The genie was well and truly bottled until something impish entered the Oval Room and popped the cork. Bomb-crazed Mullahs poured out, cackling over their new lease of life and freakish luck. A President of America had set them loose.
Why would Biden do such a thing? The move can be of no probable benefit – to America or the free world or the Biden family. Nor could it possibly improve the lives of long-suffering Iranians. If Biden was not being public-spirited or, like his mentor Barak Obama, ambitious for himself, why rescue men soaked in barrels of blood without some double-entry bookkeeping: ‘I did you a favour, now do XYZ for me.’
Of all murky lunacies, redoing a failed pact is the most devious, the most comic, the most perilous. It plays the final joke on fools. Try it again. A Democrat President has revived the nuclear accord because a Republican President dumped it. Biden in spiting Trump red flags his own idiocy.
They will be chuckling in Tehran. The caliphate fanatics are more hell bent on making a nuclear warhead than they were before Joe set them free. All Biden achieves is to give the mullahs back their power to bargain and cheat. The day his presidency began, Tehran’s asphyxiation ended. The warmongers had been twitching on the end of a rope of Trump’s devising. By severing it Biden raised the nuclear accord from cold ash and invited the Phoenix to rise. Cheaters on both sides now talk about renewing a deal that never was. In Vienna as it was in Lausanne, Washington is the beggar and Tehran the teaser and tantalizer.
They will be chuckling in Tehran. The caliphate fanatics are more hell bent on making a nuclear warhead than they were before Joe set them free.
There were prodigies and portents back in 2015 when the deal was struck. A pet project at any cost is a common failing – and so is to bend over backwards to get the thing signed off. The Obama-Kerry team coaxed and coddled the mullahs. In Lausanne it baited the hook not with palatable Swiss cheese but by taking a world-wide web of terror and proxy wars off the negotiation table. To leave a legacy Obama supped with a devil not well disguised.
The devilish diplomacy had nothing to do with Don Corleone’s ‘Keep your friends close but your enemies even closer.’ Biden emulating his mentor is not keeping Middle East allies close. He’s leaving them untrusting. When nihilists called America the Big Satan Obama faded. When they threatened a mushroom cloud over Tel Aviv he listened. Add in a signature aversion to the military option, and recalling the ephemeral red line Obama drew with Assad, he let the deal breakers understand that anything goes. ‘Read my lips. Provoke as you like. As the military’s Commander in Chief I won’t make you pay.’
A cauldron of support and opposition; Tehran’s consummate cunning, emboldened by stooges and opportunists come to beg for a deal – any deal. The mullahs see how deeply the President and the six powers are invested in the project. As badly as they need a deal, a President consumed by vanity wants will cut one no matter what. Factor in a Europe with no stomach and a Russia and China with no scruples, and you have thugs holding out for a certain payoff. Left to stew the western powers would accede to their every demand.
Sanctions: lift them. Controls to make sure Tehran complies: They’re fake. Tehran has no need to behave differently regarding: (a) developing nuclear capability and (b) global terrorism. Its red lines, unlike those of Presidents Obama and Biden, are real.
All the ducking and diving serves what or whom? Pure vainglory? A President wants to leave office with a legacy and a pocket full of Peace Prize? Not only. Biden’s mentor set out to turn the old order on its head. Iran, hitherto America’s number one foe, was going to be, in the world’s number one hotspot, America’s number one ally. A detente in other words was brewing between the world’s powerhouse and the world’s sour pickle jar.
Or did both supporters and sceptics get it wrong. The move to bring war-mongering mullahs in from the cold seems neither brash nor bold. Prophetic is the better word; not prophecy in the petty sense of foretelling the future, but stoking the sort of upheavals narrated in the bible. The making of Iran into a regional power – Obama’s motive according to (a) Michael Doran of the Hudson Institute and (b) Obama himself, according to what he told The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg – seemed to harbinger the ‘end of times.’
If it did, then Donald Trump calling it “the worst deal ever negotiated,” was mistaken. Tell-tale moves hinted at Obama’s earth-shattering empowerment of Iran. How he busted a gut to get a deal spoke of some other-world vision. How he bribed Iran and drummed up business for it; how he blocked Congress from imposing non-nuclear sanctions; how he turned a blind eye to Iran’s cheating – cheating that White House staff not only acknowledged but praised the Mullahs for not trying to hide their cheating. So, Lee Smith wrote, Washington “is not just protecting the nuclear agreement, but rationalizing Iran violating it.”
