July 21, 2015—After the Iran Deal was announced, my social media feeds lit up with both scorn and derision coming from my interventionist friends, and praise and thanksgiving coming from my non-interventionist friends.
While I am a very vocal non-interventionist and am glad a deal with Iran was reached rather than not, I find myself in the awkward position of wanting to criticize opposition to the deal without endorsing the deal outright. My support for the outcome of the Iran negotiations comes with a huge caveat. At base, I reject the entire premise of the negotiations. When it comes to interventionist foreign policy, one should always question the premise.
The United States, a sovereign nation with nuclear weapons and energy, has no business telling another sovereign nation half-way around the world what kind of weapons and energy she should have in the first place. To believe that we can and should do so is clear evidence of a globalist mindset. What kind of self-respecting conservatives wants to be a globalist?
I have challenged my interventionist friends like this: if you believe the U.S. has a right to tell another sovereign nation what weapons and energy they can have, then you need to tell me what nation you think gets to tell the U.S. what weapons and energy we can have. Mexico? France? If their answer is no other country, then we have a problem. It starts with an H.
Not only are the interventionist hawks demonstrating a globalist mindset, they are also advocating that the U.S. play the role of global gun controller. Are you kidding me? I thought conservatives opposed gun control, yet in this international situation many are advocating that the U.S. act like Bill de Blasio on the world stage and determine which countries can be trusted with which weapons. Sarah Brady must be so proud. If a liberal in America were to say, “Those radical Tea Partiers can’t be trusted to own ‘assault’ rifles,” a vast majority of current Iran hawks would go berserk and rightly so, but they don’t seem to recognize this obvious contradiction.
Iran hawks take it for granted that the U.S. has some God-ordained right to boss other countries around, so it actually requires some digging just to understand how these negotiations came to be to begin with. Ostensibly, the basis of the current P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council + Germany) negotiations is the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to which both the U.S. and Iran are signatories. The current negotiations are the end product of alleged Iranian violations of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Safeguard Agreements. These alleged violations were first noted in 2003.
Iran, as a signatory of the NPT, is bound to abide by the treaty or declare its intentions to withdraw, which is allowed by the agreement. While the NPT strikes me as a potentially unwise entangling alliance itself, a thorough discussion of whether or not the U.S. should withdraw from it is a can of worms for another article. As things currently stand, as a signatory of the NPT, the U.S. has a right to act in whatever way the NPT specifies with regard to alleged violations by another signatory nation.
But therein lies the rub. The NPT doesn’t really have any enforcement mechanisms within it, something that its critics, whether hawks or supporters of disarmament, have frequently pointed out. I do not claim to be an expert on the NPT, but I’m sure it doesn’t spell out the P5+1 process, nor does it specify that the U.S. must take a lead role in any such process. So the negotiations and the lead role the U.S. is taking in these negotiations are essentially freelancing with the NPT as a fig leaf for cover. Interventionist Iran hawks who support the negotiations and bother to cite the NPT as authority are being disingenuous. They support the negotiations and the U.S. taking a lead role in them and the sanctions and saber rattling and potential war that goes along with the process because they want the U.S. to do so, not because we are somehow obligated by the NPT. Let’s at least be honest about this.
Additionally, the NPT specifically allows for the development by member nations of peaceful nuclear power. Therefore, any insistence on the part of Iran hawks that Iran not be allowed a nuclear energy program or any enrichment capabilities is clearly a case of special pleadings and is well outside what is specified by the NPT.
That so many people who consider themselves conservatives support the obviously globalist policy of the U.S. acting as strongman international gun controller for the UN is a testimony to how far conservatism has slipped in this country. Authentic conservatives are not globalists, we’re localists, and the international policy that logically flows from that is minding our own business internationally and tending to our own affairs, not strutting around the globe telling other countries what to do like some authoritarian regime.
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