Iran

Why Didn't the U.S. Force Iran to Give Up Its Entire Nuclear Program?

Because we operate in the real world, not a fantasy one

|

IAEA

Since the "framework" for a potential nuclear deal with Iran was announced yesterday, critics of all stripes have come out to blast the deal as not good enough. Predictably, Republicans are skeptical about the deal and Iran's commitment to it, and they want details. Fox News reports:

Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said it is important to see the specific details of Thursday's announcement and said America should remain "clear-eyed" regarding Iran.

"If a final agreement is reached, the American people, through their elected representatives, must have the opportunity to weigh in to ensure the deal truly can eliminate the threat of Iran's nuclear program and hold the regime accountable," he said in a written statement.

Yesterday the president insisted Congress and the American people would be "fully briefed" and that there'd be a "robust" debate over the Iran deal but six years into his presidency, who's left that takes him at his word? We'll see how much disclosure and how much of a debate there is.

Some Democrats, too, are positioning themselves against any deal with Iran. Via The Hill:

Several top Democrats are voicing grave reservations over the Obama administration's emerging deal governing the future of Iran's nuclear program.

Reps. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) and Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) said they welcome a discussion on the framework agreement unveiled Thursday, but harbor deep doubts that the Iranians can be trusted to make good on their commitments.

"I greet any deal with Iran with great skepticism given its deceptive history and ongoing destabilizing and dangerous activities," Deutch, the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs subpanel on the Middle East, said in a statement. "I remain deeply concerned as to how a number of issues have been addressed in the framework and may be addressed in a final agreement."

It shouldn't be necessary to bring up the CIA overthrow of Iranian prime minister Mohammed Mosaddegh in 1953 in every conversation about relations with Iran, but it's, unfortunately, likely Lowey and Deutch have never heard of Mosaddegh or the coup before, an aren't just posturing  in a typical fashion. Concerns over Iran's "trustworthiness" have clouded negotiations since they began several years ago.

But, as President Obama explained yesterday (and I hate every ignorant Democrat or Republican that's made it necessary for me to quote the president to make a point), Iran is a less dangerous enemy than the Soviet Union, whose leaders regularly threated to destroy America and had the weapons to do it, yet the U.S. managed to negotiate with the USSR, on and off for more than four decades, even agreeing on measures to limit their nuclear stockpiles. American exceptionalism may be severely overrated, but certainly the U.S. ought to be capable of negotiating with Iran (and five other countries!) without constantly being worried about "trust."

And the deal, as it's been described, includes a lot of verification. The Iranians, reportedly, have agreed to what the president called the most "robust and intrusive" inspections regime to ever be imposed on a nuclear program. It's important to remember that while the U.S. foreign policy establishment insists Iran's nuclear program is a threat to U.S. national security, Iran is not obligated to base its domestic policies on the fears of fear mongers half a world away. The Iranian government insists it has a "right" to nuclear technology. Insofar as no one is willing to go and bomb their nuclear facilities—in large part because the costs significantly outweigh the benefits, rhetoric to the contrary notwithstanding—that holds. As a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran has certain international obligations it's expected to meet. The six party talks Iran's participated in over its nuclear program, however, are not among the obligations. And Iran could withdraw from the treaty at any time, and then legally pursue a nuclear weapon.

That's the reality a lot of critics of the Iran deal don't want to admit. President Obama even briefly touched on it yesterday—a country won't do something just because America wants it to. For starters, the country's political leadership would have to be historically illiterate to even consider it. Following American diktats provide no guarantee of not becoming a target of American ire in the future (i.e. Qaddafi giving up WMDs and then getting regime-changed by the West anyway). Could the U.S. continue sanctions against Iran? Certainly. The Israeli government would appear to consider that a better option. But sanctions aren't effective at compelling compliance. Cuba's been the subject of sanctions for more than half a century—neither did the sanctions break the communist regime nor were they even able to accomplish the more limited goal of extracting reimbursements for property seized by the Cuban government. And, most importantly, sanctions rarely hurt the ruling class of a country. The Ayatollahs, the Castros, the Kims, they're all authoritarians of very different stripes, but none have known hunger or deprivation because of the sanctions their actions may have triggered.

Missing in the criticism of the framework for an Iranian deal, too, is that they apply only to Iran's nuclear program. Even if the deal is a success and every side abides by it, a number of U.S. sanctions against Iran which are unrelated to its nuclear program will remain. The Iran deal won't move Iran off the U.S. foreign policy establishment's list of enemy countries; it'll just clear one long-standing issue and source of regional tensions. There'll still be plenty more for political leaders in Washington, and Tehran, to posture about.

Advertisement

NEXT: Should we pay citizens to vote?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Obama’s legacy.

    1. OBAMA THE PEACEMAKER HISTORIC DEAL MASTERFUL FOREIGN POLICY ACCOMPLISHMENT MAY HAVE PREVENTED A WAR

      The FluffPo’s front page seems to think so.

    2. will be a major regional war, and either an all-out nuclear arms race in the region, or possibly Israel allying with the Sunni powers in an effort to destroy Iran’s reactors.

      1. Can’t wait for America to get involved!

        1. You don’t need to, we already are whether we have boots on the ground or not.

          1. Ya, but that’s when the REAL fun starts! I don’t like 18-22 year olds anyway. I think a little attrition could really help America out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            1. If keeping immigrants out helps the job market, imagine how much American casualities would do the same!

      2. And it all be the fault of the next president.

    3. Needs more NEVILLE CHAMBERLAIN!!!

      1. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

        CARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

        1. Hmm, not just deranged. Obsessed too.

          1. DONDERRRRRRRROOOOOOOO!

  2. If they build a nuke and set it off in Israel then can we nuke Mecca in retaliation?

    1. I’m pretty the Israelis will handle the retaliation themselves.

    2. How would nuking a city in Iran’s biggest rival outside of Israel hurt the Iranians?

        1. Yeah, but they also need the sun to rise from the west.

          1. but they also need the sun to rise from the west.

