As the 2016 election gets uglier and louder, and President Obama fixates on polishing his image, there are a couple of growing threats that deserve more attention than they are getting. No matter what happens in November, the next president will have to address these issues — whether they are simply unfinished business or a catastrophe in the making.
First, the Iran nuclear deal isn’t just unraveling, it is revealing itself to be the agreement that never was. The Obama administration doesn’t dare acknowledge the problem. Incredibly, it appears they would rather hide from the problem or worse, deny its existence and let Obama carry on with his self-congratulatory media tour than try to help the next president inherit less of a crisis. But in an op-ed by Lawrence J. Haas in U.S. News, Haas highlights how the Obama administration’s actions have “not only legitimized Iran’s missile program but actually helped Tehran make further progress.” Obama and his allies don’t want to acknowledge the obvious, but the only reason Iran wants to make progress on their missile program is so that they have a means by which to attack the United States and our allies. As Haas asks, “Have U.S. officials just been pretending that they’re serious about restraining Iran’s missile program, or have they deluded themselves into thinking that they still could do so?” And, if we know they are cheating on their missile program, does anyone doubt they aren’t also cheating on their nuclear weapons program? And does anyone think Obama would call them out, even if they were caught red-handed?
Second, in violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty signed by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, the Russians have been developing a nuclear-capable ground-launched cruise missile that can fly between 300 and 3,400 miles. The assumption is that “Russia is producing more missiles than are needed to sustain a flight-test program, spurring fears that the Kremlin is moving to build a force that could ultimately be deployed.” Why do they need that missile? It would be most useful in a surprise nuclear strike. Be reminded of the 2008 presidential debate, when Obama ridiculed Republican nominee Mitt Romney for labeling Russia one of the biggest geopolitical threats to the United States. Obama sneeringly said, “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.” Well, Obama never corrected himself and the Democrats continue to hide from the inconvenient truth today.
There are various other serious problems facing Obama and the Democrats, from the failures of Obamacare to the extremely low-growth economy. But at least those are problems that mostly occur within America’s borders. The issues with Russia and Iran have far-reaching, dangerous implications, and they won’t be easy to manage, especially if the next president continues Obama’s policies of willful ignorance, “leading from behind” and letting our enemies believe that deterrence is a thing of the past.
So it is a fair question to ask: Under Obama’s stewardship of foreign affairs, have we come closer to or further away from the prospect of nuclear war than we were eight years ago? It appears the next president will deal with something worse than the sound of a ticking time bomb — they just might be hearing the sound of a cocking gun.