To critics of Iran deal: OK, what’s YOUR plan?

President Obama announces a preliminary deal with Iran over its nuclear program (AP)

President Obama announces a preliminary deal with Iran over its nuclear program (AP)

Asked for his reaction to the preliminary nuclear deal reached with Iran, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker promised that he would break that deal immediately, on Jan. 20, 2017, his first morning as president of the United States.

When you hear that level of willful ignorance from a leading candidate to be president of the United States, you ought to worry and perhaps even despair.  His answer betrays a refusal to do what any rational person would do in that situation, which is to ask:

OK, and what would happen next?

Because here’s what would happen: If the United States breaks the international agreement on January 2017, we become the world’s villain and Iran becomes the aggrieved party. They won’t be the party that cheated; we will.

In addition, the international arms inspectors who would be monitoring every aspect of the Iranian nuclear program on a 24/7 basis would immediately be kicked out of the country. Iran would have every reason to immediately resume its program at an accelerated pace. Our partners in the unlikely coalition that has enforced sanctions on Iran and helped negotiate this agreement — Russia, China, France, Germany and Great Britain — would see our actions as a unilateral betrayal and would not be open to re-establishing those sanctions. And Iran’s leadership would have no incentive whatsoever to resume negotiations with a country that had just proved it had been acting in bad faith all along.

What’s next? What’s next would be war as our only remaining alternative. And it’s a curious thing. Those who oppose this deal speak of the risks that it involves, and there are indeed risks. But we have a very good idea of what those risks would be, and we know how to minimize them. As President Obama noted Thursday, if Iran cheats, we will know almost immediately that they are cheating and can take the appropriate steps, including military action if necessary, at that time.

The risks of war, on the other hand, are unknowable. As you may recall, the invasion of Iraq began with lofty promises that we would be greeted as liberators, that the invasion would pay for itself, that we would turn Iraq into a model of Islamic democracy and that other countries in the region, most notably Iran, would be intimidated into acquiescence to our wishes.

Instead, it has led to the creation of ISIS, the vast expansion of Iran’s influence, the undermining of political stability in the entire region and a cost to taxpayers of some $2 trillion, not to mention the loss of more than 4,000 American lives. By comparison, war against Iran would be much more complicated, much more difficult and much more likely to produce unpredictable blowback.

As governor of Wisconsin, Walker can’t be expected to have a detailed, sophisticated understanding of global politics, and I don’t in any way mean that as a criticism. It’s just a fact of life. On the other hand, this isn’t three-dimensional chess, nor does it require in-depth knowledge of nuclear physics or the intricacies of Middle East politics. It merely requires the willingness to think things through, to ask the obvious question:

“What happens next?”

After you’ve blustered and postured and quelled those apparently nagging doubts about your masculinity, after you’ve actually engaged the mind that the good Lord gave you, what happens next?

A Chamberlain moment

A Chamberlain moment

Unfortunately, Walker is far from alone, because a lot of the other reaction to the Iran deal has been equally mindless and predictable.

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, Republican of Illinois, offered the helpful observation yesterday that “Neville Chamberlain got a better deal from Adolf Hitler” than Obama got from Iran, an attack that by now qualifies as the hackneyed mark of an lazy intellect.

If you know American history, you know that every successful peace-making venture since the end of World War II has been attacked in terms of Chamberlain appeasement. And you know that every war that we have fought, including the tragedies of Vietnam and Iraq, has been sold to the American public as necessary to avoid the dangers of appeasement.

Here’s a few examples:

  • Back in the ’50s, conservative magazine publisher William F. Buckley attacked President Dwight Eisenhower as another Neville Chamberlain. Why? Because the former five-star general and supreme commander of Allied forces in WWII had invited Soviet leader Nikita Khruschev to the United States.

    Another Chamberlain moment

    Another Chamberlain moment

  • When Richard Nixon returned to Washington from his historic trip to Communist China, he was condemned as an appeaser and greeted at the airport with protesters huddled under black umbrellas, the personal symbol of  Chamberlain.
  • After Jimmy Carter negotiated the SALT arms-control treaty with the Soviet Union, he too got the treatment, with Donald Rumsfeld warning that “our nation’s situation today is more dangerous than at any time since Neville Chamberlain left Munich.”
  • When Ronald Reagan met with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to discuss an arms treaty in 1985, it was attacked as “the most dangerous summit for the West since Adolf Hitler met with Neville Chamberlain in 1938 in Munich.” The source of that particular attack? A right-wing congressman by the name of Newt Gingrich.
Yet another Chamberlain moment

Yet another Chamberlain moment

The specifics of this deal can and should be thoroughly debated. Nobody is pretending that it is perfect; nobody argues that it is without risk. But those elected officials already attempting to sabotage it and undermine it as appeasement have an obligation to explain to the rest of us:

OK then, what next? What’s YOUR plan?

