May 25, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 35 • By MICHAEL MAKOVSKY and WILLIAM KRISTOL
Let’s begin by doing something we don’t often do, and that is quoting the New York Times at some length. We do this because David Sanger’s report of Thursday, May 14, makes clear how mistaken are the premises underlying President Obama’s forthcoming Iran deal:
When President Obama began making the case for a deal with Iran that would delay its ability to assemble an atomic weapon, his first argument was that a nuclear-armed Iran would set off a “free-for-all” of proliferation in the Arab world. “It is almost certain that other players in the region would feel it necessary to get their own nuclear weapons,” he said in 2012.
Now, as he gathered Arab leaders over dinner at the White House on Wednesday and prepared to meet with them at Camp David on Thursday, he faced a perverse consequence: Saudi Arabia and many of the smaller Arab states are now vowing to match whatever nuclear enrichment capability Iran is permitted to retain.
“We can’t sit back and be nowhere as Iran is allowed to retain much of its capability and amass its research,” one of the Arab leaders preparing to meet Mr. Obama said on Monday, declining to be named until he made his case directly to the president. Prince Turki bin Faisal, the 70-year-old former Saudi intelligence chief, has been touring the world with the same message.
“Whatever the Iranians have, we will have, too,” he said at a recent conference in Seoul, South Korea. . . .
[B]y leaving 5,000 centrifuges and a growing research and development program in place—the features of the proposed deal that Israel and the Arab states oppose virulently—Mr. Obama is essentially recognizing Iran’s right to continue enrichment of uranium, one of the two pathways to a nuclear weapon. . . .
Although “the small print of the deal is still unknown,” [Prince Turki] added, it “opens the door to nuclear proliferation, not closes it, as was the initial intention.”
So: One of the main justifications of the Iran deal was that it would slow down nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. But it turns out it will do the opposite. This is a “perverse consequence” of the deal only from President Obama’s point of view, as expressed by the New York Times. From the point of view of anyone familiar with the Middle East, it is in fact a predictable consequence. The Iran deal is making nuclear proliferation in an unbelievably unstable region of the world—one made more unstable, we would add, by President Obama’s policies of retreat in Iraq and inaction in Syria—more likely and more imminent.
Maybe this is an unfortunate price one has to pay if a deal could, as President Obama said this past week in an interview with the Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, “strengthen the hands of more moderate leaders in Iran.” But there’s no sign of that. Quite the contrary.
This past week Reuters reported that Iran tried just a few months ago—in violation of its 2013 interim agreement with the United States and our allies—to procure “a large shipment of sensitive technology usable for nuclear enrichment.” The Czech Republic blocked the attempted purchase. As Reuters explains, this is detailed by an expert U.N. panel, which reports that in January Iran attempted to buy compressors useful for extracting enriched uranium from cascades of the sort that Iran possesses—cascades that Iran will continue to possess under the agreement. Furthermore, according to the U.N., “the procurer and transport company involved in the deal had provided false documentation in order to hide the origins, movement and destination of the consignment with the intention of bypassing export controls and sanctions.” The U.N. panel also notes that Britain had discovered a further illicit Iranian nuclear procurement network linked to blacklisted firms.
Reuters concludes, in an understated way: “The incident could add to Western concerns about whether Tehran can be trusted to adhere to a nuclear deal being negotiated with world powers under which it would curb sensitive nuclear work in exchange for sanctions relief.”
In sum: Iran is cheating, as it always has, despite all the concessions and happy talk and group hugs from Western diplomats. Given the weak inspections and verification regime envisioned by the final deal, how likely is that to change?
The trade treaty may pass, no thanks to the president. May 25, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 35 • By FRED BARNES
There was a time when Democrats were free traders and getting trade treaties through Congress was a snap. No more. In the last quarter-century—with most Democrats having slipped into the protectionist camp—winning ratification has become difficult. Today it takes a majority of Republicans to pass a trade pact.