            I believe that’s a line in The Last Emperor when they were discussing what Nagasaki looked like.

        2. Look, I already had one go ’round with the Jaish al-Mahdi.

          Also, didn’t the IRC try to engulf Mecca in flames already, once before?
          http://articles.latimes.com/19…..udi-arabia

    3. Like they would do that. I think it’s far more likely they nuke the Saudi’s oil fields.

  3. Insofar as no one is willing to go and bomb their nuclear facilities

    I can think if at least one country that is willing to do so, but it might get in the way of a certain someone’s legacy.

    1. Wow, you really are an Israeli hawk. Explains stuff.

      1. Bo so hates the Jews that he even hates the native birds of israel

        1. It’s a common symptom in Asperger’s sufferers. Bobby Fischer was a beautiful example of the Jew-paranoia in full bloom. This one is noticeable, but with the virulence better-concealed.

      2. DONDERRRRRRRROOOOOOO!

    2. That would only be a problem if they had to go through Iraq. I think the Saudis have already given them the hi sign.

  4. Maybe I’m naive, but who gave 6 countries the right to decide who gets to have nuclear weapons?

    1. “That’s a nice country you have there, would be a shame if something were to happen to it.”

      1. I should have put more emphasis on the word right.

    2. Well, one of them is exceptional.

      1. Well It could be argued that compared to the others we are the tallest midget. Which is pretty exceptional.

        1. I prefer the US, just mocking the idea that the rest of the world would find an outsized role for us in the world because we are ‘exceptional’ in any way persuasive.

    3. It’s called the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1970.

      1. OHHHH!!! I didn’t know Iran signed that!

        1. It’s like the social contract, you don’t have to actually signed it silly.

          1. Obviously you guys truly don’t know that they signed it, which they did.

            No surprise there though, as you don’t know much of anything.

            1. You mean signing it under the Shah’s government?

              1. Not relevant. You obviously don’t know how international treaties work either.

                1. So after the US revolution were we supposed to be held to treaties signed by King George?

                  1. Wait, we’re not?

    4. The 6 countries with Nukes

      1. Oh. Were Pakistan and India involved in this? and when did Germany get a nuke?

        1. and when did Germany get a nuke?

          During the Cold War. It’s called NATO nuclear sharing. Ok, ok…technically the Germans don’t have a nuke, as much as they’re allowing us to store several of them on their soil. In exchange, the Germans get a seat at the table when NATO plans nuclear use policy.

        2. I recently read a book called Command and Control that explains a lot of America’s nuclear weapon program and strategy from the 40s to today. Lots of interesting stuff there (like European nations failing to meet their NATO troop requirements but then demanding that the U.S. supply them with nuclear weapons). One of the things the author talks about was how limited ‘nuclear weapon safety’ was until about the 80s. Apparently at one point in time they were having West German pilots fly military planes, with active nuclear weapons, along the Soviet border. What was to stop some German pilot, angry at the destruction of half their nation under communism, from dropping a stray nuke? Optimism apparently.

          1. Permissive Action Links.

            Look it up.

            1. It’s specifically mentioned that the only thing preventing said West German pilot was a cockpit switch that armed the bomb. The book also covers a lot of the Air Force’s push to avoid having coded locks on nuclear weapons, including the infamous ‘00000000’ codes on Minuteman missiles.

    5. I think everyone that can build one should have one. They also make a fine Easter egg surprise.

      1. BUT NOT IN A KINDER EGG!

        /US Customs

  5. I’m very unclear about the benefits we’re receiving in this deal. Iran is having some serious financial trouble, not to mention the internal turmoil that’s always just below the surface (except when it isn’t), yet it seems like they’re getting a better deal than we are. What’s the point?

    In any case, whether I approve of it or not, this should be confirmed by the Senate. Or not.

    1. I think the idea is that the other alternative (other than war, which some would like), is continue the sanctions and Iran rushes to build their bomb. I see it as they get out from sanctions and they at least delay the program.

      1. Obviously, I prefer this to a war, but I suspect it will be tough to enforce. One big difference between Iran and the U.S.S.R. is that the latter was truly concerned about our nuclear arsenal. I don’t get the impression, likely due in part to religious fervor, that the Iranian government worries much about a U.S. attack (conventional, I mean). Without that, why not drag their feet the way they have all along?

        In any case, it does look a little like we’re not walking away with a the best deal we could’ve gotten, given Iranian domestic pressures. It’ll be interesting to see how the Senate responds to this, too.

        1. They probably don’t fear our Nukes either.

          I mean does anyone believe for a second that an American President could get away with using nukes in response to anything short of a full scale nuclear attack on the US?

        2. I think the current scenario would be even tougher to enforce, in the sense that right now we have no in or say on Iran’s program and they can just rush to get one. If we’ve even cracked the door to some access to what they’re up to it seems worth it to can the sanctions, which, of course, are generally going to hurt us and the Iranian people foremost.

  6. The better question is why are Americans still invested in the belief that they can prevent another country from doing something it wants by using a combination of good cop bad cop tactics.

    If Iran wants Nukes they will get them and the ONLY way we can stop them is to bomb the shit out of their industrial capacity before they get them.No amount of negotiations or sanctions or bribes will change that basic fact.

    1. Ding, ding, ding…winner, winner, chicken dinner.

      Furthermore, why would we care?

      Answer: Fear mongers telling the ignorant to be petrified by something with almost zero probability of actually happening, in order to obtain political clout.

      Can’t fix stupid.

