Thursday, October 29, 2020

Donald Trump vs. Joe Biden on Iran: Only 1 of them puts America First.

September 23, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Money, Opinion, Politics, Weekly Columns

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( The decriers of the president’s policies contest his national security strategy that places America’s interests first. On Sept. 13, former Vice President Biden articulated his plan for Iran and its nuclear program, based on an agreement President Trump ripped up.

Joe Biden wrote, “At the United Nations, Trump could not rally a single one of America’s closest allies to extend the U.N. arms embargo on Iran.” Rather than take this as a sign of the nature of alliances when economic interests weigh heavily – exacerbated by the ravages of the Wuhan virus – the former vice president believes that but for a piece of paper, wrought by the Obama-Biden administration, common cause would reign supreme. To side with our European allies is never an end unto itself, for if this were so, America would have been correct in joining with our allies when they appeased Adolf Hitler in the 1930s.

Biden - Trump - Debate

The former vice president stated, “Five years ago, even Russia and China stood with our European allies behind an American-led approach to Iran’s nuclear program.” Is this the same Russia the vice president contends upended the presidential election in 2016? Is this the same China whose malfeasance caused the death of 1 million persons through its actions that created the present pandemic? Evidently, these bedfellows and their comity with assorted European countries are reasons enough for America to reacquaint itself with a deeply flawed document, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), otherwise known as the Iran nuclear deal.

This agreement failed to confer to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) the ability to conduct inspections of possible nuclear sites within Iran without warning: The IAEA was required to ask Iran’s permission to inspect its military facilities. Under the JCPOA, Iran could delay such inspections for 24 four days, creating a hide-and-go-seek environment. Beginning 10 years after the agreement’s adoption, its constraints were to be removed piecemeal, rendering it meaningless.

Whatever transitory impediments the JCPOA provided were more than compensated to Iran’s benefit in the form of sanctions relief and the transfer of $1.7 billion, including $1.3 billion in interest to a country in which the charging of interest is a crime. This payment constituted the largest sum ever provided by our nation to a state that explicitly supports terrorism. Further, the agreement failed to address Iran’s ballistic-missile force, which launched dozens of rockets since the JCPOA went into effect, including attacks on Iraq’s Al Asad Airbase and an airbase near Erbil, which both quartered our citizens.

Biden writes, “Five years ago, Iran was a bad regional actor requiring active deterrence and pushback. But it had not conducted a major attack on U.S. forces in the region in years.” Is the former vice president not aware that it was the Islamic Republic of Iran that fashioned many of the Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) that tore the limbs off our men and women? Is he not aware IEDs were the cause of approximately 45% of all of American combat fatalities and Iran is culpable in many of these deaths?

Biden is not alone. Gen. Jim Mattis, Donald Trump’s former secretary of defense, has reportedly asserted that the president “has no moral compass.” This statement betrays the former secretary’s confusion concerning the distinction between doing what is “expected” and doing what is “good.”

A compass, to be true, always points in the same direction. But, morality is not a compass. If it were, Jesus would not have overthrown the money changers’ tables. His actions were not nice or expected, but were good, for to be nice is to be good only if the implications of a given behavior in a discrete situation are good.

Gen. Mattis conflates conformity to a pre-ordained course of action (for example, his own unceasing support for the JCPOA) with having a moral sense, but this faculty requires adjustment in response to new information. This is what the president does, for to do otherwise is to be rigid upon the receipt of data. That is how wars and nations are lost, and President Trump wants none of it.

Donald Trump has refused to do what the elites view as de rigueur and thus expected. Every time the president rips up a pernicious document or an impeding domestic regulation, he infuriates Washington’s establishment, for its thousands of lawyers and lobbyists earn egregious salaries helping Congress fashion book-length laws that no one can read and only these “professionals” can unravel. The Constitution contains fewer than 5,000 words; the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) numbers almost 400,000, but this figure is dwarfed by the 11,000,000 words that comprise the regulations that service this law.

It is from this constellation of undecipherable laws and regulations that the nation craves relief, for only those with uncountable resources can make sense of them, and this they do to exploit for personal benefit the swamp that is Washington. This is what President Trump is committed to end.

Written by Richard B. Levine

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