We'll get to Kerry's Sunday performance momentarily, but first, a glimpse at the public opinion landscape. Given Iran's role as the world's foremost state sponsor of terrorism, its fanatical hatred of America, its repugnant anti-Semitism, its rogue weapons programs, its defiance of international laws and norms, its ongoing, destabilizing treachery in the region, its long history of cheating on agreements and flat-out ignoring others, and its continued unjust imprisonment of four American citizens, the American people have every season to view the theocratic regime with deep cynicism and mistrust. As the Obama administration seeks to peddle its abject capitulation of a nuclear "deal" to the public, many voters aren't inclined to trust our so-called peace partners -- a misnomer, given the agreement's total silence on a host of malignant Iranian behaviors. Via Fox News' latest poll:
The poll finds 80 percent of voters think Iran cannot be trusted on the issue of nukes. At the same time, 68 percent are concerned the White House has been so eager to get a deal that economic sanctions against Iran are being eased too much. That includes 42 percent who are “very” concerned about Obama’s eagerness to compromise during negotiations. Just over half -- 51 percent -- think the Obama administration hasn’t been aggressive enough in trying to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapons program, including more than a quarter of Democrats (29 percent). Overall, 37 percent of voters say the administration’s actions on Iran have been “about right,” and hardly any -- three percent -- say the White House has been “too aggressive.”
Though polling tends to show slight support for the concept of a nuclear deal with Iran, large majorities of Americans do not trust Tehran to abide by the rules, and don't expect the deal to achieve its goal of preventing a nuclearized Iran -- a point effectively conceded by President Obama this spring. Bill Kristol is right about this:
80%: Iran can't be trusted on nukes. 68%: sanctions being eased too much. Fertile ground for critics of deal. http://t.co/RMsmuLzPn1— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) July 16, 2015
The administration's posture has devolved from unequivocally demanding that Iran end its nuclear program, to trying to assure critics that Iran's permanent nuclear program will remain peaceful in nature. Israeli politicians from across the political spectrum are lining up against the accord, ripping it as a mistake of historic proportions that endangers the existence of the Jewish state. AIPAC, the most influential pro-Israel organization in the United States, has announced its opposition to the deal, and will bring pressure to bear on members of Congress who are reviewing its details in advance of an important (but likely symbolic) vote on its contents. Other regional players are also reportedly aghast at the historic giveaway. The agreement makes breathtaking concessions to Iran, lifts sanctions off of truly despicable members of the regime, while abandoning a slew of White House 'red lines' in the process. Obama is defending the deal as a means of significantly slowing Iran's "breakout" time -- an assertion contested by experts -- while framing it as the only alternative to war. The Wall Street Journal's editors respond to this demagoguery with a swift backhand, rejecting the quintessentially Obamian "false choice" as revisionist demagoguery:
Mr. Obama knows there has always been an alternative to his diplomacy of concessions because many critics have suggested it. It’s called coercive diplomacy, and it might have worked to get a better deal if Mr. Obama had tried it...As for Mr. Obama’s false choice of war and diplomacy, the truth is that war becomes less likely when diplomacy is accompanied by the credible threat of war. The President removed that credible threat from Iran by insisting war was the only (bad) alternative to his diplomacy, as well as by threatening force against Syria only to erase his own “red line.” In May Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei boasted that the U.S. military “can’t do a damn thing” against Iran. He understood his negotiating partner all too well. Mr. Obama is now presenting his deeply flawed deal to Congress and the public as a fait accompli that must be embraced or war will result. Congress shouldn’t be any more impressed by his false ultimatums than the Iranians were by his weak diplomacy.
By the way, as the final agreement was taking shape, we spitballed that Tehran's 11th hour demands on vitiating the UN arms embargo and easing sanctions on the regime's ballistic missile program -- which we called "preposterous" -- were pure theater. The idea, we speculated, might be for the Iranians to tack on some totally unacceptable demands in order to allow their Western counterparts to "hold the line." We were wrong. Mystifyingly, the US and allies ended up agreeing to both, on top of everything else. Secretary of State John Kerry casually told Meet the Press host Chuck Todd that these concessions were "thrown in as add-ons." Think about it: The same man who insists that Iran's White House-blessed nuclear program will be peaceful also nonchalantly admits that Iran wanted, and received, last-minute "perks" that will allow them to pursue aggressive weapons programs -- including an advanced, intercontinental delivery system for...nuclear missiles. No big deal:
Again, breathtaking. Kerry also repeated the administration's new line that they never pursued "anytime/anywhere" inspections as part during the talks, despite their repeated statements to the contrary while negotiations were underway, and claimed that the pact ends Iran's ability to develop a nuclear weapon. It does nothing of the sort. It legitimizes and entrenches the both the regime and its rogue nuclear program, guaranteeing that Iran will emerge from the temporary "pause" (we've seen how that's gone thus far) as a threshold nuclear-armed state. I'll leave you with additional insights from one of the few world leaders who approaches this diplomatic catastrophe with moral clarity and sober, non-aspirational analysis:
Parting thought: Since the administration caved on every single one of the restrictions they advanced as non-negotiable, this powerful group of US foreign policy heavyweights (including multiple Obama alumni) are going to emerge as vocal opponents to the deal, right? Is there any chance Democrats won't have the numbers to sustain Obama's inevitable veto of Congress' vote to reject the accord?