Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Friday, April 3, 2015


I'm not an expert on the Middle East, especially not on Iran.  I'll leave the analyses of this peace proposal up to those who are.  But I do know that these negotiations have been one of the prime goals of President Obama's presidency, and now we have to sit back and see what sort of damage the opposing party will do.  We already witnessed their unprecedented back-stabbing, and what I see as traitorous, behavior with their pusillanimous letter to Iran's leaders.  Luckily, Iran ignored the miscreants and went forward with the negotiations.

Most of the pundits, pols, and bloggers who bellowed the loudest about these peace negotiations are the same folks who believe in the Prince of Peace who said in his famous Sermon on the Mount:

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called Children of God."

Let's see how they tell the rest of us that what President Obama did is evil.

From the HuffPost:

"[President] Obama...embarked on high-stakes negotiations with the Islamic Republic of Iran, resulting in Thursday's improbable agreement to reduce, control and monitor Iran's nuclear program. Coming on the heels of major deals with two other longtime U.S. adversaries, China and Cuba, Obama is steadily building a diplomatic legacy to match his campaign rhetoric. 

On a Thursday call with reporters, senior administration officials underscored how much of a priority Obama has made a diplomatic solution on Iran. "There's no foreign policy issue he has spent more time on," said one official. "I'd say over the course of his presidency, other than the war in Afghanistan and terrorism, Iran is an issue that he's spent more time on than any other issue. The first negotiation that he had on this started in 2009, so he's very familiar with the Iranian nuclear program and all the different elements."

New York Times:
By opening a dialogue between Iran and America, the negotiations have begun to ease more than 30 years of enmity. Over the long run, an agreement could make the Middle East safer and offer a path for Iran, the leading Shiite country, to rejoin the international community. [...] 

Talking to adversaries — as President Ronald Reagan did in nuclear weapons negotiations with the Soviets and President Richard Nixon did in his opening to China — is something American leaders have long pursued as a matter of practical necessity and prudence. Yet in today’s poisonous political climate, Mr. Obama’s critics have gone to extraordinary lengths to undercut him and any deal. Their belligerent behavior is completely out of step with the American public, which overwhelmingly favors a negotiated solution with Iran, unquestionably the best approach.

LA Times:

 In welcoming it, Obama said he accepted that Congress could play a useful "oversight role" but warned that "if Congress kills this deal not based on expert analysis, and without offering any reasonable alternative, then it's the United States that will be blamed for the failure of diplomacy. International unity will collapse, and the path to conflict will widen." We hope those words will be pondered by those members of Congress who have reflexively opposed any possible deal and who may be tempted to sabotage the negotiations. They should also take seriously another point made by the president: that the alternative to a diplomatic agreement is that "we can bomb Iran's nuclear facilities, thereby starting another war in the Middle East and setting back Iran's program by a few years." The details of a final agreement matter, but so does the alternative.


 To all of the critics, the details — short of a capitulation that's incompatible with the concept of negotiation — don't matter. They prefer the aggressive confrontation of Iran's ambitions across the region, with deep U.S. involvement and a high risk of war. Given Iran's behavior, it is not an easy choice. But removing Iran's nuclear threat would be no small thing, and as diplomacy goes, the deal negotiated by Secretary of State John Kerry and counterparts from France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China appears at this early stage to be a significant success.


skudrunner said...

Presbo and Lurch did a great job in these negotiations. Every leader should take lessons from the twins on how to negotiate a peace deal.
Great job now if only the French would shut up about him giving more than he got, all would be good.
Iran's response <a href="</A>

Ronnie's Raygun said...

Wingnuttia should be quite happy. The last president to make a deal with Iran was their cherished St. Ronnie.

Ronnie sold weapons to Iran so they could kill more Iraqis, and then used the money to buy weapons for the contras so they could kill more commie Nicaraguans.

Titan you're famous! said...

The nutbars are saying this deal proves Obama loves Iran, when it was their own Senators that wrote the Ayatollah a fucking love letter saying they were basically on his side. Irony has died, again, screaming.

Dave Miller said...

Shaw, overall, I think this is good, especially if the Iranians follow through on their end... no small detail.

There are shortfalls in the agreement and like many US agreements before it, perfection is not within our grasp.

But what are the alternatives? This is the area of realpolitik.

