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How did we get here?
The current state of affairs began when Joe Biden’s former boss Barack Obama legalized a terror state’s nuclear weapons program.
Despite what its publicists claimed, the purpose of the deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was never to stop Iran from getting the bomb. Rather, the tens of billions of dollars that Obama paid the clerical regime, which included planeloads of cash, was to facilitate construction of the nuclear weapons program under the protective umbrella of an international agreement backed by the United States. Even a cursory glance at the agreement’s clauses restricting Iranian nuclear and other activities reveals the truth—they are called “sunset clauses” because they were designed to expire. And once they expired, Iran’s industrial-size nuclear weapons program would be entirely legal under the continuing protection of the United States.
No, no, say JCPOA advocates and defenders—the Iran deal was constructed to prevent Iran from ever getting a bomb. And at the time that Obama proposed his plan, it seemed inconceivable that the president would mislead Americans about something as serious as legalizing the nuclear weapons program of a terror state that has been killing Americans since its inception in 1979. Surely, Obama had some more conventional idea of arms control in mind. His critics must be conspiracy theorists, projecting their own pyromania onto the righteous president, probably because they were racists, or Zionists, or both. The Iranian emigres and Saudi analysts who expressed their shock at the idea of giving Iran the bomb must have their own local axes to grind.
Nearly a decade after the selling of the Iran deal, it’s much easier now for Americans to see that it was the origin point in a series of hugely consequential lies that have shaped our country at home as surely as they have shaped the lives of people in the Middle East. They lied about Obama’s successor being a Russian spy to delegitimize the government and divide the country, in the hope of removing an elected president from office. They lied about an “insurrection” on Jan. 6, 2021, to justify designating one half of the country as domestic terrorists, in order to put their political opponents in jail. They’ve lied about so many things because they’re certain that their communications infrastructure—where intelligence officers direct big tech and censor what was once America’s independent press—will shape the “information space” on their behalf, effectively controlling what we see, hear, and read. They first built their echo chamber to sell the idea that the Iran deal would stop Iran from getting a bomb; now the echo chamber is everywhere—a high-tech version of how the press is run in countries like Egypt, or Iran.
Obama wanted to give Iran the bomb in the context of a larger realignment of U.S. interests with those of the Islamic Republic. If you’ve seen any of the videos on social media of Hamas operatives dragging Jews out of their homes and shooting them, you can see what that means. Obama admired Hamas’ Iranian patron Qassem Soleimani, who ran Iran’s expeditionary unit, the Quds Force, until the Trump administration killed him. Obama told Gulf Arab U.S. allies they should get their own Quds Force, but they didn’t, which is partly why Obama downgraded relations with America’s traditional Arab allies and moved Iran into the top slot. He wanted Iran’s hard men and their terror assets to manage U.S. regional interests, so that the United States could leave the Middle East and “pivot” to Asia—though as it turned out, China and its friends in Washington had their own ideas about American dominance there.
But there was also an important domestic reason to get Iran the bomb, which was to normalize pathology. If you treat a nation-state that embodies Jew-hatred as an ally and arm it with a bomb, you are legitimizing Jew-hatred, which is perhaps the dominant form that psychopathy takes in modern global politics. To believe that Jews secretly rule the world, that the invisible hand of the “elders of Zion” tilts the world like gravity in favor of the Jews, and that mankind’s dignity can only be restored if the Jews are disempowered, or eliminated, is a pathological belief—one that is shared by billions of people around the globe, as well as by a stunning assortment of psychopaths with designs on power.
Obama rejected that characterization, acknowledging that the regime was antisemitic. But antisemitism, as he told a journalist, “doesn’t preclude you from being rational about the need to keep your economy afloat; it doesn’t preclude you from making strategic decisions about how you stay in power.”
That’s just your average high-stakes undergraduate bull session answer, in which the winning move is to rationalize Jew hatred through the backdoor: You can be an antisemite and still be rational. But then Obama went a step further, and suggested that maybe antisemitism could itself be rational. He talked about the Iranians using “antisemitic rhetoric as an organizing tool.”
The latter part of Obama’s answer was incredibly revealing. Of course, antisemites don’t see antisemitism as an “organizing tool”—meaning, as a rational device to achieve a rational end. Antisemitism is many things—a conspiracy theory, a passion—but rationality is not one of its characteristics.
The antisemites you come across on social media aren’t trying to win followers or “organize people”; they just hate Jews. They are proud of their beliefs, and eager to tell the whole world. No, the kind of person who sees antisemitism as an “organizing tool” is someone who would use it that way. In other words, Obama’s comment was revealing because he wasn’t speaking about the Iranian regime. He was talking about himself.
It’s hard to look into another’s heart to discern their true feelings about others. But we know that Obama believes antisemitism to be a useful organizing tool, because he said so himself.
The Iran deal was more than a foreign policy blunder, or a bad deal. It was the device that Obama consciously used to transform America. It unleashed the Iranians and their terror assets abroad; at home it sidelined the Jews, pushing them out of the places they had carved out for themselves in American life and relegating them to second-class status in the Democratic Party—where, in order to belong, they would now have to pledge allegiance to the idea of gifting nuclear weapons to a country that pledged to exterminate them.
In turn, the reason that Obama had to push out the Jews is because they are one of the touchstones of American exceptionalism. Like Israel, like the Jews, America is a nation built since its founding on the idea of a covenant with God. Just as Christians have no evidence that Jesus is real or that God acts in history without the historical reality of the Jews, America grounds its unique self-conception in history through Israel. Like the Jews, we are one of a kind, with a unique, God-given destiny.
Obama’s transformation of America was to remake it in his own image, by junking the idea that America is exceptional and dissolving the country’s borders with the rest of the world. America is not unique. It is as sinful as any other nation, he was effectively arguing, and possibly worse. What better way to make that point than by throwing Israel overboard, and replacing it with Iran—a country that preaches God’s retribution against America.
Now that the Israel part of Obama’s dream has been achieved, we should all be prepared for the other shoe to drop. The violence he unleashed in Israel will be coming to these shores now.
Lee Smith is the author of The Permanent Coup: How Enemies Foreign and Domestic Targeted the American President (2020).