      1. If you’re afraid you will be more likely to support government measures sold as protecting you from what you fear. That’s the bottom line.

      2. There is nothing to say we can’t stop them without bombing. Moreover, there is nothing to say that sanctioning the shit out of them won’t at least delay them getting them. Who knows what will happen in the coming years. Every day they don’t have them is a good one. If we can delay them, we at least have a chance of the country revolting and throwing these idiots out of power. It is not a great option but sometimes there are no good option.

        But you guys think that doing nothing is always a good option with no risks and no downside, because nothing bad ever happens unless the all powerful US causes it to happen.

        1. There is a very real chance of a regime change there, if the economy stays in the doldrums, but, of course, there’s no telling what might come out of the other side of that.

          1. I think there is. And we are crazy not to put the screws to them every way possible in hopes of bringing that about. But hey, I am just a war monger. Frank will tell you that the only way to peace is to do nothing and there is never a downside to stepping away.

          2. If past history is to suggest, the next regime will be more fundamentalist and more anti west.

            1. Maybe so. On the other hand, they did that schtick already.

              It’s one of those historical tragedies that Iran couldn’t have stayed in the more modern camp and liberalized. We played some role in that not happening, thanks to Cold War pressures, but it still sucks. A sane Iran would’ve meant a much different last 35 years.

              1. I think if we would get the hell out of the middle east and let them evolve by themselves they would do a better job and as an extra added bonus we wouldn’t have to spend trillions of dollars and countless lives for no reason.

                1. Oh, I’m totally on board with that.

        2. No my point is to quit lying and admit the cost.

          Reality says we can’t stop them. We can’t stop out own people from importing and then ingesting mind altering substances. How precisely are we going to exert any control over a hostile foreign government.

          Kipling was a colonialist but at least he was honest when he wrote The White Mans Burden, I’m telling you and everyone who agrees that if you truly believe that a nuclear armed Iran is an existential threat to the US then be honest and up front about what you are suggesting.

          1. Personally, I hate the phrase “existential threat”. It’s a completely meaningless political buzzword, and a phony standard by which to conduct foreign policy.

            There’s absolutely no such thing as an “existential threat”. Maybe a really big comet or asteroid, but that’s it.

            1. Well, thousands of nukes is pretty existential, just thinking of the Cold War and all of those movies about me dying. In Alas Babylon, they actually describe my hometown going up in a few mushroom clouds. Do not approve.

              1. But movies about you dying are my favorite genre.

        3. John, were you in the military for any part of the Cold War? To consider Iran a threat to national security when compared to the military capabilities of the Soviets is completely nonsensical.

          The US can eliminate Iran in 20 minutes. They can give us a hangnail, to be closely followed by their own obliteration. The only place that Iran is going to attack the US is in the empty space between your ears.

          Leave them alone. Their affairs don’t concern us. They’ve got nothing we need.

          1. As was pointed out by someone yesterday. Even if they build a nuke they still don’t have the technology to build a delivery system. Not to mention that Iran having a nuke is none of our fucking business until they attempt to drop one on us.

            1. This is complete horseshit.

              Iran already has a space program.

              They have already used multistage rockets to put satellites into orbit.

              Their ICBM capability is no more than a few years away.

              Yeah, right now they can’t hit us with a warhead, but five or ten years from now?

              I’d rather be dealing with the Soviets than the Mullahs.

    2. “If Iran wants Nukes they will get them and the ONLY way we can stop them is to bomb the shit out of their industrial capacity before they get them.No amount of negotiations or sanctions or bribes will change that basic fact.”

      I don’t think you understand or appreciate Iran’s economic situation.

      The sanctions have made Iran blow through their foreign exchange reserves. They’re out of money, and they have no way to raise more.

      If they don’t get access to international credit markets soon, they’re going to make Greece look like a day at the park.

      Yes, imploding economically can and will motivate Iran to abandon its unnecessary nuclear program–that’s why they’re at the negotiating table right now.

      When Greece imploded economically, they capitulated to pretty much everything the EU and Germany demanded of them, too.

      P.S. If Iran would prefer to implode economically rather than abandon the ability to enrich its own uranium, then what does that tell you about the intentions of their program?

      Someone explain to me why Russia couldn’t (or wouldn’t) supply Iran with all the non-weapons grade enriched uranium it needs for energy?

      1. Yes Ken. But you have to remember. These people are incapable of comprehending that there could ever be a downside to doing nothing. In Reason land there are forever two choices, do something and be a war mongering Neocon or do nothing and ensure eternal world peace.

        1. And what is the benefit to the United States in this deal?

          So that Obama can claim some kind of legacy?

          Because Obama feels sorry for the Iranian people?

          The primary concern of American foreign policy should be the interests of American security, and letting Iran enrich its own uranium is not in the best interests of American security.

          You’re right. They seem to think that letting Iran off the hook is the only alternative to war.

          It isn’t.

          It may lead directly to war.

          I’m starting to wonder if Israel cares more about American security than Obama does. I certainly hope they do!

          Someone explain to me why this “framework” allowing Iran to enrich its own uranium in the future is better than the current situation with the NPT, in which Iran is prohibited from enriching its own uranium.

          Why is Obama’s framework better for the United States and American security?

          Wanna talk about a third option? I’d like to give Iran a free trade agreement like NAFTA. …in exchange for Iran abandoning all hope of ever being able to enrich their own uranium ever again. Pretty soon our relationship with Iran might look like our relationship with China. And that would be a jackpot for both the Iranian economy and American security.

