An Agreement Is Only as Good as the Will to Enforce It

The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles just published an article by Rabbi John Rosove titled "Many Israeli Experts Believe the Iran Deal is a Supportable Deal Despite its Flaws."  He is self-described as a progressive Reform Zionist and national co-chair of the rabbinic cabinet of J Street.

In reviewing the quotes from these experts, which Rosove lists to make his case, it is clear that they appear to be making the assumption that the deal will be honored by Iran.  But how can anyone assume that?

Every country passes laws and sets up an entity with the authority and power to enforce them.  But that is not enough.  There must also be the will to enforce them.  In many countries, due to incompetence, prejudice, or corruption, the laws are not always applied equally to all citizens.

Even in the United States, this has increasingly become the case.  President Obama, notwithstanding that he swore to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the land, continually violates the Constitution and refuses to uphold some laws passed by Congress.

Internationally, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has been given the authority to pass laws (resolutions) and to enforce them.  But here it is more complicated, because the U.N. does not have on hand an entity with authority and enforcement power.  It must arrange such an entity each time it wishes to enforce a resolution.  Similarly, when an agreement between nations is worked out, such as the deal between the P 5+1 and Iran, there must be the will to enforce it.

History is replete with similar agreements or resolutions or guarantees that were on paper only and never enforced.  Here is a short chronological list.

  1. The Palestinian Mandate was set up in 1922 granting the Jews the whole of Palestine as their homeland and giving them the right of close settlement.  Now the terms of the Mandate are being violated, and the Jews are being denied Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) as their homeland and being denied the right to settle there.
  2. The Versailles Treaty, entered into at the end of WWI, prohibited Germany from re-arming.  In the thirties, when Hitler came into power, he began rearming Germany.  Nobody, though they had the authority and the power, had the will to stop him.
  3. In 1956, Nasser imposed a blockade on the Straits of Tiran, preventing international traffic to access the Israeli port in Eilat.  This constituted a casus belli.  Israel invaded the Sinai and conquered it.  President Eisenhower forced Israel to retreat and arranged for the four great powers, the U.S., Britain, France, and Russia, to guarantee that the strait would remain open.  They also installed a "U.N. peacekeeping force" in the Sinai to maintain the peace.  In 1967, Nasser kicked the U.N. force out and closed the Straits of Tiran again.  Israel appealed to the four powers to honor their guarantee and to reinstall the U.N. force.  They did nothing.
  4. After the '67 war, the UNSC passed Resolution 242, which permitted Israel to remain in occupation until she had secure and recognized borders.  A proper interpretation of this resolution allowed for Israel to retain some of the land.  Israel has already vacated about 90% of the land, but the international powers are demanding she vacate all of it.  Of course, "secure and recognized borders" had to be negotiated.  Now President Obama and the U.N. want to dictate borders in violation of the law.
  5. Starting in 1970 with the Rogers Plan, President Nixon sided with the Arab countries and demanded 100% withdrawal, contrary to Res. 242, which the U.S. had drafted and voted for three years earlier.  President Obama is now demanding 100% withdrawal.
  6. In 1995, Israel and the PLO/PA signed the Oslo Accords under the auspices of President Clinton on the White House lawn.  The accords were like a constitution for the governance of the territories in question.  The PA got full authority for Areas A and B, subject only to Israel retaining security control of Area B.  Israel retained full control of Area C.  All issues had to be negotiated, and there was no prohibition against Israel building settlements in Area C.  Since then, the PA has blatantly violated the Accords, but no one, including Israel, wanted to abrogate the Accords or force the PA to comply.  And now the EU and, to a lesser extent, the U.S. are themselves violating the accords by building Arab housing in Area C and by declaring all Jewish settlements illegal.  The Accords also prohibited either the PA or Israel from taking unilateral steps to change the status of the land.  The PA recently made a unilateral step in asking the U.N. for recognition as a state.  Notwithstanding that such a move was in violation of the Accords, the U.N. is cooperating in this endeavor.
  7. In 2005, when Israel was executing the Disengagement Plan to leave Gaza, Israel intended to be in charge of the Rafah border crossing into Gaza to stop smuggling.  Condi Rice insisted on Israel signing the Rafah Agreement, which provided for the EU to manage the crossing instead of Israel.  This worked to some extent for a couple of years until Hamas took over and kicked the EU out.  So much for the Rafah Agreement.
  8. In consideration of Israel agreeing to withdraw from Gaza, President Bush gave PM Sharon a letter in which the U.S. committed to certain policies a little favorable to Israel, such as upholding Res. 242, not requiring full withdrawal, and providing for the return of refugees only to Palestine when created.  Elliot Abrams, who helped draft the letter on behalf of the Bush administration, said this letter constituted an agreement.  President Obama lost little time after his inauguration to declare that the letter was not an agreement and therefore not binding on him.
  9. At the end of the Lebanon War I in 2004, the UNSC passed Res. 1559 demanding disarmament in southern Lebanon.  This resolution was ineffectual.  So when the Lebanon War II was ending in 2006, the UNSC passed Res. 1701 to remedy what was wrong with this resolution.  It too called for demilitarization and disarmament.  This resolution also proved worthless, as the will to enforce it was not there.  As a result, Hezb'allah now has 100,000 rockets ready to rain down on all parts of Israel.
  10. President Obama is trying to force Israel to accept a two-state solution based on 100% withdrawal, thereby denying Israel her right to retain some of the land and the right to negotiate borders.  There is talk at the U.N. of recognizing Palestine as a state, with the ceasfire lines as her border.

The Wall Street Journal recently published "Mission to Purge Syria of Chemical Weapons Comes Up Short" (paywall):

One year after the West celebrated the removal of Syria's arsenal as a foreign-policy success, U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that the regime didn't give up all of the chemical weapons it was supposed to.

Are we to expect anything better from Iran?  Iran, after all, has a history of cheating on agreements and violating resolutions.

Therefore, the opinions of these experts are worthless, relying as they do on Iran complying.

But even if she does comply, you have to be crazy to give the mullahs $150 billion to spend on terrorism while they are waiting to get the bomb.