Earlier today, John Bolton and Mike Pompeo spoke to the hard-line, misleadingly-named pressure group, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), and delivered their usual attacks on and threats against Iran. One line from Bolton’s speech stood out for being as delusional as it was representative of the Iran hawk worldview:
The Iran Deal was the worst diplomatic debacle in American history [bold mine-DL]. It did nothing to address the regime’s destabilizing activities or its ballistic missile development and proliferation. Worst of all, the deal failed in its fundamental objective: permanently denying Iran all paths to a nuclear bomb.
Bolton loathes diplomacy. That is the key thing to understand about him, and it helps explain almost everything he has done in his career. He regards any successful diplomatic agreement as something of a debacle because it involves striking a compromise with another government, usually an adversary or rival, and because it means that the other side wasn’t forced to give in to our every demand. When he denounces the JCPOA as “the worst diplomatic debacle in American history,” he is simply expressing the intensity of his hatred for the government with which the agreement was made. His previous and ongoing support for the Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK) shouldn’t be forgotten when we try to make sense of this fanatical rhetoric. If Bolton considers something to be the “worst diplomatic debacle” of our entire history, that tells us that the agreement required very little of the U.S., that it reinforced habits of multilateral cooperation, and that it successfully resolved an outstanding dispute that Bolton wished to resolve through regime change and war. An agreement that eliminates any pretext for preventive war, imposes no costs on America, and succeeds through cooperation with multiple governments is anathema to someone like Bolton, because it is proof that diplomacy works and can achieve things that coercive and punitive policies never could.
The venue for Bolton and Pompeo’s speeches was no accident. It was an audience of hard-liners that detest Iran being addressed by like-minded speakers. UANI intensely opposed the nuclear deal and recited the usual false claims about it. Their vehement hostility to the most important and successful nonproliferation agreement of its kind is a testament to how little they care about actually restricting Iran’s nuclear program. Like other Iran hawks, UANI is simply against Iran, and therefore they hate anything that might relieve international pressure on Iran. The group celebrates Trump administration sanctions and its members laugh about the deteriorating economic conditions inside Iran:
— Dina Esfandiary (@DEsfandiary) September 25, 2018
UANI audience members react this way to bad economic news from Iran because they desire the destabilization and overthrow of the government. The fact that the Secretary of State and National Security Advisor headlined their event this week confirms for us that this is the administration’s goal as well.