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The Middle East’s Chilly Future

“Upon verification that Iran is keeping its commitments to dismantle much of its nuclear program, major economic sanctions will be lifted, effectively releasing more than $100 billion in frozen Iranian assets.”
— Justin Fishel & Molly Hunter, ABC News

The key word with Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon has been verification, yet the early details released thus far on this historic deal do not inspire hope that the international community will prevent Iran from building the bomb. Is Iran giving the international community unprecedented, completely transparent access to their most protected facilities? No. Has the United States and its allies forced Iran to abandon its existing nuclear program? No. Instead, what’s been negotiated is a timeline as to when Iran will build their bomb, not if.

And the effective economic sanctions will cease to impede Iran and the billions of dollars will, accordingly, be reinvested into reaching their primary objective of weaponizing to a terrifying capacity after predictably deceiving future inspectors.

If the objective of this historic deal was to prohibit Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, mission not accomplished. President Obama merely made this a future president’s prodigious foreign policy migraine. It may be viewed as a good deal today, but it’s a devastating “solution” when Iran has their world-altering bomb in the foreseeable future. Iran will surely skirt the agreed upon rules and regulations (like always) as they adjust their calculations for their underground science project to continue by the end of the next decade, with the ambition to become a nuclear superpower.

A nuclear Iran now appears inevitable.

“Iran has not agreed to robust “anytime, anywhere” nuclear inspections. They have not agreed to a heightened level of scrutiny by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which has already been frustrated by Iran’s lack of cooperation. Snap inspections have been replaced by pre-approved “managed” inspections, with no guaranteed access to all Iranian nuclear sites, or to military facilities where secret research may be carried out. These are weaker verification provisions than under the 1990s Agreed Framework with North Korea under which Pyongyang still developed nuclear weapons.”
— James S. Robbins, USA TODAY

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu severely criticized the deal. Put simply, he said it was a “historic mistake for the world.” We all know the the life-and-death stakes for Israel on this issue. And the virtual silence from the surrounding Arab nations is very telling. It’s probably a safe hypothesis that the Middle East is about to begin its own nuclear arms race, with the potential to enact a new cold war and possibly a new world order in the forthcoming ten to fifteen years. Iran’s neighbors will build comparable arsenals to defend themselves as a realistic precaution. The collateral damage of what’s likely coming as a consequence of this deal is greater than the perceived short-term benefits.

This deal failed to diminish Iran’s supreme ambition.

The Obama administration was so desperate for a deal/photo-op for legacy purposes that it didn’t negotiate for its sole purpose: preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Some foolishly argued that no deal meant impending war, which was utter nonsense. The alternative to a perceived bad deal was a better deal. Unfortunately, the latter never came to fruition due to the United States and its P5 + 1 partners’ impatience and refusal to (in a unified front) declare and defend a red line of crippling conditions against Iran.

“There’s no strategic plus in (the Iran deal) for the United States,” Stein continued. “All there is is just taking Iran, a meddlesome, dangerous, killer, terrorist state and making a nuclear power. People who want to die, people who’ve pledged to die in order to eliminate Israel. This is a scary group of people to allowed to have a nuclear weapon.”
— Ben Stein, The Steve Malzberg Show

President Obama has routinely criticized the late President Reagan’s policies. Interestingly though, Mr. Obama is now adopting Reagan’s, “trust, but verify” mantra he used during the Cold War for his 2015 Iran deal. However, one important distinction needs to be made about the these two presidents and this phrase: Reagan ended the Cold War, whereas Obama appears to be starting one.

Strong leadership is about making decisions that will lead to a brighter future. It seems like the words that were missing from the Iran nuclear negotiations on our side were strong leadership. The lack of this essential characteristic is what inherently prevented a better deal from being established and ultimately signed.

Unfortunately, strong leadership is not verifiable in President Obama.

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George Washington: It’s Been Too Long

For the past couple days, the top headline on major news websites has centered on the recent credit card information theft at Target. It’s a frightening, unnerving situation. How did it happen so easily, discreetly and to tens of millions of people? There is a lot of concern (as there should be) about how and what people who may fall into this category should do from this point forward.

There are essentially two recommendations: checking credit card transactions acutely with a magnifying glass for the next few to several months or ordering a new credit and/or debit card altogether. Frustrating either way. The most difficult part of using a credit or debit card should be whether or not there is enough money in the account and not if someone will steal the information one Saturday afternoon after buying a CD (and yes, this is still fun to do!) or toothpaste.

What to do now?

Beyond the recommendations listed above, the most secure option going forward may to become better friends with George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Alexander Hamilton and Andrew Jackson. And if you have the means to become BFFs with Benjamin Franklin, then kudos!

That’s right: cash.

Let the stories of nostalgia and yearned after innocence begin: “Back when I was your age…”

While fully aware this would constitute a major lifestyle change for a surreal number of people, it’s pretty much impossible for an identity to be stolen from public tender. In this scenario, the transition (slow and steady) back to the pre-Credit Card days would surely shake society with a seismic shift of sorts. Yes, no doubt. But this adjustment does not need to happen in an absolute sense for every expenditure, but maybe for the purchases at everyday stores like Target that are proving to be susceptible to mass theft. Major chain stores would fit the bill.

Maybe this would work? Maybe not? But it seems like a logical progression for consideration after the most recent news about Target.

Upon further reflection, the same should go for the U.S. federal government. As everybody knows, their use of our nation’s credit card has caused an identity theft of sorts for this country…