NYT upset at Bibi – but they won’t say the real reason why
The New York Times is not happy with Bibi:
Mr. Netanyahu has legitimate reasons to be wary of any Iranian overtures, as do the United States and the four other major powers involved in negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. But it could be disastrous if Mr. Netanyahu and his supporters in Congress were so blinded by distrust of Iran that they exaggerate the threat, block President Obama from taking advantage of new diplomatic openings and sabotage the best chance to establish a new relationship since the 1979 Iranian revolution sent American-Iranian relations into the deep freeze.
Even though the Times admits that pretty much every fact Netanyahu brought up is accurate!
Mr. Rouhani and the Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, have insisted repeatedly that Iran wants only to develop nuclear energy and that obtaining a nuclear weapon would harm the country’s security.
Even so, Iran hid its nuclear program from United Nations inspectors for nearly 20 years, and the country is enriching uranium to a level that would make it possible to produce bomb-grade nuclear material more quickly. It has also pursued other activities, like developing high-voltage detonators and building missiles that experts believe could only have nuclear weapons-related uses.
These facts make it hard not to view the upcoming American-brokered negotiations skeptically. But Mr. Netanyahu has hinted so often of taking military action to keep Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon that he seems eager for a fight.
Actually, the main thrust of Bibi’s speech was to not to start a war, but a warning against loosening sanctions in exchange for smiles and empty promises:
I have argued for many years, including on this podium, that the only way to peacefully prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons is to combine tough sanctions with a credible military threat. And that policy is today bearing fruit. Thanks to the effort of many countries, many represented here, and under the leadership of the United States, tough sanctions have taken a big bite out of Iran’s economy. Oil revenues have fallen. The currency has plummeted. Banks are hard pressed to transfer money.
So as a result, the regime is under intense pressure from the Iranian people to get the sanctions removed. That’s why Rouhani got elected in the first place. That’s why he launched his charm offensive.
He definitely wants to get the sanctions lifted, I guarantee you that, but he doesn’t want to give up Iran’s nuclear weapons program in return.
Now, here’s the strategy to achieve this:
First, smile a lot. Smiling never hurts. Second, pay lip service to peace, democracy and tolerance. Third, offer meaningless concessions in exchange for lifting sanctions. And fourth, and the most important, ensure that Iran retains sufficient nuclear material and sufficient nuclear infrastructure to race to the bomb at a time that it chooses to do so. You know why Rouhani thinks he can get away with this?…Because he’s gotten away with it before.
The NYT cannot find any holes in Netanyahu’s logic. It cannot find any concrete concession that Rouhani is
offering. Yet, against all known facts, it still insists that Rouhani is the moderate who must be given concessions to, and Bibi is the warmonger.
There is nothing wrong with speaking to and negotiating with Iran, but there is a great deal wrong with loosening sanctions in response to a smile.
So if the Times cannot find anything actually wrong with Bibi’s words, why are they so upset at him? The reason seems to be because he called them out for doing the exact same thing with North Korea:
Like Iran, North Korea also said its nuclear program was for peaceful purposes. Like Iran, North Korea also offered meaningless concessions and empty promises in return for sanctions relief. In 2005, North Korea agreed to a deal that was celebrated the world over by many well-meaning people. Here is what the New York Times editorial had to say about it: “For years now, foreign policy insiders have pointed to North Korea as the ultimate nightmare… a closed, hostile and paranoid dictatorship with an aggressive nuclear weapons program.
Very few could envision a successful outcome.
And yet North Korea agreed in principle this week to dismantle its nuclear weapons program, return to the NPT, abide by the treaty’s safeguards and admit international inspectors….Diplomacy, it seems, does work after all.”
A year later, North Korea exploded its first nuclear weapons device.
That’s the real reason the “Paper of Record” is so miffed – because Bibi mentioned its record of believing dictators on the threshold of nuclear weapons capability.
The truth hurts, so the NYT – instead of admitting its very real role in pressuring Washington to believe North Korea’s empty promises – is lashing out at the person who pointed it out.
This is behavior one would expect from a teenager who was caught in a lie, not from a newspaper whose entire reputation is dependent on accuracy.
The NYT’s choosing to ignore that part of Bibi’s speech explains a great deal about its nonsensical editorial that is at odds with facts.