Bill Berkowitz / For Buzzflash and Truthout – 2015-07-17 19:29:44
“The fight over the Iran deal is going to make the Obamacare battles look like two preppies slap-fighting over a cucumber sandwich.”
— Jeffrey Lewis, an arms control expert, Foreign Policy
“Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. â€¦We have an obligation to call this what it is — the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.”
— George W. Bush, Speech to the Israeli Knesset, May 15, 2008
(July 16, 2015) — Now that a deal with Iran over the future of its nuclear programs has been negotiated, expect conservatives to crank up the outrage and obfuscation. They will conflate diplomacy with appeasement. They may drag Hitler into the conversation and compare President Obama to Britain’s Neville Chamberlain’s betrayal at Munich. They will muddy the waters, sew discord, and create as much confusion as possible.
Facts will be hard to come by as the posturing and bloviating begins. The conservative media machine will be running on all cylinders. Christian Zionists will deploy lobbyists on Capital Hill. Republican congressional representatives, and GOP presidential candidates will use everything in their arsenal to put a kybosh on the deal.
During the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, and the early years of the war, Bush administration supporters and surrogates grew fond of branding critics with the A word, calling them appeasers, and accusing opponents of the war of being confused enablers of terrorism. One would think that if there were any justice in the world, conservatives would only be allowed to use the same inflammatory rhetoric and tired arguments only once in a generation.
Now, a decade later, expect many of the same voices to re-surface and express their outrage over the deal with Iran. Dead wrong repeatedly, perhaps the most pertinent question to be asking is why, when they were so wrong about the Iraq war, should anyone be paying attention to what they are saying now?
When evaluating the deal that took 20 months to negotiate, and involved diplomats from the US, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany, it might be worthwhile to consider three issues: 1) what the deal actually does; b) what experts in the field are saying about it; and, 3) who the opponents are and what their agenda is.
National Public Radio’s Eyder Peralta laid out “6 Things You Should Know About The Iran Nuclear Deal”
1 “It Would Curb Iran’s Nuclear Programs”
1 “But It Still Allows Iran To Continue Enrichment”
2 “The US Says The Deal Makes An Iranian Nuclear Bomb More Difficult”
3 “If Iran Doesn’t Comply, Sanctions Can Return”
4 “It Sets Up A Comprehensive Inspections Regime”
5 “Congress Has To Approve The Deal”
“This deal keeps Iran’s nuclear program confined, monitored from every angle, with narrow maneuvering room,” Jacqueline Shire, a former member of the U.N. Panel of Experts on Iran, wrote in an opinion piece for CNN. “It also provides a path for Iran to engage constructively with the world, more necessary now than ever before.”
In The Atlantic, Peter Beinart, an associate professor of journalism and political science at the City University of New York, and a senior fellow at the New America Foundation, pointed out that “As Congress begins debating the agreement, its opponents have three real alternatives. The first is to kill the deal, and the interim agreement that preceded it, and do nothing else, which means few restraints on Iran’s nuclear program.
“The second is war. â€¦ [The] third alternative: increase sanctions in hopes of forcing Iran to make further concessions. â€¦ [an] alternative [that] looks a lot like the first. Whatever its deficiencies, the Iran deal places limits on Iran’s nuclear program and enhances oversight of it. Walk away from the agreement in hopes of getting tougher restrictions and you’re guaranteeing, at least for the time being, that there are barely any restrictions on the program at all.”
Congress will have 60 days to review the deal. They will then “vote to accept or reject it — or do nothing,” The New York Times reported. “The president can veto any resolution of disapproval. Congress needs a two-thirds majority in each house to override the veto, so to put the deal into force, Mr. Obama only needs one-third of one of the houses to stand with him.”
Thus far, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Saudi Arabian media, Christian Zionists, House Speaker John Boehner, Jeb Bush and Donald Trump are lockstep in opposition to the deal.
Netanyahu, who faces major opposition at home from significant military leaders and intelligence operatives to his bellicose position on Iran, has been a vitriolic critic of the negotiations from the very get-go, called it a “historic mistake for the world.”
“It’s going to hand a dangerous regime billions of dollars in sanctions relief while paving the way for a nuclear Iran,” said House Speaker John Boehner.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “It appears to fall well short of what goal we all thought was trying to be achieved which was that Iran would not be a nuclear state.”
Jeb Bush called the deal “dangerous, deeply flawed and short sighted,” adding, “[t]his isn’t diplomacy — it’s appeasement.”
GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump called the deal “a disgrace.”
According to jns.org, “Upon the announcement of a final nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, CUFI [Christians United for Israel] deployed thousands of Christian Zionists to lobby members of the US Senate and House of Representatives to support Israel against the Iranian nuclear threat.
Reuters reported that “Saudi Arabian media attacked Iran’s nuclear deal â€¦ with cartoonists depicting it as an assault on Arab interests and columnists decrying the focus on Tehran’s atomic plans instead of its backing for regional militias.
Peter Beinart argues that there are bigger foreign policy questions at stake surrounding the deal with Iran. One of the things that infuriate US critics of the deal is that it recognizes “that the United States cannot bludgeon Iran into total submission, either economically or militarily.” Indeed, the deal calls into question the very notion of American power, and the limitations of “American exceptionalism,” and that idea drives critics apoplectic.
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