And the answer cannot be vague talk of “getting tough,” etc. We’re past the point of such nonsense; the outcome is too important. This is a national security question of the utmost seriousness. Explain to us what “getting tough” means, in concrete terms. Lay out an alternative course of action, step by step, that would be more likely to accomplish the necessary goals. I have seen no critic of this deal even attempt such an exercise, and my suspicion is that they do not attempt it because, like Walker, they have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about.

Reader Comments 0

851 comments
lvg
lvg

James Baker stated on an interview with Fareed Zacaria that he support Obama's approach to Iran and is not concerned about Natanyahu's interference. He also said it was time for US to quit meddling in the Mideast and sending troops there. Based on that , none of the GOP chickenhawks, outsourcers, neocons and crazies have a right to challenge Baker's opinions. None have  his experience and knowledge.The only knowledge the 47 who wrote the letter have is that they hate Obama and will only be elected for a record of opposing Obama. That includes the two senators from Georgia.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

David Perdue would be wiser to follow Pope Francis' ideas about the negotiations with Iran than to follow the leaders of today's Republican Party - of which Sen. Perdue has quickly become one, with his signature adjacent to that of Sen. Cotton's, who had penned the unwise letter, signed by 47 Republican leaders, to Iranian leaders telling them that whatever President Obama worked through with them may not be followed once President Obama leaves office. 


Contrast that arrogance (arrogance leads to violence, according to Pope Francis' words) with the Pope's Easter message, in which he called for humility from leaders throughout the world, as he praised the Iranian negotiations.  Read the link below in full, please:


http://www.foxnews.com/world/2015/04/04/pope-francis-presides-over-easter-vigil-service-amid-concern-for-martyrs/

RandroidWillBoy
RandroidWillBoy

@MaryElizabethSings


Our president is dishonest man.  Congress is impotent. Russia and China who think not highly of us at best, hold the keys to re-establishment of sanctions.  Our ability to effectively monitor any and all nuclear activity is more questionable than not.  Iran can continue to move forward with programs.


Iran gets sanctions lifted and with that comes billions to finance expansionist objectives.


Kinda like China deal, shallow and simply legacy window dressing to serve more of the arrogance of which you speak.


honested
honested

A brief history if interventionist foreign policy failures and a reminder of what happens when we allow what is best for all the Citizens involved to occur. Written by the son of a British Diplomat with a close up view of events as they unfolded.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1LhlVtbW_U

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

Easter greetings from Fox, I guess. Looks like LeninTime's perhaps on to something, and the fix is in with the Iran agreement. (Yes, I'm interpreting a lot from one little headline, but it is atop my news.google feed this morning, kind of hard to ignore.


Pope Francis praises Iran deal in Easter peace wish

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Visual_Cortex


Here is what the Pope wishes to communicate to the world this Easter:


"VATICAN CITY –  In an Easter peace wish, Pope Francis on Sunday praised the framework nuclear agreement with Iran as an opportunity to make the world safer, while expressing deep worry about bloodshed in Libya, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa."


Peace to all.  Happy Easter.

DebbieDoRight
DebbieDoRight

How do you know that you've passed the area of eccentric and have entered the realm of all out butt crazy?:

Ted Nugent Says 'Enemy' Obama Is Causing Veteran Suicides

Can someone please convince this guy to take his meds and stay off the acid?  

JamVet
JamVet

@DebbieDoRight 

Just another degenerate Republican racist.

That hasn't made a decent record in forty plus years...

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Associated Press:  "Iran could resume nuclear activities if West withdraws"


". . .Zarif said Iran is 'committed' to implementing its part of any final agreement providing Western countries fulfill their promises.

He said Iran wants to have a 'moderate, constructive and proud presence' in the world.


Zarif received a hero's welcome upon his return to Tehran on Friday. Crowds of cheering supporters surrounded Zarif's vehicle and chanted slogans supporting him and Rouhani.

In the TV interview, Zarif said he "objected" to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry using the word "suspension" rather than "termination" regarding sanctions against Iran in the statement on the framework deal announced Thursday in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Zarif attributed Kerry's action as being aimed at addressing rifts between the Obama administration and Congress over the deal. Republicans are almost universally opposed to President Barack Obama's diplomatic effort; Democrats remain divided.

