Christie, Paul to Attend Florida’s Sunshine Summit
Tallahassee, FL – Today, Florida GOP Chairman Blaise Ingoglia released the following statement announcing Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Rand Paul’s participation in the Sunshine Summit: “As our list of participating candidates continues to grow, we are excited to welcome Gov. Christie and Sen. Paul to the Sunshine Summit in Orlando. With eight candidates announced to attend, and more to come, the Sunshine Summit is turning out to be the can’t-miss event of the primary election.”
Note: The party will continue to announce more speakers in the upcoming days. Last week the Florida GOP announced the participation of Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Lindsey Graham, Gov. Huckabee, Gov. Jindal, Sen. Marco Rubio, and Mr. Donald Trump.
Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Fla., is challenging Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy for House speaker. (Photo: Willie J. Allen Jr./ZUMApress/Newscom)
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy may have emerged as the frontrunner in the race for speaker of the House, but Florida Rep. Daniel Webster is emboldening his Republican colleagues to buck leadership’s status quo in favor of a new approach to legislating.
Speaker John Boehner’s decision to retire sent Republicans scrambling to decide who would run for the leadership positions. So far, Webster is facing McCarthy and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, in the race for the top Republican leadership position. But with the House Republican conference gathering on Thursday, more contenders could emerge before then.
Though McCarthy has been considered the favorite to win, Webster, 68, is pitching himself as a leader with a proven record from his days in Florida’s state house, and one who is looking to deviate from business as usual in the Republican conference.
“I would like to see a principle-based, member-driven process,” Webster said in an interview with The Daily Signal. “If we did that, many of the problems we have now would be solved. And it’s based on the fact that bills and ideas and so forth should be judged on what it says, not on who it is.”
A Proven Record
Webster, who worked in his family’s air-conditioning business, had a long and storied career in the Florida legislature and served nearly three decades in Tallahassee.
First elected to the state House of Representatives in 1980, Webster moved up the ranks in the GOP’s leadership, starting first as minority whip and then minority leader. Republicans gained control of the state House in 1996, and that year, Webster, who represented central Florida, successfully ran for the speakership.
In 1998, after serving more than 15 years in the Florida House of Representatives and two years as the speaker, Webster was forced to leave the state House because of term limits.
But he didn’t leave Tallahassee for good.
That year, Webster ran for the Florida state Senate and won. He later served as majority leader from 2006 to 2008.
In 2008, again because of term limits, Webster retired from the legislature and left Tallahassee.
John Arie, president of Fun Spot in Orlando, became a supporter of Webster’s during his time in the state House. In an interview with The Daily Signal, Arie recalled working with Webster for the first time in the 2000s, when he went to Tallahassee to meet with a group of legislators.
During that meeting, Arie said he was impressed by how much time Webster devoted to meeting with him.
He’s been a supporter ever since.
“We’ve gotten to know each other,” Arie said. “He’s principled. He’s a Christian. He cuts his budget and turns it back into the government. He’s a humble man and has a tremendous family that we support.”
“[Webster] has my vote of confidence [for speaker],” he continued. “I know whatever he would do, he would work to the best of his ability,” Arie said. “I think that’s what we need in Washington, so we’re not so partisan, but we’re working for the good of everyone. If he wins, I think it’ll be a game changer in the House.”
Rich Crotty served 12 years in the Florida House with Webster and praised him for his ability to build consensus among opposing parties.
“He’s very low profile. He’s not a bomb-thrower or a fire-breather,” Crotty said in an interview with The Daily Signal. “He’s a very reasoned and level-headed individual who builds consensus through trust and through working with folks.”
In an interview with The Daily Signal, Webster said his experience in the Florida legislature gives him an edge in the speaker race.
“I’ve done it, and I did it differently in a way that would actually unify us, produce a better product,” he said.
Webster referenced the low opinions Floridians had of the state legislature prior to his tenure as speaker of the Florida House, and likened that sentiment to how Americans feel about Congress. Under his leadership, though, Webster said their opinions changed.
“Our poll numbers were just like the United States Congress until we did what we did, and they flipped right side up, 56 percent to 25 [percent], which was pretty awesome,” Webster said. “It never happened before. The public saw it. The members saw it. Everyone loved it.”
