When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told President Obama that it was imperative that any deal with Iran didn’t leave the Islamic Republic at the nuclear threshold, our president was quick to change the subject. Perhaps that’s because Obama’s policy toward a nuclear Iran has grown more permissive with each passing year. While the White House has long pushed for a non-nuclear Tehran, Obama’s foreign policy weaknesses have again been exploited by a country that wants nothing less than Iranian domination in the Middle East.
Obama’s focus is currently centered on ISIS, of course, but the campaign against this cadre of Islamic terrorists is not wholly separate from the problems with Iran. ISIS was strengthened and emboldened by Obama’s weaknesses in Syria, where he quickly backed down from his “red line” ultimatum to President Bashar Al Assad. Many speculate that it was Iran that forced the retreat, giving Obama a choice: back away or risk armed conflict with the Revolutionary Guard. Obama’s willingness to turn tail showed the Ayatollah that the U.S. was no longer the mighty, indomitable force it once was.
Today, Iran makes no secret of its support of Assad. It does not attempt to hide its troops in Iraq. And while the administration is occupied with a failing airstrike campaign against ISIS, concerns over a nuclear Iran have become secondary. Obama is still interested in reducing sanctions, but Israel doesn’t want to see an Iran capable of producing nuclear weapons for obvious reasons. America shouldn’t want that, either.
Maddeningly, Obama seems unwilling to take any deal before Congress. The go-it-alone president has determined that he has the authority to reduce sanctions without congressional authorization, and Obama doesn’t put anything to a vote if he doesn’t have to. That means that one of the biggest foreign policy decisions of the last two decades will be left to one man. One man who has shown the world again and again that he doesn’t necessarily know what’s best for his own country.
The problem with any deal is that it would put Iran’s nuclear program under the harsh light of international investigators. Many analysts in the U.S. intelligence community believe that this kind of scrutiny would only lead Tehran to develop a more sinister program in the darkness. To be sure, UN inspection teams may not be enough to keep an Iran at the nuclear threshold from building a bomb. Which is exactly why the president should listen carefully to the warnings of Israel; a potentially nuclear Iran could spell big trouble for us in the coming years.
Last month, Iranian adviser Hassan Rouhani called Obama out on the carpet, naming him the “weakest of U.S. presidents,” while simultaneously praising Democrats for viewing Iran as a non-threat. This is how our leadership is viewed by a country George Bush once named as a central spoke in the Axis of Evil. Iran saved their worst condemnation for conservatives, calling them “war mongers.” While I don’t think even the hawkiest Republicans in Congress really want war with Iran, it’s irresponsible to pursue appeasement just for the sake of avoiding conflict. And it could be very, very dangerous.