          1. It is two things Ken. Obama doesn’t give a shit and wants a short term political talking point. And worse, it is the fact that people like Ed and Obama think words are magic. If we have an agreement that has pretty words on it, then it must be a good thing. They are totally awestruck by the perceived magic powers of negotiations and agreements. They are like primitive people. If you go through the right rituals and sacrifice the right animals, you are going to get a good harvest. Same thing here. If you negotiate and sign an agreement, then you get peace. I mean you negotiated and you signed an agreement. That is all that matters.

        2. These people are incapable of comprehending that there could ever be a downside to doing nothing.

          There is some projection.

          There may in fact be a downside of doing nothing. OR there may not.

          History shows there is CERTAINLY a downside of doing something (see two completely fucked up boondoggles and an utterly failed ME foreign policy [for the last half century]).

          We are CERTAINLY capable of doing something AFTER they do something. So why wouldn’t the sane man wait and see if doing nothing actually HAS a downside before killing thousands of US troops, running trillions of dollars worth of US equipment into the ground, killing tens of thousands of innocent civilians and spending trillions of dollars on a problem that may never materialize?

          IF it does, THEN, you can rub your little war boner until it squirts. As I said, the US can obliterated the entire nation of Iran in a matter of minutes. We can conventionally destroy them in a matter of weeks. How’s about we take the chance that peace will work before the killing starts?

          1. Because finding out doing nothing has a down side is too late. You only want to wait and see because you are don’t believe there ever could be a downside.

            And go fuck yourself with the war boner talk. You are an idiot Frank. I am sorry but you are an idiot. You only yell war boner because you have nothing else to say. I have not advocated war here. Only not signing an agreement. But you yell war boner because you are a fucking moron who can’t respond to my arguments but are too stupid, insecure and wedded to the idea that reality must conform to your ideology to admit I have a point. You are pathetic Frank. You are just pathetic and you can’t face the world as it is and instead pretend it fits your ideology. Sorry but the world doesn’t give a shit about your ideology.

            1. John, did you even read what I said? I doubt you could understand it if you did (it’s mostly for everyone else’s benefit), but I’m curious, did you even fucking read it?

              YOU act as if there is no downside of doing something. These entanglements you refer to as agreements have been the root cause of every conflict the ME has been in for the last 70 years.

              It is not our problem. We don’t need to be involved. A nuclear Iran is NOT a credible threat to US national security. They are NOT going to attack a nation that can obliterate them with a phone call.

              We don’t NEED to attempt to shape the outcome of every misunderstanding throughout the world. All we need is a big enough stick to do the job if you get an outlying nutjob who initiates aggression (which they will, regardless of the meddling). Your way leads to more war, not less.

          2. “So why wouldn’t the sane man wait and see if doing nothing actually HAS a downside before killing thousands of US troops, running trillions of dollars worth of US equipment into the ground, killing tens of thousands of innocent civilians and spending trillions of dollars on a problem that may never materialize?

            IF it does, THEN, you can rub your little war boner until it squirts. As I said, the US can obliterated the entire nation of Iran in a matter of minutes.”

            You got your neo-con hatin’ hat on today, or something…

            The question before us isn’t whether to go to war with Iran.

            The question is whether to lift sanctions and agree to let Iran enrich its own uranium.

            “Doing nothing” is lifting sanctions and letting Iran enrich its own uranium.

            “Doing something” isn’t going to war. That’s the voices in your head.

            “Doing something” is keeping the sanctions in place until Iran completely capitulates on enriching its own uranium.

            1. The question before us isn’t whether to go to war with Iran.

              The question is whether to lift sanctions and agree to let Iran enrich its own uranium.

              WHO CARES? The only reason to care is if you are worried about them using it on you. That is NEVER (extremely improbable) going to happen. They can’t significantly harm us if they tried. Why interfere and potentially give them a reason to try?

              US (et al) intervention is what creates conflicts in the first place. Stay out. Let them slug it out amongst themselves. It’s not our concern. We have NO national interest (any more) in the entire area. Do you see Lithuania, the Swiss, the Japanese, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Canada or Slovakia trying to broker nuclear talks with Iran? Do you see them attacked by ME countries? It’s because they haven’t gotten on the bad guys RADAR by trying to force them into agreements that aren’t in their national interests.

              Christ Ken, this isn’t rocket surgery.

              Butt out, live in relative peace. Be prepared for war.

              1. “US (et al) intervention is what creates conflicts in the first place. Stay out.”

                In terms of creating new problems, yeah, we should avoid that.

                But the enemies we already won’t disappear just because we think nothing but good thoughts. Iran is a state sponsor of terror. They have a nuclear program and a long range missile program, and assuming that governments will take their own best interests into account isn’t always a reliable assumption.

                The NPA has managed to frustrate states like Iran in acquiring nuclear weapons, and doing so is in the best interests of American security. When Iran develops nuclear weapons, all of their enemies will want them, too. American security interests are not best served by a nuclear Iran, nuclear Saudi Arabia, and a nuclear Egypt. There is a peaceful means to frustrate nuclear proliferation, and the Non-Proliferation Treaty is it.

                I appreciate you at least dodging the question of how Iran enriching its own uranium is in America’s security interests, but you need to do better than “If we’re nice, then maybe they’ll just go away”. Sometimes, in the name of peace and freedom, you have to incinerate whole cities in Japan with nuclear weapons. And sometimes, if you want to live in peace and freedom, you have to insist that Iran abides by the NPT or suffer sanctions. The question is always what’s in our best security interests now.

                I prefer peace and trade–and sanctions and the NPT aren’t very far removed from that.

                1. You are as bad as John.

                  you need to do better than “If we’re nice, then maybe they’ll just go away”.

                  I don’t care if they go away or not. They are not a significant threat now. They are not a significant threat if they have a full up nuke program. They are not going to launch a nuclear attack on the US when the end-result will be the US surviving as the world’s only superpower and them being obliterated.

