So we had important talks with the Iranian regime and reached an important agreement to have more important talks with them next month. No one on our team seems the least bit embarrassed, nor do any of the pundits who predicted that some sort of nuke deal would be agreed on. Indeed, most of the coverage had to do with Israel: will they attack or not?
Now the diplomats are preparing for yet more talks, this time in sunny Moscow. And although the Iranian leaders have stiffed the would-be inspectors from the UN's Atomic Energy Agency, the gathering at Putin's feet will no doubt come off…and yet again, with no real consequence.
On the basis of my mother's dictum that repetition is the basis of all learning, let's go through the basic principles again:
- Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is not interested in a deal with the West unless it is clearly and unequivocally a total Western surrender that ends sanctions, confirms our retreat from the Middle East, and acknowledges Iran as the regional hegemon;
- The current game–call it "around the world in 180 days"–provides the diplomats with good food, luxurious accommodations, and pictures in the papers, and it leaves the Iranians free to enrich uranium, build missiles and warheads, and kill us and anyone inclined to work with us. That is the Real War and no Western leader ever talks about it;
- Sanctions will neither stop the Iranian nuclear program nor stop the Real War. Only a change in regime can accomplish that. To that end, sanctions could be a positive force if they were combined with support for the Iranian opposition. Just ask the Revolutionary Guards how serious the resistance is: the RG just deployed an additional eight thousand soldiers—some in uniform, others in plain clothes–in the streets of Tehran. But no Western leader cares to help the Iranian opposition, even verbally. When those leaders say "no option is off the table," they mean some day there might be a military attack against Iran. But financial and tactical assistance to the Iranian people willing to actively fight for freedom is totally off any Western strategic table;
- Meanwhile, those seeking freedom in the region are being sacrificed. Their leading betrayers are Obama and his new pal French President Hollande (who just visited Afghanistan to confirm a speedy retreat). The consequences are as heartbreaking as they are inevitable: more than 500 Afghan women’s schools have been shut down since the beginning of the year. None of our leaders or pundits seems much interested in such things. The most dramatic current case is Syria, where the "official" body count is over ten thousand, but more than thirty thousand additional persons are "missing." The latest massacre has prompted calls for humanitarian intervention -- perhaps even including arming the Syrian opposition. However, here, too, nobody seems to care to see the slaughter in context. Since Syria is a virtual territory of Iran, the fall of Assad would threaten the survival of Khamenei, but none of our leaders seems to want the downfall of Khamenei and his murderous regime. Ergo, Assad's and Khamenei's enemies don't get help from the West, while the Syrian tyrant gets help from Tehran and Moscow.
Those are the basic rules of the war currently raging, a war we refuse to see, except for those—also mostly invisible to leaders and pundits–on the battlefield. But their budget is getting slashed and burned, their esprit de corps is threatened by a new anthropological experiment putting more women in battle, and the pols and pundits don’t know much of anything about military virtue.
Indeed it seems Obama doesn't even want to give them a few minutes at the policy table. After all, they just work for him, right?
It's very disappointing and very scary. If you wanted to create a strategy to lose the Real War, you'd be hard pressed to do better.