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Title: Iran is now counting on Rand Paul and his allies to salvage Obama's disastrous nuclear deal
Source: Washington Examiner
URL Source: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/ ... obamas-disastrous-nuclear-deal
Published: Jul 19, 2019
Author: Philip Klein
Post Date: 2019-08-13 05:09:14 by Gatlin
Keywords: None
Views: 389
Comments: 7

This week's news that Rand Paul pitched himself as an intermediary between President Trump and Iran is evidence of a shift in strategy that the nation's largest sponsor of terrorism has made, along with former Obama officials, in hopes of salvaging the previous administration's disastrous nuclear deal.

During the Obama administration, Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, played John Kerry like a fiddle in negotiating a deal that provided the faltering regime hundreds of billions of dollars in money and sanctions relief, allowed them to develop ballistic missiles, did nothing to address human rights, helped Iran become a more pernicious conventional threat, all while enabling Iran to maintain a long-term glide path toward nuclear weapons.

To sell the deal, Kerry and President Barack Obama relied on a series of lies and smears of critics, parroted back by various academics and think tanks, and then dutifully reported by favorable media. “We created an echo chamber,” Obama adviser Ben Rhodes told the New York Times, of the collection of so-called experts delivering administration talking points to a gullible media. “They were saying things that validated what we had given them to say.”

Back in 2016, Zarif's sweetheart deal seemed safe, as everybody expected Hillary Clinton to be reelected and preserve the deal. That all changed when Trump shocked the world in winning reelection.

Initially, Iran and former Obama administration officials revived the echo chamber — placing stories about the disastrous consequences of retreating from the deal, and working with European allies in hopes of getting sympathetic Trump officials to convince the president to preserve the deal in some way.

This is why you had Kerry meeting with Zarif several times since leaving office, conducting a desperate shadow diplomacy game that included meetings with European leaders accompanied by pleas to Trump from French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron to stick with the deal in exchange for phony cosmetic tweaks.

Even after Trump pulled out of the deal, there was some hope among proponents of the agreement that they could essentially wait Trump out, keeping it warm enough in hopes that the next Democratic president would be able to resurrect it. The Trump administration has fed that hope at times by stopping short of "maximum pressure" by issuing various waivers from sanctions. However, the Trump administration has consistently been removing waivers and ratcheting up sanctions. Though some important waivers still remain, such as on civilian-nuclear cooperation, the trend is such that Iran clearly has lost faith that it will be able to pressure Trump through the old tactics.

In the past few months, we've seen a clear shift, and evidence that Iran, and its U.S.-based allies, are attempting to court libertarians and the anti-interventionist right, in hopes that they would be more likely to influence Trump.

We saw this in the news that George Soros teamed up with Charles Koch to establish a think tank, the Quincy Institute, co-founded by Trita Parsi, who was one of the leading boosters of the Iran deal from his perch atop the National Iranian American Council.

Though Trump would never heed the advice of Kerry or Obama's echo chamber, he does listen to friends and allies who are more receptive to Iran's message, such as Paul and Fox's Tucker Carlson -- as he reportedly did when calling off air strikes against Iran.

Trump's eclectic foreign policy essentially merges, in his own unique way, competing sentiments that exist on the right -- support for a muscular America on the one hand and an aversion to large-scale protracted wars given the errors of Iraq. This is how you get John Bolton as national security adviser on the one hand, and areas of agreement with Paul on the other. It's how we get both bombastic taunts of Kim Jong Un and handshakes with and defenses of him.

Now, it's one thing to argue against a potentially long and costly war with Iran. As I noted at the time, Trump's explanation for why he decided against the airstrikes seemed totally reasonable (though the timing and the question of how far along they were in attacking has become murkier since I wrote it). So I actually get where Carlson and Paul are coming from in being wary of another major intervention.

That said, there is also a risk of understating the seriousness of the threat from Iran and overestimating the earnest chances for a peace deal.

Carlson, in the wake of Trump's decision against airstrikes, said, "why do you think John Bolton is so fixated on toppling the government of Iran, which doesn't appear to pose any threat to the United States?" It's one thing to argue that the risk of a full-scale war is greater than the current threat from Iran, but no threat to us, whatsoever? Iran's regime has been a leading enemy of the U.S. for forty years, since taking over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and holding 52 American diplomats and citizens hostage for over a year and has sponsored decades of attacks against Americans and our allies while its leaders preside over chants of "Death to America." The U.S. State Department notes in its most recent report on the subject that, "Iran remained the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism." In just the past few months, Iran has attacked oil tankers, shot down an American drone, threatened to disrupt shipments through the Strait of Hormuz, seized a foreign tanker, and ramped up its nuclear program.

Yet Paul is walking right into the same trap as Kerry did by assuming he could work with Zarif to make peace.

Politico reported on Wednesday that, "Paul proposed sitting down with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to extend a fresh olive branch on the president’s behalf, according to four U.S. officials. The aim: to reduce tensions between the two countries. Trump signed off on the idea."