                  I’m not a pacifist. Play nice? Of course you play nice…right up to the point where the bully hits you. Then it’s perfectly acceptable to not play nice anymore.

                  The Soviet Union, was a credible threat. If they attacked us, America, as a country would be decimated and likely not survive at all. They have 4300 nukes. THEY DIDN’T attack us either.

                  1. appreciate you at least dodging the question of how Iran enriching its own uranium is in America’s security interests

                    Why do you think Iran wants nukes? Just to piss us off? They want nukes for their own security. Their biggest regional rival has them, which means they are at their mercy. They also know, for a fact, that the US isn’t going to preemptively invade a nuclear power…and we apparently have no qualms about preemptively invading a non-nuclear power. I just cant figure out why they’d want a nuke? /EXTREME sarcasm

                    To answer your question…Iran having a nuke is in our national interests because it will dissuade warmongers like Cytotoxic, Lindsey Graham and John McCain from getting us involved in another needless war. For the same reason that an armed populace is a polite populace, a nuclear armed planet is a polite planet. And for the last 60 years (more so since we no longer have a rival) WE have been the bully, dictating terms through threat of force to nations that don’t have the capability to defend themselves.

                    1. “To answer your question…Iran having a nuke is in our national interests because it will dissuade warmongers like Cytotoxic, Lindsey Graham and John McCain from getting us involved in another needless war.”

                      You and the Rosenbergs?!

                      I’ve told you about Jane Fonda Syndrome, before, right?

                      Opposed the Vietnam War–good reasons to do that. Somehow, the more radical she got, the more absurd she got. It happens to a lot of us. War radicalizes people. And they start seeing things like they wouldn’t otherwise. If they’re not careful, they start to imagine that opposing the war here at home means cheering for the bad guys.

                      Somehow, it wasn’t enough to oppose the Vietnam War, anymore. She had to go over there and personally attest–that all the American POWs were being well-treated. (They were being tortured.) It’s one thing to oppose an American War–quite another to pose on a VC anti-artillery gun with spent casings all around her that had been fired at Americans. But that’s what she did. She’s regretted it ever since! How could she have gone so far off the rails?

                      I think you know how. Otherwise, how could you argue, like the Rosenbergs, that giving Iran the bomb is in the best interests of American security–because it’s a threat to America.

                    2. I think your heart is usually in the right place–but you’ve gone terribly astray. Oppose the Iraq War? Sure! I did, too! But America is not a more secure place with a nuclear Iran. The world is not a safer place for peace and freedom if Iran has nukes and the means to deliver them. You’re a good guy with a good heart. You just go lost in the darkness.

                      Swim to the light!

                  2. “I don’t care if they go away or not. They are not a significant threat now. They are not a significant threat if they have a full up nuke program. They are not going to launch a nuclear attack on the US when the end-result will be the US surviving as the world’s only superpower and them being obliterated.”

                    I’d love to think Mutual Assured Destruction would work the same way this time as it did last time, but there isn’t any reason to believe that.

                    Oh, and the only reason that sort of thinking worked to the extent it did with the Soviet Union? Was because we played hardball. We deployed Pershing II in Western Europe. We financed and aided Mujahideen in Afghanistan. We refused to allow them to expand in Central and South America. We played hardball in negotiations. Told them to go screw themselves during negotiations in Reykjavik.

                    We did not win the Cold War by convincing the Soviets that we weren’t really a threat.

                    The real world doesn’t work that way.

                    You’re living in a fantasy world.

                    1. but there isn’t any reason to believe that.

                      And there isn’t any reason to believe it wouldn’t.

                      Was because we played hardball.

                      Playing hardball ensured that it lasted 50 years.

                      We financed and aided Mujahideen in Afghanistan.

                      Which brought Bin Laden to prominence.

                    2. “Playing hardball ensured that it lasted 50 years.”

                      If we had capitulated to the Soviet Union in negotiations and convinced them that we weren’t a threat to them, the Cold War would have ended quickly–I’m sure of that.

                      But it wouldn’t have been called the “Cold War”.

                      You say you’re not a pacifist, but I hope you see how difficult it is for someone else to tell the difference between your arguments and those of a pacifist.

                    3. Ken, I try not to argue from authority, but don’t tell me about Jane Fonda or pacifism. I was an officer in the military for twenty years. My job was to blow shit up. I’ve seen US foreign policy, up close. I’ve had more PME than 95% of the idiots currently responsible for shaping current foreign policy. They move from one mess to the next creating more messes to clean up down the road.

                      War solves nothing. Forcibly dictating terms to other nations does nothing but bring about more war. War is something to be avoided. It’s a horrendous, immoral, brutal waste for everyone involved (except politicians). Sometimes it’s absolutely necessary, but not often.

                      I’ve also seen our military might and I’ve seen that of our potential opponents. I can assure you, they are in NO WAY a significant threat to the United States of America. Can they give us a bloody nose? Sure. But they aren’t going to bring down the USA. And you are going to get the bloody nose more often when you go cruising for a fight. Put the shoe on the other foot and ask yourself what you’d say, as an American, if another nation came to us and threatened aggression if we didn’t sign an anti-handgun agreement (pick an agreement)? You’d be fucking incredulous. So are they.

                      You speak softly, trade with everyone, and carry a big stick, PRECISELY so you won’t have to use it.

                    4. “War solves nothing. Forcibly dictating terms to other nations does nothing but bring about more war. War is something to be avoided. It’s a horrendous, immoral, brutal waste for everyone involved (except politicians). Sometimes it’s absolutely necessary, but not often.”

                      Who here is arguing for war?

                      You keep insisting that this has something to do with going to war.

                      This is about whether we should lift sanctions and let Iran enrich their own uranium, or whether we should keep the sanctions in place and insist that they give up enriching their own uranium.

