Iran

Iran and the Recurrent Fear of Arms Control

The question is not whether the agreement works miracles to soften the hearts of the Iranian rulers.

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"Reagan has accelerated the moral disarmament of the West by elevating wishful thinking to the status of political philosophy." — George F. Will, 1987, on the United States' nuclear weapons negotiations with the Soviet Union.

Amid all the criticism of President Barack Obama's proposed agreement with Iran on its nuclear facilities, it's worth keeping in mind that some people just can't stomach the idea of arms control. They see it as a trap, a delusion, a form of appeasement and a slow-motion surrender to evil.

They do not hope for good agreements. They hope for no agreements. Considering their opinions on this deal is like asking vegans to review a steak house: A negative response is predetermined.

Ronald Reagan began as one of those people. When Jimmy Carter signed the second Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT II) with the Soviets, Reagan used his daily radio commentaries to highlight its alleged defects. During his 1980 campaign, he vowed to scrap the treaty.

SALT II wasn't ratified under Carter. When he came into office, Reagan did something unexpected: He didn't push for ratification of the accord, but he did scrupulously abide by it. The critic became the custodian.

What he apparently discovered upon taking office and hearing from experts in the government is that the treaty was a net benefit for the United States. Once he was personally responsible for the security of the American people and our European allies, Reagan changed his mind.

So he abided by SALT, because he had an interest in persuading the Soviets to do likewise. By the time it expired in 1985, he was working with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to achieve additional curbs on nuclear weapons.

Reagan evolved on the issue, but most conservatives did not. When he signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in 1987, Free Congress Foundation founder Paul Weyrich said he told the president that "nothing that he was saying made any sense." William F. Buckley's National Review called the accord "catastrophic." The treaty was approved anyway—and the West somehow went on to win the Cold War.

If conservatives vilified an arms-control agreement approved by Reagan, whom they revere, it's not astonishing to find them vilifying one approved by Obama, whom they despise. But the charges leveled against Obama's deal with Tehran are no more convincing than the ones made against Reagan's deal with Moscow.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., objected because of Iran's "long history of covert nuclear weapons-related activities, support of terrorism, and its current role in destabilizing the region." Sneered Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., "Neville Chamberlain got a better deal from Adolf Hitler."

If the best analogy you can find is 77 years old, maybe it's time to read up on events that have transpired since then. The reason Kirk and others ignore more recent history, like the 1980s, is that it provides no support for what they insist on believing.

One complaint is that the accord fails to solve problems it was not designed to solve. Iran does many things we don't like—much as the Soviet Union did in 1987. Gorbachev was still making war in Afghanistan and maintaining totalitarian regimes throughout Eastern Europe. But getting a troublemaking enemy to take steps that make it less fearsome is something to welcome, not abhor.

There is one big difference between Reagan's arms agreements and this one. The Soviets were allowed to have thousands of nuclear weapons. The Iranians are allowed to have zero.

So Iran supports terrorism, aids Syria's Bashar Assad, trains Shiite militias in Iraq and meddles in Yemen? Well, better it should undertake such mischief without nukes than with them.

If Iran were a model of responsible behavior, we wouldn't be so worried about its potential to acquire the bomb. It's precisely because we find the Tehran government untrustworthy and destabilizing that we want to deny it an atomic arsenal.

The question is not whether the agreement works miracles to soften the hearts of the Iranian rulers. It's whether it curtails their ability to harm us and our allies through specific requirements we can verify and enforce. If so, it will greatly enhance the credibility of arms control.

The critics are haunted by two nightmare scenarios. The first is that Obama has made a bad deal with Iran. The second is that he's made a good one.

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62 responses to “Iran and the Recurrent Fear of Arms Control

  1. Aww, hell no, Chapman went and lit the John signal.

    1. should we retreat to the Peace Nazi bunker?

      1. You know who else retreated to their Nazi bunker?

        1. The prince of England?

        2. Josef Fritzl?

        3. Former Nazi leaders on the run?
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPyuGCX-dOM

        4. Henry Ford?

        5. The inventors of Fanta?

        6. The pianist?

          1. Wasn’t that specifically a non-Nazi hideyhole?

            +1 “why are you wearing that (German military coat)” “Because I was cold”

  2. Mr. Chapman,
    The Cadministration failed to prevent North Korea acquiring atomic bombs. Do you really believe that the Odministration will stop the Iranians?
    The real question is what to do about that reality.

    1. The real question is “why is it any of our fucking business?”

  3. There is a difference between SALT, where the parties involves were A: likely to abide by the agreement, and B: already had enough nukes to destroy the world five times over, and the ‘Agreement’ with Iran, which will be ignored by the Iranians who are also at the top of the list of people who’d be liable to actually use their nuclear arsenal in an unprovoked attack.

