Iran Nuclear Deal Pits the Obama Administration Against GOP Hawks


The Obama administration announced last night that it had reached what President Obama describes as "a comprehensive long-term deal with Iran that will prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon."

Obama declared this morning that the deal is "not built on trust" but instead relies on verification by independent inspectors that Iran is not pursuing technology that could lead directly to nuclear weapons.

According to The New York Times, the deal "would extend to a year the amount of time it would take Iran to make enough material for a bomb should it abandon the accord and race for a weapon — what officials call 'breakout time.'" However, under the terms of the deal, that time would likely shorten, perhaps by quite a bit, after a decade. 

Politically, the deal pits Republicans against the Obama administration, with congressional Democrats stuck somewhere in between. 

The Obama administration is aggressively arguing that the deal is the best option for containing one of the world's most potentially dangerous nuclear threats. In Slate, Ploughshares Fund President Joe Cirincione, author of the book Nuclear Nightmares: Securing the world Before it's Too Late, makes a detailed case for the deal, arguing that it "reverses and contains what most experts consider the greatest nuclear proliferation challenge in the world." Cirincione says that the deal "eliminates the three ways Iran could build a bomb"—with uranium enriched in centrifuges, with plutonium made using nuclear reactors, and in a secret facility. 

The verification and monitoring system required by this deal makes that all but impossible.

Inspectors will now track Iran's uranium from the time it comes out of the ground to the time it ends up as gas stored in cylinders. There will be state-of-the-art fiber-optic seals, sensors, and cameras at every facility, inventories of all equipment, tracking of scientists and nuclear workers, and 24/7 inspections. Inspectors will also monitor the manufacture of all centrifuges and related machinery. A special "procurement channel" will be set up through which all of Iran's imported nuclear-related equipment must go.

This makes it extraordinarily difficult for Iran to cheat. 

Despite the Obama administration's prioritization of the deal, some Democratic legislators are nervous about the details, according to National Journal. 

Virtually all of the Republican presidential candidates have, rather predictably, come against the agreement. Jeb Bush, for example, calls it "a dangerous, deeply flawed, and short sighted deal." Scott Walker promised to "terminate" it on day one of his presidency. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, perhaps the most hawkish of the top-tier Republican candidates, is circulating an online petition opposing the deal.  Bush and Walker are following the likes of Senate GOPers like Tom Cotton, who opposes any deal whatsoever. 

Former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich outlines the basics of the case against the deal, saying that it provides billions in aid that will be used to fund terrorism, that it will "increase the prestige of the Iranian dictatorship," and that it will grant international approval to the Iranian nuclear program, which will then "go full-speed ahead." 

Is there an alternative that Republicans would prefer? Christopher Preble of the Cato Institute suggests that for Sen. Cotton and other Republicans, "you don't negotiate with a regime like Iran's—you destroy it." 

Details of the 100-page deal are still being scoured over, and critics will no doubt have many objections. But Preble argues that simply objecting to the specifics in this agreement isn't enough, especially given the history of foreign policy failures in the Middle East. 

Counter proliferation by means of regime change has a bad odor today, thanks chiefly to the Iraq war that, coincidentally, many of the most outspoken Iran deal opponents had a hand in pushing on the American people beginning in the late 1990s. 

They have learned nothing, it appears, but most Americans have: refusing to engage diplomatically with an odious regime, or waging war to separate said regime from its weapons – by removing the regime from power – is a costly proposition, and there is no guarantee that the government that emerges in its place will be better than that which came before. George W. Bush came around to this view by the middle of his second term in office: the man who in 2002 cast Iran as a charter member of the Axis of Evil – along with Iraq and North Korea – supported the P5 + 1 negotiating process that eventually led to today's deal. 

So keep all this in mind in the coming weeks as the details of the Iran deal are debated in Washington and around the country. Deal opponents have an obligation to describe their preferred alternative, not merely what they are against.

The deal, as Reason's Shikha Dalmia wrote this morning, may turn out to be the worst possible option—except for all others. 

NEXT: Lindsey Graham: Hillary Clinton, Every Republican But Rand Paul, Would Have Got a Better Deal With Iran

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  1. What if America pretended for a moment that it wasn’t their sacred duty to tell other countries what they can and can’t do?

    1. Look, Hugh, even Kirk knew when to violate the Prime Directive. What Obama should do, like Kirk, is to threaten to destroy the entire country with orbital high-energy laser fire.

      You know, maybe Kirk went too far with that threat. What if they’d called his bluff? Then Scotty blows up a whole planet to stop a war? I’m not so sure about how enlightened the Federation really will be.

      1. Obama publicly made a pretty big deal of stocking up on bunkerbusters leading up to this negotiation, so he pretty much had the “negotiating in bad faith” angle covered.

        1. Bad faith is kind of his thing.

      2. I’m not so sure about how enlightened the Federation really will be.

        By *our* standards (meaning (l)ibertarians) the Federation is not liberal at all.

        Strict limits on genetic modification and AI – up to and including the enslavement of AI’s that can obviously pass the Turing Test (even if they are arseholes) along with a specific policy of not allowing secession (up to the point of *attacking* secessionists).

        Let’s not forget that *everything* of note in the Federation is done by a state agency.

        And, like modern governments, they can’t even handle their *actual* responsibilities and are basically unaccountable to the population – see Tasha Yar’s homeworld.

        1. I was thinking the TOS Federation, which was less clearly authoritarian and communistic. In fact, there were at least some indications that they took individual rights very seriously, maybe more than we do.

          I still think if they do a new series, it should be set somewhere in the Federation but with no Starfleet involvement. All that “optimistic future” being set on military vessels and stations, regardless of the exploration angle, is kind of telling about us, isn’t it? We can’t imagine a future without constant war, apparently.

          1. I can’t remember a period in our past where there wasn’t widespread conflict. Why should Roddenberry have envisioned a future not reflective of the past and present?

            1. Well, it’s interesting to me that TOS involved less actually warfare, though, of course, some conflicts occurred. It seemed like a legitimately more peaceful society. Still, almost every encounter involved some killing.

              Not so sure about the TNG era. While I don’t think they were warmongers, it seemed like war was a constant.

              Like I said, this says more about us that we can’t imagine an enlightened society without constant warfare than anything else.

              1. Conflict spawns creativity, comfort spawns decadence.

                1. That’s certainly one view.

                2. Conflict =/= warfare, necessarily.

                  1. Agreed. But the greatest leaps in technology to date have happened in the run up to and during WWII.

                    Conflict doesn’t have to lead to war, but it’s a bit like a runaway train. Everyone has to get the last word and the words get more vile as time goes on. Just ask Godwin.

                    1. Fucking space Nazis. And, worse yet, Space Hippies.

    2. why do you hate the troops?

  2. “you don’t negotiate with a regime like Iran’s?you destroy it.”

    Someone is still stupid enough to think this after Iraq and Libya?

    1. Don’t forget the wonderful success in Afghanistan.

    2. Sure, why not destroy the government of Iran, leaving a power vacuum for ISIS to fill and then, once the whole Middle East is under the control of ISIS, destroy *them*! Its brilliant.

      1. ISIS is obviously the Final Boss.

  3. I’m not thrilled about another country in a politically unstable, socially repressive region having nuclear weapons at its disposal. Where, politically, does that put me?

    1. Apparently on the side of gun grabbers.

    2. In the “Unrealistic” group.

      One way or another, any country that REAAAAAAALLLLLY wants a nuke will get one, given a long enough timeline.

  4. John hardest hit.

    1. Amazingly enough, I find the prospect of war with Iran much less nuclear war with them unpleasant. But I am funny like that.

  5. “a comprehensive long-term deal with Iran that will prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon”

    “, given, of course, that it does not already have one.”

    1. I have heard that Iran is just a few years from getting a nuclear weapon for the last 30 years.

      1. “*Told* you!”