                      Your talk about going to war is a red herring.

                    5. You keep insisting that this has something to do with going to war.

                      Of course it’s about going to war. Why in the world would you care who has a nuke unless you are afraid they are going to use it on you? We have idiots in our legislature calling for airstrikes to prevent Iran from getting a nuke. That’s war. Why would a sane person agree to not continue to arm/defend themselves unless they were being threatened? Why do you think Israel doesn’t want Iran to have a nuke? Because it diminishes their power (read ability to make war) in the region.

                      They are not a threat. There is NO NEED to threaten a sovereign nation into bending to our will. We are just enflaming the situation. A. They can’t do any more than give us a bloody nose (if that). B. Doing so is suicide. Just leave it alone.

                      You want to make sure a nation doesn’t attack you? Instead of strongarming them into a treaty, get in bed with them economically.

                    6. “We have idiots in our legislature calling for airstrikes to prevent Iran from getting a nuke.”

                      How likely are the idiots in Congress to launch a preemptive strike to prevent Iran from getting a nuke–if Iran can’t enrich its own uranium?

                      Under Obama’s plan, now that Iran will be allowed to enrich its own uranium, doesn’t that make the idiots in Congress and their allies in the military MORE likely to attack Iran?

                      “Why do you think Israel doesn’t want Iran to have a nuke? Because it diminishes their power (read ability to make war) in the region.”

                      A nuclear Iran being a direct threat to the very existence of the state of Israel might have something to do with it, too.

                      “You want to make sure a nation doesn’t attack you? Instead of strongarming them into a treaty, get in bed with them economically.”

                      As I stated elsewhere in this thread, I would offer Iran a NAFTA like agreement with them if I could–once they agree to never enrich their own uranium again.

                    7. A nuclear Iran being a direct threat to the very existence of the state of Israel might have something to do with it, too.

                      So you are saying that Israel having nukes is the only thing that keeps Iran from attacking Israel?

                      If so, thank you for making my point.

                      Iran getting a nuke doesn’t change that scenario in the least bit. If they attack israel, Israel (and the US) will retaliate with nukes. Nothing changes wrt Iran. They are just as gone as if they invaded Israel conventionally. Deterrence works.

                      All Iran having nukes does is stop Israel (and the US) from invading/nuking Iran. A balance of power that keeps everybody friendly.

                    8. “Which brought Bin Laden to prominence.”

                      If you think bogging down the Soviet Union in Afghanistan was a bad idea in 1984 for fear that some terrorist organization that didn’t even exist at the time might attack us some 17 years later, then you’re out of your mind.

                      Actually, even if Reagan had seen that 9/11 would happen some 17 years later, it might have been a hard choice but good risk anyway, right? America winning the Cold War without an exchange of nuclear missiles was the best possible outcome…

                      …from the perspective of the United States.

                      Besides, our support for the Mujahideen isn’t the most proximate cause of 9/11. If you’re looking for proper provocations for 9/11,look at things like our having stationed troops in Saudi Arabia. That was stupid.

                      bin Laden didn’t buy that we were there to protect the Saudi oil fields from Iran or Iraq. bin Laden thought that U.S. troops were there in Saudi Arabia to protect the Saudi royal family from him, personally. And besides, putting Christian troops in the Muslim holy land was offensive to all fundamentalists for all sorts of reasons.

                      Point is that you don’t choose not to do the things it takes to win the Cold War because some of the options involve risks. Everything you do or don’t do involves risk, and rolling up in a ball and pretending the bad guys would leave us alone if only we minded our own business is probably the riskiest strategy of them all.

                      Certainly with enemies that already exist.

                    9. Besides, our support for the Mujahideen isn’t the most proximate cause of 9/11. If you’re looking for proper provocations for 9/11,look at things like our having stationed troops in Saudi Arabia. That was stupid.

                      I don’t disagree with that. But had we stayed out of Russia’s Afghanistan it’s a good bet that OBL would never have had the juice to do what he did. The point is, that the interference causes unforeseen consequences that are often worse than doing nothing.

                  3. I don’t care if they go away or not. They are not a significant threat now. They are not a significant threat if they have a full up nuke program. They are not going to launch a nuclear attack on the US when the end-result will be the US surviving as the world’s only superpower and them being obliterated.

                    You seem to be assuming that the only threat we could ever be concerned with is a military/terror attack on US soil. Nothing is further from the truth.

                    As a globally exposed participant in the world economy, the US is threatened by attacks, disruptions, and threats of disruptions to the modern Silk Road. As the major source of fossil fuel in the world, and placed at a major crossroads between East-West trade, Middle Eastern political stability is extremely important to global economics. We don’t have the most powerful navy in the world just because we have three coastlines to protect. Because we trade with the world, we are vulnerable to major disruptions in world trade. Trade needs political stability. Our way of life depends upon global trade stability. It’s not just a matter of protecting the homeland.

                    1. And disrupting free trade is an initiation of force, which is exactly why we have the Navy.

                      And the bottom line is, we no longer are dependent on the ME for our oil. That paradigm has been overcome by technology. Which is exactly what we’ve always wanted…energy independence…well, we’ve got it. Now we have no reason to give a shit what the batshit crazy mullahs do in their backwards little shitholes. Continued involvement in the region as if oil were still an issue is borderline insanity.

                    2. And the bottom line is, we no longer are dependent on the ME for our oil. That paradigm has been overcome by technology.

                      I don’t disagree with you there. However, my point is that the world we trade with is dependant on oil from the ME and oil that passes through the ME. We are dependant on our trading partner’s dependencies, to some extent.

                      My point is that we are globally dependent.

