Let’s break down an article:
First off, the author: Michael Gerson started out with the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, before becoming a speech writer for President George W. Bush. Does this put him in the Neocon circle of thinkers? I previously posted an article talking about the subset of conservatives for whom no diplomatic solution would ever be acceptable. Is Gerson in that camp? If he isn’t, just what should diplomacy be able to achieve?
Issues: Gerson suggests a link between the visit of an Iranian military official to Russia, and the shipment of weapons by Russia to Syria. Does Gerson mean to suggest that the Quds Force commander snaps his fingers and Putin jumps to respond? Does that fit what we know about Putin? Might it be that Putin has his own priorities? What about evidence elsewhere that Putin’s shift towards Syria means a lessening of military resources for Ukranian separatists?
Iran announces new uranium resources after the agreement is reached. Why is that a problem? Doesn’t it actually mean that those resources will now be subject to the inspection protocols if Iran exploits them? And given the uranium vs. plutonium bomb distinctions (mentioned elsewhere), does it matter?
Iran is developing new non-nuclear weapons, and engages in buying and selling weapons. Given that the agreement is about nuclear weapons, why does this matter? They were developing non-nuclear weapons before, and would be afterwards, regardless of the agreement. Wouldn’t that happen anyway if there had been no nuclear deal? And isn’t the ability to buy and sell weapons simply a part of national sovereignty, whether we like it or not?
Hasn’t Iran been intent on demonstrating U.S. impotence for a long time? How has the nuclear deal changed that? Was the purpose of the nuclear deal to undercut their ability to do this? Are their past, present, and likely future activities to that end simply examples of demonizing the ‘other’? (Is Gerson doing the same thing?)
If Iran was behaving badly before, is now, and will likely do so in the future, how does this reflect badly on Obama? Carolyn Hax, the Washington Post advice columnist, wrote today that “When changing someone else’s thoughts or feelings is your goal, you hand control of the outcome to that person.” By what means could any American president change Iran’s thoughts or feelings (the things that drive them to make the choices they do)?
I love questions – they make you think.