Friday, July 24, 2015

Unthinking Rejection

How many in Congress do you think have read and understood the 159 page Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – the accord that emanated from the six nation coalition that reached a nuclear weapons containment agreement with Iran? Republican or Democrat? How many made up their minds to reject it before the document was even given to them? The deal was announced on July 14th and the actual document was given to Congress on the 19th.
“Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee and the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, stared at Secretary of State John Kerry on [July 23rd] with thinly veiled disgust… While Mr. Corker, who promised a considered assessment of the agreement, may have seemed close to an endgame during a hearing on Capitol Hill, the vast majority of Republicans appear to have made up their minds before a single classified briefing, hearing or visit with administration officials… Their view seems born of genuine distaste for the deal’s details, inherent distrust of President Obama, intense loyalty to Israel and an expansive view of the role that sanctions have played beyond preventing Iran’s nuclear abilities.
“The discord began the Sunday before a deal was announced [in mid-July], when some high-ranking Republicans, including Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, were booked on Sunday [July 19th] talk shows and denounced the accord ahead of its release…
“Hours after the accord was revealed — but before classified sections were made available to Congress — Republican lawmakers raced to send out news releases criticizing it… ‘If these people who announced an hour after the deal was announced were in a jury pool,’ said Senator Angus King, independent of Maine, who is undecided about the agreement, ‘they’d be disqualified.’
“On [July 22nd], hours before Mr. Kerry briefed House members on the classified details of the nuclear accord, House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio vowed that Republicans would ‘do everything possible to stop’ it… ‘I’ve voiced my concerns about these discussions for over a year,’ Mr. Boehner added [July 23rd].
“Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas and a candidate for president, rushed to give interviews after the Senate briefing to excoriate supporters of the accord as expressing ‘partisan loyalty to the White House’ before conceding that he had not asked Mr. Kerry a single question about the deal.” New York Times, July 23rd.
Wow! What are the alternatives to this accord, as imperfect as it is? Tighten sanctions? Push ‘em harder to mend their evil ways across the board, get Iran to stop fostering terrorism and to recognize Israel, and generally to be nice? If Iran ratifies the treaty and the International Atomic Energy Agency of the U.N. signs off on compliance (which will take a while), given the support of the United Nations as the other five negotiators (U.K, France, Germany, China, and Russia) to lift the sanctions, whether the U.S. goes along or not, Iran is back to being a world trader with open markets to everyone else.  The U.S. would be alone with its then-ineffective sanctions in place… showing the world exactly how powerless we are and how out of step we are with global sentiments. Bottom line, no matter how Congress votes, they have zero chance of stopping the bulk of the Iran accord from happening anyway.
Not to mention that there is not one tiny shred of evidence that even if the sanctions were tightened with global support (good luck) Iran would suddenly renounce its fundamental policy vectors, including their vituperative opposition to the United States and Israel to make a better treaty deal, one that their hardliners oppose as strongly as does the GOP.
Or we could simply bomb Iran into the Stone Age, hitting their widely spread out nuclear facilities, deep underground, with the kind of munitions that would be effective. That of course wouldn’t impact the price of oil (and there aren’t GOP supporters from oil and gas states that just might benefit from such a price rise), huh? Back to $120+/barrel oil and vastly higher prices at the pump. Oh, and forget about the casualties and the hard dollar costs.
But then, our Middle Eastern politics – at least as far as the GOP is concerned – are outsourced to a nation with even fewer supporters than Iran, a nation that faced a critical vote in the U.N. General Assembly 138 to 9 (41 abstentions): Israel, and that’s the margin of their loss on the issue of inviting Palestine to have official standing at the U.N. albeit as an observer. Dem Evangelicals are hell-bent on forcing Armageddon (which triggers the Second Coming of Jesus Christ) through nuclear holocaust involving Israel and its neighbors.
And then maybe you have enjoyed those recent myriad scary ads on television and social media telling us that we should have gotten a “better deal” (without saying exactly how) or that we shouldn’t even be talking to that pariah state, that America/Israel-hating Iran, because they are fomenting terrorism all over the place, untrustworthy, and dangerous. Led by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and a new nonprofit group it is supporting, Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran and supported by millions of dollars from huge American supporters of Israel, lots of contributors – anonymous and identified (like Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson) – have financed this this new campaign and are focused on getting a complete Congressional rejection of the deal.
“Groups lobbying against the deal are zeroing in on Democrats like New York Sen. Charles Schumer, as well as Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.). They’re also focused on Reps. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), Juan Vargas (D-Calif.) and Ted Deutch (D-Fla.).
“‘Democrats should be especially concerned about this Iran deal because it’s going to fuel a nuclear arms race and because Iran is a country that routinely violates human rights, including persecuting gay people,’ said Patrick Dorton, a Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran spokesman. Dorton previously worked for AIPAC.” Washington Post, July 21st. But Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu wants Congress to follow his directives… now! CBS News estimates the pro-Israel, anti-Iran-deal financing behind these ads has aggregated to $40 million (vs. $10 million to support the treaty).
I would like someone from that “group without answers” to tell me (1) why you need to negotiate peace treaties only with nations who agree with your perspective and with whom you really do not need a peace treaty and/or (2) why you should never sign a peace treaty until all open issues of every kind are resolved to your favor, never taking positive steps one at a time, only closing when you got everything you want from an enemy who hates you? It’s called total, unconditional surrender. I guess we should never have entered into treaties that reduced nuclear arsenals with that rogue and torturing Soviet Union (a nation that eventually collapsed), and Republican President Nixon had no business, in 1972, opening the door to the People’s Republic of China, a then-repressive nation that had tortured American prisoners during the Korean War! And remember, no matter what the United States does, unless Iran backs out, it’s already a done deal. Go figure.
I’m Peter Dekom, and everyone knows Iran cannot be completely trusted, but until someone has a better implementable path, it’s the best anyone has come up with to date!

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