        1. As I posted below, we know Iran has some nuclear weapons grade material, 90% uranium, President Johnson gave them some as part of a research reactor in the 1960’s. The Iranians converted the research reactor to 20% uranium in the 1980’s but the weapons grade material is still in storage in Iran

          1. So why haven’t they lit up Israel?

            1. because they are bloodthirsty morons?

            2. Perhaps because they don’t want to be lit up themselves.

      2. Heard the same about Pakistan and North Korea.

  6. Obama declared this morning that the deal is “not built on trust” but instead relies on verification by independent inspectors…

    You’re breaking my balls, Hans. You’re breaking my balls!

  7. I really won’t know what to think of this deal until I hear what Trump says about it.

      1. While I appreciate his sartorial criticisms, what I really need is his view on this Iran deal.

        1. well, since he hasn’t made money on it, he doesn’t like it.

          1. Then I’m against it, too. Mr. President? You ‘re fired!

      2. Great, but what do the Millennials think?

  8. There are a few issues here. Should we be intervening to the extent we are? Iran is really more in the category of Other People’s Problems, right? In fact, the same could be said of the entire region.

    If we must intervene, what makes the most sense? We’ve been isolating Iran economically and politically, and they seem to be holding on and remaining in opposition to the ends we’d like to achieve. While there is an argument on the pro-intervention side that low oil prices may collapse the current regime, that’s no guarantee that we’ll end up with a better government, assuming it even happens.

    Finally, this “deal” is no such thing. We’re lifting the sanctions and fully expect Iran to continue seeking a nuclear weapons capability. At best, our deal is a letter of intent to talk nicely in the future. Unless Iran does something extra crazy–more crazy than its standard crazy–the other countries honoring the embargo likely won’t sign up for round two.

    1. Quit being an idiot.

      fully expect Iran to continue seeking a nuclear weapons capability

      Iran can enrich for power purposes only. Goddamn the wingnut derp is strong in here.

      1. so, you’re a parody, right?

        1. Shriek vanished so far up his own asshole years ago that he’s passed all the way through his own digestive tract in reverse, come out his own mouth, and circled around and back up his asshole a second time. He’s an ouroboros of crap.

      2. “Quit being an idiot.”

        What an utter, utter lack of self-awareness you have.

        1. Shreik is a progtard and proggies believe in magical thinking. You see, since Iran signed an agreement, they must be willing to follow it to the letter, otherwise why would they sign it? I’d say pity them for being morons but don’t bother.

          1. You’re full of shit on every count.

            I don’t want to pay for another Cheney style multi-trillion dollar war in a country 3x the size of Iraq.

            I am reacting in glee at the disappointment among the war-boner crowd like Lindy Graham and ‘John’ (who might actually be the Senator).

            1. I am reacting in glee at the disappointment among the war-boner crowd like Lindy Graham and ‘John’ (who might actually be the Senator).

              Well, come to think of it I’ve never actually seen them in the same room…

            2. and we should trust Iran why? What about the mullahs makes them trustworthy individuals? If you’re going to say the nuke question is none of our business, then this deal is even more pointless than in its current state.

            3. I don’t want to pay for another Cheney style multi-trillion dollar war in a country 3x the size of Iraq

              Very few people here want that. However, that isn’t really the discussion. The discussion is how the agreement that Iran signed will prevent/not prevent them from getting a bomb. You believe in magical thinking and believe that a signature on a piece of paper has magical powers that, in this case, will prevent Iran from ever getting a bomb. That’s what progtards believe and, frankly, just proves how little you know of history and human nature.

              But then, you aren’t sentient, so I know this is all beyond your comprehension.

              1. “How could there have possibly been a shooting in a gun-free zone?!”

            4. “I don’t want to pay for another Cheney style multi-trillion dollar war i”

              Buttplug your entire personal is that of one who has never paid net taxes in their life.

      3. “Iran can enrich for power purposes only.”

        You’re funny ButttPlug.

        Funny in a stupid kind of way though.

    2. Iran could be a powerful ally and trading partner that we’ve never had. We’ve always treated the Iranian people as less than equals- but they have the potential to be an economic powerhouse in the region and the world.

      If only we would treat them the way we’ve worked with China, or Friedman did with Chile. Economic prosperity does a lot to do away with terrorist support and religious rule.

      1. You know who changed my mind about Iran? Mike Huckabee, in his famous “wingtips and boots” speech. He pointed out that when much of the Muslim world was dancing in the streets on 09/11, Iranians were holding candlelight vigils. Bush messed up by not reaching out to them, and building diplomatic relations.

        1. One very useful piece of knowledge to have when dealing with the Iranians is that they are not Arabs.

        2. agreed. Also, and I’m not for apologizing for what my ancestors have done…, but acknowledging our real and honest past relations would go a long way too.

          1. That’s what I was talking about above. The big mistakes we made with Iran were during the Cold War. While I get that we were far more worried about Soviet intervention in (and possibly invasion of) Iran, we still would’ve been much better served in supporting a more liberal government there, instead of propping up an oppressive regime.

            1. Right. Which why the 1979 revolution ended up with Progressives in charge of a Democratic Iran.

              No. In fact, the shah was the progressive force in Iran, and the mullahs oppose this.

              Sure, he was oppressive, too, but that happens in 3rd world countries.

              Now, should we be supporting any regime? No. But let’s not imagine Iran would be West Germany without our bad, wicked actions.

              1. “Which why the 1979 revolution ended up with Progressives in charge of a Democratic Iran.”

                HaHaHa. Domocratic Iran.? Well you were right on one thing. Progressives were in charge after the Islamist revolution.

                Iran was Democratic in 1979 the same way the Soviet Union was Democratic in 1969. “Comrade if you want to vote here is the candidate’s name”

                “Sure, he was oppressive, too, but that happens in 3rd world countries.”

                Yes the Shah oppressed the Isamist before the West understood what Islamist really were.

              2. If the Shah were really repressive, the revolution wouldn’t have happened.

                His problem was that he was too nice to the Islamists.

        3. He pointed out that when much of the Muslim world was dancing in the streets on 09/11, Iranians were holding candlelight vigils.

          It needs to be said that the Iranian people and the Iranian government are two, very separate entities. Just as it is with the US government and the US population.

          1. That’s been clear for a while. A large number of stories about common Iranians being friendly with Americans have been made public over the years. Their culture didn’t suddenly disappear with the revolution. It just went (much of it) underground.

            1. That’s wonderful and all, but how relevant are the Iranian people to what the Iranian theocracy does?

              1. Very much so.

                The theocracy isn’t a closed society.

                Most of the guys running the show have families and bonds of friendship that can be quite extensive.

                The cadres that have the discipline to carry out orders that would immolate their fellows are often led by corrupt men who want to get rich.

                Finally, the theocrats are intrested in preserving/growing Shia Islam against the Sunni usurpers. And the Sunnis are quite a bit more dispersed than Israel.

                And once Israel is destroyed, what outside enemy is there to rally the people against?

              2. It’s certainly not irrelevant. What that means to me is that there may be a time where we have an opportunity to deal with less nutjobby leaders. It’s not insane people all the way down, in other words. That has nothing to do with this ridiculous deal that we’ve made though, which is a hallmark of bad diplomacy. We get nothing but hot air, they get billions of dollars back and a likely permanent end to sanctions no matter what they do.

      2. I’m okay with that approach, though the staggering ineptitude of this administration at foreign policy worries me.

        The crying shame is that if we’d treated Iran fairly in the first place, the revolution might never have occurred. A liberal, powerful Iran in the region could’ve paid huge dividends.

        1. Yeah, naming Iran as part of the Axis of Evil was pretty fucking stupid. Then gift-wrapping Iraq for them was insane.

          You are talking about the Bushpigs, right?

          1. “The revolution” he’s referring to happened in 1979, you ignorant slut.

            1. I’m okay with that approach, though the staggering ineptitude of this administration at foreign policy worries me.

              No, PL is a full-on Team Red splooge licker who has forgotten 2001-2009 for partisan purposes.

              1. That’s… inaccurate. Please get help with your mental problems. I pick on you, but i really am starting to get worried.

