As Prime Minister prepares to speak to Congress, and President Obama reinforces his opinion, it seems appropriate to seek a third opinion. Henry Kissinger undoubtedly is a world authority on nuclear arms negotiations, having spent much of the 1970’s negotiating nuclear pacts between the United States and the Soviet Union..
Kissinger recently gave testimony before the Senate, and his reasoned and thoughtful words, carrying the weight of his experience, should be heeded. They may even alarm some people as to what is really at stake in the near future.
In his prepared remarks to the Senate, he wrote:
“Nuclear talks with Iran began as an international effort, buttressed by six U.N. resolutions, to deny Iran the capability to develop a military nuclear option. They are now an essentially bilateral negotiation over the scope of that capability through an agreement that sets a hypothetical limit of one year on an assumed breakout. The impact of this approach will be to move from preventing proliferation to managing it.” (The italics are Mr. Kissinger’s.)
While considering his words, it should be noted that Mr. Kissinger has always spoken with care when referring to the policies of US administrations. He rarely, if ever, disparages or undermines a sitting US president.
He went on to say:
“But I would also emphasize the issue of proliferation. Assuming one accepts the inspection as valid” and “takes account of the stockpile of nuclear material that already exists, the question then is what do the other countries in the region do? And if the other countries in the region conclude that America has approved the development of an enrichment capability within one year of a nuclear weapon, and if they then insist on building the same capability, we will live in a proliferated world in which everybody—even if that agreement is maintained—will be very close to the trigger point.”
What Mr Kissinger is referring to is the state of the Middle East at present, in which many countries are able to acquire nuclear weapons but the only deterrent has been the threat of US and European intervention. Not only has the process of the Obama/Kerry led negotiations dulled that threat and sent a message, it has effectively removed that threat entirely. Mr Kissinger’s reference to “other countries in the region” pointed to Saudi Arabia which can buy nuclear capability from Pakistan, thereby becoming instantly online, Egypt, or Turkey. Turkey, though technically an ally of Israel, has recently had diplomatic difficulties with the Jewish State and is plagued by anti-Israel sentiment amongst its populace. If Shiite Iran has a nuclear device, Turkey would be severely threatened by Jihad, perhaps even more so than Israel.
In short, what Mr Kissinger is suggesting is that the danger is not that Obama’s sanctionless negotiations may fail, leaving us with a nuclear capable Iran, but that Obama’s negotiations will succeed, ushering in a new era of nuclear proliferation that includes many more countries than it did even in the height of the Cold War Era.
The Wall Street Journal concluded its reaction to Mr Kissinger’s testimony by saying:
“Our own view is that Mr. Obama is so bent on an Iran deal that he will make almost any concession to get one. In any case Mr. Kissinger’s concerns underscore the need for Congressional scrutiny and a vote on any agreement with Iran.”
In an interview with NRP in September, Kissinger spoke about Iran. He said, “From a geo-strategic point of view, I consider Iran a bigger problem than ISIS.”
George Shultz, former US Secretary of State, also testified. He was very critical of the Obama administration’s dealings with Iran. As noted in the Washington Post:
“Iran is the leading state sponsor of terrorism. … They act directly. They act indirectly.” He explained that “if it weren’t for Hezbollah, Assad would not be [in power] in Syria.” He points out the Iranians are developing ballistic missiles. As for the Obama administration, Shultz scoffed, “They haven’t got the table set yet.” We should be including in negotiations issues such as terrorism and ICBMs, but the administration has ruled out these subjects because Iran objects. Even worse, he says, we have already granted the so-called right to enrich. “Their agenda is to get rid of the sanctions,” he said. “And they’re doing pretty well.” He cautioned against so-called snap-back sanctions since as difficult as it is to impose sanctions, it is harder still to bring them back once they’ve been lifted. He argued that Iran should know it faces additional sanctions unless it gives up its nuclear ambitions.”
“Most important, Shultz explained that whether we are talking about Iran, Russia or the Islamic State, we need to understand that these bad actors are attacking “the way the world works,” the state system of respected borders. Terrorism, he says, is a tactic, but the goal is to erase national borders and subsume independent countries to these entities’ control. And finally, he repeated a number of times that the administration must engage in much more consultation with Congress. “If you want me in on the landing, include me in the takeoff,” he recalled were the Reagan administration’s watchwords.”
I feel that Mr Shultz’s last remark is very poignant. Obama has drawn a line in the sand and forbidden anyone in Congress or Senate to cross that line. He wants a free hand and is playing hardball to get it. There are many who feel that is simply not the way the United States Constitution works.