[Ed. – At least he’s modest.]
“Without this deal,” said President Obama on Tuesday, “there is no scenario where the world joins us in sanctioning Iran until it completely dismantles its nuclear program.” That was nothing new. Throughout the negotiations with Iran, “the world” has been one of the president’s favorite defenses against criticism. “Nothing we know about the Iranian government suggests that it would simply capitulate under that kind of pressure,” he continued. “And the world would not support an effort to permanently sanction Iran into submission.”
In a 15-minute speech on a paramount issue of national security, Obama mentioned “the world” some 12 times. It’s worth asking exactly what he means when he appeals to such authority. For the world as a whole is — to say the least — not thrilled at the prospect of rewarding Iran for promising to freeze elements of its nuclear program for a decade. Americans don’t trust the Iranians to live up to the agreement, Israel is rightly terrified of Iranian threats, and Sunni powers such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt are likely to pursue their own nuclear programs now that the Iranian one has been preserved. When Obama says “the world” won’t continue the sanctions regime indefinitely, he’s actually referring to specific nations: the welfare states of Europe and the Russian and Chinese autocracies.