                1. “This administration” is unmistakenly present tense, you dumb cracker.

                  1. Sometimes, when a comment is broken into two separate paragraphs, even if each is only one or two sentences long, the comment encompasses two separate ideas. Did you know that? Those two disparate ideas might even involve events that are separated by a certain amount of temporal distance! Think about it for a while. Language can be pretty interesting when you use it to convey ideas, rather than to shriek for attention.

              2. If . . . if we hadn’t fucked around in Iran in 1979 then the whole 2001-2009 shebang wouldn’t have involved Iran in the first place.

                But I understand that’s hard for you to understand as you’re stuck reliving the glory days when you were captain of the high school football team and fought the good fight against the bushpigs.

                Well, until you knocked up Peg and had to take a job as a shoe salesman to support your new family.

                1. I was referring to the ineptitude of this current administration as far as the future goes, but the problems with the U.S. and Iran go back to the 1950s. We fucked up several times, with the final straw being taking the Shah in. Even if we felt we needed to take care of “our guy,” it could’ve been done indirectly, not with the U.S. playing the fool.

                  1. *I was referring to the ineptitude of this current administration as far as the future goes, but the problems with the U.S. and Iran go back to the 1950s*

                    Actually, they go back to the 40s, with the British playing their usual supporting role in pouring the foundation for conflicts a century in the future.

        2. How would a pro-communist government replacing Shah have led to liberal Iran, whether you (presuming you mean the US, Britain and Soviet Union have been fucking around there for decades prior) fucked around or not?

          Because the only remote unfair treatment of Iran prior to the revolution I can think of is not somehow preventing coup against Mosadegh* (mostly internal and Brit operation). And I’m not sure how getting a guy whose policy is nationalizing oil industry and kicking out foreign devils leads to liberal society. As far as economic progress, Iran was trading with the US under Shah, and was developing quite well, until revolution set them back decades.

          Sometimes, you get outplayed by religious folk. Iran was a case of that – overthrow of Shah was broad movement, with pro-western liberals and communists joining forces with religious parties. It’s just that Khomeini was much, much better at seizing power, and he sure as fuck wasn’t interested in free trade or integrating with US economic system.

          *Which is far less fucking with than, say, invading and deposing the Shah, as Soviets and Brits did in ’41.

          1. To be honest, a communist regime would have been better in the long run- there’s no religious revolution under communism.

            Also, they would have most likely fared as china or russia- less like North Korea.

            1. there’s no religious revolution under communism.

              Syria would love that to be true right now.
              Most likely path for Iranians would have been Cuba – remember, the pro-commie government would be less pro-Soviet, given both the history and the realities, but unlike many other isolationists governments, they’d have something worth selling.
              Actually, Syria sounds about right, unless, in a different universe, a Sadat-equivalent came to power. Then you might wind up with some thaw with US, tons of aid going to Iran and them getting caught up in Arab Spring equivalent, possibly getting a mullah government after all.
              Shah was reasonably economically liberal and far more politically liberal than either Nasserite-type socialist nationalists, Saudi clergy, Pakistani generals or Indonesia at the time. Iran was fully plugged into the global markets, policy was one of secularized and Westernized outlook, with nationalism thrown in, and Iran should have been South Korea of the Muslim world. But, liberals and commies got outplayed and Iranian people got to suffer for 35 years and counting.

            2. “To be honest, a communist regime would have been better in the long run-”

              Oh yes you are so fight. I agree with you NOT.

              Pease kindly tell the readership where and when a communist government has ever been best in the long run ?

          2. Like I said, it was the Cold War, and our focus was on the Soviets. I get that and understand that we had fewer options than hindsight would indicate. Still, we could’ve used our influence to get something either better than the Shah or to have pressured him to behave better. That doesn’t make everything our fault, but it was a missed opportunity. We didn’t realize how big an opportunity it was at the time, of course.

            1. But as Cold War dictators go, Shah was a moderate and a reformer. He was certainly less horrible than Pinochet, Tito, Deng, Batista or various South Americans juntas, and US had no problem dealing with them. Hell, if he was a proper dictator like the ones above, he’d probably have weathered the revolution.
              Primary blame for the mess goes straight onto the opposition, who decided not to take Khomeini seriously. So he took care of them in the ways Shah never dreamed of, and thus his regime ended up outlasting Shah’s.

              1. Well, no opportunity to change all of that now. Better just make them economically dependent by sending over Coke and Disney.

                1. That was pre-Revolution Iran, and sadly didn’t help.

          3. most people don’t know that we posed the 1st Shah who was a major reformer.

            He actually wanted Iran to be a republic like Turkey, but the mullahs convinced him to be king instead.

            Its ironic everyone jumps on restoring the shah as the bad move, not removing his dad.

    3. I just want to know, seeing that this was negotiated by the Obama administration, when do we go to nuclear war with Iran?

      1. Next week. Don’t worry, the missiles will miss DC and hit Maryland.

        1. That sounds about right on both counts.

        2. Well. I’ll start packing. Been itchin to get outta here for awhile anyway.

      2. *I just want to know, seeing that this was negotiated by the Obama administration, when do we go to nuclear war with Iran?*

        3rd week of January, 2017. Sorry President Cruz!

  9. And when Iran cheats, what then? We are in the exact position with Iran that we were with Saddam and Iraq. The only way to enforce this deal if by war. And since this deal involves both the US and the UN and the international community, the credibility of the entire international order now depends on its enforcement.

    And every country in the middle east is going to demand it be enforced. So this deal in all likelihood ensures that there will be a war with Iran. It is just a matter of time.

    I know the term “Munich 1936” is thrown around way too much. This however for once is actually an appropriate use for it. In the same way that deal both emboldened Hitler and left England and France with no choice but to resort to war after the next act of provocation and thus made war inevitable, this does the exact same thing.

    1. Don’t worry, John.

      Hillary will be POTUS when TSHTF.

    2. The term “Munich 1936” is thrown around way too much. This however for once is actually an appropriate use for it.

      Deep end, this is John. Say hello. You’ll be seeing a lot of each other.

      1. Mary is that you? I am thinking your obsession with me combined with your complete inability to grasp analogies or anything beyond the crudest of reasoning is giving you away.

        It always does. Get help Mary.

    3. Not really. From the look of it, we’re bound to pretend we never really cared in the first place when Iran produces their first fissionable bomb.

      1. No we won’t. That is where Suderman and a lot of other people are fooling themselves. The entire Middle East is terrified of Iran. Understand, they are not going to get nuclear weapons or if they get them war is going to follow in pretty quick order.

        This agreement like Munich likely ensures war not prevents it. If your hope is “we just don’t care and will walk away”, you have no hope because we are not doing that. If we were actually going to do that, we would have done it and wouldn’t be making a deal.

        1. I’m not sure it’s so much Munich, as we’re not in the region. For Israel, it might be, and it also may be for other countries in the area, especially with the instability going on these days.

          What I do think this will do is set off a major arms race in the Middle East, both of the conventional and nuclear variety. Israel and Saudi Arabia both have been cranking things up and likely will continue to do so. And when ISIS is finally defeated, look to see who takes over–that could be a major power in the region, too.

          1. ISIS is finally defeated, look to see who takes over-

            My money is on Erik Prince.

          2. IF it is Munich for the Middle East, it is Munich for us because we are going to get drug into any large war there.

            1. Perhaps. Frankly, I think we should just give up on trying to keep the region stable. It’s not working, and we’re better off moving on. It may mean trouble for a while, but I’m beginning to suspect that the region needs to find its own way to stability. That may mean war, but that’s happening now, anyway.

              I’m not thrilled with the idea of Iran having nukes, because they are ruled by some fucked-up people. But if that ever gets close to happening, I have a feeling others in the region will take matters in their own hands. It might not even just be Israel.

            2. We’re not going to get *drug into* any war, anywhere. We haven’t been drug into a war since WWII.

              We will, however, *gleefully* throw troops into that woodchipper at the first opportunity, like we’ve been doing since before I was born.