                    3. My point is that we are globally dependent.

                      Don’t disagree. But you can trade without strong arming folks. And use force only when aggressed upon. Trade is value for value, not value for not bombing us.

      2. Because Russia doesn’t like Muslims any more than we do, they share a border, and Iran is a direct competitor in international oil markets.

        1. I can’t tell if you’re joking.

          The Russians/USSR have gone to bat for Iran in every situation I can remember. They’ve been allies of this batch of Iranians since before the Shah was deposed.

          And if Russia wouldn’t do it (they would), then someone else could–even us. There is no good reason why Iran needs to enrich its own non-weapons grade uranium.

  7. There is no reason why Iran should be allowed to enrich their own uranium–15 years from now or ever.

    Iran willingly gave up the right to enrich their own uranium when they violated the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

    “In November 2003 IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei reported that Iran had repeatedly and over an extended period failed to meet its safeguards obligations, including by failing to declare its uranium enrichment program.[22] After about two years of EU3-led diplomatic efforts and Iran temporarily suspending its enrichment program,[69] the IAEA Board of Governors, acting under Article XII.C of the IAEA Statute, found in a rare non-consensus decision with 12 abstentions that these failures constituted non-compliance with the IAEA safeguards agreement.[23] This was reported to the UN Security Council in 2006,[70] after which the Security Council passed a resolution demanding that Iran suspend its enrichment.[71] Instead, Iran resumed its enrichment program.[72]”

    http://tinyurl.com/mr7l3gm

    One of the preliminary questions we should be asking ourselves is this: Will Obama’s “framework”put looser restrictions on Iran than the Non-Proliferation Treaty to which they’re already bound?

    Under the NPT, they are presently NOT permitted to enrich uranium. Why should we give them a better deal than what we already have now?

    1. Ok, Iran does a NK and leaves the NPT. Happy now? And if Iraq could keep the US bogged down and wasting upwards of $4T, just think what Iran at three times the size can do. Have a nice day!

      1. Can anybody tell me what this is supposed to mean?

        I’ll take a couple of guesses:

        1) Iran leaving the NPT.

        The subject of this post is the sanctions and whether to lift them.

        If they unilaterally declare themselves no longer subject to the NPT, what difference does that make? Do you imagine the NPT nations can no longer subject them to sanctions at that point?

        North Korea is a mature Stalinist state. They aren’t worried about selling their exports or reestablishing access to international finance.

        But Iran is. Haven’t you noticed? That’s why they’re negotiating.

        2) Are you suggesting that the alternative to letting Iran enrich their own uranium is war with Iran?

        Why?

        The alternative to letting Iran enrich their own uranium is refusing to allow them to enrich their own uranium.

        Not war.

        The voices in your head aren’t real. Stop listening to them.

  8. Iran is a less dangerous enemy than the Soviet Union, whose leaders regularly threated to destroy America and had the weapons to do it, yet the U.S. managed to negotiate with the USSR,

    No necessarily. Danger is a function of more than just how many weapons you have. It is also a function of how willing you are to use them. Ed only assumes that Iran would never use nukes because he lives in a fucking fantasy world where every country is reasonable and would never do anything that bad.

    If we can’t stop their nuke program via a deal, then we shouldn’t make one. Why give them anything. We are not being hurt by the sanctions and have no reason to lift them. Ed lives in the same fantasy world Obama lives in. How fucking dare he accuse critics of not living in the real world. In the real world we don’t have to reach any agreement and have no reason to. It is only in Ed’s and Obama’s fantasy world that any agreement no matter how bad is better than no agreement. I am sorry Ed, words are not magic. Just because we have an “agreement” doesn’t mean it is a good one or solves anything.

    Reason is just fucking pathetic on these sorts of subjects.

    1. “Iran is a less dangerous enemy than the Soviet Union, whose leaders regularly threated to destroy America and had the weapons to do it, yet the U.S. managed to negotiate with the USSR”

      Who’s against negotiating with Iran?

      And Iran may be less dangerous than the Soviet Union was–right now. But they’re already successfully launched multistage rockets.

      The Iranians have an active space program! They’ll have ICBMs soon enough. The estimates I’ve seen put them on course to have ICBMs within a few years.

      Once the Iranians have that capability, who would you rather be negotiating with? Gorbachev circa 1988 or the nuclear Mullahs of a few years from now?

      And then there’s stuff like this:

      “Since the “framework” for a potential nuclear deal with Iran was announced yesterday, critics of all stripes have come out to blast the deal as not good enough. Predictably, Republicans are skeptical about the deal and Iran’s commitment to it, and they want details.”

      Am I supposed to support Obama’s “framework” because the Republicans are “predictably” against it?

      What is that “predictably” supposed to mean?

      1. That it’s predictable that Republicans would be skeptical of it. Would you have predicted otherwise?

        1. I think calling Republican opposition to the framework “predictable” is running right up against the ad hominem fallacy.

          There certainly isn’t anything about opposition being Republican that makes it wrong.

          In fact, if the “framework” didn’t include a path to Iran enriching its own uranium, I doubt there would be much in the way of opposition from the Republicans at all.

          I don’t see any evidence that convinces me that Republican opposition to Iran enriching its own uranium is primarily driven by their partisan animosity toward Obama–do you?

    2. ” Iran is a less dangerous enemy than the Soviet Union”

      A bear is a very large and dangerous animal. The honey badger is much smaller and not nearly as strong. But the honey badger don’t give a fuck. Of course none of that matters to Obama, because this is about his legacy and not silly little things like possible nuclear war. Get ready for Nork 2. This time with triple Muslims.

      1. “I didn’t order triple Muslims on this nuke!? Waiter, take this back!”

      2. Yes and for how long now have we heard it would be the end of the world if NK ever tested a nuke? And on the crazy scale, NK is far ahead of Iran and as a country has a lot less to lose (some might argue there is not much of anything to lose).

