President Obama’s outrage at Prime Minister Netanyahu is undoubtedly genuine, but every ground presented for it by the administration for it is a transparent pretext. One such ground is Netanyahu’s appearance before Congress within a few weeks of Israeli elections. The timing of the speech, however, is rather obviously dictated by the administration’s March 23 deadline for the outline of a final agreement with Iran. Obama’s outrage is keyed to Netanyahu’s opposition to the terms of the coming deal and his desire to explain his opposition to the American people before it is presented to them as a fait accompli.
Yesterday Secretary of State Kerry and others warned Netanyahu not to reveal details of the coming deal in his speech to Congress. One can only wonder why such details are to be kept from Congress and the American people when they have been entrusted to the mullahs.
Actually, one need not wonder. One can reasonably infer that Obama seeks to present a bad deal to Congress and the American people as a given fact.
In his weekly Wall Street Journal column today — “Israel and the Democrats” (accessible here via Google) — Bret Stephens makes this point and others regarding the deficient merits of the deal. As we await Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to Congress this morning, Stephens provides a short course in the relevant points of reference:
The administration is now…waging an unprecedented campaign of personal vilification against Benjamin Netanyahu (of a sort they would never dream of waging against, say, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan ), accusing him of seeking political gain for himself in the U.S. at Mr. Obama’s expense.
Yet the calendar chiefly dictating the timing of Mr. Netanyahu’s speech was set by John Kerry, not John Boehner, when the secretary of state decided that the U.S. and Iran would have to conclude a framework deal by the end of this month. Mr. Netanyahu is only guilty of wanting to speak to Congress before it is handed a diplomatic fait accompli that amounts to a serial betrayal of every promise Mr. Obama ever made to Israel.
Among those betrayals:
In June 2010 the administration pushed, and the U.N. Security Council adopted, Resolution 1929, which “demands” that “Iran halt all enrichment activities.” But now the administration will endorse Iran’s “right” to an industrial-scale enrichment capability—a right, incidentally, that the administration denies to South Korea.
Resolution 1929 also states that Iran is “prohibited from undertaking any activity related to ballistic missiles.” But Iran continues to manufacture and test ballistic missiles, the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei demands they be mass produced, and Iran’s top nuclear negotiator is adamant that “we are not ready to discuss this matter with any foreigner.” All of which gives the lie to weak State Department protestations that a deal will halt the ballistic missile program.
In December 2013, Mr. Obama personally assured a pro-Israel audience in Washington that, when it came to diplomacy, “no deal is better than a bad deal.” Now unnamed administration officials are selling the line that “the alternative to not having a deal is losing inspections, and an Iran ever-closer to having the fissile material to manufacture a weapon.” In other words, virtually any deal is better than no deal.
In March 2012, Mr. Obama insisted “my policy is not containment, my policy is to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon.” He has said as much on some 20 other occasions. But the deal being contemplated now, with a sunset provision that will ultimately give Iran the right to enrich in whatever quantities and to whatever levels it wants, is neither prevention nor containment.
Obama’s opposition to Iran’s nuclear program has a lot in common with Obama’s opposition to gay marriage. It is so yesterday, and yesterday it was so phony.