              1. Whatever you want to call it Agammamon, I think it is pretty naive to think the US would walk away and not be involved with a large middle eastern war. That may not be right but it is the way it is.

                And for that reason, this deal is horrible and ensures war.

                1. Well, the real key to that is whether it stayed a Middle Eastern war. I have trouble thinking that Russia wouldn’t try to take advantage of anything like that, which is one reason we may be reluctant to do the smart thing and leave.

                2. And for that reason, this deal is horrible and ensures war.

                  That’s a bold prediction.

                  1. I hope I am wrong Lee but that is how I see it. Feel free to rub it in when I am thankfully proven wrong, but I don’t think I will be.

                    1. Honestly, I think a general war is on the horizon there right now, without regard to this deal.

                    2. They are in a war right now. Everybody and their Salafist brother is in the remains of Iraq getting it on. Iran just hasn’t publicly declared and prefers to work thru proxies because of the risk from US intervention towards them.

                    3. I was thinking a little more widespread, but, yes, that’s true.

          3. “as we’re not in the region.”

            Whaaat ? but Osama said that was the very reason for 9/11. We are in the region. If fact we are all over the region. Just ask Ron Paul.

            I’m going with John on this one. Unless one of his posts has a typo we just don’t see right now.

            Cry Havoc ! And let slip the dogs of war !

            Seriously though. We recently fought a gureilla war Naval war with Iran that didn’t get the publicity it warranted. They wanted to close the strait and we wouldn’t let them. They insisted that their small boat , wolf pack type, attacks would work like u boats. It didn’t. They tried to use guerillia tactics on a naval battle. It worked about as well as it did in a desert. They finally gave up when we sank one of their top of the line cruisers, captianed by their Top Notch Capitan, effortlessly and that even after a warning to them we were going to do so.

            Everyone should read up on the Iranian and US naval conflicts when Iran was trying , or threatening to, close the strait to international oil shipments.

        2. Well, one consequence of the agreement might be a new arms race in the middle-east with other countries scrambling to get a bomb to counter Iran. Very comforting.

          1. There is no good end coming from all of this.

            1. I don’t disagree but in the end there isn’t a lot the US can do to stop a determined country from getting the bomb, short of war. The fracturing and deterioration of the power centers that kept the post-WWII world relatively stable led to this period of re-alignment that is likely to last for several more years, if not decades.

              1. There’s always global conquest. The United States of Earth, ruled from its capital in Ocala, Florida (chosen to placate the Scientologists).

                1. Ohhhh, that’s why the aliens targeted Florida in the Star Trek prequel! I thought it was because of the horrible offensiveness of Florida Man.

                  1. That shit pissed me off.

  10. The irony is that Reagan ARMED Iran and Obama is preventing Iran from developing nuclear arms.

    Sweet Jesus the wingnut talking points are ridiculous.

    1. Yeah shithead., Selling them a few conventional arms in return for hostages is totally like giving them nukes. God you are retarded Weigel.

    2. Johnson in the 1960;s gave the Iranians a nuclear research reactor using weapons grade uranium 90%.

      The Iranian in the 1980’s converted it to non-weapons grade 20%.

      However the weapons grade material is still in Iran in storage and it’s the only weapons grade material that is known to be in Iran.

    3. I’m surprised at you – nothing about Prescott Bush/Brown Brothers Harriman and the 3rd Reich?

      Your tinfoil hat’s slipping.

  11. All I know is Obama gives us left-handers a bad name.

    In other news…oh, this from Planned Parenthood selling body parts from partial abortions:

    Fake scandal. I know.

    1. Welp. My stomach is completely turned.

    2. There are many who besmirch our sinister selves.

      The Right-riarchy has held power for way too long. It is time, my gauche brothers and sisters, to rise up and show the power of the left handed nation!

    3. Just because organ markets gross you out doesn’t mean they should be illegal.
      If someone aborts a fetus, it seems perfectly legitimate to me to use it’s organs to save a baby that someone actually wants.

      1. I agree. I’m going to set up a preggers ranch in nevada.

        1. If you need any seed, I’m your man.

          1. “f you need any seed, I’m your man.”

            So you are Ok with some doctor reaching up inside your woman and grabbing Playa Manhatten Jr., a few inches before he was born and having some doctor reach up inside Playa’s woman and snipping Playa Manhattens son’s spinal cord seconds before he became Playa Manhatten’s son and killing him dead for ever ?

            I’ve read a lot of Playa Manhatten’s post here/ . I find it hard to believe the real Playa feel that way.

      2. So long as late-term abortion is legal, certainly. But it’s not a terrific argument in favor of treating fetuses from which recovering intact organs is viable as inconvenient waste material to be discarded at the mother’s discretion.

        1. Um…why not?

          1. Because non-viability is the thrust (and mind you, I say this as someone not explicitly settled on the issue) of defending late-term abortions. When you suggest that organs are recoverable and repurposed, it poke holes in that view.

            Also, I’m not clear what recovered organs and tissue is being used for. Hazel suggested transplants, but I’m not certain that’s correct. It seems more likely research.

            1. They’re being used for stem cell research.

            2. Yeah, it is probably for research purposes. Although the point about it not being wrong just because it grosses you out is still legit. A hundred years ago people thought it was gross for doctors to dissect human corpses, and yet there was a healthy market in cadavers.

              1. Dead corpses and live babies. Same thing, right?

                1. These are murdered baby parts, not live ones.

                  Since she seems to be on the supply end of the market I wonder if she is in support of price controls for baby lungs and baby hearts or if the government should dictate the “market” price ??

                  What an evil heartlessbitch. She seemed to take pleasure in being able to be casually act like she was enjoying her meal while discussing the sale of late term abortion baby parts.

                  I suppose it demonstrates market “chops” to act like that, if she was indeed acting.

      3. “If someone aborts a fetus, it seems perfectly legitimate to me to use it’s organs to save a baby that someone actually wants.”

        But it’s different to someone who thinks abortion is wrong, especially since a buyer sellers market for fetuses would increase abortions.

      4. Can you actually use anything form a fetus in a newborn? Wouldn’t it depend on the age of the unborn human? I mean, it stands to reason that if a newborn needs a kidney or whatever, then the transplant has to come from a human roughly the same age – so a late term abortion, right?

        1. IIRC, organs develop around the 5th month. I guess a kidney or liver from a 5 month old fetus would be small, but I wonder if the stem cells to keep it growing would be active.
          You could theoretically also do fetal to fetal transplants. I’ve heard of doctors operating to correct heart defects in unborn babies.

          1. Emotionally, and perhaps morally, it all seems visceral, calculated and callous if not wrong. These are living organism being put to death and then body parts are sold.

            On the other hand people make their choices and decisions and at that point it becomes like anything else in the market. There are buyers for just about anything and in this case, and I admit to not knowing much beyond this point, it’s used for scientific research.

            1. I might add, though, in the context of PP (a tax payer funded organization), what this person is doing in the video is against the law.

              1. That’s really not clear at all from the content of the video, and the fact that she talks about her own lawyers’ advice on the subject makes me skeptical.

                1. Good point.

                2. maybe we could start an online auction for specific baby parts and the potential parents of a baby might find it economically to their advantage to kill theirs in the womb, sell the lungs to a richer family, and then just try to get pregnant again incase the government doesn’t increase their EBT card amounts ?

                  People have always accused some of having babies to get more government benefits. Is this a way to take it to the private sector with progressive approval ?

                  What could possibly go wrong ?

                  This is some fucked up shit all the way around.

  12. This whole Iran deal is pretty much like the kid with all the awesome toys telling the poor kid that he can’t even have a toy truck. As a gesture of good faith, I suggest that the US start reducing its nuclear weapon stockpile. The best way to accomplish this would be to fire them into every country that is not the US. Once that’s been done, we can revisit the whole toy distribution thing.

    1. Krugman approves! Think of the economic growth!

  13. The deal, as Reason’s Shikha Dalmia wrote this morning, may turn out to be the worst possible option?except for all others.

