Three strikes usually means you’re out

Three strikes usually means you’re out

Max L. Kleinman

Max Kleinman of Fairfield is the CEO emeritus of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest and president of the Fifth Commandment Foundation.

Major league baseball is witnessing a record-breaking number of no-hitters and strike-outs. As a result, umpires are checking incessantly to learn whether pitchers are using banned substances on their baseballs to seek a competitive advantage.

But the iron rule of baseball still sticks — three strikes and you’re out.

With apologies to baseball, recent days have shown at least three strikes against rejoining the Iran deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or the JCPOA.

Strike one relates to the newly formed government in Israel. Being held by the thread of a single vote, the change coalition is the most diverse in Israeli history. It is multi-ethnic, representing Jews of all ethnic and racial types, an ideological spectrum representing the far left and the far right, anchored by the center. And for the first time an Islamist party is in the coalition. Its leader, Mansour Abbas, recognized the advantages that the Abraham Accords brought to its Arab signatories. Why shouldn’t his own Ra’am party do the same for the Israeli Arab sector?

But one factor unites this multitudinous coalition: opposition to the JCPOA.

During the 11 days when Israel was struck by more than 4,000 missiles fired by Hamas, dozens if not hundreds of Iron Dome missiles were fired to deflect them, at a better than 90 percent success rate.

Despite the opposition of Senator Bernie Sanders and other progressives, the Biden administration committed to funding $750,000,000 to replenish the Iron Dome inventory. Hamas is funded and to a great extent equipped by Iran and its proxies. If JCPOA is renewed, billions of dollars will be released to Iran, which then can rearm Hamas and Hezbollah with more rockets, increasingly sophisticated in their precision. So the United States will be creating a vicious cycle of rocket warfare, to the detriment of both Israeli and Arab civilians.

Strike one!

With the recent release of David Albright’s “Iran’s Perilous Pursuit of Nuclear Weapons,” we now have non-classified details on the true dimensions of Iran’s quest to go nuclear. As president of the Institute For Science and International Security, Albright had access to the nuclear archive the Mossad collected in its daring raid on Teheran in 2018. Mossad secured half a ton of documents on the Amad plan, Iran’s crash nuclear weapons program. The push for a nuclear bomb continues today, disguised as part of Iran’s civil nuclear efforts.

Albright concludes that Iran has systematically lied or hidden its march toward a nuclear bomb from the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency. For example, Iran concealed both the location and the military purposes of the Fodrow underground uranium enrichment facility. Moreover, Albright doubts that the IAEA can adequately overcome Iran’s subterfuge and is restrained by having to announce its inspections in advance.

In other words, any reliance on the JCPOA’s inspection regimen to uncover any nuclear violations by Iran accurately and in real time is naïve at best.

Strike two!

With the recent “election” of Ebrahim Raisi as Iran’s next president, we have one of the architects of the death commissions that conservatively executed 5,000 political prisoners at the country’s helm. He called these executions “one of the proud achievements of the system.

Realizing the billions in bounty in the offing by the U.S.’s rejoining the JCPOA, he will not stand in the way of the continued negotiations now taking place in Vienna. But he preemptively opposed any next-stage negotiations on Iran’s ballistic missile development or reining in Iran’s terrorist proxies in Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, Venezuela, or elsewhere. And what incentive would he have after the US releases billions if we rejoin the JCPOA?

Strike three!

Meanwhile, Afghanistan is facing a perilous future on its western border as American forces will be leaving this September 11. Military intelligence has forecast that the Taliban will reclaim the country within six months of our withdrawal. A relatively small American contingent of 2,500 troops could prevent this take-over. After years of sacrifice in blood and treasure, do we really want it to end with the Taliban’s barbarous rule?

What message will this send to Iran about America’s resoluteness? What about our allies in Israel, friendly Arab countries, Taiwan, and elsewhere? How will Russia and China leverage this to their advantage at our cost?

We’re facing a dangerous situation. I hope our policy makers recognize the domino effect false steps can unleash.

Returning to baseball, we can’t go into extra innings to undo any mistakes.

Max Kleinman of Fairfield was the CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest from 1995 to 2014 and he is the president of the Fifth Commandment Foundation.