In his “totally-not-antisemitic” play about the comeuppance of an evil Jew, Shakespeare told us that “the devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.” Same goes with Barack Obama quoting or mentioning Ronald Reagan. In his post-deal interview with Thomas Friedman, trying to explain why, instead of inflicting an easy defeat on a terrorist theocracy, he instead chose to allow it to get very rich and then also to rearm, Obama said:
I have a lot of differences with Ronald Reagan, but where I completely admire him was his recognition that if you were able to verify an agreement that [was negotiated] with the evil empire that was hellbent on our destruction and was a far greater existential threat to us than Iran will ever be, then it would be worth doing.
Obama seems to forget that in Reagan’s time, the Soviet leadership wasn’t pursuing the destruction of the United States – neither rhetorically, nor operationally. Reagan came to power as the USSR entered its terminal economic decline, and the Soviet Politburo, having abandoned the revolutionary dreams of old, was interested only in the survival of the regime. For the USSR, the nuclear reduction agreements were first and foremost a path to cutting the enormous costs of the military-industrial complex that was sucking all life from an enfeebled Soviet economy.
In fact, already after the death of Stalin, the USSR had become a classic status quo power, determined only to protect the sphere of interests it acquired after World War 2. Nor was it eager for direct confrontations with the West, except by proxy in the Third World. Evil Empire it was, but the evil was mostly for internal consumption.
No comparison can be made between the USSR at the time of Reagan and Iran today. Iran is not a status quo power – indeed, its current regime is based on a commitment to destroy the status quo, to create a Shia empire that will serve as a basis for a true Jihad. Iran doesn’t have a gut feeling that it has lost its ideological fight – the opposite is true. Iranian leaders believe that they are winning – against the Sunnis, the Jews, and the West. Iran has no compunction to break the rules, because it does not fear the costs and now has no economic incentive to follow the rules either.
Unlike the Soviets with Reagan, the Iranians will use any opportunity to lie, cheat, and deceive the “international community” in order to prepare for a breakout to a bomb by the time Obama leaves the Oval Office. The laughable inspections regime, which gives Iranians ample opportunities to build a parallel military nuclear program under the nose of the West, will make their job only too easy.