Zarif said the agreement showed that the West cannot halt Iran's nuclear program, which Tehran insists is for peaceful purposes such as power generation and cancer treatment. Western countries suspect that Iran's nuclear program has a military dimension.

Without naming any country, Zarif assured Iran's neighbors such as Saudi Arabia which are concerned about Iran's nuclear ambitions that Tehran is not after regional domination.

"We are not after a nuclear bomb. We are also not after hegemony in the region, too," Zarif said. "Security of our neighbors is our security, too."

Saudi Arabia has expressed concern about growing Iranian influence in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon which have large Shiite Muslim populations. A Saudi-led military coalition is now carrying out airstrikes in Yemen against Shiite Houthi rebels who are supported by Iran."

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

To Lenin, below would not be posted earlier.  I will try again, with some cuts.


Obama's Nobel Peace Prize speech is layered with pragmatism and idealism.  I believe that that is how I see the world, also. Through this speech, you will understand where this president's mind and priorities are.


This speech, given by him in the first months of his presidency, is almost prophetic in what would follow, as we can now look back and see has transpired on the world's stage since 2009.  Many said, at the time, that President Obama had been given this Peace Prize too early, that he had not yet proven himself on the world's stage enough to have earned the Nobel Peace Prize.


I wrote in 2009 and I also believe today that he earned that Peace Prize in 2009 because of what was in his consciousness that he would later live out on the world's stage through his Presidency.  Thought, or consciousness, always precedes action or concrete facts played out on the world's stage, and the Nobel Committee understood that.



YouLibs
YouLibs

Good grief, why are the Iranians beings such richards?


Just because we overthrew their democratically elected president and installed the Shah then helped him set up one of the most ruthless secret police organizations the world has ever known doesn't mean they should hold a grudge.


Hell, what made Mossadegh think his country was entitled to benefit from its vast oil reserves, anyway?


(Life seems so much easier if you don't pay attention to history)

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@YouLibs


The Iranians I know in this nation support President Obama's ways of handling the Iranian crisis.  Moreover, they tell me that the Iranian people want to peace with our nation, respect in the world, and the freedom of self-government in Iran.

YouLibs
YouLibs

@MaryElizabethSings @YouLibs


Persians have long enjoyed a very sophisticated culture but hey have their religious fundamentalist problem too. Unfortunately they don't have the protections our founders provided us with.



MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@YouLibs 


We did not have those protections until the 1790s, ourselves.  The world evolves at different rates in different places, at various points in time. Now, is the time in the Middle East.  Growing pains that will take decades more to fulfill their progress toward self-determination and egalitarianism, just as has been our movement forward toward our "more perfect union" over several centuries, conceived in the 18th century..

DebbieDoRight
DebbieDoRight

@RaindroidWillBoy -  " I know if I'm Isreal, I don't want our dishonest president to be my proxy."


Israel is sitting on 200+ nukes, a tarmac full of Jets, long range missiles and a top notch military -- all courtesy of US taxpayers.  If they are depending upon us to also wipe their noses for them, then that's too bad.  If they have beef with Iran, then THEY can take care of it.  When is it enough?When can Americans stop dying in the Middle East for someone else's problems?  When is it  ENOUGH?  When its one of YOUR relatives?  When they re-instate the draft? Until we are dead broke funding countless wars?  What?  

LeninTime
LeninTime

@RaindroidWillBoy 

Ok it turns out the question of the 'snap back' of sanctions remains one of the key unresolved issues. 

---

The terms do suggest that the IAEA will have "teeth," as Stein put it, in punishing Iran if it concludes that the Iranians are not upholding their commitments. And if Iran breaks its end of the bargain, the sanctions will in theory "snap back."

Russia, though, opposes putting any sort of automatic enforcement mechanism into UN Security Council sanctions. So it's not clear if "snap back" means that sanctions will automatically trigger back into place (unlikely) or if the US would have to try to corral the necessary votes to bring them back manually (very difficult).

This was always perhaps the hardest issue. It remains the hardest issue. That the negotiators could not find anything more detailed to say is concerning.

http://www.vox.com/2015/4/2/8337347/iran-deal-good

LeninTime
LeninTime

@DebbieDoRight @LeninTime @RaindroidWillBoy 

Of course, it was just the framework for a deal to be worked out by June 31. What I was not sure about was whether this was one of the issues that remains to be determined. It turns out it is and it is details like this that will be critical.