It is unlikely that the P5 countries, including Russia and China, would stay the course on sanctions after getting this far. Without a united front, sole US backed sanctions would have no bite as Iran would immediately begin selling oil to boost their economy.

Without sanctions as an effective option, that leaves bombing. I don't believe other countries, apart from Israel and maybe Saudi Arabia, would support bombing Iran. That would further isolate the US, and Israel in the Middle East.

Additionally, Americans, while not enamored with the thought of negotiations, are certainly not up for another war.

I think it is fair to ask those critical of this agreement what option they propose. Failure to annunciate an alternative to the negotiations, in my mind, disqualifies you from the discussion.

Simply put, you are not serious and your views are not to be taken seriously. You are just complaining.

The US negotiated with Russia when they had thousands of ICBM's pointed at us. The US negotiated and even opened the door to China while they were funding the killing of our soldiers in Vietnam and less than 20 years after the Korean War.

Critics of negotiations, to be taken seriously, should speak to why it was okay for Presidents of both parties to negotiate with those regimes, yet it is not okay to do so with Iran.

Do I wish this deal was better? Yes. Can I see a real alternative that will enhance the US standing in the world, and ultimately make us safer? No.

Shaw Kenawe said...

The Washington Free Beacon: One of THE most conservative Obama-hating-bashing publications out there. The equivalent of Michelle Malkin hawking her delirium as "news."


I'm Skippy's Mom said...

Grateful we have an adult as our president. And not that Cottonheaded, wet-behind-the-ears Senator who thinks gay people should be grateful they live in a country where bigots get rewarded for not serving them instead of living in Iran where bigots murder gays.

Cotton is a piece of stupid work that we haven't seen since Sarah Palin saw Russia from her house.

skudrunner said...

Actually they were quoting the Iranian foreign minister so it wasn't an OP ED.

All for giving up sanctions because the only one hurt by them are the people not the leaders,, Cuba is a good example.

Since no one knows the terms and the administration would have done anything to get a deal, it will be interesting to see the structure.

Infidel753 said...

So long as the US keeps its end of the bargain on phased lifting of sanctions, the odds of Iran upholding its end of the bargain are good. Even the ayatollahs now have to take public opinion into account.

President Rouhani is a genuine reformist who ran on a platform of opening up to the West and negotiating the end of the sanctions. Everybody in Iran knew that that would mean giving up the nuclear-weapons program (anyway, about 50% of Iranians oppose developing nuclear weapons, with only about 30% in favor).

The only reason Rouhani was able to be elected at all was that after the stolen election of 2009, when Ahmadinejad "won" despite obviously losing, the Iranian people staged the largest street protests ever seen anywhere in the world, with millions participating. This threw enough of a scare into the ayatollahs that in 2013 they felt they had no choice but to allow an honest election or risk an explosion.

There are certainly hard-liners in Iran who would prefer confrontation with the US and continuing the nuclear program, but they would be very wary of the kind of eruption of mass discontent that would follow the frustration of the popular hopes this agreement has raised for an opening to the world and the lifting of the sanctions.

The wild card is the possibility of a sudden change in the US position. The Cotton letter has already given a talking point to the Iranian extremists who insist that the US cannot be trusted. If the Republicans in Congress sabotage this agreement, as Obama pointed out, Iran will no longer feel bound by it, and our exasperated allies will no longer support us in pressuring Iran. That would be the worst-case scenario -- except one:

If a Republican were to win the 2016 Presidential election, then considering the kind of rhetoric about Iran the Republicans have been throwing around, the Iranians would have every reason to feel in immediate danger of being militarily attacked. They would most likely react with a crash military build-up and attempt to re-start the nuclear program. At that point anything could happen. Just remember that Iran is a much larger and more powerful country than Iraq, and the people running it are a lot smarter than Saddam. If the Republicans blunder into a war there, the costs (in every sense) will be far higher than those of the Iraq war.

Luckily, the odds of a Republican winning the Presidency in 2016 seem remote.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Thanks for your analysis on the Iran deal, Infidel753. I hoped you'd come by and give us your insight, which is informed because of your knowledge of that part of the world.

The war hawks in the US would love to see us spend ourselves into another disastrous war, so long as none of their children get sent to fight it.

The Republicans have done all they can to sabotage everything this president has done, so I'm not sanguine about how they will do in this situation.

Whatever it is, I'm fairly certain it will be to benefit the MIC, and not the American people.

Ducky's here said...

