Ratify the Iran Nuke Deal
On July 14, 2015, a group consisting of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany (P5 + 1) agreed to terms with Iran on a plan to ease international sanctions on Iran in exchange for verifiable promises by Iran not to engage in activity designed to develop nuclear weapons. Negotiations were long and tedious, with deadlines extended on more than one occasion. Primary opposition to the deal has been expressed by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Congressional Republicans – including, to the surprise of nobody, those who have announced their candidacy for the 2016 GOP Presidential nomination.
The arguments put forth predominantly express distrust of the Iranian government and the inadequacy of the inspection regime proposed to verify their adherence to the deal. Israeli hesitance is to be expected, since Iran poses a more direct threat to the state of Israel than to some of the other regional powers or to the members of the P5 +1. Past pronouncements of Iran advocating wiping Israel from the face of the earth have done little to reassure Israel of what may ensue if Iran were to gain such weapons, regardless of the existence of a similar capability on the part of Israel.
There seems to exist in Washington, DC, a tremendous reluctance on the part of many to achieve foreign policy objectives by any means short of either armed conflict or unilateral regime change in the country we see as a threat. The same old arguments are being made by some of the exact same people who took us into war with Iraq. Invading that country turned up no weapons of mass destruction and regime change brought about by several years of primarily American military occupation resulted in the formation of ISIS rather than the hoped-for stability of a new government.
Likewise, invasion and subsequent occupation of Afghanistan (in the wake of the 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon) has resulted in regime change that remains tenuous at best, with remnants of the Taliban still threatening to wrest control of the government and American troops remaining there more than a decade after the operation began. American military activity in the region as a whole has proven more than up to the task of achieving tactical victory and defeating enemy forces, but inadequate to the task of providing stability and security in the nations involved. The time for war has passed. Diplomatic solutions are long overdue.
The pact needs to be voted on by both the UN Security Council and the governments involved in the negotiations. Only the United States Congress stands in the way with a legitimate chance of scuttling the agreement. It has 60 days to approve, disapprove or not act at all on the deal. Disapproval would require a two-thirds vote to overcome a promised veto by President Obama. Opposition is primarily Republican, but includes some Democrats who have expressed reservations as well. Opposition to a potential UN Security Council vote on the issue prior to the 60 day deadline for Congressional action has been reached has also been expressed by members of both parties.
Congressional Republican leadership seems determined to take its time studying the exact details of the agreement. That is their job. I would have no problem with that if their debate and vote on the pact weren’t about to be interrupted by the annual month-long August recess. If the agreement is important enough to require such lengthy study, why take a month off to campaign for the next election or whatever it is that most Congress Critters do when on one of their many lengthy paid vacations? Why not give it more urgent consideration?
Prior to the First Gulf War, President George H. W, Bush sought for and received backing by an enormous coalition of countries and the UN Security Council to reverse Saddam Hussein’s invasion and occupation of Kuwait. His son, George W. Bush received approval by a far smaller coalition before invading Iraq on far flimsier intelligence and with no known exit strategy. Given the nature of the participants in these most recent negotiations, appetite for invading or using air power alone to bring Iran to its knees would be far less pronounced that it was for even the younger Bush. Approving the deal and allowing time to tell whether or not both sides abide by its provisions would be the appropriate action to take at this time.
Iran is no Afghanistan or Iraq militarily. Which countries, other than perhaps Israel and maybe Saudi Arabia and/or some of the other small Persian Gulf states would willingly participate in a proposed military incursion? How likely would the Chinese and Russians be to turn a blind eye on such activity in light of the agreement they signed onto? Refusing to live up to our side of the bargain by placing additional prerequisites to the easing of international sanctions would, in my opinion, be seen by many, if not most, world governments as negotiating in bad faith, if not worse.
The most vocal American opposition to this deal is being posed by GOP presidential candidates and supporters of Netanyahu. We’ve been through over six years of political opposition to anything this President proposes, usually primarily because he proposed it. Those who fight tooth and nail to account for every penny expended on social programs to aid the young, the elderly, the sick and otherwise needy among us, continue to blast away at the drop of a hat at the necessity to fight any foreign foe (perceived or actual) sparing no expense. There is no proof that Iran is unwilling to live up to its end of the bargain. The inspection regime is extremely strict. They are aware of the consequences should they fail to live up to agreed-upon expectations.
The clown car of Presidential candidates and other neo-conservative war mongers clamoring for attention on the airwaves and at the polls need to allow this agreement a chance to work. The sanctions proved strong enough to bring Iran to the table. How many other nations have done the same and still do not possess nuclear weapons? Scoring political points in the run-up to a big election by sounding like a chicken hawk who won using such a tactic in the past should not be mistaken for a policy which actually stands a better chance of working in the real world for years to come. Bullying other countries into submission has proven disastrous in the entire region over the past decade-plus. Doubling down on the biggest power in the region (which actually has interests that coincide with our own more than many wish to admit) leaves the very real possibility that we could escalate the situation even more – to the detriment of people both there and here.
Stop playing political games with millions of lives. Give the deal a chance to work and start using diplomacy as the first means of resolving conflicts, rather than the last. Building for a change, rather than destroying, buildings, infrastructure, lives, hopes and dreams, should be the goal. Wars and sanctions harm most those who least contribute to causing the conflicts that result in them. Give peace a chance and stop throwing away money and lives as if neither matters so long as we get our way and the military-industrial war machine gets to continue chewing up our natural and human resources to the benefit of as few people as possible.
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