DebbieDoRight
DebbieDoRight

@LeninTime @RaindroidWillBoy -- According to your own link -- this is just the FRAMEWORK of the deal, not the final deal itself:

The framework nuclear deal establishes only the very basics; negotiators will continue to meet to try to turn them into a complete, detailed agreement by the end of June. 

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@LeninTime 


At least we now have the time to work through those details.  Our Republican Congressional leaders, who had written and signed that foolish letter to Iran's leadership, might have destroyed any possibility for working through these details with their rush to judgment with small-minded and generalized perceptions about both President Obama and about the process of nuclear agreement, itself, with Iran.

Doggone_GA
Doggone_GA

"When did our problems with Muslims begin, anyway?"

Just cruising through and saw this.  There's an alternative question: when did the Muslims problems with Christians begin?

It's all in your point of view, isn't it?

LeninTime
LeninTime

@MaryElizabethSings 

Not getting caught up in personalities and petty disagreements.  Focusing on the issues that matter to humanity over the long haul; focusing in on what is at hand - just at the moment - and making that successful, i. e.  Iran and its agreement with the five countries involved regarding its nurclear plans and production and selling the ideas settled at this point between those countries (including the U. S) and Iran to the members of the U. S. Congress, who, for the most part, appear not only to be intransigent but small-minded politicians.

***
I agree that Obama has conducted this process without being drawn into petty disagreements and personality conflicts, such as with Netanyahu. Ignoring the hatreds directed at him by his enemies - even pretending that his enemies are not enemies but just misguided friends - seems to be a real Obama speciality. But what is important here are the deeper gepolitical considerations at stake in the possible rapprochement with Iran, which marks a huge shift in Middle East alliances and maybe the most significant one since the overthrow of the Shah in the 79 revolution. Before that time, it was Iran under the bloodthirsty dictator Shah that was Washington's go-to ally in the Middle East, not Israel. So this could very well end up looking more like a realignment as a radically new path.

But if you think that this deal has the well being of humanity as such as a goal, that is seriously mistaken in my view. This is ALL about US imperialism cutting losses and regrouping after a series of disastrous strategic setbacks, including the humiliating abandonment of the planned bombing of Syria in 2013, the unraveling of conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan and Libya, and the rise of ISIS as a threat. Added to all of this is the fact that Israel itself is now entering deeper crisis after its blood-drenched slaughter in Gaza last year. It is being more widely acknowledged that the old game of Washington covering for Israel's crimes is up. Hence the rage of Netanyahu and the Isreal Lobby.

But the ultimate goal has nothing to do with peace per se, but with a realignment with Iran with a view to future struggle with its the real targets of the US's efforts: China.

LeninTime
LeninTime

@MaryElizabethSings 

  There is much more going on in this evolution of agreement between the U. S. (and 4 or 5 other nations) with Iran than meets the eye on the surface. 

***
I certainly agree. That's kind of my whole point here. Contrary to the hysterical cries of the right, this has nothing to do with capitulation or selling out (although as I said I do understand Israel's fury. In a certain sense, they really are being demoted).

But I think you mistake my criticism for cynicism and I think you mistake my opposition to US imperialism as 'cynicism about Obama'. Whatever cynicism I have about him, it's not directed at him personally. As far as I'm concerned, Obama as the US president is a front man for deeper interests. What he does grows out of deeper processes in the US economy and its imperial foreign policy. Those processes are in crisis and this shift towards Iran, and by extension Israel, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, is a product of those. But in the end, where you and I differ is over our understanding of what drives the US government and the political decisions of its political establishment. You see those motives in idealistic terms where I see them as material laws of economic and political relations under a capitalist system that has to continue chasing an ever more elusive goal of growth even as that very chase leads it into greater instability and crisis..

RandroidWillBoy
RandroidWillBoy

@LeninTime @MaryElizabethSings


I don't understand how anyone can trust our dishonest president, the radical wing of Iran, Russia, China nor our congress to arrive at any lasting deal as such.  As I read this, the sanctions can only be restored with the votes of all including Russia and China.  Iran an still develop whatever it wants and any trust that any group can credibly monitor all that is going on nuclear in Iran is beyond me.


I wonder what Russia will want for support to re-start sanction.  Iran is full of smart people.  I know if I'm Isreal, I don't want our dishonest president to be my proxy.

