive belief is historically reminiscent of the fatal flaw in the appeasement policy of British Prime Minister Chamberlain toward Nazi Germany.
On October 5, 1938, during a debate about the Munich agreement which Chamberlain signed with Hitler, Winston Churchill told the House of Commons about what he believed was the fatal flaw in the policy of Britain’s appeasement of Nazi Germany, stating that “the prime minster (Chamberlain) desires to see cordial relations between the country and Germany. There is no difficulty at all in having cordial relations with the German People. Our hearts go out to them. But they have no power. You must have diplomatic and correct relations but there can never be friendship between British democracy and the Nazi power, that power which spurns Christian ethics, which cheers its onward course …… which vaunts the spirit of aggression and conquest, which derives strength and perverted pleasure from persecution and uses, as we have seen, with pitiless brutality the threat of murderous force. That power cannot ever be, the trusted friend of the British democracy.”
Similarly, there can never be renewed ties between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the leader of the free world. Just as with the Germans in Churchill’s time, there is no difficulty in having a cordial relationship with the Iranian people. Our hearts go out to them but they have no power.
Inside Iran, in the time since the so-called moderate Hassan Rouhani became president, roughly 1,000 Iranians have been executed without any due process. Two weeks ago, Ahmed Shaheed, the UN’s special investigator on human rights in Iran, released a report detailing multiple cases of torture, rape, electroshock, burnings, public hand amputations and floggings of prisoners.
The talks should not lead to the entry of Iran into accepted legitimate status without addressing the fact that Iran has long been, according to the US State Department, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. Its activities include providing military and financial support to Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthi in Yemen and Shia oppositionists in Bahrain.
Since 2003, Iran and its proxy militias have killed more than 1000 American soldiers in Iraq, and both its Islamic Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah have been fighting in support of the Assad regime which has resulted in the death of more than 100,000 civilians in Syria. The US cannot be friendly to a tyrannical state which has regional aspirations to control the Middle East and eventually to confront the West including Israel and the US.
Signing such an agreement with Iran, based on naïve wishful thinking, which will allow it to become the first Jihadist state with nuclear capability, would be a dangerous, irresponsible, and destabilizing act by President Obama.
**Shoula Romano Horing is an Israeli attorney. Her blog can be found here: www.shoularomanohoring.com