    Eventually the old conservative Mullahs will die off as a new more liberal Iran gets the fever to make money and step out of the 8th Century.

    1. If there’s one thing political insurgents in middle eastern countries seem to want, it’s a little bit of liberal reform.

      1. They’ll be ready for freedom ten years from now.

      2. Palin’s Buttplug is legitimately stupid enough not to realize that Iran has been going the opposite direction since the Revolution. 1960s Tehran was more Westernized than today.

        1. So was much of the Middle East.

          Serious question, other than Israel, what country in the region is more westernized today than the 1950’s or 60’s? One of the gulf countries like UAE?

          1. Most of them, really. Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, large chunks of Gulf States, hell, even Saudi Arabia.

            Don’t confuse “secular” with “Westernized.” Many Arab nations were straight up Soviet imitators at the time, and have Westernized since at least as much as former Warsaw Pact states.

            1. Saudi, and all it’s Whabbi minions are so much not Westernized these days than they were in the past. They continue to get less and less Westernized because of the threat the Whabbis present to the Saudi family rulers.

              This entire Islam fundamentalist movement can be laid at the foot of the Saudis who gave money and turned a blind eye to their actions so the Saudi family could stay in power and gete the money into personal bank accounts.

              Whabbism is a violent interpretation of Islam that isn’t radical, it’s fundamental and they have been spreading it from their inception.

              1. Once upon a time on a Island far far away called Zanzibar there was a Muslim Prince who ruled in a fair way among all his subjects. There was much free trade between his Island and the British and the Indians and anyone else who came to his Island with goods to trade. He was much hated by the Whabbis on the mainland who only wanted to cut his throat because he was an aspostate to them and they didn’t care about trade with non Muslims unless the non Muslims paid jizzia as well as traded in the Whabbis favor. This wasn’t free trade as those others understood it. It was more like the recent trade deals the US is “negotiating” where some peoples trade is more free than others. This young Muslim Prince had this heterical idea that the Christians , Jews , and all the African religions from the interior should be treated the same in his kingdom because that is what made him the most money. The Islamist Whabbis finally destroyed his city and his fort on the beautiful Island of Zanzibar and they cut his head off.

                The End.

                Sleep Well

  14. Is every fucking troll on earth here today? I’ve seen Tulpa, Shreek, Bo, and Hihn so far.

    1. Troll = Someone who escaped the GOP Plantation.

      1. Or someone who uses lies, ad hominem, and straw men instead of arguments.

        1. That pretty much describes every progressive out there.

          1. It’s not a lie if they actually believe it Sarc, and plenty of them do.

    2. I’ve seen Tulpa, Shreek, Bo, and Hihn so far.

      The funny thing about the regulars vs. the trolls is that the regulars don’t realize that they, too, are trolls. Everyone here is trolling. That’s what blog commenting is.

      1. That may be the most honest thing you’ve ever said Tulpa. Retarded and incorrect, but I think you actually believe it.

        1. It’s trolls all the way down!

          1. It’s trolls all the way down!

            But we can have at least couple Tauren for tanking, right?

      2. Dude, that’s, like, so meta. But if everybody is a troll then nobody is one.

        1. mind = blown

      3. I troll you
        You troll me
        We’re a trolling family…

        1. Trolls from the Left of me
          Trolls from the Right-
          Here i am, stuck in the middle with libertarians

    3. All we’re missing is American Socialist.

  15. There should ve a betting market for “Country most likely to use a nuclear weapon” , with options for in the next 10, 25 and 50 years.

    My guess is that Iran, North Korea and the US would come out with the highest odds.
    Maybe Pakistan, but that would be more like to be under “most likely to have a nuclear weapon stolen from them”.

    1. I think Pakistan is more likely to sell weapons, though the cover story would involve theft. Preferably blaming India.

      At some point, every country on the planet will have WMDs of some sort. Atomic bombs are 70 year-old technology, and there are other dangerous weapons that are being and will be developed. So we need to grow up soon, or we’ll definitely be seeing mass death in war again, on a global level.

      1. Personally, i intend to spend the future surrounded at all times by my own nano-aerostat immunity shield, which will take care of any harmful nanites, disease vectors, or radioactive fallout before it can spoil my day.

      2. They may be old technology, but they’re still really fucking expensive to develop and make.

      3. Pakistan is very likely to sell nukes to the Gulf states once Iran has them.

        The US is certain not to use them as a first strike. The question is who is likely to use them as a first strike. Pakistan isn’t or they would have by now. Israel might because it is so small and so threatened.

        The thing to remember is that Iran can survive even an Israeli retaliation of 50 nukes. Iran is a big country. Fifty fission bombs would kill a lot of people but what do the Mullahs care? They would be safe in their bunkers and would survive the counter strike. In fact, killing that many Iranians might make things safer for the Mullahs since their biggest fear is popular uprising.

        Meanwhile, four or five nukes would wipe Israel off the map. It is too small of a country to survive such.

        1. Hence why I hardly hold it against them given their defensive posture in the region.

        2. nah. 4 or 5 nukes woould destroy any country

          Israeil is more likely to give nukes to Saudi if iran gets them.

          The Saudi rulers aren’t Islamist. They are monetariest. They have enabled the Whabbist to spread Whabbism, the most virulent form of Islam, because the Whabbis told them if they would fund the spread of Whabbism they wouldn’t take out the Saudi family. It was a short sided bargain for the Saudis but it’s holding true for now.

          So, I say the Israelies woud give nukes to the Saudi ruling family if it counter acts the Iranian mullahs from having a bludgeon on the Isralies or the Saudis.

          Let’s get the US out of fucking there. The Middle East is too much tribal bullshit going back 2000 years and we cannot deal with or understand the undercurrents of life there.

          Yankee Go Home!

      4. I’m of the opinion that nukes ended “total war”. Fear of extinction can have useful effects.

        1. I think we’ve been exceedingly lucky. And the check is overdue.

          1. So far, history has disagreed. Mutually assured destruction, for all its faults, worked. Had the cost of going to war with the Soviet Union not been so staggeringly high, I believe we would have engaged them directly in Eastern Europe, instead of fighting multiple smaller wars thru proxies.

            1. With big countries with lots to lose and plenty of power and resources in place without having to wipe out the opponent. That’s less clearly true with countries like Iran and North Korea. Especially if nukes get stolen, sold, or given away to terror groups. I think a terrorist nuclear attack is highly likely at some point. Regardless of the results of this Iran deal, incidentally.

            2. *Had the cost of going to war with the Soviet Union not been so staggeringly high, I believe we would have engaged them directly in Eastern Europe*

              Nonsense. We didn’t even engage Hitler directly until he stupidly declared war on us.

              We had half the military in Europe in Summer of 1945 *and* had nuclear monopoly and *still* did nothing as the Soviets set up puppet regimes in what became the Warsaw Pact bloc.

              We do nothing until our hands are forced. That’s the US strategic plan, right there.

            3. It has worked with the small number of nuclear armed countries so far.

              However, the US has actively worked to reduce the number of countries, especially those with very close enemies, as the response time is so short that poor decisions could be made by mistake.

              Thus, the US pushed Taiwan and S. Korea to stop their programs for this reason. IIRC, Taiwan would have a 30 second “use it or lose it” decision when they saw a first strike from China.

              What’s the flight time between Iran and Saudi?

      5. North Korea would win for “most likely to use nuclear weapons on themselves” , but they would claim it was an accident.

        1. No, they’d claim the U.S. did it, and lob a couple of missiles halfway to Japan in retaliation.

          1. Hmm, I was thinking they would nuke some dissident uprising, but now that that you put it that way, they might just nuke themselves by accident and then blame it on the US. I mean, even the paranoid regime wouldn’t be able to admit it was an accident, so of course they would have to. And then, of course, they would leak some conspiracy theory into the far-left media (some place like infoshop or znet) claiming that the US infiltrated the place with nuclear armed sleeper agents, to gin up some sympathy from the inevtiable anti-American quarters in the US and European left.