    1. So what do you think is the proper US response?

        1. From orbit.

          It’s the only way to be sure.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCbfMkh940Q

        2. That could help their water problem.

      1. Trust but verify

        1. Which parts of this deal, specifically, fail in that area?

          1. DONDERRRRRROOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

      2. Proper response:

        DONDERRRRRRRRRRROOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

        1. You senile old juvenile Gamergate psychopath little girl. Why don’t you go bench press, brah?

          1. Oh, and NUH UH YOU ARE

      3. We could tell them we would know if any of their nukes were used against us we would nuke them. After all, we are the only country in the world that has nuke another country that attacked us, twice, and the american people would have no problem doing it again.

    2. And you know this how? By Iran’s reaction to having chemical weapons used on them by a US enabled Iraq in the 1980s? Or by the fact that Iran has failed over many decades to use chem or bio against Israel?

      As pointed out by the author, the “right” all thought Reagan bonkers because the agreements would be ignored by the Soviets. They were not trustworthy and the US was placing itself at risk of a first strike, so went the song at the time.

      Unfortunately, you and most of the hard right are still seeing reds under your bed, just now they have a Persian friend with them.

  4. Where is The Machine!!!??? …. I need to have a discussion with him about the controls for my heat lamp.

    BTW I can now eat a full meal again, however I still can’t drink

    1. “I can now eat a full meal again…”

      Yay!

      “… however I still can’t drink”

      Oh.

      1. Yeah, talk about god news/bad news…

        1. Well having I swerved the first indications of starvation has made me quite giddy about my current condition.

    2. I need to have a discussion with him about the controls for my heat lamp.

      Slow roast reptile is a delicacy, just stay under the lamp while we slowly raise the temperature.

    3. Hmm, phased plasma reptile lamp in the 40-watt range?

      There’s a tiny metal box with a little antenna at the back, attached to the input modulator. Just rip it off and you’ll be roasted alive-

      *ahem*

      -good to go, in no time.

      1. That’s the last time I call you for tech support… Jerk

  5. The critics are haunted by two nightmare scenarios. The first is that Obama has made a bad deal with Iran. The second is that he’s made a good one.

    How will they scare their base without a oversized boogeyman? They can’t run on economic issues and the culture wars are a losing issue. The GOP has nothing else but fear as a political weapon.

    1. Welcome to Retardation: A Celebration. Now, hopefully, I’m gonna dispel a few myths, a few rumors. First off, the retarded don’t rule the night. They don’t rule it. Nobody does. And they don’t run in packs. And while they may not be as strong as apes, don’t lock eyes with ’em, don’t do it. Puts ’em on edge. They might go into berzerker mode; come at you like a whirling dervish, all fists and elbows. You might be screaming “No, no, no” and all they hear is “Who wants cake?” Let me tell you something: They all do. They all want cake.

      1. You know, I have always wondered what kind of cake?

        1. ” They can’t run on economic issues …”

          Hooooooooo BOY!!! That is a good one!
          Almost as good as his refutation of the causes of the 2008 crisis…

          1. It is not Obama’s fault you can’t land a job. There have been over four million private sector jobs added since 2009. You might be one of the next four million hired though. Don’t be discouraged.

            1. And don’t forget billions of jobs saved.

            2. How many jobs were *lost*, shitstopper?

              Why is it that after so many years of recovery, less of the population is employed than before?

              Oh, I forget, you’ve plugged the unseemly truth up behind you.

        2. French cake, circa 1790.

    2. Dems and the GOP need fear and bogeymen to try to justify their pet interventions. The Dems tend to push various domestic bogeymen (bigots and corporations busy subverting democracy and polluting yada yada yada) and the GOP tends to use foreign ones ( immigrants and now Islamo-fascists!!!).

  6. If Iran were a model of responsible behavior, we wouldn’t be so worried about its potential to acquire the bomb. It’s precisely because we find the Tehran government untrustworthy and destabilizing that we want to deny it an atomic arsenal.

    The question is not whether the agreement works miracles to soften the hearts of the Iranian rulers. It’s whether it curtails their ability to harm us and our allies through specific requirements we can verify and enforce.

    And how, pray tell, can we “enforce” the specific requirements without, you know, employing “force”?

    If I wanted to read kabuki theater reviews, I’d subscribe to the Asahi Shimbun.

    1. Sanctions, right?

      1. DONDERRRRRRROOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

    2. Through the threat of force, whether that is renewed economic sanctions or military intervention, or something else.

      I’m not saying that will definitely work, but that is the idea.

  7. So far, the vast majority of coverage on this is predicated on the false dichotomy of “this deal or war.” Chapman, as usual, doesn’t disappoint. Remind me to not have him involved the next time I have to negotiate a major purchase.

    1. This is exactly what I’ve been wondering. Deal or war? Really? My own take is that If Iran wants nukes they will get nukes and there’s really nothing we can do in the end to stop them. What I don’t get is why the dog and pony show by this administration and the other N5-1 countries when they have to know the eventual outcome. Is it for audiences back home, make work for diplomats or padding resumes? We’ve already been through a similar episode with Clinton and North Korea in the 90s and I fully expect a similar outcome in about a decade.

