In July, President Obama signed a nuclear agreement with Iran, despite strong, bipartisan opposition in Congress.
So how’s the agreement holding up on Iran’s side? Well, about like you would expect. Which is to say, not very well at all.
Earlier this week, we discovered that Iran recently tested a medium-range ballistic missile in violation of not one, but two United Nations Security Council Resolutions. In the agreement they signed, Iran “agreed” to halt its ballistic missile program for the next eight years.
Not six months later, here we are.
This is not even the first time Iran has illegally tested a ballistic missile since the agreement was signed. It stands to reason that the Iranians are betting that the President and the UN will do nothing to actually enforce the agreement he spent years seeking.
If the Obama administration’s response has been any indication, the Iranians’ theory seems spot on. Take for example, this week’s exchange between Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Samantha Power, US Ambassador to the UN. Senator Gardner asked Ambassador Power what the administration had done since the first illegal Iranian missile test had been reported to the sanctions committee seven weeks prior.
Power’s reply: “Beyond having Security Council discussions on the matter there’s been no follow-on action.” While a troubling revelation, she continued: “Discussions are a form of UN action. (emphasis added) It’s a little bit like a hearing is a form of Congressional action.”
This situation couldn’t remind us more of one of our all-time favorite foreign policy-related movie scenes. It doesn’t come from a serious film, but from 2004’s rip-roaringly funny (but largely unsafe for work) Team America: World Police. In the relevant scene, former North Korean despot Kim Jong-Il is “confronted” by Hans Blix, then-Chairman of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission. Their discussion goes as follows:
Soldier: Hoi te? Han ching! Pae ja, Hans Blix bo tae so tae ka. [Sir, Hans Blix is here from the United Nations]
Kim Jong Il: Hans Blix? Oh no! [Enter Hans Blix] Oh, hello. Great to see you again, Hans!
Hans Blix: Mr. Il, I was supposed to be allowed to inspect your palace today, and your guards won’t let me enter certain areas.
Kim Jong Il: Hans, Hans, Hans! We’ve been through this a dozen times. I don’t-have-any-weapons-of-mass-destruction, ‘kay Hans?
Hans Blix: Then let me look around, so I can ease the U.N.’s collective mind.
Kim Jong Il: Hans, you’re (bustin’ my chops), Hans, you’re (bustin’ my chops)!
Hans Blix: I’m sorry, but the U.N. must be firm with you. Let me see your whole palace, or else.
Kim Jong Il: Or else what?
Hans Blix: Or else – we will be very, very angry with you… and we will write you a letter, telling you how angry we are.
In keeping with the absurdity of the film, Blix is subsequently devoured by Kim Jong-Il’s pet sharks, but that is beside the point: If the feckless nature of the United Nations has ever been more aptly parodied, we haven’t seen it.
Unfortunately, American foreign policy is starting to look equally spineless.
On top of Iran’s continued march towards nuclear weapons, they continue to arbitrarily hold American citizens prisoner, including journalists, on charges that would have absolutely no standing in the civilized world (one American pastor is currently serving an eight-year prison sentence for having done nothing but profess his Christian faith).
In the past, we just felt sorry for the United Nations and their inability to act. But this is now American foreign policy, too. It would be as hilarious as a puppet movie if the stakes weren’t so life-or-death.
A strong national defense is one of the core functions our government is specifically tasked with providing. Either our leaders are protecting us from the dangers of an Iran with nuclear weapons, or they aren’t. There’s no middle ground.
What do you think? Are “discussions a form of action?” Should President Obama stick with an agreement that Iran has already repeatedly violated? And if the agreement isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on, where do we go from here? Should we stand idly by, while Iran races towards building nuclear weapons, or should we stop them?
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