Friday, October 25, 2013

Negotiations with Iran

Nicholas Burns (in the Boston Globe) provides his assessment of US negotiations with Iran (including a rather chest-thumping thumbs-up for devastating of Iran's economy via sanctions), and concludes with the following:

Wouldn’t it be extraordinary if Republicans as well as Democrats stood by the president as he executed this very challenging diplomatic endgame on the most critical war and peace issue of 2014? Or is that too much to expect in the hyper-partisan Washington that brought us the shutdown?

Uh huh, it would be extraordinary - and I wouldn't count on it.  The GOP-controlled House wants to take down Obama any way it can, and I can only imagine how much the Tea Partiers want payback for their humiliating defeat over ACA/"Obamacare."  Just for those reasons, stymying Obama's attempts to work with Iran would be, if nothing else, wicked fun.

Meanwhile, if any more promising signs emerge after negotiations resume, Mr. Netanyahu will surely pull out a fire-hose to drench it all in very cold water.  That dozens of senators and Congressmen - especially GOP, but including some powerful Dems like Chuck Schumer - have sworn fealty to Bibi over the issue of Iran's nuclear program (not to mention Israel's strategic domination of the Middle East in general) can only mean that Obama is likely to find it impossible to get Congress's support for any deal that Iran could accept - or should even be asked to accept.  And, of course, even if Congress can be convinced to hold off on imposing new sanctions (which Bibi wants), it probably will not agree to significant sanctions relief - which by itself could deep-six any chance of a meaningful deal with Iran.

All of which is a shame . . . and shameful . . . because without some major compromise and breakthrough in these negotiations, the odds of war with Iran will increase almost exponentially.  That spells disaster, and ruin, any way you look at it. . . . for Iran certainly, but Israel, and the US, will pay a huge price as well.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

New Strategic Realities in the Middle East

Jim Lobe (IPS) provides nicely researched overview of the new strategic realities facing the US in the Middle East.  And it's especially nice to see him quote Chas Freeman, an experienced and well-informed former diplomat whose views on US-Israeli relations and on US Middle East policy in general got him into hot water with the D.C. establishment.  Both Lobe and Freeman point out that the US ties with two long-term allies - Turkey and Saudi Arabia - are on the skids.  The Saudis are more than irritated by the US's attempts at detente with Shi'ite rival Iran; Erdogan's Turkey has decided to buy its new missile-defense system from China, even though its technology doesn't jive with the ordnance of NATO - of which, of course, Turkey is one of the militarily more powerful members.

Freeman sums it up very well indeed:

“The simple world of colonial and superpower rivalries is long vanished. . . .  The notion that one is either ‘with us or against us’ has lost all resonance in the modern Middle East. No government in the region is prepared now to entrust its future to foreigners, still less to a single foreign power. So the role of great external powers is becoming variable, complex, dynamic, and asymmetric, rather than comprehensive, exclusive, static or uniform.”

On the other hand, one of the people whose views REALLY count - because he forks over huge sums of money to support politicians who actually influence policy decisions - continues to speak of the US's evidently rightful prerogative to throw its weight around in the Middle East as it pleases, especially when it comes to Israel.  I speak of Sheldon Adelson, Newt Gingrich's sugar-daddy and political life-support during the 2012 campaign.  Mondoweiss reports (with video) on Adelson's comments at a forum at Yeshiva University after the moderator (Rabbi Shmuley Boteach) raised the issue of US negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program:

What are we going to negotiate about? What I would say is, ‘Listen, you see that desert out there, I want to show you something.’ You pick up your cell phone, even at traveling rates. You pick up your cell phone, and– what are they called– [Boteach: roaming charges] Roaming charges. You pick up your cell phone and you call somewhere in Nebraska and you say, ‘OK let it go.’ So there’s an atomic weapon, goes over ballistic missiles, the middle of the desert, that doesn’t hurt a soul. Maybe a couple of rattlesnakes, and scorpions, or whatever.


And then you say, ‘See! The next one is in the middle of Tehran. So, we mean business. You want to be wiped out? Go ahead and take a tough position and continue with your nuclear development. [Applause] You want to be peaceful? Just reverse it all, and we will guarantee you that you can have a nuclear power plant for electricity purposes, energy purposes.’

Adelson goes on to say that American strength "is the only thing they understand."

That, of course, is the same kind of assumption of US military omnipotence that brought us Afghanistan, Iraq, and the knee-capping of America's economic future and global credibility.

On the other hand, Adelson's comments reportedly received fulsome applause.

Betcha Bibi would have been clapping right along, had he been there.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Tea Party's Obamaphobia

I don't generally post comments I've seen from other sources - in this instance, a comment appended to an article in today's WashPo.  But this one was too good to pass up:

To Tea Party Republicans: Please note that the Community Organizer; the Tan Man in the Black House; the wet-behind-the-ears innocent who has never worked a day in his life; the illegal alien who is ineligible for the presidency; the crook who lied about his educational background since he actually flunked out of college and only squeaked through law school on Affirmative Action; the happy-go-lucky boy who just wants to have a good time riding around on Air Force One while white people run the country; the Monkey Man who lives only to take goods from hard-working white people and hand it over to the darkies; Buckwheat, who should be cleaning the Oval Office and not sitting in it:
PS: Every one of my descriptions above was taken from an online post about the President of the United States, who, it turns out, has earned a descriptor you-all Tea Party folks forgot: statesman.

These clowns have wasted billions of dollars, slowed down the economy, deprived thousands of federal workers of badly needed paychecks.  They claim to have done all of this as a matter of reclaiming some sort of high ground, in defense of regular Americans. For some of them, perhaps such considerations reflect their true motives.  But for many of them, and for thousands of their Confederate-flag waving, race-baiting, gay-hating, Jesus-is-my-strength supporters, it was all about an irrational, visceral hatred of a black president with an Arab middle name.

Shame on all of them.  And shame on us as a nation if we permit people of their ilk ever again to bring this country to such a low point. 


Blog Archive

Cluster map

Search This Blog

ICAHD - 18,000 Homes Campaign (large banner)