From the White House the tried and tested remedy to help bitter medicine go down: mobilize supporters and demean resistors, notably the pesky Israel lobby AIPAC. Iran empowered by hard currency notched up its sabre-rattling. Cyber attacks on America were followed by taking seamen hostage and ransoming them off to President Obama for $1.7 billion in European untraceable notes.
Then the mullahs hung ‘Open for business’ on the door and twiddled their thumbs. On their behalf Secretary of State, John Kerry went to Europe to promote investment in Iran. A former White House advisor was astounded. “It isn’t enough” wrote Elliot Abrams, “to remove sanctions that prevent banks from lending to Iran. Kerry has become a cheerleader, urging banks to make loans irrespective of risk.”
Obama tagged detente with the devil as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. He spoke tongue in cheek. It was a once-in-a-lifetime threat. Whatever happens under Biden the genie is out and about. Former nuclear negotiators with the Soviets, Shultz and Kissinger, warned Obama – you have put Iran on steroids.
A mischief-maker stalks the corridors of power, leaving a footprint of unintended consequences, of freak realignments. The Saudis embraced Israel to stave off the common threat of Iran. Obama permitted Russia to sell its missile system to Iran, so making it difficult for Israel to bomb the nuclear sites. Middle East distrust of America the brave left a vacuum for the Abraham Accords to fill. Biden has refinanced UNWRA and the PA – two hard Jew-hating entities.
The world has seen normality perhaps for the last time.
So here’s a timely class for Joe Biden. The spectacle of natural allies falling out of bed and habitual enemies climbing into bed, springs to mind the tale of the sorcerer’s apprentice. Left in the workshop to his own devices, he enchants a broom and a pail to do the chores for him. In no time the place is in chaos. The apprentice is clueless how to stop the magic. He breaks the broom in half, hoping that will do the trick. Indeed the pieces turn into more brooms while the pail slops water at twice the rate. The old sorcerer returns and beholds the unholy mess. “Leave powerful spirits,” he says, “to a master wizard.”
Leave pact making to wise and trustworthy diplomats. And don’t get into bed with Islamists. Those would be the lessons for Biden to take from the nuclear accord he raised up from the grave.
And there is Jewish folklore from which to learn. A dead malcontent may return to possess the living. The troubled soul is known as a dybbuk, and it runs amok making mischief. The fiend was used for plots, to aggravate family wrangles to the point of madness. Yet for all its wicked antics the dybbuk only wished to settle a score. It upturned some lives in the Jewish ghetto, but not the balance of world power. And no dybbuk, before Obama, toyed with a President of America.
Christopher Marlow could give another class. Like his creature Mephistopheles (and Hitler after it), Iran will never strike a bad deal – that is, a deal bad for Iran. The pact that Biden is jumping through hoops to revive is a pact with the devil. And it’s a wager infinitely more reckless than Dr Faustus made with his devil. The medic gambled his own soul. Biden, bartering with Iran behind closed doors, gambles with the lives of hundreds of millions.
The devil never deals itself a bad card. It signs pacts with blood, and that’s another thing to bear in mind. The devil also likes to break his word before giving the signatures time to dry, and that’s something else to bear in mind. Pacts with crazies and the paper they’re written on are equivalent in value.
Let no one accuse Tehran of non disclosure. It has revealed its hand – twice now. In the thrall of a dybbuk Obama was blind and deaf to omens. Let Biden not repeat him. Feted honour beckons like a pot of gold. The fate of Marlow’s Dr Faustus was eternal damnation. Yet the gambling medic was not the President of America. Faustus sealed his own fate, not the fate of mankind, which is what a pact with Iran could seal.
Steve Apfel is an economist and costing specialist, but most of all a prolific author of fiction and non-fiction. His blog, ‘Balaam’s curse’ https://enemiesofzion.wordpress.com/ is followed in Europe, N. America, S America, Asia, S. Africa, Australia and Israel