            1. This would make a great James Bond movie.

        2. No, they’d blame it on the south.

          1. The South shall rise again!

            Oh… that south….

      1. Really? Who would the Russians nuke? A NATO ally?
        The only territory they want is too close to Europe for that not to lead to an extreme NATO response. Unless we’re talking some POS islands in the Pacific or Kazakstan or something, but the Russians pretty much control those places already. Maybe a territorial dispute with Mongolia. Weak opponent who can be counted on not to respond and some territory somewhere that won’t scare the shit out of Europe.

        1. I think a Russian war against China is more likely than a war against Western Europe.

          1. I don’t think either is likely. Russia is a bully, and bullies pick on the weak. China has nuclear weapons and, I’m just guessing, but I think fewer moral qualms about using them if attacked. They certainly don’t have any religious or ethnic heritage that is shared with the Russians.

            1. The theory is that Russian Far East will tempt China into a grab at some point, due to continual decline in Russian population. Sort of similar thing to what China is doing now in the Pacific, making islands, claiming it’s their territory and then extending territorial waters around them.

              1. China’s focus on the Pacific is primarily driven by economic and trade interest though, i.e. they want to have territorial control of at least some of their shipping lanes to counter U.S. Pacific fleet dominance/their big unsinkable aircraft carrier (Japan). Siberia’s got natural resources of course, but it’s much more of a backwater.

              2. That’s why I don’t worry so much about more Russian attacks in Eastern Europe. If they got into a real fight with NATO, China would grab Siberia.

            2. Chinese stockpile is nothing compared to Russia’s and their missiles aren’t exactly top tier. A direct conflict between them as stable powers is unlikely, but if one were to destabilize the other might try to take advantage. Say, Siberian nationalists in Russia getting support from China, or mass Chinese protests and riots for democracy or something. That’s where the real problem begins.

              1. The hypothetical situation is some combination of Russian Sibera emptying out and China needing something to do with all the young men.

                Nukes are overrated as a deterrent to small-scale warfare. Say you are Putin, and Chinese “volunteers” start the same shit you started in Ukraine. At which point you decide you want Moscow and St. Petersburg to go up in flames? Because that is what happens when you push the button. First, you are better of trying to engage with conventional weapons. Then, if that doesn’t work, chemicals? Tac nukes? Or just keep it to missiles, shells, bullets and eventually one side decides to back down.

        2. *The only territory they want is too close to Europe for that not to lead to an extreme NATO response.*

          Putin could nuke a target in Europe and Obama and Kerry would do nothing.

          1. jmomis you are so full of shit

            Kerry would come out and verbally condem that shit so fast it would make your head spin. He was a warrior in Vietnam, or don’t you remember ? Why, he even brought his own video camera to record his heroic exploits just so assholes like you would never forget.

            You’re just one of those team player guys.

  16. It doesn’t make any logical sense as to why Iran would want a nuke for offensive purposes. Using one in aggression would guarantee the total destruction of the country. Rulers like power, and they generally don’t do stuff that would guarantee them losing their power. Maybe they really are batshit crazy, but I’m not convinced. What does make sense is their wanting one for defensive purposes. Especially considering that our government has invaded two of their neighbors. Like I said, rulers like their power. Having defensive nukes might help them to retain it.

    Of course our government doesn’t want them to have any nukes for the same reason cops prefer peasants to be unarmed. They’re easier to bully.

    1. I doubt Iran wants nukes for overt offensive purposes, but they would be very useful to become a stronger player in the region – especially coupled with the unfreezing of overseas assets and the ability to sell oil again. Iran wants to be the dominant power in the Middle-east and having the bomb will go a long way towards advancing that.

      1. Even the possibility of them handing one over to terrorists would be a very dangerous play.

    2. They started these programs during the Iran-Iraq war.

      And they probably don’t want an actual bomb, but instead the rapid ability to make a bomb.

      I’m not sure that’s actually safer.

    3. an exporter of terrorim is much les likely to face armed retallation for their proxy war if they are nuclear than if they are not.

      Nukes just give Iran a freer hand than a non nuclear Iran has.

  17. Nuclear weapons are a fool’s errand. You cannot use them. The US spent decades and billions of dollars trying to figure how to use nukes in a war without triggering a full-blown holocaust. We never succeeded despite the intense desire to find a solution.

    If Iran or one of it’s proxies were to use a nuke, Iran would cease to exist. The cost of developing nuclear weapons is exorbitantly high but the cost of using them is even higher.

    Creveld on Nuclear Iran

    Since 1945 hardly one year has gone by in which some voices ? mainly American ones concerned about preserving Washington’s monopoly over nuclear weapons to the greatest extent possible ? did not decry the terrible consequences that would follow if additional countries went nuclear. So far, not one of those warnings has come true. To the contrary: in every place where nuclear weapons were introduced, large-scale wars between their owners have disappeared.

    1. First, we know now that the US and Soviets nearly went to war by accident at least twice during the cold war. Eventually your luck runs out. If the future is a future of various nations holding nuclear weapons at each other’s throats, there is no future because eventually someone will either by accident or insanity start a nuclear war. And remember even a small nuclear exchange would have devastating environmental affects on the entire world.

      If your goal in life is to destroy Israel and you have a big enough country to withstand a significant retaliation like Iran does, nuclear weapons are not such a fool’s errand. Are they that crazy? I don’t know. I think you can with certainty the deaths of their own people isn’t going to deter them. It is hardly certain what they are and that doesn’t seem like a chance worth taking given the stakes involved.

      1. Basically, we’re approaching the Great Filter, huh.

      2. Lefttards insist that more guns equate to more violence, but that simply is not the case. As I see it, nukes are to countries what firearms are to society. What’s that saying about an armed society? Perhaps that applies to countries as well.

      3. The same could be said of the Pakistanis and Indians, who do engage each other militarily on a regular basis. Iran, for all of its mullahs, is still a rational actor.

        1. No Lee the same can’t be said. India is a huge country. Nuke wouldn’t destroy it. Isreal is a tiny country and nukes could actually wipe it off the map. So MADD works between India and Pakistan in a way that it doesn’t work between Iran and Israel.

          Moreover, whatever its flaws, the Pakistani and Indian governments are concerned with its own people’s welfare in a way the Mullahs in Iran are not. They are therefore deterred by the threat of retaliation in a way Iran isn’t.

          1. Iran wants to exist. Attacking Israel (or anybody for that matter) with a nuke would be a direct violation of that interest.

            1. Iran wants to exist. Attacking Israel (or anybody for that matter) with a nuke would be a direct violation of that interest.

              You confuse Iran’s interests writ large with the interests of its leaders. The deaths of a few million of its people would be a good thing to the Iranian leaders. It would end the possibility of a popular uprising and allow them to blame all of the country’s troubles on the evil Jews. Meanwhile, they would survive and would be able to law claim to being the great Islamic heroes who destroyed the Jewish state once and for all.

              It is a mistake to think everyone thinks like you. Some people really are evil. Some people may love their own children but care absolutely nothing for anyone else’. The Mullahs are not the Soviets. They are not trying to make Iran into the Islamic paradise. They are trying to make the world into that and get themselves into heaven in the next life.

              I think it is hard for someone who is secular to understand that. Some people really take their religion seriously and take its logic to its ultimate conclusion. The Mullahs show every sign of being just such people.

              1. If Stalin was not evil, then no one has ever been.

                Besides which, Iran is more likely to use nukes on the Shiites/Wahhabis than the Israelis.

                1. Stalin was plenty evil. But that doesn’t mean he thinks the same way the Mullahs do. And Stalin was totally unbothered by the deaths of his own people. IF starting a nuclear war had been in his interests, he would have done it.

                  Understand the US had thousands of nukes. Israel has maybe dozens. So the US possessed a deterrent against Stalin Israel doesn’t against Iran. If Stalin had thought he could defeat the US at the cost of say 20% of his population, I am pretty sure he would have nuked us.

