Defense7 April 2015

Notes from Norm: A New Iron Curtain

“From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent.”
–    Winston Churchill, March, 1946

Nearly 70 years ago, barely a year after the end of World War II, Winston Churchill warned of an ascendant power that was moving its way across the continent.  A war weary world was shocked at Churchill’s stark and pejorative description of the Soviet Union.

After all, hadn’t the Soviet Union stood strong with the United States and Great Britain and the Allies in overpowering and ultimately defeating Hitler and the Nazis?   It was the Soviet Union that had suffered so greatly, lost so many lives, endured such incredible bloodshed and devastation.

Yet, the Soviet Union ruthlessly expanded its own oppressive domination in Eastern Europe.  It was the Soviet Union that sowed its ideology throughout the world, destabilizing governments, expanding its conventional and nuclear capability and threatening the safety and security of the world in the aftermath of World War II.

Today, as America considers an agreement its President has negotiated with Iran, we ought to be mindful of a new threat, spreading across the Middle East.

As Senator John McCain informs us, “Ultimately, we must recognize that Iran is clearly on the offensive across the Middle East. Its malign activities, from Iraq and Syria to Lebanon and Yemen, are provoking a regional sectarian conflict of massive proportions.”

This is not a dystopian view of a nation from the past or the future.

Iran is not a new threat to the world.  For more than 35 years it has funded terrorism, destabilized the Middle East, killed Americans, plotted the destruction of Israel and is now on the threshold of creating a nuclear bomb.

It is not years away from a bomb.  It is now closer to acquiring a nuclear bomb than the world is to stopping it from building one.

Yet, there is nothing within the publicly announced framework by President Obama that connects Iran’s international criminality to its detailed record of provocation throughout the world.

Untying and decoupling Iran’s behavior from the negotiations over its nuclear ambitions is perhaps the most minacious aspect of this agreement.

Nowhere in the framework of this agreement, or in the President’s defense of it, is there a real commitment to destroy Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear weapon.

Everywhere, implicit, is the concession that Iran will eventually obtain one.

We are not stopping nuclear proliferation.  We are aspiring to supervise it.

Let’s be clear.  This agreement does not end Iran’s nuclear ambitions.  It does not stop them from getting a bomb.  

It allows them to keep every single asset they need to construct and build a nuclear bomb.  

The President assures us that this was the best deal he could get.  That it is the best option we have for stopping Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

It is not.

It is a false declaration from a President used to conflating his vision of the world with the realities of the one that actually exists.

Iran is resurgent and on the march.  

Iran dictated the parameters of what would be in or out of this agreement – not the United States or the other nations that sat across the table from its negotiators.

Congress has an imperative that must not fall victim to the weariness we all have from a world at war.  

When the Soviet Union began its march across Europe, dissolving borders, unseating governments and provoking strife and violence, the world largely ignored its advances.

By the time it took notice and took action, the Soviet Union had already obtained the necessary tools and assets to amply destroy the world.

The world was forced, for the next 50 years, to manage their provocation.

Picture the next 50 years for yourself and your children through the eyes of those of us who lived through all or part of the 50 years of the Cold War.

Never was there a moment in which the threat of a nuclear attack was far from our mind.

Imagine a world in which Iran, today on the threshold of a nuclear bomb, actually with a nuclear bomb in a region of the world that is already on fire.

If one believes President Obama’s narrative about what is contained in his brokered agreement with Iran, it will be another 10 to 15 years before Iran is ever allowed to get closer to building a nuclear bomb.

If true, why would any non-nuclear nation that is currently threatened by Iran feel compelled to wait for Iran to get a bomb?

A nuclear arms race began because an exhausted world wanted to get back to the business of peace after years of war.

On the precipice of Iran as an emerging Middle East superpower we must not give in to the temptation to turn a blind eye to their history, or the history of the world.