Webster traded in the state capitol in Tallahassee for the U.S. Capitol in Washington in 2009, when he was elected to represent Florida’s 8th Congressional District at the start of the 111th Congress.
Today, his district is Florida’s 10th.
Over the course of his three terms in the U.S. House, he’s maintained a relatively low profile, serving on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
And he’s remained committed to his constituents.
In an interview with The Daily Signal, Arie recalled a December 2012 floor speech delivered by Webster.
Fun Spot had been awarded the 2012 Brass Ring Award from the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, and Webster delivered a congratulatory speech honoring Arie and his family on the House floor, entering it into the congressional record.
“On behalf of the citizens of Central Florida, I am pleased to recognize and congratulate Mr. Arie and his family for their hard work, dedication and leadership on this well-deserved award,” Webster said. “May their investment to community and small business inspire others to follow in their footsteps.”
“It was quite an honor and totally unexpected,” Arie said. “He definitely is in touch with the locals here. He’s truly involved.”
In January, Webster joined fellow conservative lawmakers in an attempt to remove Boehner from his position as speaker.
Webster launched an 11th-hour bid for the speakership, announcing his candidacy just one hour before lawmakers from both parties were preparing to publicly vote for the next speaker of the House.
Webster lost, but garnered the second-highest number of Republican votes behind Boehner, with 12 of his colleagues standing behind him. January’s speaker election saw 25 Republicans voting against Boehner, and marked the biggest defection from an incumbent in the last century.
Webster’s defiance lost him his seat on the House Rules Committee.
“Because of some of the activities on the floor, two of our members weren’t put back on the committee immediately,” Boehner told reporters at the time.
Battling the System
Not long after Boehner’s resignation, Webster announced he would be making a bid for the speakership once again, taking on McCarthy and Chaffetz, who officially announced his bid this weekend.
Webster’s bid comes at a time when the fracture in the House Republican Conference is particularly evident—some say Boehner’s resignation was brought on by North Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Meadows’ motion to vacate the chair, which signifies an extraordinary vote of no confidence in the sitting speaker of the House.
Conservatives—many of whom voted against Boehner in January—warned that they would move forward with the motion following a contentious fight over Planned Parenthood funding in a government spending bill, and it’s questionable whether Boehner would’ve had the support of enough of his colleagues to survive the attempt to oust him.
In an interview with The Daily Signal, Webster lamented the “power system” that Republican leadership employed under Boehner’s watch.
“If you’re a chairman or a senior member or a member of the right party, then your bill is a good idea based on that. That’s a power system–where a few people at the top of the pyramid of power make all the decisions,” he said. “On the other hand, if you push down the pyramid of power and spread out the base, every member gets a player and what they propose is judged by one thing: what it says.”
Under his leadership, Webster wants to “give back the members their voting cards,” and move away from the last-minute appropriating that has become a trend over the last several years.
Crotty said he believes Webster could deliver the change Washington needs.
“He’s relatively new to Washington compared to some of those who have toiled along in the seniority system, and he wants to take the proven leadership that he was able to achieve in Tallahassee to the nation’s capitol, which is view by many as completely dysfunctional,” Crotty said.
“I have all the confidence that he would be a reasonable guy to work with folks and try to get something done for a change.”
In an interview with The Daily Signal, Webster said he his goals as House speaker are to produce member bills, pass 12 appropriations bills long before the end of the fiscal year, September 30, and lay out three-year plans for authorizing programs to stop a trend of allocating money to those that have expired authority.
Webster’s bid for the top leadership position has been called a long-shot, but he believes his approach to leading—bolstered by his experiences in Tallahassee—would help unite the divided House GOP.
“Somebody has to be the underdog, but I have the best proposal,” he said. “It’s one thing to say, ‘OK, I know I’m starting off a little behind, but I know the message is being accepted by almost every member I talk to.’ If they want it, they’re going to have to come out and get it, and they’re going to have to vote for me.”
Webster’s plan has already attracted the attention of at least one Republican lawmaker—Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky.
“I like Daniel Webster’s message of reforming the process and getting back to principle instead of power,” Massie told The Daily Caller.
His office did not return The Daily Signal’s request for comment.
Webster, meanwhile, believes he can offer Republicans in the House a clean slate, compared to McCarthy, whose record in leadership precedes him.