      1. “We know you’re going to get nukes anyway, but if you just pretend otherwise for like a year, we’ll lift all the sanctions which have been preventing you from getting a nuke in the first place.”

      2. “My own take is that If Iran wants nukes they will get nukes and there’s really nothing we can do in the end to stop them.”

        I agree with you here, Rick. I’m actually somewhat surprised they haven’t bought one or several from an underground source.

        1. I don’t want to overstate this as I’m sure it’s only one aspect this, but I’ve had this idea about Obama and his crew for some time. That is that they really want to remake the world through a new form of geopolitics – call it a kind of anti- Orientalism (Edward Said influenced). In this mindset one big problem with the Arab-Muslim world (hell the whole Third World) is simply a lack of self-esteem, caused by colonialism, otheringism and historical events, like Israel handing them their asses a couple of times. In their thinking all the problems within those cultures and their seeming inability to get along well with others or even with themselves have little to do with the inherently negative aspects of the cultures themselves; not the problematic teachings of Islam or it’s more dedicated adherents, not the status of women nor any of the other pathologies affecting the Muslim world. They just need a trophy too! Every time I hear Obama or other western politician say “Islam is a religion of peace” right after the latest massacre this is what I think is going on in their heads.

      3. “Is it for audiences back home, make work for diplomats or padding resumes?”

        Obo’s legacy! He’s hoping people will forget O-care.

  8. And what could possibly go wrong about a “deal” to prevent a non-democratic, nationalistic Middle Eastern government, running a country with a four-letter name, the first three of which are “I”, “R” and “A”, from developing a weapon of mass destruction through a system of allegedly vigorous inspections and verifications? Because non-democratic, nationalistic Middle Eastern governments, particularly those running countries with four-letter names starrting with “I”, “R”, and “A”, have never, ever gone back on their verification agreements, have they? And a “deal” such as this has never, ever led to war, has it?

  9. Here’s what to do:

    Appoint Charles Manson as special ambassador to Iran. Have him deliver the following message:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XREnvJRkif0

    Give the Iranians one fully operational ICBM. Tell them they have one month to either use it or give it back. That should shut them up.

  10. Arms control? This isn’t about arms control. This is about giving the Iranians the ability to build a nuclear weapon and receiving nothing in return. I don’t know how you categorize that deal as ‘arms control’ when it will accomplish the exact opposite. And just wait until the Saudis and Egyptians and Jordanians decide they need a bomb of their own to counteract the Iranians. Arms control indeed.

  11. As someone who disagrees with the deal here’s why:

    Iran won’t follow the deal, North Korea never did, and I don’t think Obama would do anything about it. Granted the NorKs still haven’t nuked Japan, so Iran may not nuke Israel if they get the Bomb.

    This could conceivably turn out great, but when even France thinks you’re getting a bad deal for peace you probably shouldn’t do it. If a sanctionless Iran embraces individual freedoms and resigns the Ayatollah to a figurehead I will gladly eat my words, but this administration has shown a propensity for horrendous actions/deals.

  12. “The question is not whether the agreement works miracles to soften the hearts of the Iranian rulers. It’s whether it curtails their ability to harm us and our allies through specific requirements we can verify and enforce.”

    The problem is, Chapman, we already have an agreement that curtails Iran’s ability to harm us and our allies through specific requirements we can verify and enforce. And that agreement is called the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Iran has violated the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and that is why they are suffering sanctions. Sanctions are our enforcement measurement. We were able to verify and enforce Iran’s non-compliance by way of the Non-Proliferation Treaty–why pretend no such agreement exists?

    Under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran is prohibited from enriching its own uranium specifically because they violated the agreement.

    Obama’s agreement will eventually allow Iran to enrich its own uranium.

    Seems to me the present situation where Iran has to suffer sanctions because it is enriching its own uranium is a better agreement than the one Obama has made. And I can’t get anyone to explain to me why it isn’t.

  13. Why is Obama’s agreement that allows Iran to enrich its own uranium do a better job of protecting “us and our allies” better than the present agreement that imposes sanctions on Iran for enriching their own uranium?

    I have yet to see a single satisfactory answer to that question. And citing the Cold War right’s opposition to an agreement with the Soviet Union doesn’t answer it. And pointing to Obama hate on the modern right doesn’t answer it either.

    If allowing Iran to enrich its own uranium is better for American security than not allowing Iran to enrich its own uranium, then it’s better regardless of whether Reagan was criticized from the right. If allowing Iran to enrich its own uranium is better for American security than not allowing Iran to enrich its own uranium, then it’s better regardless of whether the modern right hates Obama.

    So why is allowing Iran to enrich its own uranium better for American security than not allowing Iran to enrich its own uranium?

  14. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ?????? http://www.netjob80.com

  15. Reason: In a year or two, let me know how this pie in the sky BS pans out for you (cough, North Korea, cough). In 10- 20 years, let me know how your pie in the sky immigration argument plays out too.

    If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Good advise for everybody and most especially for utopian lefties pretending to be Libertarians.

  16. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ?????? http://www.netjob80.com

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