Trump, for his part, denied that he appointed Paul as some sort of informal envoy, though he acknowledged he listened to and respected Paul.

Either way, the mere prospect of Paul acting as some emissary with Iran was greeted with cheers among both Obama officials seeking to preserve the deal, libertarians, and Paul allies seeking to bolster his reputation.

Wendy Sherman, one of the architects of the Iran nuclear deal, told NBC's Andrea Mitchell, "Inside the administration there is a huge battle going on. I believe John Bolton or his allies leaked the fact that Rand Paul might go see foreign minister Zarif just to scuttle diplomacy. I think a senator can do whatever a senator wants to do." Her defense of a the senator's freedom to conduct foreign policy drew cackles from those who remember the Obama administration's outraged reaction when 47 Senators led by Sen. Tom Cotton released an open letter to the Iranian regime stating accurately that any agreement not ratified by Congress could be nixed by a future president with the stroke of a pen.

Writing as an outside contributor to the Washington Examiner, former Paul staffer and co-author Jack Hunter absurdly portrayed his former boss as the most important person standing between the U.S. and war with Iran. At the libertarian Reason, Scott Shackford praised the report of Paul as a possible go between as "good news for peace."

Iran's economy is struggling as a result of the crippling sanctions that have been re-imposed by the Trump administration and they are desperate for any sort of relief, which is why Zarif is in New York this week, meeting with his U.S. allies, and members of Congress, one of whom may or may not include Paul. He's pitching a mini-deal to get Trump to lift sanctions.

Perhaps with guidance from some of his American allies, Zarif seems to be recalibrating his message. He has appealed to Trump, praising his "prudence" in calling off the airstrikes, and trying to speak the language of the anti-interventionist right.

"I think conditions are tense, so we need to do much more work to avoid a situation that is lose-lose. Nobody wins in a war," he told the National Interest. He later added of Trump, "He certainly doesn’t want war. He’s not ideologically committed to a war — others are. That is why I think he needs to follow his own agenda, not other peoples’ agendas."

That fits right in with the in narrative being pushed by Paul and his allies that neoconservatives are trying to manipulate Trump into war, against his better instincts.

Zarif is a clever diplomat, who the radical Iranian regime has been smart to put as a public face to the West, as they pursue their anti-American terrorist agenda. This is standard procedure for Iran — escalate tensions and then attempt to extract concessions in exchange for backing off.

Zarif was able to dupe Kerry into a sweetheart deal, and now he clearly thinks he has an easy mark in Rand Paul.

Poster Comment:

Repeating -

Paul is walking right into the same trap as Kerry did by assuming he could work with Zarif to make peace.

The mere prospect of Paul acting as some emissary with Iran was greeted with cheers among both Obama officials seeking to preserve the deal, libertarians, and Paul allies seeking to bolster his reputation.

Zarif was able to dupe Kerry into a sweetheart deal, and now he clearly thinks he has an easy mark in Rand Paul.

We shall see ...

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#1. To: Gatlin (#0)

Zarif was able to dupe Kerry into a sweetheart deal, and now he clearly thinks he has an easy mark in Rand Paul.

Rand Paul has bigger balls than Kerry.

Deckard  posted on  2019-08-13   7:15:30 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  

#2. To: Deckard (#1)

Rand Paul has bigger balls than Kerry.

That may be so, “Rand Paul having bigger balls that Kerry” – You seem to know all about the size of both men’s balls, for some unstated reason.

However, I feel that it is imperative that I point out to you that the larger size of the two oval organs that produce sperm and are also the body's main source of male hormones (testosterone) definitely cannot be used to insure and measure true success in negotiation. For evaluating true success in a negotiation can sometimes be very elusive.

To know the extent to which negotiations are a success is important because that will enable confidence and help persuade everyone as to why the agreement reached was a good one. That allows everyone to feel positively about the agreement and do so without any resentment or the feeling of being exploited. This then naturally will translate into better compliance with stronger durability of the agreement and better future working relationships.

You do agree – Right?

Gatlin  posted on  2019-08-13   8:18:13 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  

#3. To: Gatlin (#2)

That may be so, “Rand Paul having bigger balls that Kerry” – You seem to know all about the size of both men’s balls, for some unstated reason.

Guess you've never heard the term before.

You made a civil comment to me the other day. I took you off bozo, prematurely it seems.

However, I feel that it is imperative that I point out to you...

No - it really isn't imperative.

No one cares about a physiology lesson from you freakshow.

Later dude.

Deckard  posted on  2019-08-13   8:27:32 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  

#4. To: Deckard (#3) (Edited)

Guess you've never heard the term before.

Obviously you libertarians cannot appreciate humor.

Later dude.
Of course. But not too long.

I may only be around here for short while.

Gatlin  posted on  2019-08-13   8:58:19 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  

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