“I don’t have a battle of personalities or anything else,” Webster said. “What I am battling is a system that exists today, and that is we push everything to the end. That’s what a power-belief system does. It allows a few people to make all the decisions.”
And with Webster as House speaker, he would be focused not only on changing the process within Republican leadership, but in Washington, too. “America is not broken,” he said. “Washington is.”
For the rest of the article and others, see: http://dailysignal.com/2015/10/04/meet-the-underdog-republican-running-for-speaker-of-the-house/
Just a quick reminder that we have our monthly Highlands County Republican meeting this Thursday evening Oct 8th. We have a full agenda including a presentation by our special Guest Speaker Amapola Hansberger, Founder and President of Legal Immigrants for America (LIFA).
Our Highlands County Supervisor of Elections, Penny Ogg, is also planning to attend and will give us a brief summary of the excellent presentation on Voter Registration that 11 HCREC members and friends were given back on Sept 14th.
As per our custom, we have an optional dinner with service beginning at 5:00 PM, with the meeting beginning at 6:30 PM at Sebring Elk’s Lodge, 2618 Kenilworth Blvd, Sebring, FL 33870. Please make plans to attend and invite friends and family to attend with you.
Additional Reminder – The Sunshine Summit is coming up November 12-14 in Orlando. Please plan to attend and see and hear your favorite Presidential Candidate in person. All of the presidential candidates have been invited and six have committed to attend thus far (see photo of those who have committed to attend and speak thus far). (Further breaking update – eight have now committed to attend and speak including Governor Chris Christie and Senator Rand Paul.) You can obtain info including the draft agenda (note the opportunities for small group meetings with the candidates) and obtain tickets at http://www.sunshinesummit.gop/agenda. Many from Highlands County have already made plans to attend.
Our Guest Speaker for this Thursday’s meeting, Amapola Hansberger, will speak on the current state of immigration affairs in the U.S. — legal and illegal — including the surge of illegals from south of the border, anchor babies, birthright citizenship, and the administration’s massive refugee resettlement program. While the team at LIFA wants to highlight the abuses of our immigration laws and practices, they also have actions to recommend to rectify the situation and return our country to one characterized by respect of the law, particularly immigration law.
BIOGRAPHY – Amapola Hansberger AKA: Pola Hansberger
Born and raised in Managua, Nicaragua. Graduated from a Roman Catholic French Academy: Asuncion. At the age of 18 entered the United States legally. Studied English and Secretarial Sciences at UC Chatsworth. Went to work for The Chief Engineer at KTLA-5, Hollywood, Ca. as an Executive Secretary. 3 years later went to work for NBC-4, Burbank, Ca. as an Executive Secretary and Assistant to the CFO of Technical Operations. Amapola became an activist and joined the Republican Party to campaign for Mitt Romney. She is a member of the SRWCF, the ORWN, ACT for America, and Bear Witness Central. She founded LIFA in November, 2014.Amapola and her husband Jim are members of Aloma Baptist Church in Winter Park, Florida.
Because of the plans for the Sunshine Summit November 12 -14, our November Highlands County Republican meeting has been changed from Thursday Nov 12th to Monday evening Nov 16th at the Elk’s Lodge in Sebring.
The RPOF is considered by the Republican National Committee to be one of the best run statewide parties. RPOF Chairman, Blaise Ingoglia is determined to lead the way in delivering Florida’s 29 electoral votes; and, to giving Florida’s 67 Executive Committees the tools they need to help elect our state and local Republicans. We encourage you to attend this meeting to learn how the Highlands County Republican Party and the RPOF are working together to deliver “Success in 2016”. Won’t you make a commitment to get involved this month?
President Obama has not successfully led the U.S. on foreign policy matters. (Photo: Guneyev Sergei/ZUMA Press/Newscom)
When President Obama said at the United Nations on Tuesday that “defeating ISIL requires—I believe—a new leader,” I thought for a brief moment I’d finally found something on which he and I could agree.
Then I realized he wasn’t talking about his own leadership.
The president was actually talking about the regime of Bashar Assad, the Syrian dictator Team Obama has been calling on for years to step down.
But you can understand why I thought the prez was reflecting on his own performance, considering the “death by a thousand cuts” approach that the White House’s policy on Syria, Iraq, and the Islamic State has taken recently.
