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nuclear deal“Pat, sometimes it seems like our friends want me to go over the cliff with flags flying,” President Reagan once told me.

Today, it is “Bibi” Netanyahu and the neocons howling “kill the deal” and “bomb Iran” who are shoving the Republican Party toward the cliff.

The question, which may decide 2016, may be framed thus:

Should a Republican Congress meticulously point out the flaws and risks of this nuclear deal with Iran and, if the Iranians do cheat or attempt a breakout, be rewarded for their skepticism and statesmanship?

Or should the GOP sabotage and scuttle the deal and let itself be held politically liable for the diplomatic and strategic disaster that would follow?

Consider the consequences of successful Republican sabotage.

The U.S. coalition of France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China would be shattered. But the U.N. Security Council, China, Russia and the Europeans would still go ahead and lift sanctions on Iran.

Should Congress override a veto by President Obama, pile new sanctions on Iran, and demand new concessions, Tehran could ignore us or declare itself no longer bound to the concessions it has already made.

If Iran then began to restore its nuclear program to where it was 18 months ago, we would have one option left to stop it: war.

But Obama is not going to war with Iran. Hence, goaded by the neocons, GOP candidates would spend 2015 and 2016 assuring the nation that war with Iran is still “on the table” should they win the White House.

Is this a winning platform?

Yet this is the path Bibi and the neocons would put America on.

John Bolton, a possible presidential candidate, has already come out for bombing Iran. John McCain urges Israel to “go rogue,” prodding Bibi to launch a strike on Iran and drag us into his war.

Lindsey Graham supports “an authorization for the use of military force” against Iran and said in 2010 that we should launch an air war so massive that Iran would be unable to defend itself.

Sheldon Adelson, casino oligarch and Daddy Warbucks who put $100 million behind the party in 2012 and promises more this time, has advocated a nuclear strike to warn Iran to stop enriching and a follow-up nuclear strike on its capital if Iran defies us.

“Kill the Deal” is the headline on Bill Kristol’s editorial in The Weekly Standard.

Writes neocon Joshua Muravchik, war is “our only option.” Gov. Scott Walker has declared that his first act as president would be to kill the nuclear deal.

President Walker would thus put us, alone, without allies, on a road to war — to strip Iran of weapons of mass destruction it does not have.

Is this what America can look forward to if it votes Republican?

A new Middle East war with a nation three times the size of Iraq, and with Dover receiving again the coffins and Walter Reed the casualties?


Bob Corker

Which brings us to Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who declined to sign Tom Cotton’s letter to Ayatollah Khamenei and is best positioned to plumb the depths of this nuclear deal to determine whether Iran’s concessions are real.

Iran has agreed to cut back its operating centrifuges to 5,000, to reconfigure its Arak reactor so it does not produce plutonium, to stop enriching underground at Fordow, to dilute all of its 20-percent enriched uranium, and to allow in more inspectors and inspections.

If true, the deal appears to do what Obama says it does: close off every known avenue to an Iranian bomb.

My own sense is that Iran decided some time ago not to test a nuclear device because it believes, as do we, this could mean the spread of nukes to Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia—which Iran does not want any more than we do.

Corker should schedule testimony from National Intelligence Director Adm. James Clapper and the directors of the CIA and DIA.

The critical questions: Does the U.S. intelligence community stand by its declaration of three years ago that Iran does not have a bomb program?

How long would it take Iran, if it decided to go for a bomb, to build and test one? How long would it take us to discover a breakout?

Does Iran have an ICBM that can hit the United States, as Bibi claims? Is Iran testing intercontinental ballistic missiles?

The GOP should raise every legitimate question, but if the deal seems to do what Obama claims it does, let it go into effect.

Then, if Iran cheats, the nation will turn to the GOP. But if Iran abides by the deal and the deal accomplishes what Obama promises, the GOP can say: We did our due diligence. We did our duty.

Should the deal collapse, Republicans will be far better off if the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps or some new ayatollah sabotaged it than if Congress is seen as the perpetrator.

Books on the topic of this essay may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore. Reprinted with gracious permission of Pat Buchanan (April 2015).

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6 replies to this post
  1. Patrick Buchanan will go down in American history not only as a loyal advisor to President Richard Nixon and an good friend to the Reagan administration, but as one of the last foreign policy geniuses of the old Republican party. Events will prove him right.

    For conservatives who sometimes wonder whether we are all writing in a big, black hole with no effect, behold this wonderful news – not on the Iranian front, but on the Ukranian front (and the two are obviously interlinked given the present War Party’s efforts).