    3. In the real world, absent war, we aren’t going to be able to stop them from doing this either way. Should we do sanctions just for the fun of it?

      1. Bullshit. You don’t know that. Moreover, even if we can’t, why lift the sanctions? Lifting them won’t help anything and it might hurt. Again, we don’t need an agreement. We are only getting one because idiots like you and Ed think that words have magic powers such that having an agreement necessarily makes things better.

        Moreover, ten years ago the line from you and your ilk was Iran didn’t want nukes and even if they did, sanctions would keep them from getting them. Now it is “we can never stop them:”. Funny how the facts always change to fit the narrative, which is of course that the US must always appease.

      2. “In the real world, absent war, we aren’t going to be able to stop them from doing this either way. Should we do sanctions just for the fun of it?”

        The only reason they’re at the negotiating table right now is because we (us and our allies) crippled their nuclear development program and their economy to the extent we did–before they were able to conduct a nuclear test.

        Why pretend that we’re incapable of stopping something we actually stopped?

        Besides, the point is where we’re going from here. Why agree to let them enrich their own uranium when we could just let them continue to suffer the consequences of sanctions and violating the NPT?

        Is the price of gasoline too high?

        What are the positive consequences of agreeing to let them do that?

        Obama gets to pad his stupid legacy–is there anything else in it for the American people?

        What’s the upside for the U.S.?

        Obama’s legacy on this may end up being like letting the Germans out of the military restrictions part of the Treaty of Versailles. Why would we agree to do that?

        In Iran’s situation, we aren’t even talking about appeasement! We’re just doing it because Obama says so? Help me understand what we’re getting out of taking a worse deal than we have now. I keep waiting for someone to explain the upside, and all I keep hearing is crickets.

  9. I’m sure President Constitutional Scholar (who has published nothing scholarly) is aware of Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 (really easy to remember) states in the relevant part:

    “He (the President) shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur.”

    Every nuclear arms deal, arrangement, framework, etc., since the NPT has been considered a “treaty” under the Constitution.

    Will Obama abide by law and tradition? Or will His Jug-Earred Majesty simply “fully brief” Congress and do what he wants while the “robust debate” is taking place?

    1. Of course not. And Ed and Sheldon Richman and the rest of the Reason staff will sit there with their teeth in their mouths and say nothing about that because they love lawlessness when it gives them their pony. They want an agreement God damn it and they want us to leave the poor peaceful brown people in Iran alone. And if doing that requires ignoring the constitution, well that is just how the cookie crumbles sometimes.

  10. The IEAE has already stated Iran can’t be trusted with inspections. The entire deal worked out is completely dependent on Iran allowing inspections at specific locations.

    Iran has refused to allow this, yet we still have a “deal”.

    How anyone can tout this development as something substantial and realistic baffles me. Then I realize it’s President Not My Fault and his Sec State Captain Ketchup and it makes a little sense.

    1. It’s also Reason, where empowering antagonistic belligerent foreign regimes at the seeming expense of the USG is seriously conflated as ‘peace’.

  11. the president insisted Congress and the American people would be “fully briefed”

    “Fully briefed” is an oxymoron.

    1. It is worse than that. He is saying he is going to do it but it is okay because he is going to tell us afterwards. Fuck him and his piece of shit part time apologists like Ed with a chain saw. The Congress has veto power of this not just the right to be told what the king has done.

  12. It shouldn’t be necessary to bring up the CIA overthrow of Iranian prime minister Mohammed Mosaddegh in 1953

    The CIA didn’t overthrow Mossi that was the Iranian people and MI6.

    1. Don’t confuse them with facts.

  13. Iran is a mortal threat to America nukes or no.

    1. Citation needed because in no way is Iran even remotely able to mortally wound the US. Even with a nuke, they would be unable to deliver it and even if they did they would be a glass parking lot for the next 1000 years.

      1. Well there are the many Americans murdered by Iran and its proxies. Do I really have to cite Khobar Towers and Iran’s likely involvement in the 1998 embassy bombings?

        1. So we are already mortally wounded?

  14. ? ? ? ? LIFETIME OPPORTUNITY ? ? ? ? ?
    My friend’s step-sister makes $72 /hour on the computer . She has been unemployed for ten months but last month her pay check was $14639 just working on the computer for a few hours. Pop over to this web-site ??????? http://www.jobsfish.com

  15. my friend’s step-aunt makes $73 hourly on the internet . She has been out of a job for seven months but last month her income was $19815 just working on the internet for a few hours. pop over to this web-site….,
    ??????? http://www.work-reviews.com

  16. As to Nita Lowey, who I have had the distinct displeasure of at one time having as my congress critter, I would just say.. follow the money. Likewise the most virulent “R” naysayers.

  17. Hey, those magic words on a piece of paper worked so well for Europe, just ask Chamberlain.

    /sarc

  18. Why didn’t the US force Iran to give up its entire nuclear program?

    Because Obama is a Pussy.

    But still I’m glad he didn’t. It’s none of our business!

    Let Israel take care Israel. It’s about time!

  19. Anyone who believes war can be averted in the middle east is dreaming. The next major conflict has already begun in Yemen. The war to explode in the middle east will not be one involving Israel, but one between Shia and Sunni Muslims. Shia are the majority populations only in the countries of Iran and Baharian. Sunnis are the majority in all the remaining Muslim nations. The battles in Libya are also between Shia and Sunnis as is happening in Iraq. This fact is one the media does not report and the Obama administration refuses to acknowledge. This fight goes back over 1000 years and will not end until one side is wiped out. In addition, Iranians are not Arabs, but Persians which is another reason for the hatred.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.