For instance, this week the president was forced to meet one-on-one with Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom Obama had been shunning as often as possible, on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly gathering, to discuss Syria.
Obama met with Putin because he had to.
Russia had deployed an expeditionary force to Syria ostensibly to defeat the Islamic State, but in fact to prop up the Assad regime and to change the channel from Ukraine (see my Sept. 18 column in the Boston Herald, “Plotting Putin boosts Russian presence in Syria”).
Undeterred by his U.N. meeting with Obama, Putin sprang into action in Syria with air strikes midweek. Interestingly, the attacks were against not ISIS, but instead other anti-Assad groups, according to the Pentagon.
There are also new reports that the Russian military told the United States to get out of Syrian airspace. This may explain why Russia sent surface-to-air missiles to Syria, which NATO’s top commander, U.S. Gen. Philip Breedlove, revealed this week.
Those missiles aren’t needed for fighting ISIS (which has no aircraft), but instead could be aimed at the U.S.-led coalition’s air forces should they stray near, or interfere with, Russian interests.
That’s a situation just begging for a crisis.
If that isn’t bad enough, Iraq recently announced plans to share intelligence on the Islamic State (and who knows what else) with Iran, Syria, and—ta-da!—Russia, which may beef up its security presence in the country.
Considering the level of U.S. involvement in the region—with American boots on the ground in Iraq and the likely sharing of intelligence with Baghdad—it’s certainly possible that American secrets and interests could be compromised by these info “exchanges.”
And as the dismal U.S.-backed Syrian rebel program disappears into the dustbin of history, reports indicate that one rebel unit handed over some American equipment to al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front in exchange for “safe passage.”
That’s not good.
But what’s even more infuriating is the White House response to that failed Syrian rebel program aimed at defeating ISIS. White House flack Josh Earnest basically told reporters that the president never liked the idea—and its failure proves he was right.
Talk about spin.
But OK, if Team Obama has so much insight into what works and what doesn’t work regarding Syria, Iraq, and the Islamic State—why has our policy been failing miserably so far?
What we do know—what the White House should, too—is that its expected review of U.S. strategy on these matters can’t come too soon.
Last night as our family gathered for our evening prayers, we prayed for the injured and the families of those killed yesterday at Umpqua Community College in Oregon by an anti-Christian gunman. We didn’t know the names or all the details at the time only that Christians were specifically targeted. According to witnesses the gunman asked his victims what their religion was. If they responded they were Christians, he shot them in the head. If they did not answer, he shot them in the leg.
Those details were not discussed yesterday by President Obama when he spoke to the media about the shooting. Nor did he mention the heroic actions of 10-year Army veteran and 30-year-old father, Chris Mintz, who was shot multiple times when he tried to stop the shooter. Rather, he immediately began using the tragic shooting that claimed the lives of nine people to advance his agenda for more laws restricting gun ownership. In his press conference, the President said some would claim he was politicizing the shooting, “Well, this is something we should politicize.”
I agree. We should politicize the fact that the “security guards” were unarmed. That the college campus was a “gun-free” zone that prohibits law abiding citizens from protecting themselves and others. We should politicize the toxic environment that President Obama’s policies have fostered toward Christians. We should politicize the fact that the President continues to not just tolerate, but fights for policies that further coarsen our culture and devalue human life.
For the rest of this update and others, see: http://www.frc.org/updatearticle/20151002/something-politicize
Obama’s Stubborn Refusal to See Putin for What He Is
A reader asked, “What on earth is [John] Kerry thinking? We can’t work with Russia.”
Diplomats never want to admit they can’t work with someone, because then they’re admitting they’ve failed. So they pretend to get along, or that a workable compromise is within reach, just a few summits away:
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry held a strained press conference alongside Russia’s Foreign Minister just hours after the country gave the U.S. an hour’s warning to remove its forces before beginning air strikes in Syria.
The two countries had faced off at the United Nations Security Council meeting over parallel air campaigns against Islamic State in Syria today — with Kerry telling the council Russia’s warning would be ignored.
Both sides claimed legitimacy for their actions, but differed over the role of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Afterwards, in a tense address to the press after the meeting, both sides insisted the meeting had been ‘constructive’, but did not answer any questions from reporters.