    This is a quote from the Commander of the Polish Land Forces 2006-2009, the 4th Commander of the Multinational Division Central South in Iraq (2005) and the deputy defense Minister of Poland responsible for armament and modernization (2012) – so not a “pundit” or a man on the sidelines of current international affairs, General Skrzypek.

    The General was a staunch supporter of Western policy against Russia and for Ukraine – until today:

    Here’s what he said today, April 16, 2015, in an interview entitled: “I’m an Idiot who knows nothing about politics”

    “I take back everything I said about Ukraine. I take back my support of Ukraine….A few hours after (a speech delivered by the President of Poland in the Ukranian parliament), the Ukranian parliament ratified a new law glorifying the Ukranian Partisan Army. It was then that I finally realized that Ukraine completely does not care about Poland. What happened in the Volyn area; the massacre of 100,000 Polish civilians by the Ukranian Partisan Army – has to be kept in mind. My uncle was murdered by the Ukranian Partisan Army. They impaled him on a pitch fork on his own barn. My uncle spent three days impaled by a pitch fork on his barn – it took him three days to die. The bestiality of the Ukranian Partisan Army is beyond human imagination. Hitler and the Nazis were horrified by what the Ukranians were doing. They would use axes to cut living people into small pieces. The murder of Poles by Ukranians did not start in 1943, but in September of 1939. Few people realize it, and those who do know it do not want to talk about it often. When our Polish soldiers were retreating into Hungary and into Romania, they were constantly being attacked by Ukranian bands. I ask myself: just what is the ideology that Ukranian Presidnt Poroshenko wants to build the future of his nation upon? Bloody nationalism? It is horrifying. I have long said that Ukranians must cease their nationalism, because if they do not, then cooperation with Poland will be difficult if not impossible….Ukraine has show us what it thinks of our ‘support’ and that it doesn’t care about the massacre of Poles in Volyn….our politicians are living in a fantasy land by and large.”,general-waldemar-skrzypczak-w-dgp-ze-mnie-dupa-nie-polityk-ukraina-nie-liczy-sie-z-polska.html

    The interview is longer – but this fragment is the punchline and the key.

    Pat Buchanan and those conservatives who write against further escallation of American intervention in the Middle East or in Europe are not mere “isolationists” – they are doing the international community a favor because the last thing that Europe or the Middle East need is more war, or more escalation.

    Now we have the highest ranking general in Poland saying that he was wrong and the few of us who warned against enthusiastic support of Ukraine were right. He is still worried about Russia – in two years, he will likely say “I should have been worried about Ukraine.”

    The same thing is happening in the Middle East. We are worried about Iran – but we really should be worried about our “ally” Iraq – which is in chaos because of American intervention there. It’s time for American-Iranian alliance to stabilize the Middle East. It’s time for American-Syrian alliance to stabilize the Middle East.

    It’s time to stop listening to people who lie for a living, like Radek Sikorski who recently called Poland’s only truth-telling conservative, Mr. Janusz Korwin Mikke, a lier for stating what President Putin has been claiming – that the snipers in the Maidan who shot protestors and provoked violence were trained in Poland.

    How many more “secret tapes” do we need to hear, how many more top military generals like General Skrzypek have to come forward and admit that they were totally wrong, before we realize that we are following a foreign policy made by an alliance of malevolent persons with ignorant persons?

    Pat Buchanan might seem “out of it” or “on the fringes” – but we need to face the reality that he is talking about: the Iraq venture failed, the color revolutions failed – because they were based on false premises – not just WMD – but a deeper falacy – the belief that cultures which never generated liberal democracy from within could have it superimposed from without. Our idealism was the culprit – but American government has proven its’ capacity to self-correct when enough people identify a problem and move pragmatically to remedy it.

    I am very proud to have supported Pat Buchanan for President in 2000 – back then it was very Quixotic, but looking at the world in 2015, Pat was right, and it is a good thing for America that Pat keeps on going.

    Go Pat Go!

    • “the Iraq venture failed, the color revolutions failed – because they were based on false premises – not just WMD – but a deeper falacy – the belief that cultures which never generated liberal democracy from within could have it superimposed from without”

      The only thing preventing the people of Iraq from achieving a “western style” open democracy and freedom was their oppressive Gov’t, removed by the Bush administration, and the necessary security, removed by the Obama administration. All human being desire freedom. It is their culture that either allows this, or oppresses them. Freedom doesn’t come from some type of “idealism” that some cultures just don’t grasp. It comes to those who are able to overcome oppression and fight for it. Something that is not easily done by any peoples.

