Chicago Boyz community member Robert Schwartz has some thoughts about the Obama administration’s Iran deal:
By now I think everybody, who is not sunk into Obama idolatry, agrees that Obama’s deal with the Iranian Regime fails in numerous dimensions. Some day it will be used in business school classes as an object lesson in poor negotiating technique.
Be that as it may, The Deal has been set, and the only remaining issue is whether the Congress of the United States will vote to disapprove it, and be able to override a veto of that resolution. The announcement of opposition by three prominent Congressmen, Reps. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), and Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), and the very negative polling results for the Deal, show that this is a possibility.
Personally, I favor Congressional disapproval of the Iran Deal as it would at least record that the American people understand the evil that the Iranian regime has done not just to the United States, but by its worldwide sponsorship of terrorism, and it will give the next President more room to try to stem the tide of catastrophe.
Nonetheless, I think that a disapproval, may have very little impact on the course of events. President Obama is not at all likely to accept a disapproval gracefully and to send Secretary Kerry back to Vienna to renegotiate the Deal. He is far more likely to assert a broad interpretation of his Presidential authority over foreign affairs to implement the Deal. He will release all sanctions he has the legal power to release. And, he will render any sanctions, that he does not have the executive power to release, nugatory by announcing his intention to not enforce them (just as he has done with the immigration laws). He will use his regulatory authority over the banking system to make sure that Iran gets its $150 Billion back. He will remove Iran from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism. He may also demonstrate his irritation by voting against Israel at the UN.
Indeed, this last possibility ought to give Israel and its friends some pause. Please note the last paragraph of this post below.
Even if the Deal is implemented as written, Iran will soon have nuclear weapons and the means with which to deliver them. The only question is how long they will wait before making that capability public. If they regard the Deal as an honorable engagement, it might be ten years from now. I believe however that the mindset of the Iranian clerics is that there can be no honorable engagement with unbelievers, and that they will cheat almost immediately. The weakness of the inspection regime and sanctions under the Deal almost guarantees that their cheating will be successful. But, even if they are caught the downside will be trivial. They will have already collected their $150 billion in cash and the sanctions built up so carefully will be gone, and will never return the situation to the status quo ante.
For its part Israel should look past the Iran Deal. It needs to focus on its own defense. It should work to obtain urgent funding for the development, testing, and deployment of missile defenses, and to obtain funding for the installation of high quality civil defense facilities all over Israel.
I want to focus on these, particularly civil defense.
Civil Defense. A nuclear weapon attack on Israel would be a catastrophe. But, it should not be the end of the Jewish people in their Land.
Nothing will save the lives of those at ground zero if a nuclear weapon is detonated in Israel, but those who are not vaporized by the fireball, stand a chance if they can be protected from fallout and other indirect effects of the explosion. To that end, Israel must provide protection from fallout and other indirect effects through a system of shelters.
I acknowledge that Israel has constructed bomb shelters to protect against conventional missiles and poison gas, but, and this is based entirely on my reading, they are not up to the task of civil defense against nuclear attack.
During the Cold War, Switzerland created a comprehensive system for Civil Defense. It would provide an excellent model for Israel in the face of the Iranian threat. The Swiss army was the model for Israel’s army, and the Swiss Civil defense system would be an excellent model for Israel facing a nuclear threat from Iran just as Western Europe faced a Nuclear Threat from the Soviet Union then. If you wish to learn more about the Swiss system, I recommend the book “La Place de la Concorde Suisse” by John McPhee, which was written during the Cold War, and published in 1983. The book is an exposition of the Swiss defense system, and has an extensive discussion of the Swiss Civil Defense system. Like all of McPhee’s work, it is extraordinarily well written.
Israel should immediately act to build a civil defense system comparable to the system the Swiss constructed during the Cold War.
Missile defense against long range missiles. Israel has already had outstanding results from its short range missile defense system, Iron Dome. Israel is involved in at least two projects intended to provide defense against long range missiles, such as those that Iran might fire: Arrow and David’s Sling.
These projects are technically demanding and very expensive. Israel should request and the United States should provide, major injections of funds. Israel should also request an accelerated program of testing and development and full use of the Kwajalein Missile Range. One upside is that, when developed, there will be a large market for the systems in West Asia, South Asia, and East Asia.
Congress should be willing to give Israel the money out of concern for the harm that the Deal and Iran may cause Israel. However, as I pointed out above, Israel faces some very negative feedback from the Obama administration should Congress disapprove the Deal. Israel should strongly consider dropping its objections to the Deal, if Congress and the Administration pass and approve legislation funding the civil and missile defense systems on a long term basis. It may be necessary to save face with Congress by allowing them to conduct the initial vote of disapproval, and then let Obama win by not overriding his veto. That may be a good solution for certain Democrat congressmen torn between party loyalty and support of Israel.