The Iran Deal seems poised to die, with President Trump — never a fan — making remarks on Tuesday about its fate. The deal was a low point in American politics. Even before Iran’s essential bad faith was laid bare by Israel’s capture of their nuclear weapons plans, there was much not to like about the deal. It did nothing to control ballistic missile development, enriched Iranian proxy forces including named terrorist groups, and empowered and emboldened the worst excesses of the regime.
Learning that Iran had been completely deceptive about their intentions for their nuclear program was no shock to anyone who had been paying attention. Whole classes of ballistic missiles that Iran has been developing make no sense unless they were to bear a nuclear payload. Their relative inaccuracy to payload size made that clear. Iran’s pretense was obvious.
America’s negotiating team was led by John Kerry, a man who while a serving Navy officer elected to meet with North Vietnamese officials without the permission of his chain of command. That he went on from this to a profitable career, rising to the Senate and eventually to Secretary of State, speaks ill of the health of our nation. It is no surprise, with such leadership, that we accepted obvious lies to the detriment of our national security.
But the nation also had learned men of real skill on the team, including especially Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz. What the American people heard from them, sadly, was what President Obama’s team wanted them to say. They had to know they were being lied to by the Iranians, and that the Europeans were engaged in wishful thinking at best. Unfortunately, they elected to affirm the lies that diplomats crafted, in faith that a diplomatic solution was better than the alternative.
This sort of diplomacy by lies is a holdover from the early phase of international diplomacy, when European powers were at the forefront. It does not befit Americans to engage in it. It is one thing for the servant of a king to lie to the people about the sovereign’s deals, provided they tell the truth to their sovereign. A king who found that his diplomats had lied to him, putting the interests of other powers ahead of his own, would rightly punish — even shoot or behead — those he had trusted as agents and advisers.
In America, though, the people are sovereign. Lying to the people in the interests of a President is a betrayal of the same sort as the king would have resented. SSG’s President, Jim Hanson, sometimes refers to diplomacy as ‘formalized lying in formal wear.’ But that sort of diplomacy is not fit for a free people. We have every right to demand that our diplomats speak the truth to us, and not only to the President who appointed them.
The diplomacy of lies is for authoritarian powers. It suits Iran; perhaps it still suits some nations in Europe. It does not suit America.
Nor, ultimately, does it benefit even Iran. The monies that the Kerry team paid the mullahs did not go to help the people of Iran, whose economic suffering is real and continuing. Their oppression continues hot and heavy, only increasing as the economic failures of their authorities becomes clearer. The Iranian people would also benefit from a leadership that spoke the truth to them, whose negotiations were in the honest interests of that people.
It is time for a new birth of liberty in Iran, as the protests in Iran seem to indicate that many Iranians have come to realize. While America is not interested in starting a war there, and should not stage any sort of invasion, we should stand ready to support the Iranian people in any native attempt to throw off their shackles and pursue better guarantees of their future security.
With the end of the deal will come restored sanctions. The Security Studies Group proposes that all monies from such sanctions be set aside in a trust fund for the Iranian people, to be paid to a future government that is responsible to them as sovereigns. Let us help them take the first step, by making sure that they receive the proceeds of the sanctions that their enemies, their government, have imposed upon them.
In this way we can encourage those within Iran who seek a new birth of liberty. Let us find other ways to encourage them also.