LeninTime
LeninTime

@RaindroidWillBoy @LeninTime @MaryElizabethSings 

As I read this, the sanctions can only be restored with the votes of all including Russia and China

***

What specific language have you seen that states such a thing?
My understanding is that it's the exact opposite. The contentious point about an automatic 'snap back' of sanctions, which Iran had vigorously fought but in the end relented on as one of its concessions, means in effect that should any of the parties determine for any reason that Iran is in violation of any of the conditions agreed, that ALL of the sanctions at issue will immediately 'snap back' into place as though the agreement never happened. Do you know differently?


I don't understand how anyone can trust our dishonest president

***
Of what dishonesty are you speaking?

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@LeninTime 


I never thought your views on Obama were personal.  I just thought they have been misguided. ;-)    More to you, at top.  Wouldn't come out here, earlier.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@LeninTime


"But if you think that this deal has the well being of humanity (as peace per se) as a goal, that is seriously mistaken in my view."

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


Do you think that every area of consciousness can be voiced?  Do you think that all of our perceptions can be encapsulated in a few facts or in words?  I do not.  There is much more going on in this evolution of agreement between the U. S. (and 4 or 5 other nations) with Iran than meets the eye on the surface.  The control of nuclear weapons would be the control of the vehicles of mass destruction for the sustaining of life on this planet, but the real culprit in that possible mass destruction would be a lack of wisdom, vision, and communication skills.


You are more cynical than I am.  I trust Obama's vision, his wisdom, and his communication skills.  Read his Nobel Peace Prize, once again, and internalize it.  Then, you will understand what he is about and what he is after here and in other areas of the world and other areas of the Middle East.  He also understands the evolution of human consciousness over time, as did Jefferson and Lincoln. This is a man of far-reaching intellect, beyond the petty or the power per se.

LeninTime
LeninTime

"Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword." - Matthew 10:34

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@LeninTime


Expansion of Matthew 10: 34, to verses 35 - 40.


"For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother. . . .He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. . . .And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.  He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it."


Words of interpretation from "The MacArthur Study Bible" of the verses above:


"Though the ultimate end of the gospel is peace with God, the immediate result of the gospel is frequently conflict.  Conversion to Christ can result in strained family relationships, persecution, and even martyrdom.  Following Christ will have no one deluded into thinking that He calls believers to a life devoid of all conflict."


Think of the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.  Conflict followed him.  He followed Christ.  He was martyred for staying his course with the truths of Christ, just as Christ stayed his course with the will of God.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Normd


There is more mystery to the connected energy of the whole of life and its total tapestry than any one of us can possibly know with our minds, alone.  But, we can all deepen in our spirits in understanding that spiritual interconnectness that is our collective and individual raison d'etre, through faith and through love.  "God is love."

LeninTime
LeninTime

Jesus conquered through love. Muhammad conquered via the sword.  (@Doom Classical liberal )

***

Lol, had to laugh at this one.  This is ideological blindness at its purest.

DebbieDoRight
DebbieDoRight

Looking at the picture that Jay has posted of Obama -- Wow!  Obama seems to have aged these past few years big time!  I guess, being stuck in a dysfunctional relationship with a group of people who have made it their life's mission to thwart you, disrespect you, disobey you, and belittle you at every opportunity can wear you down after a while.

It's like being stuck in a house with 200+ "acne prone-bad attitude-raging hormonal-self centered-no nothing-recalcitrant" teenagers!  That would age even a saint!  (shiver)

Doggone_GA
Doggone_GA

@DebbieDoRight And it might have a LOT to do with the fact that he is in his mid-50's.  It could be stress, but it could simply be genetics.  Heck, I went to school with a guy who started going grey when he was 17!

LeninTime
LeninTime

The fact that recognition of Israel wasn't included as a condition in the current negotiations is indeed an interesting question, but one that needs to be examined soberly and dispassionately, without moralizing and without the moaning and pi$$ing of disgruntled partisans.

My guess: Washington simply didn't care enough about it to include it at this juncture.

Or, who knows, maybe there was a certain amount of payback in it on the part of Washington towards what has been - let's face it - a rather intractable client state in Israel.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@LeninTime 


Not getting caught up in personalities and petty disagreements.  Focusing on the issues that matter to humanity over the long haul; focusing in on what is at hand - just at the moment - and making that successful, i. e.  Iran and its agreement with the five countries involved regarding its nurclear plans and production and selling the ideas settled at this point between those countries (including the U. S) and Iran to the members of the U. S. Congress, who, for the most part, appear not only to be intransigent but small-minded politicians.