Kerry said that the U.S. and Russian militaries could hold talks as early as Thursday to ensure that they do not inadvertently come into conflict in their respective air strikes in Syria.
But Kerry told the Security Council that, while coalition operations would continue, Washington would welcome Russian strikes if they were genuinely aimed at Islamic State or other militant groups affiliated with al-Qaeda.
I know this will stun you, but Russia is not, in fact, hitting ISIS:
An analysis of the topography shown in the video by a team of Russian bloggers who honed their craft parsing social media evidence of the war in Ukraine suggested that the strikes had taken place in a part of Syria controlled not by the Islamic State but by rival insurgent groups that oppose both Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, and the Islamic State.
An unwritten rule of diplomacy — at least as practiced by this administration — is that it’s considered rude to point out that another country is blatantly lying. We have to treat Russia’s intervention as if it might be a genuine effort to fight extremist forces, instead of a clumsy, deadly effort to prop up a client regime through brute force. To confront them with the contrary evidence might worsen “the relationship” — a supposition that implies there is a working relationship to salvage.
It’s easy to forget Putin spent his entire early adult life in the service of a regime that was willing to relentlessly repeat the biggest lies imaginable about the most important issues. The old Soviet Union didn’t say anything at all about the Chornobyl nuclear meltdown for two days. Six days later, May Day parades and events went on as scheduled, including in Kiev, 90 miles from the still-burning, radioactive-cloud-emitting plant. No warnings to the local population were made until nearly two weeks later. Mikhail Gorbachev didn’t mention anything about it in public for nearly three weeks. The number of radiation-related cancer deaths in Eastern Europe may reach the tens of thousands.
To Putin, these were the good old days. He and the other men and women of the old KGB are ruthless liars who don’t care how many people get killed. The Obama administration has been in psychological denial about this since the “reset button” ceremony.
There is a longstanding American tradition of refusing to believe that hostile states and leaders are genuinely hostile, and insisting that they can be brought to reason if we just reach out to them correctly. There’s an oft-repeated anecdote of Senator William Borah saying, in September 1939, after Germany invaded Poland, “Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler — all this might have been averted.”
Vladimir Putin hates us. I know, it isn’t fair. Most of us have never met the guy. But he thinks his country should be the biggest, baddest dog on the block, and up until recently, we held that title. He wants us taken down a peg at every possible opportunity.
Mitt Romney called it back in 2012, “This is without question our No. 1 geopolitical foe. They fight for every cause for the world’s worst actors.” Obama scoffed at the assessment as outdated Cold War thinking.
Wednesday, the Daily Beast’s senior national-security correspondent, Nancy Youssef, tweeted, “Overheard at the Pentagon: ‘Right now, we are Putin’s prison bitch.’”
It’s pretty straightforward: He wants to reposition Russia once again as a geopolitical force. He himself said that the destruction of the Soviet Union, the fall of the Soviet Union, was the greatest catastrophe of the 20th century. And now he’s trying to reverse that. He’s trying to destroy NATO. He is exploiting a vacuum that this administration has left in the Middle East. Here’s what you’re going to see in the next few weeks: The Russians will begin to fly combat missions in that region — not just targeting ISIS, but in order to prop up Assad.
You’ll never actually get Hillary to stop running until she’s defeated, but something like this really should end a campaign. The only two possible explanations are (1) she lied, and lied big, and lied emphatically, and lied repeatedly, and lied shamelessly about life-and-death issues of national security or (2) she simply has no idea what’s classified and what isn’t, and did so in the job of Secretary of State for four years.
Which is worse?
For the rest of this excellent article and others, see: http://link.nationalreview.com/view/547fcef63b35d0210c8db17434k7g.5b7a/42b1359e
Rep. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., exits the Capitol Hill Club. (Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Newscom)
Rep. Patrick Meehan is not fond of giving up.
“I’d like to have [Obama] administration officials over telling us why they believe it’s in the best interests of the United States of America to return money to terrorists who may use it to create more victims,” Meehan, R-Pa., said of his latest initiative, the Justice for Victims of Iranian Terrorism Act.
The bill — likely to go to vote on Wednesday — is a response to the Iranian nuclear deal, which Congress was unable to block. It signals that Republican leadership is not done fighting back against the deal, even if they can’t stop it.
