Guest Commentary: Diplomacy With Iran More Style than Substance

November 27, 2013

McNULTY:  Trust is far more difficult to be gained than it is to be lost

I am concerned.  I am concerned that the Obama Administration is so committed to striking a deal with Iran that it is willing to do so at the expense of our Allies in the region and our foreign policy in general.

Just a few years ago I participated in efforts to prohibit Colorado’s public employee retirement funds from investing in businesses that did business in Iran.  It was more than a symbolic step, it was a very real move aimed at doing our part to restrict the economic opportunities for the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, Iran.

Only two years ago, the Colorado General Assembly passed a bi-partisan resolution endorsing continued economic sanctions against Iran “for sponsoring terrorism, committing egregious violations of human rights, and engaging in illicit nuclear weapons development…”

We’re told that the nascent agreement with Iran recently announced by President Obama is a “first step that makes the world safer,” or at least we’re lead to believe that by a tweet from Secretary Kerry that was re-tweeted by Iran’s President Rouhani.  I guess this is what passes for international agreement these days…tweets and retweets…

Some have characterized the pending Iran agreement as the best of the worst options.  That getting something from Iran was better than nothing.  I suppose a retweet does count as something.

While I’m not an expert in U.S-Iran relations, I am familiar enough to know that the Iranian regime is absolutely committed to the continued relevance of its nuclear program.  Iranian leadership knows that once it has its ticket punched to the nuclear weapons club, its relevance on the world stage is secured.

It knows that simply possessing the ability to create a nuclear weapon is all that is necessary to continue the oppression of the Iranian people, the support for anti-American interests across the globe, and its purposeful march toward its self-proclaimed goal of wiping Israel from the face of the earth.

We are in an odd place in American foreign policy when the leader of America’s closest ally in the region, Israel, calls the Iran deal an “historic mistake.”  I’m sure that I’m not the only one who has noticed that the relationship between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu has been…um…strained…

Even though, I would not expect the Israeli prime minister to call out actions taken by the President of the United States as an historic mistake.  The simple fact that Netanyahu felt compelled to utter the words speaks volumes of how Israel has been treated in the U.S. discussion with Iran.

Let’s, for a moment, set aside the fact that U.S. allies, Jewish and Muslim alike, are questioning the wisdom of the “deal.”  Let’s focus on Iran’s statements following the deal’s announcement.

As Secretary Kerry and Obama Administration officials were trying to cement the idea that real movement had been made in halting Iran’s march toward nuclear weapons and that Iran had not been let off the hook, Iranian President Rouhani shared the Iranian take on the “deal” in his public observation that the world finally recognized the nuclear rights of Iran.  The nuclear right of Iran.  Even if the statement was let by Rouhani as a bone to the ruling Iranian extremists, his timing couldn’t have been worse, or his words more poorly chosen.  In no way should anyone recognize the fact that Iran should have nuclear capabilities.

My fear is this.  Desperate for a foreign policy victory, the Obama Administration needed positive movement on Iran.  In order to accomplish positive movement on Iran, Secretary Kerry needed an agreement or at least an agreement in principle.  To get the agreement or the agreement in principle, our regional allies were removed from consultation.  By removing our closest ally, Israel, from consultation, the Obama Administration has done what no other U.S. Administration has done.  The Obama Administration has relegated and diminished U.S.-Israel relations.

Yes.  The United States and Israel have spied on each other.  Yes.  U.S. Presidents have pushed Israeli Prime Ministers to enter into discussions with their neighbors.  Yes.  The U.S.-Israeli relationship has been strained from time to time—but never…never…not until now…has the United States discarded and disrespected its relationship with Israel.  And, if dismantling the U.S.-Israel relationship wasn’t enough, the Obama Administration appears to have cast our brothers and sisters in Israel aside for the selfish purpose of striking a deal with a self-described enemy of Israel.

I am concerned.  I am concerned and I am sad.  Once done, some things are not able to be undone.  Trust is far more difficult to be gained than it is to be lost.

Rep. Frank McNulty was Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives for the 68th General Assembly.  He represents Highlands Ranch, Colorado.

Comments made by visitors are not representative of The Colorado Observer staff.

One Response to Guest Commentary: Diplomacy With Iran More Style than Substance

  1. Peter Neils
    January 21, 2014 at 10:23 am

    Iran has no nuclear weapons program. Repeated inspections have verified this. Further, and in spite of Sec. Kerry’s insistence to the contrary, Iran as a party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, has the legal right under international law to enrichment for civilian nuclear power.

    In contrast, Israel, which is not a party to the NPT, has an undeclared, but widely acknowledged, nuclear arsenal. Would it not be a initiation to a productive regional peace initiative to advocate that the middle east become a nuclear free zone without choosing favorites as we find ourselves in the position of doing now?

    Perhaps we do not really wish to embrace an even handed middle east policy. If that is the case, honesty dictates that we stop lying and declare it so. Ultimately we must choose; visionaries or hypocrites.


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