Is the U.S. deal with Iran a diplomatic triumph or an unmitigated disaster?
Only time will tell.
Most likely it will prove to be neither.
However, those who are calling it a catastrophe are exactly like those who ripped into the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) before and after that legislation was approved.
Like the ACA, the deal with Iran is better than nothing. Iran has long been a volatile, unstable, hostile country. It has been developing the capability of making nuclear weapons. Many countries, including the United States, imposed economic sanctions against Iran to try to convince it to stop its nuclear program. Did the sanctions work? Of course not.
This new deal is intended to get Iran to slow down or stop its nuclear production in exchange for a coalition of countries loosening economic sanctions. Will it work? Who knows. Antagonists insist all the deal will do is give Iran a stream of money that its leaders will use to fund worldwide terrorism, if not to secretly fund more nuclear development. These cynics call President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry “naïve” (their code word for “stupidly gullible.”) It’s interesting these naysaying cynics were predicting doom before any agreement was reached, before the ink on the 80-page document even had a chance to dry. It’s glaringly obvious many critics of the deal hate it only because it was initiated by the president, whom they hate. They made up their sour minds long ago that anything this president so much as touches they will hate in knee-jerk fashion.
Thankfully, most diplomats and scholars are more objective. They understand this deal was not intended to be a peace agreement; it’s not a “kumbayah” moment; nor is it a capitulation to nefarious schemes of extremist Iranians. Instead, it is a hard-headed, stringent quid pro quo. That is: Iran, slow down or cease your nuclear production for the next 10 years, and we will lift economic sanctions, but in return we reserve the right to inspect your facilities anywhere at any time, ‘round the clock.
As with any agreement, the devil is in the details. However, by all accounts, the deal is spelled out in extraordinary specifics, making it all but iron-clad and cheat-proof. If Iran tries to wiggle around loopholes, the deal will be called off and sanctions of one sort or another will be re-applied.
On the bright side, this deal is face-saving for Iran because it just might give them the rationale for retiring their lunatic extremism while opening up to the Western world. Many Iranians, especially older ones, hate the United States. Can we blame them? The United States (in league with Britain) installed and supported Reza Pahlavi (“Shah of Iran”), who was a brutally repressive dictator for decades.
There is another bright side: In Iran, the “old order” seems to be on the wane because a vast population of bright young people under the age of 30 is yearning to join the forces of enlightenment and opening up to democratic ways and means. That youthful yearning and determination, a strong but bloodless revolution, is the very force that helped dismember the sclerotic Soviet Union.
This deal with Iran, better than no deal, just might be the impetus to bring confidence to young Iranians who want to see the old extremist fuddy-duddies bite the dust and become dinosaurs of bad history. We can, at least, certainly hope so.