The neocons don’t want you to notice, but Obama’s attempt to disarm both Syria and Iran of WMDs is actually on track. On Syria, I remember being on the AC360 show last fall, when the overwhelming consensus was that Obama had been duped, that his pivot in asking Putin to enforce the removal of WMDs from Syria was a humiliation, and that Assad would never, ever give up any WMDs. Fast forward to now:
With its latest deadline days away, Syria is close to eliminating its stockpile of chemical weapons, monitors said Tuesday, an improbable accomplishment in the midst of civil war that is likely to diminish further the possibility of international intervention.
After a slow start that prompted U.S. accusations of stalling, the government of President Bashar Assad has shipped almost 90% of its chemical weapons materials out of the country, raising hope that it can finish the job by Sunday. A United Nations plan that averted punitive U.S. airstrikes last year sets June 30 as the deadline for all of Syria’s chemical weapons materials to be destroyed. But the first and hardest task has been shipping it out of the country through the Mediterranean port of Latakia…
The shipment Tuesday means that 86.5% of its toxic weapons material has been removed, according to a statement from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the Hague-based group overseeing the destruction of the stockpile. That includes 88.7% of the 700 metric tons of the most toxic chemicals, among them mustard gas and precursor materials for the nerve agents sarin and VX.
Then we come to the much more important interim agreement with Iran. And the news is encouraging there as well:
The IAEA report last week confirms that Iran cut its stock of medium enriched uranium by three-quarters. It has completely diluted half its stock down to low enriched uranium, and it has converted half of the remaining amount into reactor fuel, all ahead of schedule. It would be extraordinarily difficult and time-consuming to reverse these processes. In short, Netanyahu’s bomb has been drained. His red line has been implemented. Even if Iran were to break the deal today, it would take it many months to make enough uranium for one bomb, and the world would see them doing it. Nor is there any indication that Iran is about to break off negotiations.
So Israel is safer today – because of Obama, not Netanyahu, who has been hoist, like so many Wile E Coyotes in the past six years, by his own canards. Now think of how Obama has operated to rid the Middle East of WMDs – a vital part of our collective security – and compare it with the “tough guys” who preceded him.
Bush and Cheney launched a ruinous, failed war that did nothing to increase our national security and failed to find and destroy any WMDs. Obama, by diplomatic maneuvering, managed to avoid getting sucked into the Syrian vortex, while successfully ridding the country of chemical weapons. Yes, there are reports of chlorine bombs being used. But they weren’t part of the agreement. Yes, the civil war remains horrifying in its human toll. But to have managed to achieve this in the midst of that civil war is a huge success. And if the successful implementation of the interim agreement with Iran continues, we could have a viable permanent agreement that reliably keeps nukes out of the hands of Tehran’s pseudo-democratic dictatorship.
At some point, this will be better understood, I suspect. But it’s worth pointing out now. If Obama leaves office with WMDs removed from the Middle East (barring, of course, Israel’s chemical, biological and nuclear weapons!), he will have done what Bush promised – at a fraction of the cost, and with no war. I don’t know about you, but that’s why I still proudly support this president. Last fall, I argued that two things would make him a liberal Reagan – the successful implementation of Obamacare, and a new era with Iran and the Middle East. And on those terms, it’s meep meep again, so far as I can see.
Update from a reader:
As a loyal but relatively new (since ~2010) Dish reader (and two-year subscriber!), I really appreciate the roadrunner image to go with your latest Meep Meep post. At last, I’m in on the joke. For the longest time, I thought it was some weird British variation of “whomp whomp” or sad trombone … which was an entirely different meaning.