President Obama took to the White House podium on Wednesday to defend the nuclear deal his administration struck with Iran after months of negotiations. Obama was uncharacteristically defensive in tone, once even stooping as low as to lecture a reporter for asking a question on the minds of millions.
“I’m hearing a lot of talking points being repeated about ‘this is a bad deal,'” Obama said. “What is your alternative?”
Hmm, it might have been wise to seek alternative counsel before the deal was struck. But of course, Obama doesn’t want to hear about the many options that might have been on the table a year ago. He insists that it was his way or war, with no middle ground. He claimed that the deal “cut off every single one of Iran’s pathways” to the bomb.
When CBS reporter Major Garrett asked the president why he was “content” with a deal that left American prisoners trapped in Iranian custody, he bristled. “The notion that I am content with American citizens languishing in Iranian jails…Major, that’s nonsense, and you should know better,” Obama said. “I’ve met with the families of some of those folks, and nobody’s content.”
But while that response may defend Obama’s conscience, it doesn’t address the question beneath. We don’t care what Obama feels about those prisoners in his heart. We want to know why he made the decision to go through with this deal without addressing those prisoners. We want to know why he struck this deal, knowing full well that Iran was providing material support to terrorists. And those questions have yet to be answered satisfactorily.
“There’s little reason for Americans to believe this nuclear deal will do anything to stop Iran’s drive for a bomb,” House Speaker John Boehner’s office said in a statement.
And that is what concerns Obama’s critics most. Obama promises that this is the only way to keep Iran from getting the bomb, but Republicans, Israelis, and Iran’s Middle Eastern neighbors do not believe the deal will do the trick.
An Executive Decision
Unfortunately, all the criticism in the world is unlikely to thwart the deal Obama has made with the devil. He has already promised to veto any legislation that would prevent the deal from going through. That means Republicans would not only need votes from everyone in the party but also several Democrats. There is some discontent among a handful of Dems, but it would take some doing to get the numbers needed to override.
Which means, of course, that Obama has once again taken up the mantle of dictator-in-chief, defying democracy to secure a legacy of international peace. If the deal turns out the way he hopes, that legacy may well be his. The history books will regard the deal as a triumph.
And if it doesn’t…well, Obama will be long out of office. His successors, Israel, and the American people will have to live with the consequences. And those consequences may be disastrous.