Foreign Policy

The Obama Doctrine: A path to conflict

The deal the P5+1 struck with Iran shatters American and Israeli security, potentially placing our great country and our strategic allies in harm’s way.  In essence, this deal legitimizes Iran as a nuclear threshold state, unfortunately bringing the United States closer to a deadly military confrontation with the zealous Shiite theocracy.   

If Congress fails to block this deal and sanctions against Iran are lifted, then America will essentially subsidize the world’s largest state-sponsor of terrorism with a $150 billion payday. The mullahs will use this money to support terrorism around the globe and further their imperialistic ambitions through their proxies across the Middle East.  This payday will help the ayatollah’s consolidate its hold on power. It will not help the United States or our allies ensure that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapons capability. I suspect American capitulation will only make the Orwellian chants of “death to America” and “death to Israel” louder.  

To allege that the only alternative to this current deal is military action is specious.  It is the essence of naiveté to believe that rewarding the Iranian regime – who seeks the “annihilation” of Israel and complete hegemony over the Middle East – will lead to anything other than armed conflict. The truth is that the Obama administration not only rewarded Iranian intransigence by caving at the negotiating table, but will permit the West to subsidize it. 

This deal greatly reduces the strength of American deterrence against Iran.  After 5 years, they may reengage in the global conventional arms trade, while after 8, attain ballistic missiles. These arms will surely go to terrorist proxy groups who currently kill Americans and our allies.

The Administration may say we retain the “military option” in case Iran makes a mad dash to the bomb. But this ignores how the deal weakens American deterrence. For example, Russia has already confirmed plans to ship state of the art S-300 surface-to-air missiles to the Iranians making control of the air more difficult.  Iran will be allowed to grow their military and emboldened to confront American power.  

Supporters of this agreement argue that it is the only way to prevent armed conflict with Iran. Perversely, this agreement actually makes war with Iran more likely. The deal lifts virtually all major restrictions against Iran in about 10-15 years, gearing up the ayatollahs to have the ability to break out in days, not months or weeks.  Tehran’s nuclear infrastructure is left in place with the ayatollahs retaining the ability to “weaponize” quickly.  In just a few years down the road, restrictions on Iran’s centrifuges and limitations on its nuclear facilities, including the number of heavy water reactors, will be abandoned.

Furthermore, without adequate provisions in place to inspect Iran’s nuclear programs and sites, or effective compliance measures to efficiently implement snapback sanctions, Iranian centrifuges will spin.

Congress has a moral duty to restore clarity and rationale to America’s diplomacy efforts by voting against this absurdly irrational foreign policy strategy. We must return to a rational strategy aimed to protect us and our allies from the Iranian nuclear threat.

Iran will emerge as a nuclear threshold state with the international community’s stamp of legitimacy. This is precisely why Iran’s vociferous political leaders and ayatollahs have been rejoicing since the deal was announced.  

If there was ever a quintessential issue that could so easily unite Democrats and Republicans alike, it’s this one. When it comes to matters of national security and deterrence against enemies, party politics should take a back seat.  

A pivotal moment for Congress is upon us.  When the time comes to vote on the Iranian nuclear accord, I intend to vote against the deal, and strongly encourage my esteemed colleagues on both sides of the aisle to do the same. We are fortunate to know Iranian ambitions: Death to Israel, Death to America. History will record this fatal error. I hope Congress will not be complicit in ushering in a policy that will surely lead to a future – and more difficult – conflict.

Duncan has represented South Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District since 2011. He sits on the Foreign Affairs; the Homeland Security; and the Natural Resources committees. He is author of the Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act.


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