  2. An Iran Nuclear Deal would, as it appears to stand, go a long way in preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. However, this would also assume that Iran is acting nobly, and would honour any deal with good intensions. From my perspective, Mr. Buchannan seems to be alone possessing confidence that Iran is anything but untrustworthy in this regard. Remember, if countries like Iran sought open Democracy and Representative Government with the same intent they seek “the bomb”, then Iran, and indeed the world would have little use for nuclear weapons, to begin with.

    With the U.S. retreating from the world, along with its desire to spread Individual Rights, and Freedoms, Iran’s Theocracy would have every reason to want to increase its influence, and stature in the expanding void. Becoming a nuclear power, and by any means necessary is only logical. It takes no stretch of the imagination to assume that any future violations on Iran’s part will only mean additional negotiations, extensions, and compromise. I fear at this point, that a “Nuclear Iran” is unavoidable, along with a likely Middle East nuclear arms race.

    I believe an environment of crippling sanctions imposed on Iran; indeed, such sanctions that brought them to the table in the first place, would prevent this, and quite possibly force the people of Iran to pursue the alternate and preferable goal for democratic reforms. If “world peace” and an overall reduction, and elimination of nuclear weapons is the ultimate goal, then giving Iran “the benefit of doubt”, is surely too great a risk to make. The consequence of which could set back nuclear arms reductions for generations. Are the Mullahs of Iran worth it?

  3. George,
    You write:
    “The only thing preventing the people of Iraq from achieving a “western style” open democracy and freedom was their oppressive Gov’t, removed by the Bush administration, and the necessary security, removed by the Obama administration.”
    This is factually incorrect. What you call the “oppressive government” of President Saddamm Hussein, was an American ally, a pan-Arabic socialist and an anti-Islamist. America supported Saddam Hussein in a very large war against Iran. To pretend that the United States had nothing to do with the regime in Baghdad prior to the first Iraq war is incorrect.
    Secondly, Iran desires a nuclear weapon because they fear the fate of Syria and Iraq. Basic order is more important than “democracy” and an “open society.” Whatever the imperfections of the Iranian state, I do not think Iraqi “democracy” is desirable if it means bloody chaos.
    The more America continues to interfere in the region rather than work for a restoration of order, the more Iran will work for a bomb out of fear that it will eventually fall to American inspired intrigue.

    The Iranians, mind you, have NO reason to trust in American promises. They see where trusting America got Saadam Hussein. But America does have a common interest with Iran: peace and order in the region. This might overcome mistrust.

    • Peter,

      Saddam Hussein’s regime was indeed oppressive. Whether or not he “allied” from time to time with the Americans is beside the point. America, may deal with dictators, as it suites their purpose, but no oppressive state can ever expect that its relationship with a free and democratic nation can extend beyond what is mutually beneficial at the time.

      I do not believe that Iran seeks to become a nuclear power out of fear, but rather to establish hegemony in the region. Chaos is after all the nature of the Middle East, as each state attempts to dominate, and spread its ideology. If anything, I would argue that America hasn’t interfered enough in the region. Iraq was relatively stable after the “Bush Invasion”, and defeat of Saddam. One might argue that the Iraq war was a disaster, and at great cost, but so was every war in Man’s history. WWII was tenfold the disaster that was Iraq, but American involvement after the victory provided security and stability that German and Japanese citizens could rebuild their broken states to the thriving democracies they are today. Freedom and Democracy doesn’t come easily. ISIS, is proof of that, and will likely impose its own peace and order that you suggest is desirable.

  4. George,

    I do not agree that “chaos is after all the nature of the Middle East.” Chaos is not in the nature of any geopolitical arena. Where chaos arises, political science can sometimes identify causes and should seek remedies.

    The present, modern chaos of the Middle East is firmly rooted in what the Arabs and Persians call النكبة and the Israelis call “independence day.” This event, in turn, is rooted in British imperialism and European Zionism. Neither British Imperialism nor European Zionism have a thing to do with American republicanism traditionally understood.

    If the United States stayed out of the the British Empire’s problems and retained its’ healthy prejudice against British imperialism which animated American politics ever since the war of 1812 (if not since 1776), it would not have inhereted the problems of British Empire now.

    I do not pretend to know what the solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict is, but one thing is for sure: it is not escalation and further war. Various policies have been attempted, none have succeeded, some have failed more than others.

