With the stroke of a pen in Geneva, the world has entered an alarming new phase, one in which the United States has turned its back on its allies and embraced a long-standing foe. Indeed, rather than ratcheting up the pressure on Iran, Washington has instead turned up the heat on Israel, forcing the Jewish state into a corner, and a dangerous one at that.
Make no mistake. The agreement signed over the weekend between Iran and the West constitutes a surrender of historic proportions, one that rewards the misbehavior of the ayatollahs while punishing Israel’s steadfast reliability.
If international diplomacy had its own Richter scale to measure the magnitude of strategic earthquakes, Geneva 2013 would earn a place of pride alongside Munich 1938.
Consider the following: Since July 31, 2006, the United Nations Security Council has adopted no less than six resolutions requiring the Iranians to “suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development.”
Nearly all these resolutions were adopted under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, which means they are legally binding on Iran and all U.N. member states. Nonetheless, Tehran has merrily continued to violate its international obligations, enriching uranium to its heart’s content as it has advanced towards its goal of building a nuclear weapon.
Enter Barack Obama and John Kerry, who agreed at Geneva to soften economic sanctions against Iran while allowing their nuclear scientists to continue to enrich uranium up to a level of five percent, even though such activity has been repeatedly prohibited.
In other words, the mullahs have now received an imprimatur from Washington to continue violating the U.N. Security Council resolutions which the U.S. itself had supported.
This, by definition, is an act of retreat in the face of Iranian obstinacy and disobedience, a move that sends a perilous message of weakness precisely at a time when determination is warranted.
In effect, the Iranians are being told that if you violate and obfuscate long enough, eventually the West will fold.
If that isn’t appeasement, then what is? Moreover, the Geneva accord does not require Iran to dismantle even a single centrifuge, leaving in place its future capacity to surge forward towards the nuclear finish line at a time of its choosing.
Yet one thing that Geneva most certainly did accomplish is that it tightened the screws on Israel, making it significantly more difficult for Jerusalem to take unilateral military action in the coming months against Iranian nuclear installations.
With much of the world pinning its hopes on the flawed agreement with Iran, an Israeli resort to military force at this time would elicit more than just the usual howls of protest from the international community.
The Geneva accord appears designed to pen in Israel more than it does Iran, an attempt to handcuff the Jewish state for the next six months by vastly raising the diplomatic and political costs of military action.
And so, just as he has done with various other crises that have arisen on his watch, Obama is once again kicking the can down the road, pushing off the need to make hard decisions on Iran for a few months in the hopes that something, anything, will enable him to avoid the moment of truth.
But in doing so, Obama is imperiling Israel and its future by signaling to Iran that he is willing to live with a situation in which they are on the brink of the nuclear threshold. For a president who famously told The Atlantic magazine in March 2012 that “We’ve got Israel’s back,” Obama sure has a curious way of showing it, by putting the squeeze on the Jewish state. Everyone who supports Israel, Jew or Christian alike, should be alarmed by this turn of events.
The United States has recklessly rolled the dice with the fate of its closest ally in the Middle East, inexplicably placing its faith in a rogue regime, one that has repeatedly vowed to finish what Hitler began.
It was 29 years ago, in 1984, that historian David S. Wyman published a seminal volume, The Abandonment of the Jews, on America’s failure to stop the Nazi slaughter of European Jewry. Marshaling painstaking evidence, Wyman conclusively demonstrated that America and its leadership could have saved millions of Jews. In the preface to his book, Wyman concluded with a simple yet chilling question, “Would the reaction be different today?” Sadly, the agreement forged with Iran in Geneva gives us a glimpse of what the answer might be.
This opinion was originally published in The Jerusalem Post.