There is plenty of weeping and gnashing of teeth for sure. Former Secretary of State John Kerry was reportedly lobbying intensely to stay in the agreement. In fact, he has warned the world that pulling out of the deal would be a recipe for disaster and could spell the end of the dollar as the world's reserve currency.
But here are the facts:
- We gave the Iranians something tens of billions of dollars (maybe as much as $150 billion) in previously frozen assets but they've burned through it.
- The Iranian economy is in bad shape and a strong response here could push them into a reform posture.
- The Iranians were violating the agreement anyway.
- A bad Iran regime was on a clear path to develop a nuclear weapon anyway. At best, the agreement simply delayed that effort a bit.
- Iran has been and remains the largest state sponsor of terrorism.
In today's Washington Examiner there is a call for an economic warfare program that could replace a bad regime with a great and stable government. Here are the concluding paragraphs:
by Michael Rubin | May 08, 2018 10:29 AM Washington Examiner
As the smoke clears from Trump's decision, what are the lessons the United States should learn? If critics of Trump's move say he risks American credibility by putting the nuclear deal at risk, they should understand that the real risk to American credibility comes by trying to create shortcuts. Not only was the nuclear deal not a treaty, since it was never ratified by the Senate, but Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Ben Cardin, D-Md., arranged its airing in the Senate to not even need majority approval. Negotiating an agreement capable of receiving Senate ratification is hard, but perhaps had Kerry been a more skilled negotiator and had he and Obama been willing to apply the full force of American leverage, they could have done so.
This is the reason why complaints that walking away from a flawed nuclear deal would undercut any future arms control agreement with North Korea or other rogues fall short. By insisting on an agreement that lives up to its promises rather than only to the illusion of the promises, Washington signals that it is interested only in reality rather than sleight of hand. Give Washington substance, and agreements will have staying power.
The nuclear deal was never meant to be a "get out of jail free card" on other Iranian malfeasance. The United States should wage economic warfare against Iran's ballistic missile program and use all available means to disrupt Iranian terrorism. Trump will err if his decision stands alone. However, if it is part of a broader and hopefully multilateral strategy, he can advance regional security.
Regardless of which side you are on politically, the Iranian nuclear agreement is directly connected with Economic Warfare. John Kerry said that walking away from it would spell doom for the dollar and ultimately American power. The Obama team purposely elevated the Iranian regime as a power play in the Middle East. They warn now against abandoning that strategy.
On the other hand, more optimistic observers side with the President and see this as a unique opportunity to make a profound and lasting change in the Middle East. It would be an amazing legacy indeed if President Trump were to provoke positive change in Iran, reformation in Saudi Arabia, and improved relations with Israel in a single term. Time will tell which view is correct. From our perspective the Obama/Kerry strategy was more akin to Neville Chamberlain while President Trump's approach is more in line with Churchill.