3:30 PM, May 11, 2015 • By THOMAS DONNELLY
It was a long time ago and a galaxy far, far away: In July 2008, presidential candidate Barack Obama made big, bold news by travelling to Berlin to – as The New York Times triumphantly recorded – “restore the world’s faith in strong American leadership and idealism.” With 200,000 Berliners waving
Overhauling U.S. strategy in Asia May 18, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 34 • By DAN BLUMENTHAL and WILLIAM INBODEN
At the top of our next president’s task list will be rescuing American foreign policy from the wreckage of the Obama years. The prevailing headlines detail a grim litany of new threats, each one emanating from an Obama administration policy failure.
May 18, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 34 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
John Forbes Kerry is the 68th secretary of state of the United States of America. If you’re ever tempted to ponder American decline, or for that matter the decline of the West, you might pause to reflect that John Kerry was preceded in his august office by, among others, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, William Seward, John Hay, Elihu Root, Charles Evans Hughes, Henry Stimson, George Marshall, Dean Acheson, Henry Kissinger, and George Shultz.
7:04 AM, Apr 30, 2015 • By JERYL BIER
When President Obama visited Jamaica in early April, he held a town hall meeting with "Young Leaders of the Americas" at University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica.
Gleanings and observations.2:22 PM, Apr 24, 2015 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
The day President Obama believes relevant history began. Rather like the French revolutionaries who decreed that the establishment of their Republic be dated Year I of the French Republic. August 4, 1961 was the day on which Barack Hussein Obama arrived on this earth in Honolulu, Hawaii. Anything occurring before the world received this blessing is irrelevant, the President told the gathering of heads of state at The Summit of the Americas. Not directly, but in effect. “The Cold War has been over for a very long time.
May 4, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 32 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
As always, Winston Churchill said it best. Here he is on March 24, 1938, less than two weeks after the Anschluss, the Nazi annexation of Austria:
May 4, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 32 • By LEE SMITH
Last week, the Obama administration urged Saudi Arabia to halt its air campaign against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels who have wrested control of the Yemeni capital Sanaa. The White House’s professed concern was that Riyadh’s Operation Decisive Storm was killing too many civilians. Unfortunately, that’s hardly surprising since Iranian proxies, like Hezbollah and Hamas, typically stash their missiles and rockets in civilian areas. Presumably, the Houthis have read from the same playbook.
Apr 27, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 31 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
Hillary Rodham Clinton, quondam secretary of state and presumptive heir to the presidency
His copy of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations must be missing a page.8:48 AM, Apr 14, 2015 • By ETHAN EPSTEIN
Over the weekend, as he berated the Israeli government for its opposition to the proposed Iranian nuclear deal, President Obama attempted to strike a literary note. Condemning Jerusalem’s supposed flip-flopping on the merits of the deal, the president sarcastically said, “you know, consistency is the hobgoblin of narrow minds.”
2:07 PM, Apr 13, 2015 • By KEVIN R. KOSAR
Congress returns from its two week break on Monday. If it has any respect for itself, it will promptly schedule a vote on President Obama’s most recent veto.
The longstanding, bipartisan nonproliferation standard is dead. Apr 20, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 30 • By MATTHEW KROENIG
If there is one thing on which Democrats and Republicans can agree, it is that it is undesirable for countries other than the United States to possess nuclear weapons. For this reason, America’s nonproliferation policy has traditionally been characterized by strong bipartisanship. It is notable, therefore, that support for the recently negotiated Iran deal splits along party lines. But on closer inspection, what is truly puzzling is that anyone supports the agreement at all. In striking this deal, the Obama administration abandoned a decades-old mainstay of U.S.
Hosted by Michael Graham.4:05 PM, Mar 31, 2015 • By TWS PODCAST
THE WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with senior editor Lee Smith on the Obama administration's pending nuclear deal with Iran.