                  1. Stalin was first and foremost paranoid. Most of his actions were explainable as acts of self-preservation thru violence against those closest to him and areas already under his control. In fact, being Stalin’s trusted adviser was probably the most dangerous job in the Soviet Union.

                    That said, Stalin was not motivated to attack the USA. He was motivated to guarantee his own survival. Trotsky and the Fourth international would have been much more likely to start a full-blown war in order to spread the gospel of communism.

                    1. Stalin was first and foremost paranoid. Most of his actions were explainable as acts of self-preservation thru violence against those closest to him and areas already under his control.

                      That describes every tyrant who ever lived.

                2. Besides which, Iran is more likely to use nukes on the Shiites/Wahhabis than the Israelis

                  I think you mean Sunnis.

                  Wahhabi is a sect of the Sunni branch. The Iranians are primarily Shiites.

      4. The US pressured both south Korea and Taiwan to end their nuclear weapons programs in the 80’s.

        Taiwan would be in a much better position with nukes, and they are a very sane country.

        However, they also would only have a 30 second window in which to decide to shoot back against a perceived first strike.

        This is why we don’t want them to have weapons.

        And the more weapons, the more chance of error.

        Look at guns in America. We have accidental shootings. Its a small price to pay.

        But nuclear weapons accidental spasm war would be very bad.

      5. And the threat of nuclear offensive or defensive action costs the US ( US motherfuckers) much more $ in defensive armory and posture.

    2. The danger is that Iran uses the defensive umbrella of Nukes to free itself for local, territorial gains. Like Russia over the last decade, Iran will be more free to make conventional war on its neighbors.

      It will also step up its strategic support of belligerents in Syria, Lebanon and across the world.

      The worst case scenario is that Iran believes it can use a proxy to detonate a nuke on a western power. People insist that this would result in the glassing of Iran, but I am not so sure. Were a nuke to pop off in the harbor off of Boston, it would take weeks or possibly months to figure out where that nuke came from. And who would believe it when the US came out and said, “Definitely Iran!” And who would support a nuclear strike months after the fact? Especially if that meant Iran would launch nukes on whatever targets it was capable of hitting at the time (perhaps much of central Europe).

      So how much plausible deniability does Iran need in order to prevent retaliation from the US? Unfortunately there is no objective answer as no one can predict the future. But it is a calculation that Iranian leaders will always have in the back of their minds. And we have little input into that calculation.

      1. Exactly that Overt. I don’t think it is clear at all that we would glass Iran if they managed to set off a nuke here. And even if we did, so fucking what? Killing a bunch of Iranians wouldn’t bring our people back.

        The worst part is that if a nuke ever did go off in this country, the very people who are now telling us “don’t worry if they ever nuked us we would make Iran a parking lot” would be screaming how we can’t overreact and retaliate.

        People like Suderman and Shikha and the rest of the Reason staff are just not serious people when it comes to this issue.

        1. I think this scenario is one to worry about. Everyone assumes that the only way Iran uses a nuke is a deliberate first strike out of the blue on Israel or the US. There are many, many ways that a small conflict or terrorist attack in the middle east could escalate to Iran popping off a nuke. The odds of that increase as you get more and more countries in the area with nukes.

          Bottom line, them (and others like the Saudis) having nukes raises exponentially the risks of a nuclear exchange. It’s just entropy into the system.

        2. Unfortunately, the geo political reality is that Iran will have nukes in the next ten years. The best thing that could happen is that regional players also get their own nukes. The technology of the region will mean they have their own regional MAD compact, and they will be forced to the bargaining table to settle issues.

          The fact is, America has grown quite tired of war in the middle east, such that I don’t think you will find any appetite for meaningful entanglement in that region for the foreseeable future. Instead we will continue our milquetoast engagement similar to what we are doing in Iraq today, which is even worse.

          Our current engagement in the region continues to leave us as a target and scapegoat for all the region’s self-induced problems. At the same time, our light response will make us appear weak. As a result, we will look like a big dog, with little bite which will make attack on us that much more likely.

          But what is the alternative? Abandoning the region all together could help us. However, it almost certainly dooms Israel for the reasons others have noted elsewhere- they are too easy to destroy in a nuclear exchange. We will also see the dissolution of Iraq into multiple states, with horrible violence in the process.

          All that said, complete disengagement with a treaty signed with Israel could do the work. We do away with petty ante “advisors” and “Logistical support” with the understanding that we will only ever enter the region again with full force.

          1. All the regional players in the Middle East acquiring nukes isn’t comforting to me. These are shitty corrupt governments prone to falling. In the ensuing chaos, the local terrorists load a nuke into a truck and head towards the nearest concentration of people they hate.

            The ensuing exchange would, at best, destroy the flow of fuel out of the Middle East and start a global depression. At worst it sparks a global nuclear war.

          2. I can’t imagine a situation where we just leave the middle east and abandon Israel. There is no way you just say: “we will defend Israel if they are attacked”. That is the rub, it’s after the fact and Israel can’t recover from a nuclear attack. That is the fundamental problem with MAD in the middle east. The US will have to continue to intervene ahead of time to try to prevent a nuclear attack upon Israel.

            1. Which means an attack on the US is more likely.

              As I noted, there are two basic assumptions: 1) Iran is going to get a nuke and 2) The US is unwilling to do more than token assistance in the region.

              Based on those two givens (and I think they are unavoidable realities), a choice to remain engaged in the reason is a choice to invite attack. The worst thing we can do is perform a tepid intervention in the region (like we are doing in Iraq) as it continues to anger various factions and convinces them that we are a paper tiger that they can strike at to score publicity points with no realistic response.

              The US will have to continue to intervene ahead of time to try to prevent a nuclear attack upon Israel.

              Given my point #2 above, I don’t honestly see how we could ever intervene in time to prevent an attack on Israel. I see Iran and Russia as essentially the same type of governments- ego driven and aggressive but still cautious. NATO has been a decent deterrent to them (note that they are not attacking NATO countries). If we entered into a similar compact with Israel and maybe Jordan, it is probably the best we can accomplish.

  18. Cirincione says that the deal “eliminates the three ways Iran could build a bomb”?with uranium enriched in centrifuges, with plutonium made using nuclear reactors, and in a secret facility.

    If it was a secret facility, wouldn’t that be a … SECRET? In a really large country with plenty of places to hide stuff?

    Methinks someone hasn’t thought this through.

    1. And remember, the same people who are telling you that are also saying that bombing is not an option because we don’t know where all of their facilities are and thus nothing short of a land invasion could be sure to eliminate their capability. Yet, they are now telling us we can trust the UN to inspect all of these secret sites that we don’t know the location of and can’t bomb.

      1. John, PB just outed you as Lindsey Graham upthread. The jig is up!

        1. I don’t think John is gay, so that seems unlikely.

        2. To the extent that I could play on the other team, not with Lindsey Graham. EWWW. Is all can say to that.

  19. “All I know is Obama gives us left-handers a bad name.”

    Funny you should mention that. It reaffirms that notion in my head every time a I see him sign something. It gives me something concrete to latch onto to explain the man.

    The list of lefty presidents is not flattering. Reagan went both ways. Who’da figured being a cowboy and all.

  20. “Let me be perfectly clear: this deal isn’t even a deal. It’s a pile of shit. But that’s ok, because I don’t give a fuck about Israel, Saudi Arabia, or any of our other allies in the Middle East. And I especially don’t give a fuck about Congress, because they can’t do anything to me! Thank you all, and go to hell.”-The Lightbringer in Chief

  21. The deal, as Reason’s Shikha Dalmia wrote this morning, may turn out to be the worst possible option?except for all others.

    How about a hypothetical deal where we don’t give them billions in aid for nothing? Would that not be better? The only part in the article where I saw that mentioned was in listing the “predictable Republican” responses.

    1. Last time they used the term “billions in aid” while referring to a deal with Iran, it actually meant releasing billions of Iran’s frozen assets. While I’m not certain that is the case here, I hold any statements of that nature suspect until confirmed.

