Are the Russian airstrikes the first consequence of the Iran deal?
© Russia Today

Time will look longingly back to the last of the blood moons — the spectacular supermoon painted in the deepest cadmium orange on Sept. 28 — for signs of Armageddon, economic collapse and hellfire rising from earth and sky. There will be some disappointment. Once again, nothing happened.


But a closer look will find a sea change did occur thereabouts, and one which could drag us into and through the century rising; one which may even determine America's fate beyond the century. For within the celestial framework said to mark the age in transition, the "historic deal which will prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon" — the White House's polemic for the arrangement known universally in the vernacular as the "Iran deal" — was finally signed into being on July 14, 2015.

Time will recall this and then it will next recall this: In late September, less than three months after the signing, Russia — partner, with China, to the Iran deal — sent warplanes to advanced combat into Syria.

"Putin is pursuing a very broad strategy I think, bidding for dominance in the Middle East over the U.S.," former Ambassador to the United Nations John BoltonJohn BoltonAfter insurrection: The national security implications McConnell won't reprise role as chief Trump defender Cyber czar to draw on new powers from defense bill MORE told Fox News. "There is a lot at stake here that goes beyond the exact target of these strikes."

This is bad news for Secretary of State John KerryJohn KerryBiden's trade policy needs effective commercial diplomacy Biden taps ex-Obama aide Anita Dunn as senior adviser The Hill's Morning Report - Biden asks Congress to expand largest relief response in U.S. history MORE. He knew the Russian fighters were coming, but, no worries, for it was the judgement of "our military and most experts" — the same folk who brought forth the Iran deal — that they would be used only for "force protection."

"Inane," said Bolton. "The complete blindness of the administration was reflected in the confusion over these past two days when the airstrikes began."

Our friends, said Bolton, see power passing from our hands to Russia's.

Is this militaristic action of Russia into Syria a first consequence of the Iran deal? Does it mark a conspicuous deception on behalf of our Russian partner?

How could it possibly be otherwise?

Would Russia have lulled us into acquiescence in the Iran deal? Or had we willingly lulled ourselves?

This cannot be good for Kerry. Just days before the Russian incursion, he was a slam-dunk to win the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel committee would love to get on board with the Europeans, the Russians, China, Iran and almost everybody (except Israel), but nobody likes to be tricked; tricked again, like Lucy pulling the football out from under Charlie Brown.

And had Kerry won the Nobel Prize, he would suddenly rise to view in the contentious squabbling of Democrats as the brave new hope for the presidency in 2016. Now the prize is more likely to go to Pope Francis, which might give the archetypal Irish-Catholic working-class-hero Vice President Biden a boost. Better it go to someone like Brandon Stanton of Humans of New York, who is miles closer to the human condition than the antiquated and anachronistic Nobel Committee, which can see nothing now but with politicized Western eyes.

Russian aggression will increase and if it does so before the first Democratic debate, it will change things. Former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb's (D) status could rise in the clear light of dawn. He warned that there were outstanding issues in the Iran deal. But Vermont Sen. Bernie SandersBernie Sanders'Almost Heaven, West Virginia' — Joe Manchin and a 50-50 Senate Biden to seek minimum wage in COVID-19 proposal Former Sanders spokesperson: Progressives 'shouldn't lose sight' of struggling Americans during pandemic MORE (I) could rise more instead.

Unlike Kerry, who supported the Vietnam War before he opposed it and led Democrats (Hillary Clinton and Biden, among others) in the Senate to support the Bush/Cheney invasion of Iraq before he led the forces in opposition, Sanders has always been the same man: the same man, today, as he was for decades — responsible, brave and respectable in his character and positions.

And right now, it appears that Sanders has the edge. But South Dakota Sen. George McGovern (D-S.D.) — the man who flew 35 missions over German-occupied Europe in a B-24 bomber; responsible, brave and respectable in his positions — also appeared to have an edge. And in a time of contention and conflict, he carried only one state, liberal Massachusetts (alongside Washington, D.C.), in his run to the presidency in 1972. Then, the Vietnam War had been in our experience for almost a decade and had taken the lives of more than 58,000 Americans and brought us on the home front almost to a condition approaching civil war. It was a time then when we had tired of war, as we have tired of war today.

My first guess right now is that eight years of a popular, freehand, cultural president, one who engendered the rise of millennials to power, has pulled the elastic too far to the cultural and political left and it is about to snap back. Sanders is a key figure; wise, even noble, but the last of a long era spanning generations.

And 2016 will begin a turning; a new outlook, a new cultural framework, a new kind of presidency and the beginnings of a new (post-millennial) American generation.

Quigley is a prize-winning writer who has worked more than 35 years as a book and magazine editor, political commentator and reviewer. For 20 years he has been an amateur farmer, raising Tunis sheep and organic vegetables. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife and four children. Contact him at