On Monday, leaders from the seven nations including Iran that reached the nuclear deal met at the United Nations to discuss the deal’s finalization, outlining an early 2016 “implementation.”
While world leaders lauded the deal, Meehan introduced his bill in Washington.
In sum, it demands that Iran pay victims of state-sponsored terrorism the alleged $43 billion dollars owed to them as a result of more than 80 judgments by federal judges lodged against the country before economic sanctions are lifted.
“We’re putting our victims to the side if we enable these dollars to be returned to Iran without any attachment to them,” Meehan said.
He also argues that in order for the Iranian deal to move forward, President Obama will need to waive victim’s rights to funds awarded to them. According to Meehan, he will either need to “certify to Congress that Iran is no longer engaged in acts of terror” or “state that it’s in the best interest in the United States of America” to waive these judgments.
“Look, these are Marines who died protecting our barracks, these are American citizens who were sitting in cafes in Israel, these are people who were hijacked in planes and murdered in cold blood after being tortured,” Meehan said. “It’s some small measure of accountability that [Iran] should be required to pay [these families] before the very money we now have some influence over is returned.”
“If it has been done in the past, why wasn’t it done this time?” Meehan said. “I think that’s a legitimate question to ask.”
Asked if he will continue fighting the nuclear accord if his bill does not pass, Meehan suggested other Republicans may ultimately step in:
“There are other conversations going with state attorneys general who have their own sanction regimes in place that would be affected [by the deal],” Meehan said. “So there could be other ways in which other issues similar to this will be raised if this deal moves forward.”
For the rest of this great article and others, see: http://dailysignal.com/2015/09/29/inspired-to-stop-terrorism-congressman-continues-to-fight-iran-deal/
A forensic analysis of undercover videos about Planned Parenthood’s abortion practices are “authentic and show no evidence of manipulation or editing,” according to a report released Tuesday by Alliance Defending Freedom.
The analysis was completed by Coalfire, a digital security and forensics firm that has worked on civil and criminal investigations. The firm had access to all audio and video investigative footage recorded by the Center for Medical Progress.
“The Coalfire forensic analysis removes any doubt that the full length undercover videos released by Center for Medical Progress are authentic and have not been manipulated,” said Casey Mattox, senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom. “Analysts scrutinized every second of video recorded during the investigation and released by CMP to date and found only bathroom breaks and other non-pertinent footage had been removed.”
According to the report, the videos only omit footage irrelevant to the allegations such as bathroom breaks.
“Planned Parenthood can no longer hide behind a smokescreen of false accusations,” Mattox said, “and should now answer for what appear to be the very real crimes revealed by the CMP investigation.”
“American taxpayer money should be redirected to fund local community health centers and not subsidize a scandal-ridden, billion-dollar abortion business,” Kerri Kupec, legal communications director for Alliance Defending Freedom said in a statement.
“Planned Parenthood is an organization that cares about one thing: making a profit at the expense of women’s health,” she added. “The investigative videos, whose authenticity was confirmed by the report, show that Planned Parenthood is an abortion-machine whose top executives and doctors haggle and joke about the harvesting and selling of baby body parts. Women deserve far better.”
Spokespersons for Planned Parenthood have denied illegal conduct. Last month, the organization commissioned their own analysis of the videos which claimed that the “edited” videos “have no evidentiary value in a legal context and cannot be relied upon for any official inquiries.”
The Daily Signal previously reported that the firm hired by Planned Parenthood, Fusion GPS, has ties to the Democratic Party, including an effort to expose a group of eight private citizens who donated to a super PAC supporting former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign.
Republican presidential candidates will keep Iran front and center as proof of the Obama administration’s national-security malpractice. But they don’t all seem to grasp why the Iran nuclear accord is flawed and why it matters so much.
Among the main criticisms is that the deal reflects President Obama’s lack of negotiating skill. But he knows how to negotiate — look at how he handled Congress on this matter. The accord is weak because along the way he changed his goal; he decided to paper over the nuclear problem in order to pursue a broader partnership between America and the clerical regime in Tehran.
Not long ago, President Obama promised to prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon. He demanded that Iran dismantle its relevant facilities. And he implied (“all options are on the table”) that he would use military power, if necessary, to block Iran.
But after a while, he saw he couldn’t talk Iran’s clerical leaders out of their nuclear ambitions. Without admitting as much, Mr. Obama gave up on stopping Iran. Instead, he aimed simply to slow them down for a while.
