I’ve long enjoyed reading Glick, usually in the J-Post.
For more than twenty years, successive U.S. administrations have been vexed by the challenge of Iran’s illicit pursuit of nuclear weapons. And from the time the problem first emerged during Bill Clinton’s tenure at the White House, there have only been two viable means to block Iran’s path to the bomb.
The first path is the path of regime change. This option requires the U.S. to precipitate Iran’s economic and social collapse through crippling economic sanctions and active support for the Iranian people as they rise up against their theocratic overlords.
The second path is to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations and assets through limited covert and overt strikes.
Parallel to these two options, over the years, U.S. policymakers — first and foremost President Barack Obama — created two imaginary options for contending with Iran’s nuclear program. Obama and his advisors framed the public discourse around their nuclear negotiations as a contest between them.
First, they said, is the option of all-out war. The U.S. could lead an invasion of Iran, along the lines of the U.S.-led invasion of Iran in 2003. In the course of a massive war, the U.S. goal would be to overthrow the Iranian regime and forcibly end its nuclear program.
The other option, they insisted, was to cut a deal with Iran under which Iran would voluntarily give up its nuclear program in exchange for trade deals, and for international acceptance of Iran’s other malign behavior – from its sponsorship of terrorism and regional aggression, to its development of ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads.
The purpose of the Obama administration’s propaganda war on behalf of the nuclear deal was to delegitimize criticism of the content of the deal by claiming that everyone that opposed the policy was a warmonger (or, conversely, making “common cause” with hard-liners in the Iranian regime that wanted war against the U.S.).
In the event, both of the options were imaginary. No one in the U.S. or the international community has ever proposed a massive U.S.-led invasion of Iran. It was never considered. It is a policy that exists nowhere and is advocated by nobody.
As for the notion that Iran could be convinced to concede its nuclear program voluntarily in exchange for international legitimacy, planeloads of cash, and a blind eye to its other bad behavior, this, too, was a fantasy.
Obama’s nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), did not involve Iran agreeing to give up its nuclear program. The deal simply required Iran to work on certain aspects of its nuclear program – advanced centrifuge development and ballistic missile development, for instance — while limiting others, like certain uranium enrichment activities, for the duration of the deal.
In other words, to prevent the imaginary possibility of a U.S. led ground invasion of Iran, the Obama administration financed Iran’s regional aggression and sponsorship of terrorism to the tune of $150 billion dollars in sanctions relief. It legitimized Iran’s ballistic missile program and guaranteed Tehran’s eventual acquisition of a nuclear arsenal.