Arms Control Under Obamacare Rules?
By Amb. Henry F. Cooper
Friday, November 15th, 2013 @ 1:47AM
In speaking to the press in Abu Dhabi and seeking to soften the obvious breakdown in the Geneva P5+1 talks that are supposed to stop Iran’s deliberate march to nuclear weapons, Secretary of State John Kerry said, and I quote, “The time to oppose it is when you see what it is, not to oppose the effort to find out what is possible.”
Sounds remarkably like then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s admonition in the 2010 debate that led to steamrolling through congress, “We have to pass the Bill so that you can learn what is in it.” So, we are finally beginning to get the report on the so-called “Affordable Health Care Act,” which with its associated regulations now consists of some 11,000 pages. How do you think that’s working out?
But Secretary Kerry’s comments did not end there. He also said that President Obama “does what he says,” citing the killing of Osama bin Laden and getting American troops out of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And he added, “So believe us on Iran,” he said. “He [the President] will not bluff.”
This assertion is on the heels of the President’s lame apology for repeated false assurances that, “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Period.” And he subsequently has not helped his credibility by saying that only 5-percent of policy holders are at risk-again a known falsehood. We are just beginning to learn how false these and other claims were-and are. That’s bad enough on Obamacare-and its impact on our economy.
Buying into similarly false claims for the negotiations with Iran could lead to catastrophic consequences for the American people, not to mention our Israeli friends-if Iran repeats its past performance and continues its march to nuclear weapons behind a shroud of arms control and related diplomacy.
Secretary Kerry indicated repeatedly that everyone was in agreement except for Iran-and that seems a little out of step with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius’ immediate objections-particularly his public statement that “One wants a deal … but not a sucker’s deal.” Frankly, I prefer Fabius’ initial explanation to Kerry’s. As time goes on, trying to figure out who is doing what, as Alice said, gets “curiouser and curiouser . . .”
More on these negotiations in a minute. But first, consider another thought on the Obama administration’s record on Obamacare. It is true that when the President has a clear advantage in matters he wants to accomplish, he is ruthless in pursuing his objectives. This he clearly demonstrated during the 2010 congressional debate over Obamacare, which passed without a single Republican vote in either the House or Senate.
The then dominant Democrats refused to consider seriously Republican proposed amendments-that was then. Now, some Democrats now are proposing some of the same amendments in the wake of the disastrous Obamacare rollout and in their apprehension of the 2014 elections as their constituents learn the unfolding truth about the alleged Affordable Health Care Act for which they voted.
This kind of deception is also evident in Obama’s diplomacy and strategic arms control record when he made promises so far un-kept. In that same 2010 Democrat dominated Senate that passed Obamacare, President Obama prevailed against the better informed minority during the New START Treaty ratification debate. This ill-conceived treaty forced U.S. strategic force reductions while legitimizing a Russian strategic force buildup.
For a recent report on how that is working out for the Russians, see this week’s Aviation Week report on Russia’s development of multiple nuclear systems. Included are a new ballistic-missile submarine class and missile in production; continued deliveries of a modern, road-mobile ICBM; and reports of a new silo-based heavyweight weapon. Russia also is arming its bomber fleet with a new cruise missile and planning for a new bomber. And there are new Russian Tactical Nuclear Weapon Systems-their TacNukes vastly outnumber ours and are not limited by any agreement-another failing of New START granting an advantage to the Russians.
Meanwhile, U.S. strategic capabilities are mostly provided by reduced numbers of systems and weapons from the Reagan strategic modernization program of the early 1980s. And the President has so far reneged on his commitments (to those few Republican senators he persuaded to consent to New START in 2010) to assure timely modernization of these atrophying U.S. strategic forces and associated infrastructure that underpins our nuclear stockpile.
Bottom line: The President’s commitments-like on Obamacare-also have been largely meaningless in the strategic arena, where his priority from the beginning of his administration clearly has been to move as quickly as possible to “nuclear zero”-and in this case not by “leading from behind,” even as our potential adversaries (including China) increase and modernize theirs.
So, it’s just a question of what the President wants to accomplish . . . and his Obamacare promises demonstrated that he will knowingly lie to achieve his end goal. And in the strategic nuclear area, he also has not honored his commitments to congress-and the American people.
And more reports are surfacing that the President has been working behind the scenes with Iran, even before the election of the alleged moderate President Hassan Rouhani suggesting the possibility of precursory concessions on sanctions . . . so as to make a deal with them. Has this emboldened the Iranians? You think? Rouhani continues to insist that Iran will not stop its uranium enrichment programs. Things get curiouser and curiouser . . .
So, what do you think of Secretary Kerry’s promise that the President “will not bluff” when it comes to dealing with Iran?
And how should we consider his administration’s overall performance in the Middle East-particularly regarding Iran-and how it fits into his plans for achieving his goals? Obama has ceded leadership in Middle Eastern affairs to Russia’s Vladimir Putin, with his deal over Syria-to the chagrin of others. And instabilities are growing.
For example, U.S. dealings with Syria and Iran in particular, have produced significant Saudi angst. They reportedly are now shoring up Pakistan’s nuclear programs-an already existing Islamic nuclear power, and are reportedly preparing to purchase their own nuclear weapons from Pakistan to offset Iran’s nuclear weapons should Iran succeed in building them. They are thought to have long prepared for this contingency, e.g., click here to see a pertinent BBC report.
This is not looking good. As I said before, “curiouser and curiouser . . .” and this is not Wonderland-or is it?
What to do?
The Senate should take a hard look at what is being negotiated with Iran and what should be done. The administration’s approach might be compared with the five steps recommended by Dennis Ross, Eric Edelman and Michael Makovsky in their article, “Memo to the Washington Weak: How not to become Iran’s fool,” published originally in the Los Angeles Times and subsequently by Jewish World Review. Among their five recommendations, my view is that their fifth is most important: “Do not waste time.” And their bottom line is ominous “Iran will likely attain an undetectable nuclear capability by mid-2014, and perhaps even earlier, leaving scant time to both negotiate and verifiably implement a deal.”
And frankly, I do not have any confidence that these talks will block Iran’s march to a nuclear capability and an increasingly dangerous Muddle East-with implications for our survival as well. In particular, we should build effective defenses against the possibilities of nuclear armed Iranian ballistic missiles as soon as possible.
November 13, 2013