Bret Stephens: Americans will rue-the-day Obama allowed Iran to build a nuclear bomb in weeks

"In 1938, Chamberlain bought time to rearm. In 2013, Obama gives Iran time to go nuclear. To adapt Churchill : Never in the field of global diplomacy has so much been given away by so many for so little." -Bret Stephens "Worse than Munich" column in the Wall St. Journal
In addressing a Zionist banquet by StandWithUs in Los Angeles on Sunday, 8 December, Mr. Stephens augmented this theory, echoed by other experts. Listen to the speech audio here. Transcript for 2nd half of the speech appears here on JewTube.Info:

"Now, it will come as no surprise to anyone that I want to spend most of my time tonight talking about Iran, but I think that it is also fitting feel that I should begin by speaking about Nelson Mandela and the meaning of his legacy and its meaning for us as Americans- for us as Jews. 

"In the 1980s there was a sharp debate in this country about how the United States ought best to deal with the apartheid regime in South Africa. On one side there were those who argued, this was the Regan administration, that the best way to deal with the apartheid regime was through a process of 'engagement'- critical engagement but engagement. The argument that the administration made was that sanctions will only hurt ordinary people, above all ordinary black people in South Africa, and furthermore that South Africa for all its obvious moral failings, was none the less a critical strategic partner for the United States and so that the were interests beyond morality- that there were interest of "real politik" in maintaining an alliance of sorts with that regime. On the other side of the argument there was a bi-partisan coalition that ranged from Bob Dole to Lowell Weicker, to Ted Kennedy, who thought that the best approach to the apartheid regime was also the most moral one- that is, a punitive regime(n) of economic and diplomatic sanctions that would show South Africa's white rulers that they would not be allowed to profit from their rule and that the only road to redemption was to eliminate their repressive system and let the people, all of the people, rule.

Now, as a columnist for the Wall Street Journal, I'd say I am second to none in my admiration for Ronald Reagan. But I don't think that there is any doubt as to who had the better side of that particular argument.

In 1986, Congress passed sweeping sanctions legislation against South Africa and Reagan vetoed the legislation. And then something remarkable happened: Congress over-rode the veto. It was the first time in congress's history that it had over ridden a presidential veto on a foreign policy issue.

A few days ago, reading obituaries for Mandela, I came across something that was said by a fellow by the name of Brian Dooley who was a Democrat and a top aide to Ted Kennedy and helped draft the legislation on South Africa sanctions. And this is what he said: "Forget the morality; look at just the national interest, the self interest. Standing with the bad guys not only looks bad, it IS bad! And eventually they fall, and eventually there is a dreadful resentment." Well, Brian Dooley, wherever you are, you were right. Sanctions brought an end to the apartheid regime in South Africa. Sanctions opened the gates at Robben Island. Sanctions force the apartheid regime to eliminate the legal architecture of racial discrimination. And by the way, sanctions also persuaded the South African regime to dismantle their NUCLEAR PROGRAM, including the atomic bombs they had already built.

Now, do any of you see where I am going with this? We should think about this. We should think, right now, we should have a national debate, about whether the best way to get Islamic Republic of Iran to change its behavior, is either by reprising the Reagan strategy of engagement, based on the form of realpolitik, or the bi-partisan strategy of intensifying the sanctions until the regime begins to understand that there is no wiggle room- that they will not be allowed to sweet talk their way into keeping their nuclear capability intact while having the economic pressure lifted. That the world will hold them accountable for the way the regime treats Iranian women, and Iranian political dissenters, and Iranian gay people, and Iranian religious minorities. And we will not blindly ignore the comments by the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, who the other day, at the height of the negotiators, in Geneva, blurted out that Israel is , in his words, "A rabid dog."

And all of us in the West, all of us in the United States, will not simply forget the memory of Neda Aga Sultan- and the hundreds of young Iranians who died alongside her fighting for democracy- and we will be faithful to her memory and not forsake it for the sake of just getting any face-saving deal with Iran.

And by the way, we should remember that when we see Iran's suave foreign minister, Javad Zarif, shaking hands with our Secretary of State in Geneva, or its pleasant-seeming President Hassan Rouhani giving speeches and smiling at the end in the UN, we should not forget that when Neda was left to die in the street of Teheran, those guys stood on the side of the regime that killed her.

If we in the United States could muster the moral clarity to stand on the right side of history, when it came to ending the apartheid regime in south Africa, despite all the arguments put forward for engaging it, can't we stand on the right side of history, right now, to show Iran that the consequences for violating multiple UN resolutions and threatening Israel with annihilation and repeatedly lying to the International Atomic Energy Agency about its nuclear programs and supporting Hezbollah, in Lebanon, and Hamas in Gaza, and Assad in Syria, and the Taliban in Afghanistan, the results of those actions will not be the lifting of economic sanctions and the preservation and assurances about their nuclear program.

Some of you in this room read who read the editorial pages of the Wall St. Journal know how I feel the interim nuclear deal that was struck last month in Geneva. In a column the other week I called it "Worse than Munich." That because I was being kind. Give Neville Chamberlain the benefit of the doubt, understand the position he was in. When he struck that deal, in September 1938, to allow Hitler to seize the Sudetenland, the Royal Air Force did not have a single squadron of Spitfire fighters (the fighters that went on to win the battle of Britain in 1940). Britain has so thoroughly disarmed itself after WWI that declaring war on Germany might have amounted to an act of national suicide on Britain's part. And at the same time, Winston Churchill was just a lone voice in the wilderness, warning against Hitler and the consequences of appeasement.

By contrast, today, the administration as effectively taken the military option OFF the table, and yet, we are the ones who are acting in our negotiations with Iran as if as WE are the weak party. As if WE are the supplicants. And today there is a broad & bi-partisan support for TIGHTENING sanctions on Iran, not loosening them.

MARK MY WORDS, ALL Americans will come to RUE THE DAY when we tried to solve the Iranian nuclear crisis by allowing Iran to get within weeks of being able to build a nuclear bomb. Just this weekend it was reported that Iran is continuing to design and manufacture advanced centrifuges- that will allow them to refine uranium at 3 to 5 TIMES their current rates of enrichment. Is this supposed to be the goodwill gesture that is going to build confidence toward a final agreement? Or is it the case that the Iranians are pressing their advantage against an administration whose red lines on Iran's nuclearization seem to be as permeable as the RED-LINES on the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime?"

Transcript for 2nd half of the speech appears here on JewTube.Info:

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