A few months ago, after some particularly odd comments from Republican presidential hopeful Scott Walker, President Obama called the Wisconsin governor out by name. “Mr. Walker,” the president said, apparently needs to take “some time to bone up on foreign policy.”
The GOP candidate doesn’t seem to agree. As BuzzFeed reported yesterday, Walker’s latest criticism of the international nuclear agreement is based on an odd analogy involving teenagers.
“Throughout the process, I’ve spoke out repeatedly about it,” the Wisconsin governor told Iowa radio host Simon Conway. “I’ve got two boys in college now, but when they were in high school, we’d have a rule that they could have friends over, including girls, as long as the door to their room was open.”He added that “the provisions in this deal” would be like allowing teen boys keep their doors closed and warning them before entering the room.“To me, the provisions in this deal are like telling teenage boys, not only can you have the doors closed, but we got to shout up the stairs before we walk up the steps, ‘Hey, we’re coming up to check and see what you’re doing. Just want to give you advance notice.’ It makes no sense,” Walker said.
The phrase, “It makes no sense” is probably the only accurate part of Walker’s quote, though it regrettably refers to the Republican governor’s rhetoric, rather than the diplomatic deal itself.
Jeffrey Lewis had a good piece this week in Foreign Policy on the intrusiveness of the inspections regime imposed by the P5+1 agreement with Iran.
Let’s get this straight. The agreement calls for continuous monitoring at all of Iran’s declared sites – that means all of the time – including centrifuge workshops, which are not safeguarded anywhere else in the world. Inspectors have immediate access to these sites.That leaves the problem of possible undeclared sites. What happens when the International Atomic Energy Agency suspects that prohibited work is occurring at an undeclared site? … Far from giving Iran 24 days, the IAEA will need to give only 24 hours’ notice before showing up at a suspicious site to take samples. Access could even be requested with as little as two hours’ notice, something that will be much more feasible now that Iran has agreed to let inspectors stay in-country for the long term.
There is the possibility that, at undeclared sites, Iranian officials might try to stall, and that’s where the whole “24-day” issue comes into play. But as TPM’s Josh Marshall explained yesterday, “Twenty-four days isn’t actually a codified number. It’s the sum of the schedule in which the U.S. or another country can demand access, have the Iranians respond and then, if there’s no agreement, have the question submitted to a panel which the U.S. will almost certainly command a majority on. The total is 24 days.”
But won’t that give Iranians time to hide a possible nuclear-weapons program? Actually, no. Josh added, “There’s this thing called radiation. Which leaves traces. Like for thousands of years in most cases. So this is not like cleaning up a crime scene or doing really anything else. If you set up a secret nuclear facility for enriching uranium - or doing really anything else with radioactive material - you can’t remove all traces of that. Again, radiation.”
If Iran cheats, we’ll know. That’s the point.
I don’t know what kind of hijinks Scott Walker’s sons were up to in their rooms, but unless it involved centrifuges, the analogy is ridiculous.