2015

15 April 2015: Republicans shouldn’t stymie Iran deal

Republicans shouldn’t stymie Iran deal

It’s been fascinating, horrifically so, to watch events in the Middle East unfold.  Comprehending the complexities of quantum physics seems child’s play compared to grasping the region’s dynamics.

Religious strife, the Islamic version of Europe’s sixteenth century’s Protestants v. Catholics wars, ethnic and racial hatreds, and economic dislocations and disparities ranging from oil-rich sheiks to abject poverty combine to present the observer an overwhelming but interwoven scene.

News of the region, little of it uplifting, dominates global affairs.

One hears war drums, echoes of the September 11th attacks aftermath, being beat once again on the American right.  The shrill calls from rightwing media are disconcerting, but more so are political leaders who would once again have no skin in the game, Colorado Senator Cory Gardner among them.  They take their cue from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a case of the tail wagging the dog, and incessantly excoriate both President Obama and the tentative deal struck with Iran.

In a Denver Post column, Gardner obfuscates the issue by using loaded language and twisting facts.  After acknowledging he didn’t have them all, Gardner, nevertheless, labels the deal “terrifying.”

“The administration,” writes Gardner, “has attempted to present the American people with a choice: either war with Iran, or a bad deal that does little to stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. This is a false choice, and should be rejected.”

What needs to be rejected is Gardner’s Dick Cheney/Dr. Strangelove-like hysteria based not on thoughtful consideration but emotional compliance and political obeisance with the proscribed conservative narrative.

Bombing Tehran would be a gasoline-on-a-fire solution.  Without an alternative non-aggressive plan to the current sanctions and diplomatic efforts, lethal force would only serve to rally the Iranian people around their hated religious leaders.

At the Nuremberg trials Herman Goering summarized the ease of rousing a population to war.

“Of course the people don’t want war. But after all, it’s the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it’s a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger.”

Include theocracy to Goering’s list.

In 1972 President Richard Nixon went to Red China and shook hands with Mao Tse-Tung.  During the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan negotiated with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

Now Obama dares to reach an accord with Iran after years of economic sanctions have imposed crushing pain on the country and for that he’s demonized.  Why?  What gives?

It’s a twofold simple answer: First, he’s Barack Obama, and two, he’s succeeding where George W. Bush and Dick Cheney did not.  Not only did the War on Iraq completely destabilize that country, a price paid mightily in American blood and dollars, it also allowed Iran to become a regional powerhouse with no Saddam Hussein-led Iraq to balance it.

As Time magazine explains, “The U.S. invasion of Iraq laid the groundwork for Iran to expand its regional influence much to Saudi Arabia’s dismay.”

In his piece “Deal or No Deal,” Time columnist Joe Klein argues definitively that the U.S. cannot walk away from negotiating with Iran.

“Indeed,” writes Klein, “if we were to bomb its nuclear facilities, the Iranians would quickly rebuild them and rush toward the creation of a nuclear deterrent.

“One way or another that is a reality we have to deal with, even if it involves negotiation — a prospect that shouldn’t be as painful as long as the lovely interim agreement is in place.”

Thanks in large part to Nixon’s and Reagan’s willingness to “talk to the enemy,” neither China nor Russia poses the threat to our security they once seemed to do.

At the end of the day, the long-range goal should be more than preventing Iran from building a nuclear weapon; it should be to move the country to a more open, secular, and democratic society.

Iranians are an ancient, highly intelligent and well-educated people.  It is they to whom we need ultimately to be talking, indirectly if not directly.

It’s a lesson Cory the Kid, our brash, intemperate, and gun-slinging senator, needs to learn.

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