After dragging on for over a decade, negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program seem to be approaching a final agreement in which the U.S. will concede much in exchange for very little. Jordan Chandler Hirsch explains how American diplomats backed themselves into a corner, dismantles their excuses, and suggests alternatives:
The issue [at hand] isn’t so much how to use force but how best to threaten using it. . . . Sending troops into Iran isn’t wise or viable—and therefore not particularly credible. A surgical strike, on the other hand, is a perfectly credible approach. Israel has demonstrated that twice, with strikes on Iraqi and Syrian nuclear facilities. . . . In dismissing the surgical approach, members of the Obama administration have distorted the debate about military action and taken the most credible threat—the only one that gives the negotiations real teeth—off the table. . . .
Even as several former Obama officials I spoke with insisted that they had no illusions about the character of the regime, they still predicted that a deal would magically lead to reform. “If you get a deal, hopefully relations begin to improve,” a former staffer explained, “and then Khamenei will die and we can get a different Supreme Leader, a more moderate leader” who might cooperate with the United States. Hoping that a seventy-five-year-old man will die soon is not exactly a sound strategy. . . .
A successful negotiation, in the Obama administration’s terms, now risks allowing Iran the legal right to establish an industrial-scale nuclear program a decade from now and still be dominated by the same brutal, expansionist leadership. The world has little reason other than hope to think that Iran will stop short from going nuclear over the next decade if at any moment it believes it can do so at little or no cost. At which point our diplomatic failure will become a global disaster that might force the United States to fight—under far worse and far more dangerous circumstances—the very battles it has spent years trying to avoid.