Nuclear pact: No beacon of peace
President Barack Obama is hailing the accord reached last week between Iran and six key countries, saying the long-negotiated pact paves the way toward peace.
“Either the issue of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon is resolved diplomatically through a negotiation or it’s resolved through force, through war,” the president said at a White House press conference. “Those are the options.”
Proponents say the accord will rein in Tehran’s nuclear program, preventing the possibility of the country from becoming a nuclear power for a minimum of 10 years.
In exchange, numerous sanctions will be lifted as Iran complies, freeing up an estimated $150 billion in frozen assets as well as ending, within five years, a U.N. arms embargo and, within eight, an embargo on ballistic missiles.
Not everyone either here at home or overseas is hailing the “give peace a chance” packaging, however.
Criticism has been harsh and swift, not only from the political arena but from the very international community the deal is intended to protect.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pulled no punches on his assessment: He calls it a “grave mistake” and says other countries in the Mideast equally affected share that view.
“Iran is going to receive a sure path to nuclear weapons,” Prime Minister Netanyahu is quoted as saying. “Many of the restrictions that were supposed to prevent it from getting there will be lifted.”
Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett was equally blunt: “Today a terrorist nuclear superpower is born, and it will go down as one of the darkest days in world history.”
We will concede that, perhaps, the deal was “the best” French, German, British, Chinese, Russian and U.S. negotiators apparently could reach, although talks began a decade ago between Iran and the first three countries.
Tehran just outwaited Germany and the five nations that comprise the U.N. Security Council, culling a deal that provides a huge economic boon while postponing – but not ending – its ability to become a nuclear power.
For Iran, a decade or two is no time at all when one thinks in the context of the world in which one’s children and grandchildren will live.
And that view is at the heart of Israel’s position – that it’s a lot easier for those of us who don’t have the threat in our own backyard to wax philosophic about promoting peace rather than rattling the saber of war, to “trust” and talk sanctions rather than stand firm in the face of a known threat against future existence.
A past Democratic president likely would have understood Israel’s position a bit better:
… “Neither the United States of America nor the world community of nations can tolerate deliberate deception and offensive threats on the part of any nation, large or small. We no longer live in a world where only the actual firing of weapons represents an efficient challenge to a nation’s security to constitute maximum peril. Nuclear weapons are so destructive and ballistic missiles are so swift, that any substantially increased possibility of their use or any sudden change in their deployment may well be regarded as a definite threat to peace…”
John F. Kennedy,
Cuban Missile Crisis Speech,
Oct. 22, 1962.
In the face of a possible threat to our country and our way of life, President Kennedy did not blink.
For those who think the pact with Iran is somehow a guarantee of peace, let us share one salient fact: Israel will not blink, either.
Nor should they.
Whether these are dark days remains to the seen.
This pact, however, is no shining beacon of peace.
In that opinion, at the least, we will stand with Israel.
– Reporter editorial