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Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from Barack Obama’s fantasy “Iran deal” brings a much-needed dose of realpolitik to a fossilized Washington foreign-policy establishment that has operated for far too long on “consensus” and an inflated reliance on the estimation of others, especially those hostile to the American experiment.
What the novice president understands, in a way that none of his predecessors since Ronald Reagan has, is that (as the Declaration puts it) “a decent respect to the opinions of mankind” does not mean to sacrifice control of America’s self-interest on the altar of cultural-Marxist shibboleths like political correctness, “fairness,” “tolerance,” “diversity,” or “white privilege.”
The president and his new secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, were undoubtedly emboldened to flout the conventional wisdom of Foggy Bottom and its amen chorus in the press corps by their success (caveat: so far) in handling North Korea. Just a few months ago, the usual worrywarts and chin-pullers were fretting that the madman in Washington was about to provoke the only slightly less mad Kim Jong-un into a nuclear exchange in the international equivalent of a dick-measuring contest. Meanwhile, the same Wise Men were thrilled with the “success” of their beloved Obama’s giveaways to the mullahs in Tehran.
And then, suddenly, there was Li’l Kim in South Korea; after nearly 70 years of a state of war between the two Koreas, talk of peace—if not actual reunification—is in the air. As it turns out, neither Trump nor Kim were quite as mad as the press made them out to be. Each man, acting on behalf of his nation and in his own prudent self-interest, understood that clarity of intent is sometimes worth far more than all the diplomatic niceties in the world. That North Korea had nothing to gain, and everything to lose, by provoking the United States, only made it that much easier for Kim to come to the table.
For decades—since the Iranian revolution, in fact—it has paid for lesser nations to ruffle the eagle’s feathers. Rather than bite back, American presidents from George H. W. Bush to Obama have turned the other cheek to near-continuous provocation; indeed, it took the enormity of 9/11 for George W. Bush to rouse the nation to action, and even then it was largely wasted on “nation-building” projects in places like Afghanistan and Iraq that were never really nations in the first place.
What should have been a punitive expedition against recrudescent Islam, several orders of magnitude greater than that of Kitchener at Omdurman, has since morphed into the Endless War—one that gives military procurers, Army lawyers, and the striped-pants set permanent employment, even as our capabilities have been degraded, our capital squandered, our young people killed and maimed, and “diplomats” like Hillary Clinton and John Kerry have racked up air mileage at public expense and accomplishing exactly nothing.
That this disgrace has been allowed to continue through both Republican and Democratic administrations tells you that it is not accidental, but intentional. The NeverTrump crew of conservative poseurs never really wanted to win the 2016 election , out of fear that it would force them put up or shut up. Similarly, the foreign policy establishment, which includes not only the diplomats but the institutional think tanks and the journalists who spin the revolving doors of both, has a vested interest in what George H.W. Bush unapologetically called the “new world order”—a totalitarian phrase that should have chilled every heart at the time he uttered it, but did not.
In a speech to a joint session Congress in 1991, the architect of the first Gulf War said:
What is at stake is more than one small country; it is a big idea: a new world order, where diverse nations are drawn together in common cause to achieve the universal aspirations of mankind—peace and security, freedom, and the rule of law. Such is a world worthy of our struggle and worthy of our children’s future.
And now here we are, 27 years later, with the world having become a far more dangerous and less worthy place thanks to the Bushes and the Clintons and Obama, until finally the voters said enough to these people and their ilk. They rolled the dice on an ofttimes-boorish political novice whose salient virtue was that he paid absolutely no attention to the Washington establishment, and dared to call out its pooh-bahs for being stark naked and at the same time flaccid and impotent.
So the end of the Iran deal will have ramifications and repercussions far beyond this nation’s dealings with Iran itself. Certainly, the excitable Iranians must now understand their bluff has been called, there will be no further rollovers from Uncle Sam, and that their long-accruing butcher’s bill, outstanding since 1979, is now due and payable. The Iranian regime is on shaky ground, its youthful population restive, and it might well have fallen during the Obama Administration had we supported the Green Revolution with just the slightest gesture. The abrogation of the “deal” will now doom them, irrevocably.
Why didn’t it fall nine years ago? Because the congenitally duplicitous Obama wanted the nuclear deal, and was willing to sacrifice any number of Iranian lives to get his fig leaf—a “deal” that actually furthered Iran’s nuclear program and paid them to do it. As Eli Lake wrote at the time:
There is no guarantee that an Obama intervention would have been able to topple Khamenei back in 2009, when his people flooded the streets to protest an election the American president wouldn’t say was stolen. But it was worth a try . . . Perhaps then a nuclear deal could have brought about a real peace. Instead, Obama spent his presidency misunderstanding Iran’s dictator, assuring the supreme leader America wouldn’t aid his citizens when they tried to change the regime that oppresses them to this day.
No wonder those responsible for this deal are howling so loud in protest this week. The Iran deal is one of the last props to fall in the Potemkin presidency of Barack Hussein Obama. As the Mueller “investigation” collapses, Stormy Daniels blows her way out to sea, and even CNN comes to realize that Trump will be president at least until January 2021, the first explicitly anti-American presidential administration in history has been unmasked.
Expect more, and worse, to follow. A great reckoning is at hand.
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Photo credit: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images