According to some White House defenders' simplistic and demagogic formulation, skeptics of the Iran deal are beating the drums of war. This ignores a range of alternative options, including the imposition of crippling sanctions, but that's not the point. The point is to pretend that Obama's permissive deal is the only thing standing between the US and a ground war in Iran. Via NRO, say hello to Howard Dean, warmonger:
Dean dutifully gets in his shots at Republicans and the "discredited" Israeli Prime Minister (whose people just handed a smashing victory), but he ultimately confesses that he's "worried about the way these negotiations have gone." He counsels the American delegation to pack up and leave, and perhaps return to the table at a later date when additional pressure has been ratcheted up against the regime. Here's where things stand at last report: Top negotiators from several countries have departed Switzerland, despite the US' insistence that talks continue past yesterday's deadline. Because the rate of progress is "slow going," according to the British Foreign Minister, this is the farcical readjustment of expectations bleeding out of the negotiations:
"Negotiators have a tentative agreement on the rough outline of a possible public statement on the progress they have made so far that would also highlight areas of disagreement, diplomats close to the talks said."
Not a dark April Fool's joke, I'm afraid. They've spilled past the twice-delayed deadline, and they might have a "tentative agreement on the rough outline of a possible public statement" to show for their efforts. Why are people like the French, Howard Dean and Leon Panetta so dubious of the emergence a good deal at this stage? Because Iran's regime is run by deeply untrustworthy, terrorist-facilitating, anti-Semitic, anti-American fanatics and liars. And because based on multiple reports, US-led negotiations have thus far surrendered massive concessions to Tehran, possibly with more to come. Smelling weakness, the Iranians have declared themselves unsatisfied with a legitimized nuclear infrastructure, a recognized right to enrich, and a sunset clause on Western-imposed restrictions (all huge giveaways). They've tacked on additional demands, several involving a retreat from previously-agreed-to concessions on their part. Rather than slamming the door on immediate sanctions relief, keeping centrifuges spinning at an underground fortified bunker, and balking at removing already-enriched materials from the country, Kerry and company have scrambled to make new accommodations. We're not even sure if Tehran will promise to allow snap inspections or address past military applications of their rogue nuclear program, both of which have been considered by many to be bare minimums. America has voluntarily ceded its position of strength at the table to one of desperation. And as a reminder, these talks do not touch Iran's long-range missile program, human rights abuses, sponsorship or terrorism, or lethal meddling throughout the region. And they persist despite the Iranian military staging a simulated assault on a replica American aircraft carrier, its Supreme Leader leading "death to America" chants, and its nuclear program "accidentally" breaching the terms of the existing interim deal. I'll leave you with this Free Beacon video montage juxtaposing President Obama's tough talk with his negotiating team's repeated capitulations -- followed by a word from a world leader with real moral clarity: