War Against Iran Is Inevitable (Revelation 17)

Obama’s Nuclear Deal Could Mean War

Gabriel Scheinmann is Director of Policy at The Jewish Policy Center.

The Obama Administration may be on the verge of completing a deal that leaves Iran with a substantial nuclear capability, but about a year away from a bomb’s worth of fissile material. By not insisting on the dismantlement of any major nuclear infrastructure, or even on the complete cessation of enrichment activities, the White House is betting that not only is Iran likely to heed the deal, but also that the United States would have enough time to act appropriately and decisively if it does not. Believing it has headed-off the seemingly unavoidable march towards war with Iran, the White House is crowing about its impending diplomatic feat.

Unfortunately, rather than obviating the likelihood of war, this deal encourages it. For different reasons, inking this accord increases the chances that both Israel and the United States take military action against Iran to stop its nuclear pursuits. As former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger aptly concluded in recent Congressional testimony, the goal of the nuclear talks has evolved “from preventing proliferation to managing it.” In doing so, the Administration has sown the seeds of future conflict.

For Israel, the deal represents the failure of its decade-long effort to prevent Iranian proliferation. Unquestionably, the country has believed that it would not only be better to dismantle Iran’s program through non-military means, but also, if that option proved impossible, that the United States would take the lead in destroying Iran’s nuclear assets. The deal reveals that neither is true. The Obama Administration has chosen to tolerate rather than disassemble a vast Iranian nuclear program. Having an understandably much lower threshold for what it can tolerate due to its proximity to Iran and the regime’s heinous history, Israel may feel that it now has no choice but to take matters into its own hands, no matter how unattractive the consequences.

Ironically, the deal also likely commits the United States to future military action against Iran. Even the modest restrictions imposed will be removed in a decade, by which time Iran’s warhead and delivery mechanism will be fully operational. If, as time goes by, Washington realizes that it is unintentionally midwifing an Iranian bomb, it will have little choice but to abrogate the accord itself. Faced with the prospect of not just a nuclear-capable but also a nuclear-armed Iran, Washington may be compelled to preempt this scenario.

Moreover, the assumption of Iranian perfidy is baked into this deal. If merely a treaty-bound commitment were enough, then Iran’s longstanding membership in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty should suffice. The concept of any additional negotiations suggests, quite rightly, that Iran is likely to vitiate its own assurances. The one-year break-out time is intended to give the U.S. enough of a lead to identify Iranian cheating and marshal the international community to re-impose sanctions that will make the country heel. Hardly a chess novice, Iran would see that it has nothing to gain and everything to lose by breaking its commitments and sparking a return to the status quo ante of international isolation.

However, such a short break-out time only bolsters the likelihood of American military action. It took seven years of nuclear-related sanctions to coax Iran to the negotiating table, at which Iran has yet to make any irreversible commitments. No matter the president or Congress’ desire for alacrity, it would be impossible for even the most stringent sanctions to have their desired effect in less than twelve months. At that point, the only way the United States can prevent an Iranian break-out will be to credibly threaten the use of force. Perhaps unwittingly, the deal the Administration believes averts war only works if the U.S. is willing to go to war to enforce it.

To avoid war, the United States and Israel have two options: accept Iran as a nuclear power or negotiate a deal that eliminates Iran’s capacity to be one. Such a deal must verifiably dismantle Iran’s entire nuclear infrastructure and remove its capacity to enrich uranium at any level. By doing so, it can extend the break-out time to a matter of years, ensuring that it will indeed have enough time to prevent an Iranian bomb through non-military means.

The impending deal is not final. For cultural and political reasons, Iran may never agree to any deal, even one as advantageous as this one. Yet, unless the United States dramatically reverses the concessions it has made, this deal will not defer the threat of war, but accelerate it.

South Korea Is One Of Ten Nuclear Horns (Daniel 7:7)

Fallout: Saudis score nuclear deal with South Korea as Obama appeases Iran

2015_skoreasaudi_Reuters

posted at 10:41 am on March 12, 2015 by Ed Morrissey

Who could have seen this coming? Practically everyone outside the Obama administration, that’s who, but these days it would have been a Logan Act violation to mention it.  Saudi Arabia has cut a deal with South Korea to develop two nuclear reactors in the next 20 years, putting Iran’s chief opponent in the region to play a little nuclear escalateo with Tehran:

As U.S. and Iranian diplomats inched toward progress on Tehran’s nuclear program last week, Saudi Arabia quietly signed its own nuclear-cooperation agreement with South Korea.
That agreement, along with recent comments from Saudi officials and royals, is raising concerns on Capitol Hill and among U.S. allies that a deal with Iran, rather than stanching the spread of nuclear technologies, risks fueling it.
Saudi Arabia’s former intelligence chief, Prince Turki al-Faisal, a member of the royal family, has publicly warned in recent months that Riyadh will seek to match the nuclear capabilities Iran is allowed to maintain as part of any final agreement reached with world powers. This could include the ability to enrich uranium and to harvest the weapons-grade plutonium discharged in a nuclear reactor’s spent fuel. …
The memorandum of understanding between Saudi Arabia and South Korea includes a plan to study the feasibility of building two nuclear reactors worth $2 billion in the Arab country over the next 20 years, according to Saudi state media.

Consider this a vote of no confidence from the Saudis in the Iranian deal Barack Obama and John Kerry are crafting with Tehran. The Saudis see Iran as the greatest threat to peace in the region, and for good reason. While they pay lip service to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the biggest issue for Sunni nations is the spread of Iranian influence and terrorism. They have long had control of Syria and Lebanon, and now Iranian proxies have conducted a coup in Yemen, directly in Saudi Arabia’s back yard.

Before now, they’ve at least been able to count on the US and Europe to economically contain Iran, as well as pressure them to end their nuclear-weapons program. Now, though, the P5+1 group has let Tehran off the leash economically to a large extent, and their deal proposes nothing better than a status quo freeze for the next ten years. For Western democracies, ten years is a political lifetime, but in the Middle East, it’s a blink — and the deal is a clear signal from Obama that he’s not interested in anything except a short-term claim to a foreign-policy win.

Not only does that undermine Saudi confidence in the US, but so does its policies in Iraq. Obama pulled out of Iraq and left Nouri al-Maliki in charge to conduct a Shi’ite purge of Sunnis (and Kurds), which led to the collapse of the Iraqi military in which the US had invested so much time and treasure. Obama then put together a small coalition of Sunni nations to fight the Sunni extremists of ISIS, but balked at pushing out Iranian ally Bashar al-Assad out of Syria — and now wants to encourage Iran to conduct military operations in Iraq against ISIS.

It’s become clear to the Saudis and other Sunni nations that Obama’s foreign policy is Iranophile to the point of Western suicide. The US effort in thwarting Iran always had two big motivations: to keep Iran from breaking out as a nuclear power, and to convince the other regimes not to follow suit through confidence in our long-term commitment to the region. This deal signals the end of that era, not because the US has dropped its own lip service to that mission, but because our putative allies simply don’t trust us to follow through. And looking at our track record over the last six years, with Iraq and Libya both failed states and incubators for Islamist terror … who can blame them?

Russian Nuclear Horn Spreading Into Europe (Daniel 7:7)

Russia says has right to deploy nuclear weapons in Crimea: report

MOSCOW | Wednesday, March 11, 2015
 Russia In Crimea
Russian army’s armoured vehicles are seen on a road in Kamensk-Shakhtinsky, Rostov region, near the border with Ukraine, August 23, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Alexander Demianchuk

(Reuters) – Russia has the right to deploy nuclear arms in the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which Moscow annexed from Ukraine last year, a Foreign Ministry official said on Wednesday, adding he knew of no plans to do so.

„I don’t know if there are nuclear weapons there now. I don’t know about any plans, but in principle Russia can do it,“ said Mikhail Ulyanov, the head of the ministry’s department on arms control, was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency.

(This version of the story was refiled to fix garble in line seven)

(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin, Writing by Thomas Grove; Editing by Christian Lowe)

Nuclear War Is More Likely Than Ever Before (Revelation 16)

The threat of nuclear war is higher than at any time in the past 25 years

nuclearweapons

Despite optimistic attempts to rid the world of nuclear weapons, the threat they pose to peace is growing.

IN JANUARY 2007 Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, William Perry and Sam Nunn — two Republican secretaries of state, a Democratic defence secretary and a Democratic head of the Senate Armed Services Committee — called for a global effort to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons.
The ultimate goal, they wrote in the Wall Street Journal, should be to remove the threat such weapons pose completely.

The article generated an astonishing response. Long seen as drippily Utopian, the idea of getting rid of nuclear weapons was suddenly taken on by think-tankers, academics and all sorts of very serious people in the nuclear-policy business.

The next year a pressure group, Global Zero, was set up to campaign for complete nuclear disarmament. Its aims were endorsed by scores of government leaders, present and past, and hundreds of thousands of citizens.

In April 2009 Barack Obama, speaking in Prague, promised to put weapons reduction back on the table and, by dealing peacefully but firmly with Iran’s nuclear ambitions, to give new momentum to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Processes could now be set in train, he said, that would lead to the worldwide renunciation of nuclear weapons within a generation. This speech, along with his ability not to be George W. Bush, was a key factor in landing Mr Obama the Nobel peace prize a few months later.

The following year he returned to Prague to sign an arms agreement with Russia, New START, which capped the number of deployed strategic warheads allowed to each side at 1,550. His co-signatory, Russia’s then president, Dmitry Medvedev, had endorsed Global Zero’s aims. A month later the NPT’s quinquennial review conference agreed a 64-point plan intended to reinforce the treaty’s three mutually supportive legs: the promise that all countries can share in the non-military benefits of nuclear technology; the agreement by non-weapons states not to become weapons states; and the commitment of the weapons states to pursue nuclear disarmament. There were hopes that, when the parties to the NPT met again in May 2015, there would be substantial progress to report.
An idea whose time has gone
Alas, no. Mr Obama’s agreement with Iran remains possible, even likely — but it will hardly be one that energises the cause of a nuclear-free world. Iran will continue to sit close to the nuclear threshold, retaining an ability to enrich uranium which, if it were to withdraw from the agreement, would allow it to create a bomb’s worth of weapons-grade material in about a year. That is more than the current estimated breakout period of three months, and long enough, it is felt, for America and its allies to mount a response, should it come to that. But it is hardly a huge step back from the threshold, or forward for peace.

And the Iran deal is pretty much the only item on 2010’s list of high hopes that has got anywhere at all. The chilling of relations between America and Russia over Ukraine has resulted in cooperation on nuclear security measures being suspended, while promised follow-on measures relating to New START have been quietly abandoned. Vladimir Putin, Mr Medvedev’s predecessor and successor, takes every opportunity to laud his country’s nuclear prowess, and is committing a third of Russia’s booming military budget to bolstering it.

It is not the only power investing in its nukes (see table). America is embarking on a $348-billion decade-long modernisation programme. Britain is about to commit to modernising its forces, as well, while France is halfway through the process. China is investing heavily in a second-strike capability. In short, there has been no attempt to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in the military and security doctrines of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, despite their commitments under the NPT. An initiative aimed at making nuclear weapons illegal under international humanitarian law, backed by over 150 NPT signatory countries, has attracted little to no support from the weapons states and only lip service from countries which welcome America’s nuclear protection.

Arsenals and aspirations 
The Economist/SIPRI

The truth is that enthusiasm for a push to zero was never quite as global as it seemed. America’s superiority in conventional weapons, although not readily converted into lasting victory in real wars, was striking enough to make gradual nuclear disarmament attractive to a number of American security professionals and academics. Some of them, former cold warriors, shared a guilty awareness of how close the planet had come to destruction as a result of accident and miscalculation. In a world of failing banks and successful jihadists, nuclear weapons felt to many like dangerous, expensive anachronisms.

Elsewhere, things looked rather different. Nuclear weapons are an effective way to make up for a lack of conventional military power — as America readily appreciated when, in the 1950s, it used the threat of retaliation with its comparatively sophisticated nuclear weapons to hold off massed Soviet tank divisions in Europe. Now the fact of America’s immense conventional power puts the boot on other feet.

The evening-up effect is most obvious for the smallest fry. A presumed handful of weapons allows North Korea to bully and subvert its otherwise far more powerful southern neighbour and cock a snook at America. One of the reasons China continues to provide the hermit kingdom with energy and food aid is the fear of what a Kim regime facing collapse might do with its nukes. Iran has wanted a nuclear option in part because of the contrasting fortunes of the two other countries that appeared with it on Mr Bush’s “axis of evil” in 2002: North Korea and Iraq. Some Ukrainian politicians bemoan the fact that, in 1994, the country gave up the nuclear weapons it had inherited from the Soviet Union. The security guarantees it received in return from Britain, France, America and Russia ring more than a little hollow today.

Calling Major Kong

But big countries, too, can value the heft added to their conventional might by nuclear supplements. Thérèse Delpech, a distinguished French nuclear strategist, argued shortly before her death in 2012 that the West’s adversaries were already deploying a range of asymmetric tactics to offset their conventional military disadvantage; it would be wrong to assume that nuclear weapons might not find a place in that range. Russia is a case in point. In 1999 Mr Putin was struck by the effectiveness of the West’s precision weapons in Kosovo. When he became president a year later he introduced a military doctrine of “de-escalation”, in which the threat of a limited nuclear strike, probably though not necessarily against a military target, could be used to force an opponent back to the status quo ante. It was aimed at deterring America and its NATO allies from involving themselves in conflicts in which Russia felt it had vital interests.

The key to the doctrine’s credibility is for the West to believe that Russia might be willing to take the risk of using nuclear weapons because it cares far more about the outcomes in its “near abroad” than others do. Since 2000 nearly all Russia’s big military exercises have featured simulations of limited nuclear strikes, including one on Poland in 2009. After a crash modernisation effort, Russia now has greater confidence in its conventional forces. That may explain why a major exercise staged in 2013 went without a simulated nuclear attack. But the conflict in Ukraine is disconcertingly similar to the kind that Russian forces have consistently war-gamed and planned for. Russia’s keenness for nuclear-backed bullying can be seen in its threats to launch pre-emptive strikes against American missile-defence sites due in Romania this year and in Poland in 2018. In late 2013 Russia stationed nuclear-capable Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad, the enclave which borders Poland and Lithuania.
The thought of “nuclear combat — toe-to-toe with the Russkies,” as Major Kong put it in Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr Strangelove,” feels like a return to the cold war. But this is different. In the cold war the two sides were broadly committed to international stability, with nuclear weapons seen as a way to preserve, rather than challenge, the status quo. This did not mean there were no risks — things could quite easily have gone terribly wrong by accident or design, and the mutual interest in stability could have waned. But both American and Soviet leaders showed themselves highly risk-averse when it came to nuclear weapons. Protocols such as the use of the “hot line” evolved to defuse and manage crises, and great care was taken to prevent the possibility of accidental or unauthorised launch. The development of “second-strike” nuclear forces, which could guarantee a response even after the sneakiest of sneak attacks, bolstered stability.

The new nuclear age is built on shakier foundations. Although there are fewer nuclear weapons than at the height of the cold war, the possibility of some of them being used is higher and growing. That increasing possibility feeds the likelihood of more countries choosing the nuclear option, which in turn increases the sense of instability.

fewer weapons 
Federation of American Scientists

Many of the factors that made deterrence work in the cold war are now weakened or absent. One is the overarching acceptance of strategic stability. Some of today’s nuclear powers want to challenge the existing order, either regionally or globally. Both China and Russia are dissatisfied with what they see as a rules-based international order created for and dominated by the West. There are disputed borders with nukes on both sides between India and both China and Pakistan.

The kind of protocols that the cold-war era America and Soviet Union set up to reassure each other are much less in evidence today. China is particularly cagey about the size, status and capabilities of its nuclear forces and opaque about the doctrinal approach that might govern their use. India and Pakistan have a hotline and inform each other about tests, but do not discuss any other measures to improve nuclear security, for example by moving weapons farther from their border. Israel does not even admit that its nuclear arsenal exists. The protocols that used to govern the nuclear relationship between America and Russia are also visibly fraying; co-operation on nuclear-materials safety ended in December 2014.

Can’t live with them…

Second-strike capabilities—which theorists believe, under some circumstances, to strengthen deterrence—are spreading, which may provide some comfort. An assured second-strike capability greatly reduces the destabilising “use them or lose them” dilemma that a country with a small or vulnerable nuclear force faces in a crisis. Russia, America, France and Britain have long enjoyed this assurance thanks to missile submarines that are practically invulnerable while at sea. China now has mobile missiles that might survive a first strike, and is deploying its own fleet of ballistic-missile submarines. India has just begun trials of its first missile sub. Israel has submarines which can launch cruise missiles that could carry nuclear warheads.

It is worth remembering, though, that the prospect of one of the two parties in a conflict developing such a capability while the other lacks it can in itself be destabilising. There is also a worry that the leaders of some current and aspirant nuclear powers may be less risk-averse than their cold-war analogues. A wariness of leaders who feel their regimes to be under internal or external threat, or whose religion or ideology embraces apocalyptic confrontation, adds to fears about nuclear weapons in North Korea and possibly Iran.

Weak institutions also increase the danger of the unauthorised use of weapons, or of some ending up with non-state groups. This danger is especially acute in Pakistan, where responsibility for short-range systems may be delegated to field commanders during a crisis, a large part of the army has been radicalised and jihadist networks have multiplied.

Putting together the risk that nuclear suasion could be used to push for change instead of stability, the increasing number of actors, and the ever greater possibilities for confusion as to what might actually be going on, Ms Delpech wrote in 2012 that the world was entering a new “era of strategic piracy”. This new piracy was characterised by lawlessness and deception, and she saw it as including surprise attacks as well as blatant threats. China was a particular concern because of its refusal to engage in serious discussions about what sort of strategic stability might suit it. The West, she warned, was ill prepared.

Some strategists believe that, given the existential threat nuclear weapons pose, new forms of deterrence will be found. It worked in the cold war and mutatis mutandis can work today. But as Lawrence Freedman, a British strategist, observes, “deterrence works; until it doesn’t.” In a much more complicated and chaotic future, “doesn’t” becomes more likely, especially if thought is not given to the problem. America is willing to spend heavily on new nuclear kit, but there is little sign of the intellectual effort needed to develop new theories of deterrence.

One way to bolster stability could be through a more overt doctrine of extended deterrence on America’s part. In Asia and the Middle East, America’s security guarantees to its allies are more ambiguous than they are in Europe, where the NATO commitment is clear. China’s growing military capabilities and the wild card of North Korea threaten Japan and, less so, South Korea, American allies that have thus far forborne from becoming nuclear-weapons powers. Both could do so quickly were they so minded. Were Iran to break out from the NPT and pursue a bomb, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and maybe Egypt, too, would be under pressure to do so.

America can help practically as well as doctrinally. It has increasingly effective anti-ballistic missile systems that it can share with allies; they might sometimes be destabilising, but perhaps not as much so as proliferation would be. America is also developing “prompt global strike” — the ability to deliver a precision strike using conventional weapons anywhere in the world within an hour — which would allow the possibility of quickly neutralising small, hostile nuclear forces without recourse to nuclear weapons.

…Can’t live without them

Such things are not much help, though, against the largest and smallest threats. An emerging near-peer nuclear power such as China may have a much higher tolerance for risk during some sorts of regional crisis (over Taiwan, say) than has been seen in the past. At the other end of the spectrum, when it comes to non-state groups without assets that can be held at risk, deterrence may simply not have much to offer.

The recent hopes for a Global Zero now seem desperately premature. As long as great-power relations remain unstable, regional rivalries linger unresolved and rogue states continue to see nuclear weapons as a way of intimidating purportedly powerful adversaries, the incentive to hang on to nuclear weapons will outweigh other considerations. This is all the more true given that nobody has shown convincingly that renouncing nuclear weapons would really make the world safer.
The economist and strategist Thomas Schelling has argued that a world of renunciation has no good answer to the problem of reconstitution — the ability of a former nuclear power to restore its nuclear capability very quickly. No government could allow itself to lose a war that it would win if it were to re-produce nuclear weapons.

Thus there would be very strong incentives to cheat, for example by caching some weapons-grade material just in case.

Mr Schelling concludes that such a world might have a dozen countries with “hair-trigger mobilisation plans to rebuild nuclear weapons and mobilise or commandeer delivery systems”. “Every crisis would be a nuclear crisis”, he warns. “Any war could become a nuclear war.”
Mr Obama was right six years ago to warn the world against complacency when it came to nuclear weapons.

The knowledge that at some point, either by accident or design, one or more is very likely to be used is no reason not to work hard to postpone that wicked day. Their use should certainly never be considered part of the normal currency of international relations.

But for now the best that can be achieved is to search for ways to restore effective deterrence, bear down on proliferation and get back to the dogged grind of arms-control negotiations between the main nuclear powers.

Read more: http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21645840-despite-optimistic-attempts-rid-world-nuclear-weapons-threat-they-pose-peace?fsrc=scn/tw/te/pe/ed/unkickedaddiction#ixzz3U9NX8d00

The Ten Horns Of Prophecy (Dan 7/ Rev 17)

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have remained tight-lipped about their diplomatic dealings, but there is speculation the Saudis may have requested Pakistan to provide troops to protect the kingdom’s interests in the region.

muhammad-nawaz-sharif

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have remained tight-lipped about diplomatic dealings between the two countries.

This follows talks between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and King Salman bin Abdul Aziz. But there is speculation the Saudis may have requested Pakistan to provide troops to protect the kingdom’s interests in the region.

UNPRECEDENTED WELCOME

It was an unprecedented welcome. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was personally received by the new Saudi King when his plane touched down in Riyadh last week. 

It is not known what was discussed between the two leaders during the visit, but amid concerns over the rise of the Islamic State and the fall of a friendly regime in Yemen, some analysts believe Saudi Arabia may have been seeking military assistance from Pakistan.

There is good reason to believe Iran’s ongoing nuclear negotiations with the international community, which appear close to a breakthrough agreement, may well have been part of the exchange too.
Raoof Hasan, Chief Executive of the Regional Peace Institute, said: „With the growing perception and the developments that are taking place, they may at some point in time also demand a nuclear umbrella.“

Any such developments are likely to test relations between the two countries though.
Saudi Arabia has long been a close strategic ally. It hosts more than 1.7 million Pakistanis who contribute substantially to their country’s economy, while annual trade between the two states exceeds US$4.5 billion. And that could complicate Pakistan’s decision-making process on these matters.

Added to that, when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s administration was toppled in October 1999, the Saudi authorities rescued him from prison and hosted him in their country for years.

KEY ROLE OF PAKISTAN’S ARMY CHIEF
Some wonder whether Mr Sharif should be the one dealing with the Saudis at this juncture.
Raoof Hasan said: „This is a very critical question: Whether the Sharifs – with the background and the patronage extended to them by the Saudi government – remain in a position to upload Pakistan’s supreme interests in negotiations with the Saudis?“

The prime minister will not be the only one calling the shots though. Pakistan’s powerful army chief will be playing a key role in the decision-making process.

„Whatever his decision, it is also relevant to see whether Raheel Sharif sees eye to eye with him on this. Because in the end, it is the men in uniform who have to be sent,“ said S M Hali, Former Pakistan Air Force Group Captain and Defence Analyst.

Yet, there is fear among Pakistan’s strategic circles that if this matter is not handled properly, Pakistan may find itself embroiled in conflicts it needn’t be involved with. 

GOP Are Clowns, Albeit Dangerous Clowns (Ezekiel 17)

David Ignatius: Senators‘ partisan meddling downright dangerous

GOP Politics

The Billings Gazette

WASHINGTON — Even by congressional Republican standards, the naysaying letter to Iran sent Monday by 47 GOP senators was grossly irresponsible. Not only did it undercut President Obama’s ability to negotiate a diplomatic agreement but it also undermined the aspect of the Iran nuclear deal that would potentially be most beneficial to the United States and Israel.

From the beginning of the Iran nuclear talks, a key U.S. goal has been to obtain an agreement whose duration is long enough that it will bind Iran’s actions into the next generation of leaders who will follow Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who is 75 and ailing. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stressed the future expiration of the agreement as a key worry during his speech to Congress last week criticizing the deal.

The political wrecking ball that is the Republican caucus has, perhaps unwittingly, challenged precisely this goal of a long-term pact by advising the Iranian leadership that the deal being negotiated is merely an „executive agreement“ that could be abandoned if the domestic political winds change. „The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time,“ the letter says.

Helping Iran’s hardliners

To this assertion of the impermanence of an agreement, Khamenei and other hard-liners might well respond with an Iranian version of „Amen.“ They could use the Senate GOP letter as a rationale for abandoning aspects of the deal they find too constraining. That would force the United States to consider military action. The casus belli, bizarrely, might begin with an argument made by Senate Republicans.

„I think it’s somewhat ironic to see some members of Congress wanting to make common cause with the hard-liners in Iran,“ Obama told reporters. That was putting it mildly. A blunter assessment came from Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, who said he was „beyond appalled“ by what the Senate letter-writers had done.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who doesn’t want hard-liners in Washington or Tehran to upset his deal-making, responded with a civics lesson of his own: „The authors may not fully understand that in international law, governments represent the entirety of their respective states. … Change of administration does not in any way relieve the next administration from international obligations undertaken by its predecessor in a possible agreement about Iran’s peaceful nuclear program.“ Whether such views are binding on Khamenei & Co. is a key issue for the future.

Contempt for Obama, U.S. allies

This latest GOP tactic of conveying skepticism about the accord directly to Tehran follows House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to Netanyahu to, in effect, lobby against the deal from the floor of the U.S. Congress. These actions may be seen by allies abroad not just as a gesture of contempt for Obama, but also for the broader P5-plus-1 negotiating group that includes Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China.

Liberal bloggers were arguing that the GOP letter violated the Logan Act, named for a Pennsylvania politician’s attempt to meddle in President John Adams‘ delicate negotiations with France in 1798.
The language of that 216-year-old statute does sound eerily pertinent: „Any citizen … who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government … or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.“

The Obama administration surely isn’t going to take its GOP critics to court. But this latest act of congressional defiance should make reasonable Republicans wonder whether their party’s foreign policy agitprop has moved beyond being merely partisan to downright dangerous.

Read more: http://billingsgazette.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/david-ignatius/david-ignatius-senators-partisan-meddling-downright-dangerous/article_14d72ad6-5756-5ac7-adc7-03f3db321c52.html#ixzz3UDBVHmMI