Matthew Continetti | Obama and Kerry play let’s pretend

Matthew Continetti, Washington Free Beacon:

The last week has provided a sad but worthwhile opportunity to assess the global elite, the heads of state and government, the bankers and journalists and celebrities, as they worked overtime to preserve a veneer of progress and stability. From Athens to Beijing, D.C. to Vienna, the desire has been to avoid tough decisions, to prolong deliberation, to pretend as though dangerous emerging trends do not exist. To take action, to provoke, to choose, to commit, to fight, to admit reality would be far too disruptive, would cost too much, and would endanger the social positions our best and brightest have worked so mightily to attain. Better for them to wait things out.

The Iranian and U.S. governments, write David Sanger and Michael Gordon of the New York Times, see their nuclear deal differently: “Mr. Kerry described an Iranian capability that had been neutralized; the Iranians a capability that had been preserved.” But the difference of opinion is superficial. Both Secretary Kerry and the Iranians are right. If the Iranians hew to the agreement (a big and damning if) then the best case is that the nuclear infrastructure they have spent decades building will be frozen—“neutralized”—for about 10 years. After which they can resume the activities that so concerned everyone worried at the prospect of an Islamic theocracy obtaining nuclear weapons. Because their fundamental nuclear capabilities indeed have been “preserved.”

The Iran deal is a fabulous artifice, an intricately woven shawl that masks its real intent: the avoidance of military confrontation with Iran and the rise of Persian regional hegemony. “Either the issue of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon is resolved diplomatically through a negotiation,” President Obama said at his press conference Thursday, “or it’s resolved through war. Those are the options.” He presented his diplomatic resolution as a fait accompli, as the best America could ever hope to do. If the deal favors Iran, which it unequivocally does— without so much as closing a nuclear facility this rogue regime gets cash, legitimacy, and an end to U.N. bans on sales of conventional weapons and ballistic missile technology—it is because Obama wanted desperately to pursue the diplomatic option and prove its validity.

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