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Monday, November 25, 2013

Munich II -- By James Jay Carafano, National Review

No, that’s not a facile, partisan jab. What just went down in Geneva is, in fact, a replay of the greatest diplomatic tragedy of the 20th century.

The Munich deal rested on the ridiculous notion that Hitler could be satiated. The new pact builds on the equally ludicrous idea that Iran would give up the means to build a nuclear weapon that will serve as the tip of its foreign-policy spear.

The saddest part of this negotiated fiasco is that everyone agrees why Iran came to the bargaining table. The sanctions worked; the mullahs had run out of cash, and Tehran determined that the easiest way to get the funds flowing was to get the West to back off.

This is where the realists and the idealists part company. Realists knew that the sanctions were good for only one purpose: to weaken the regime to the point where it would collapse or be overthrown.  They crossed their fingers, hoping that would happen before Tehran got a nuke it could turn on the West. Regime change remains the only realistic option to bombing or bearing the danger of living with a nuclear-armed Iran.

Idealists, on the other hand, held that sanctions were the magic button for getting the Iranians to be reasonable. Once Tehran started on the path to accommodating the West (they theorized), the mullahs would realize that the benefits of collaboration and transparency outweighed the burdens of isolation and confrontation.

The parting of the ways between realists and idealist is not about two different visions of the path to a peaceful future. In the case of this particular foreign-policy conundrum, the realist approach is based on a full awareness of whom the West is really dealing with.

The idealists’ assessment is delusional. They see a “freeze” as a confidence-building measure, the first step in disassembling Iran’s weapons program. But where there is freeze, there can also be a thaw. Nothing in this agreement prevents Iran from just picking up where it left off. Nothing in this agreement affects Iran’s effort to improve its long-range ballistic missiles. Nothing can stop Iran from continuing to work on how to weaponize (build a bomb suitable to be put on a missile) a nuclear device in secret.

In return for getting precious little, the negotiators oppose Iran at the table gave up the one thing the mullahs really feared – a continuing squeeze on Tehran’s dwindling bank account.

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