Friday October 13, 2017
With the memory of the saber-rattling prelude to the US’ 2003 invasion of Iraq largely faded, many of that war’s biggest proponents have recently found themselves uniting behind a new cause – the dissolution of the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). In recent weeks, their calls for destroying the deal have grown — especially as President Donald Trump, who has long criticized the deal, seems determined to make a decision on deal’s ultimate fate within the coming month. While the dissolution of an international agreement may hardly seem as imminently dangerous as the invasion – and destruction – of another country, the end-game for those seeking to annul the agreement is ultimately the same.
Take, for instance, the recent rhetoric of John Bolton, former Bush-era State Department official and ambassador to the United Nations. Bolton, now a fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, recently argued in the Wall Street Journal that JCPOA was not worth saving, stating that Iran’s compliance and certification are not the issue. The issue instead, he states, is “whether we will protect US interests and shatter the illusion that Mr. Obama’s deal is achieving its stated goals, or instead timidly hope for the best while trading with the enemy, as the Europeans are doing.”
Bolton’s op-ed essentially calls for a rejection of diplomacy – something the Trump administration has already done in North Korea’s case – and resurrects “weapons of mass destruction” claims targeting the Iranian government. For instance, Bolton makes the bizarre speculative assertion that “even US intelligence could be in the dark if Iran is renting a uranium enrichment facility under a North Korean mountain.” In other words, Bolton asserts that – deal or no deal, monitoring or no monitoring – the Iranians cannot be trusted.