One year later, it appears the historic nuclear agreement is a success. But that doesn’t mean the world is a safer place.
- By David RothkopfDavid Rothkopf is visiting professor at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs and visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. His latest book is The Great Questions of Tomorrow. He has been a longtime contributor to Foreign Policy and was CEO and editor of the FP Group from 2012 to May 2017.
On this week’s episode of The E.R., FP’s David Rothkopf, Kori Schake, and Dan De Luce, along with New York Times Washington correspondent David Sanger, assess the historic Iran nuclear deal nearly a year after an agreement was made. The panel debates whether or not the deal has been, and will continue to be, successful, both from a nuclear proliferation standpoint and an economic and domestic standpoint within Iran.
It could be said that the Iran deal is doing far better than anyone could have predicted. Has it really been a year since Israel — and other countries — have raised the idea of issuing a military strike against Iran? And isn’t that a feat in and of itself, in terms of stability in that region?
But despite the agreement’s early show of promise, the panel wonders if the positive streak will continue. What will happen, for example, when U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry finishes his term and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif finishes his? Is the stability of this deal dependent on their dynamic?
Talking about the Iran deal leads the panel to wander into larger, more speculative questions about national security under President Barack Obama’s watch: Is the world safer after eight years of the Obama administration? Is it possible the United States is now in a more dangerous position when it comes to nuclear weapons and proliferation, i.e., Putin’s return to the international arena, Pakistan’s buildup of its nuclear weapons programs, etc.? And in a nightmare scenario, what would happen if the Islamic State or other terrorist networks were to get their hands on weapons of mass destruction? Will the recent lack of focus on this critical issue come back and haunt the United States and the rest of the world?
David Sanger is the chief Washington correspondent for the New York Times and author of Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power. Follow him on Twitter: @SangerNYT.