That was a momentous reversal. He signaled it by changing the way he talked. One couldn’t always hit home runs, he said. One had to bend to reality. What was important was getting the best deal possible.
This radical alteration of policy reflected President Obama’s strategic priorities. Dismantling Iran’s nuclear program, desirable as that would be, was less important in his view than remaking the U.S.–Iranian relationship overall.
The president doesn’t see Iran as an Islamist-extremist rogue-state enemy. He believes that tension between us has arisen not from Iran’s ideology, in which America is the “great Satan,” but from America’s own bad behavior. Identifying events in 1953 as the cause of the “tumultuous history” between us, he explains, “In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government.”
When Mr. Obama thought he could press Iran successfully on nuclear weapons, he was willing to try. But when that appeared impossible, he looked on the nuclear issue with impatience. It was impeding what he sees as an even more important project: transforming Iran into an American strategic partner. Mr. Obama came to view the nuclear issue as part of the Bush administration’s bad legacy, a pretext for refusing to improve ties with Iran. Lately, Obama-administration officials have begun to highlight shared interests, such as opposition to ISIS, the Sunni Islamist terrorist group.
U.S. negotiators accordingly made whatever concessions were necessary for a nuclear deal with Iran. They dropped demands for dismantlement of Iranian facilities and for anywhere, anytime inspections. They agreed to lift economic sanctions quickly, to end restrictions on missiles and other arms, and to help Iran obtain bank credit. They refrained even from asking Iran to release its American prisoners, to stop supporting terrorism, or to cease calling for Israel’s destruction.
Lip service to his original policy continues. Mr. Obama reiterates that an Iranian nuclear weapon is “unacceptable.” Those concessions, however, belie his tough talk. The Gulf Arabs know this, as do the Israelis, which is why the deal has spawned bitterness throughout Iran’s neighborhood. The president uses the deal’s complexity as a screen to hide the gap between his declared policy and his actual policy.
Which brings us to the “so what” question.
#share#The deal will make Iran more dangerous, confirming it as a threshold nuclear-weapon state and absolving its nuclear activities from sin. Over $100 billion will become available to Iran when sanctions end.
Of greatest consequence, however, is the damage the deal will do to the world’s nuclear-non-proliferation apparatus. It’s hard to overstate this danger.
The 1969 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty has nearly 190 state-parties. When Iran ratified in 1970, it foreswore nuclear weapons permanently, but it then violated the treaty. It quarreled about its prohibited nuclear program with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations Security Council, the so-called EU-3 (Britain, France and Germany), and the United States. From these quarrels, Iran has now, through this deal, emerged victorious. The accord lifts the U.N. sanctions without requiring Iran to destroy its nuclear facilities. Iran gets credit for reiterating the very promise that it breached previously, to renounce nuclear weapons forever.
Fifty years ago, the world had only five nuclear-weapons states. Only a wild optimist would have predicted that, 50 years hence, there would be fewer than ten. But the widespread commitment to non-proliferation proved astonishingly potent and helped protect the world from nuclear war. That accomplishment is what is undermined by the Iran deal — by Iran’s successful defiance of all the world’s main non-proliferation mechanisms.
The Iran deal will spur Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, and others in the region and beyond to acquire nuclear weapons. It says, in effect, that any country can have a nuclear weapon if it really wants one, without having to suffer pariah status. This will bring us closer to a world with dozens of nuclear-weapons states, a world in which the risks of nuclear war will increase enormously. What a terrible outcome! And what a shameful irony for President Obama, who came to office touting his commitment to reducing nuclear-weapon risks.
Things that seem like a big deal at the time rarely make it through history’s filter. But every once in a while, a problem of actual historical importance comes along. The Iran nuclear deal is such a problem.
Thirty years from now, when almost everything else that dominates today’s political news is at most a vague memory, the capitulation of the Obama’s administration to the ayatollahs is likely to be recognized as a turning point. It will be seen as the failure that undermined the most successful, arguably the only successful, arms-control regime in history.
— Douglas J. Feith, a senior fellow at Hudson Institute, served as Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (2001–05).
For the rest of the article and others, see: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/424645/iran-deal-nuclear-weapons-non-proliferation