The Teabag opposition seems inevitable regardless of the terms of the agreement.

I think Netanyahu has increased the liklihood of the opposition being seen as the insane war mongering posture it is.

Opposition to raprochement with Iran just doesn't seem like something the Republican clown car can use to get mileage.

Rational Nation USA said...

It does seem the extremists are doing all the screeching while the reasonably intelligent folk are getting it done.

Shaw, Americans aren't stupid, well most of them anyway, at the end of day reason will prevail.

Infidel753 said...

Shaw, thanks. I forgot to mention one other wild card -- Netanyahu. He's almost as motivated to sabotage this deal as the Republicans are, and he has far more effective tools at his disposal. On the other hand, at least he's not crazy. Still, he worries me. I hope Obama has made ti clear that interference will have serious consequences.

Flying Junior said...

On the other hand, at least he's not crazy.

You don't think that presiding over the last twenty years of developing every acre of occupied Palestinian territory despite the well-known objections of the United Nations qualifies as crazy?

He's crazy if he sees himself on an equal footing with a leader such as BHO. He's crazy if he thinks the future of the region lies in republican hands.

It's all about more weapons, more money and more control. Israel was founded upon a promise. Netanyahu has perverted that promise.

Anonymous said...

shaw...isn't there a right winger who comes here and tells you that the "DemocRATS" made the Jim Crow Laws...whose in charge of these new discrimination laws in the southern states now...same people...same attitude...switched political party...

The Mississippi legislature has passed legislation that would allow people to use their religion to justify discrimination. It seemed last month that the “religious liberty” bill had sufficiently stalled after the House voted to send it a study committee instead of passing it, with many members noting how it could be used to promote discrimination. However, both the House and Senate have approved a conference report on the bill, advancing it to Gov. Phil Bryant (R) with problematic language.

“Religious liberty” bills like the one vetoed in Arizona differ from other states’ “Religious Freedom Restoration Acts” (RFRAs) because they extend religious protections to businesses. Mississippi’s bill has this same problem, because state law already defines a “person” to include “all public and private corporations.” Thus, if Bryant were to sign Mississippi’s bill into law, it would grant all businesses in the state a license to discriminate based on religious grounds.

Mississippi does not currently have any state or local nondiscrimination protections for the LGBT community,"

...smells like a new Jim Crow south to me...

Ann Adamsapple said...

Mitch McConnell And Ted Cruz Join Republicans In Urging SCOTUS To Reject Gay Marriage

This is why Congress has an approval rating worse than herpes. While the TeaVangelicals are sniffing other peoples pants, infrastructure is ignored, jobs bill is not passed. The Goopers aren't interested in governing so much as they're interested in regulating women's bodies and punishing people because they're gay.

Infidel753 said...

Flying Junior: You don't think that presiding over the last twenty years of developing every acre of occupied Palestinian territory despite the well-known objections of the United Nations qualifies as crazy?

No, I don't. Policy differences or even outright evil don't equate to "crazy". Crazy means that a person's fundamental concept of the world is dangerously out of step with reality in some way. I see no evidence that this is the case with Netanyahu. (I also wouldn't consider Stalin crazy, nor Hitler until maybe the last few months of his life). Believing you can defy the UN with impunity is certainly not crazy or unrealistic when Israeli politicians for 67 years have been doing exactly that.

Meir Kahane, who advocated policies somewhat more extreme than Netanyahu's because his world-view was totally determined by a Biblical concept of divine right of the Chosen People, and who seems to have believed Israel would eventually be saved by some kind of divine intervention if it just stayed uncompromising enough, was crazy. Netanyahu isn't.

Infidel753 said...

Anon: isn't there a right winger who comes here and tells you that the "DemocRATS" made the Jim Crow Laws

A claim as annoyingly persistent as it is dishonest. The people who concocted Jim Crow, founded the KKK, etc. were the same kind of racists that infest the Republican party today. The fact that back then they were infesting the Democratic party tells us nothing about the Democratic party of today. In fact, with the Civil Rights Act the Democratic party told the racists they were no longer welcome. The question is why the Republicans, half a century later, can't or won't do the same.

Shaw Kenawe said...

"The question is why the Republicans, half a century later, can't or won't do the same."

Possibly because they'd lose a significant voting bloc, and that might create a 3rd party. That would split the GOP, further weakening them as a viable political entity. The GOP keeps their bigots happy because they need their votes.