    The idea to invade Iraq, transform it into an “open democracy” and “spread” democracy to other Arab countries (and Persian Iran) has proven itself to be the worst of all policies attempted. Ergo I suggest that rather than expand this policy, which has already led us to overthrow Ghaddafi and now face ISIS assasinating Christians in Libya and the death of the US Ambassador (something Ghaddafi would not have allowed to happen had we left him alone), we might want to re-consider and go the route of Russia – support those Arab and Persian states where political, military and economic order exist and cordon off and choke those areas of the Middle East where chaos and blodshed exist working in concert with Syria and Iran to restore order.

    Russia, you will notice, cares about Russia first, then about her immediate geopolitical arena, and then about a balance of power in key strategic areas in the world. It supports Syria and Iran because Russia believes the alternatives to be Al Queda and ISIS. Russia has a huge Muslim population and wants good relations with Sunni Kazahstan. It wants Muslim countries ruled by law and order, not by terrorist gangs. Russia has even wisely allied itself to Turkey – which is in NATO, but which is also extremely wise.

    We support Saudi Arabia and Egypt for similar reasons, but failed to think our actions through with regard to Iraq. I am far from being vehement in my criticism of the Bush administration. I supported Pat Buchanan for President, not George W Bush. But I was open to the idea that Bush and his team knew what they were doing – events have proven Pat Buchanan and those who think like him right, and Bush and his acolytes wrong. It is time to self-correct. We should be happy we still can – that the Iraq catastrophe has not led to the collapse of the United States. More such catastrophes will.

    Even Israel has a stake in this, contrary to Mr. Netanyaho. After all – would Israel prefer to deal with Iran, Egypt and Syria – or with ISIS, Al Queda and Hamas? Would Israel feel more comfortable if the Palestinian Autonomy were a State with a real government and real international obligations – or is it better for Israel for the Palestinian Autonomy to be a breeding ground for terrorism?

    The longer the United States remains in conflict with Russia over the Middle East, the harder it will be to diffuse tensions. The goal should be brought back down to Earth: the goal should not be to build “democracy,” just to stop people from killing one another in endless carnage. Order is the prerequisite of liberty or any kind of improvement.

    We should also distinguish between dealing with dictators or regimes radically at odds with republican traditions out of necessity, and actively supporting them against other factions. We should also cease our military support for Israel, which only antagonizes Arabs and Persians. We can have tactful, practical relations with countries in the Middle East and let them figure out for themselves how to solve their internal problems. We can support liberty and free government by presenting ourselves as a good example of its’ benefits. So far, our example is merely teaching the world that “democracy” means chaos and bloody war.

    As for World War II, that catastrophe never would have happened if America had not involved itself in World War I. America did not involve itself in the Napoleonic Wars, and the Congress of Vienna resolved things fairly quickly. America did not send soldiers to aid the revolutions of 1848, and Austro-Hungary brought the matter to a speedy conclusion. America did not intervene in the Crimean war, nor in the Franco-Prussian war.

    Had America not become involved in the Great War and forced democracy on the German people, Hitler would never have been elected because there would be no democracy in Germany to elect him.

    Germany was not a “broken state” prior to American intervention – it was a Great Power.

    After American internvetion in World War II – Germany became a broken state – literally – broken into two parts – East and West.

    Finally – just as a point of interest: it was not “democracy” which stopped Nazism (though certainly democracy which caused it) – Nazism was principley destroyed by the Soviet Union, which was not a democracy (unlike Nazi Germany, which was a democracy – until Hitler’s Enabling Act).

    The point here is merely to demonstrate, not for the first time, that Democracy is bad – not good.

    America, by the by, is also not a Democracy – and thank goodness – though many in America are working tirelessly to destroy the last vestiges of her republican character in laws and habits.

    We can go on and on, but the basic differences between us seem to be that what I see as an effect of American internvention (tyranny or bloody chaos), you see as a cause of American intervention. You believe that Germany and Japan were broken states that America remedied; I believe that Germany was a strong state that America broke. You believe the Middle East is spontaneously chaotic, I believe its’ chaos is caused by British, Zionist and then American intervention.

    We can debate the matter as a historical question – but is it wise for America to take sides in the conflict? If our goal is to achieve a moral good (peace and freedom), we must change our policy. If our goal is to achieve hegemony – which seems to be the case (because actually America does not care about Israeli or Arab casualties – so long as it can maintain hegemony), then I suggest thinking long and hard about the consequences of Empire.

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