      1. That’s true, I should’ve used a different phrase

      2. That’s true, I should’ve used a different phrase

    2. Ten years ago when there was no possibility of lifting the sanctions and people worried Bush was going to bomb them, the mantra was how great the sanctions were and how they were working. Now that the option of bombing them is off the table, we are told the sanctions were a waste of time and there is no alternative but to lift them.

      It is almost as if the logic changes to ensure the position is always pro Iranian or something.

      1. Do they equate pro-Iranian with non-interventionist? That’s the only explanation I can think of for why the foreign policy articles always veer that way. Maybe they honestly think that Iran is a victim.

        1. Not necessarily. It is just that when the position changes and always to one that benefits Iran you start to wonder about the person holding it.

          You are a non-interventionist and I wouldn’t call you Pro Iranian. That is because you are consistent and admit that there are alternatives between war and just rolling over.

          I don’t want to intervene either.

  22. “…relies on verification by independent inspectors…”

    Again, the inspectors have to give notice and ask permission. This will just be a game for a couple of years until the first test bomb is detonated.

    1. this strategy worked out so well in the aftermath of the first Gulf War when Saddam opened up every corner of Iraq to any and every UN inspector who wanted a look-see. What? That didn’t happen?

    2. Or they kick the inspectors out or not let them go where they want to. We have been down this road before with Iraq and it ended in war.

      1. That’s actually one of the more interesting questions. Are we less likely or more likely to go to war with Iran now?

        1. I see Iran biding its time until it has the nuke, then being more active in claiming territory regionally. Whether this makes the US more likely to go to war or not depends on how smart Iran is in choosing its targets.

          1. It can choose as many ‘targets’ as it pleases.

            Even if a nation’s arsenal is 3 nukes, it can threaten many targets. The trick, of course, is not launching more than 2 nukes.

            America will do nothing substantive, no matter what the *threats* are. And maybe, not even after a couple of middle eastern cities are vitrified car parking lots.

            1. Depends what single person is running America at the time. Because that’s all it takes now, one man or woman willing to kill people and blow shit up. Not Congress, which is a questionable enough control as it is.

              1. I agree. Do you honestly believe that if a nuke goes off in Tel Aviv and it isn’t an obvious missle from Iran that Obama nukes the hell out of Iran? I honestly am not sure. I think he would lecture us to be calm and level headed and not freak out like we did after 9/11. Don’t hate all the Muslims and Iranians, etc. I would wonder if he would actually DO anything.

                I think the Iranians know this and will cheat on this agreement. Thankfully, they won’t get a bomb before Jan of 2017. Now, it all depends on who get elected next.

                1. With all the inspections, we will at least have a radioactive signature on the Iranian stuff. I believe we would be able to trace it to them versus Pakistan or NK. Doesn’t matter who delivered it, the original owners are going to get vaporized by pissed off Israelis.

    3. ” inspectors have to give notice and ask permission”

      So, as sarc frequently notes, the inspectors are totally FREE! Yay! See what a great agreement this is!!!

  23. “In your dream, Obama is not a scam”
    “In your dream, George Bush was not a scam”
    “In your dream, Clinton was not a scam”
    “In your dream, Reagan was not a scam”
    “In your dream, all the rest were not a scam”
    “In your dream, the constitution was not a scam”…….”

    But by all means, dream on!!!! 🙂

    Quotes from original music and lyrics: “Dreams[ Anarchist Blues]”:

    Regards, onebornfree.

    Personal Freedom Consultant:

  24. But Preble argues that simply objecting to the specifics in this agreement isn’t enough, especially given the history of foreign policy failures in the Middle East.

    Then, on this one at least, Preble is a moron. What he’s posing is a variant of the “do something” argument. Because the prospect of another Middle East War is undesirable, it does not follow that we must agree to the current agreement. That simply does not follow. m

  25. You know who else made agreements to restrain their behavior that could later be broken…

    1. The Federation when they banned cloaking devices, only to be developing them in secret later on?

      1. That’s a stupid idea for a treaty and a poor plot device.

    2. NBC, with Conan O’Brien?

    3. Christian Grey?

    4. Christian Grey?

    5. squirrels?

  26. I suspect that Iran is a lot like, wait for it, Japan when it comes to nukes.

    They have been building up stockfiles of bomb-grade uranium, and researching the tech, and generally doing everything right up to the edge of actually making and testing a bomb.

    So that, when they time is right, they can crank one out in pretty short order.

    Whether this deal really changes any of that, I don’t know. It certainly doesn’t make their timeline to an actual bomb any longer, though.

    One thing this deal has done, though, is make it perfectly clear to everyone else in the Middle East (Israel, Iraq, Saudi, etc.) that we aren’t their friends, and are certainly not even a reliable ally. It has destroyed what was left of our other relationships in the area.

    So, on the downside, much diplomatic damage, possibly an acceleration of Iran getting the bomb. On the upside . . . I got nuthin’.

    1. If I were Japan, I’d be building nukes by the truckload right now.

      1. I honestly believe that Japan has no nukes right now, but in less than a year could probably be the No. 3 nuclear power in the world. And that’s by design.

        For their sake, I hope so.

        1. China certainly isn’t going to become friendlier as its economy goes down the toilet.

        2. “I honestly believe that Japan has no nukes right now, but …”

          The Japanese laws against establishing a military will disappear at some point, and you’ll see just how much ‘dual use’ technology they have at their disposal. They’re well equipped and if you look at some of their ‘civil defense’ technology, it’s pretty advanced.

          I wouldn’t worry too much about Japan’s ability to protect itself.

          1. Can you say, GIANT MILITARIZED ROBOTS?

        3. Japan and Korea could both put together nukes in about the time it would take me to reassemble my M16.

        4. Rumor has it that there is a single lever in one of Japan’s breeder reactors that can be turned for an immediate switch to full time Pu239 production.

    2. One thing this deal has done, though, is make it perfectly clear to everyone else in the Middle East (Israel, Iraq, Saudi, etc.) that we aren’t their friends, and are certainly not even a reliable ally.

      That sounds like an upside.

  27. The situation with Iran got me thinking of William the Conqueror. William’s invasion of England was from the Anglo Saxon perspective totally irrational. No one had ever tried to transport an army including its horses over the channel. On top of that, the Normans, while descended from Vikings were no longer a seafaring people. William had to put his entire army on boats that no one was sure would even make the trip with no idea what the whether held knowing that a single storm would destroy everything he had. Even if he got across he would have a small isolated army in a hostile country. His only hope was to get across the Channel and have Harold do the dumbest thing possible and come out and meet him in a decisive battle the loss of which would result in Harold’s death. It was a one in ten thousand shot. It was totally irrational for him to try it. Yet he did and William was anything but irrational. Why?

    He did it because he was a bastard with a tenuous claim to the dukedom he held and he had told everyone that Edward had promised him the thrown of England. When Edward died and Harold took the thrown, William had painted himself in a corner. To do nothing meant looking weak to his barons and likely one of them murdering him and taking his dukedom. His only choice was to promise his followers huge rewards and beg and cajole them into taking the one and ten thousand chance of taking the throne of England. So that quite rationally was what he did.

    1. What does this have to do with Iran? Simple. The dove line of thinking is that the Iranian leaders don’t really mean it when they say they are going to build nuclear weapons and destroy Isreal and the US. The party line is that they are just saying this for effect and don’t mean it. Okay, suppose that is true. If they are saying it for effect, they are saying it for the effect it has on their followers who are apparently true believers who think such a thing is a good idea. Now what happens in five years or ten years and Iran gets nukes and then just as you predict does nothing with them and doesn’t make good on their word to destroy Israel and the US. What happens then? What do you think the true believers are going to do? My guess they are going to react just like William’s barons and look at the Mullahs as blowhards and sellouts to the revolution. When that happens the Mullahs are going to have a very hard time holding onto power and will face the real threat of their underlings murdering them and taking over.

      Given that situation, it would be entirely rational for them to take the one in a thousand shot at war over the certainty of a horrible death. Anyone who thinks that Iran using nukes on Israel or the US would automatically be irrational doesn’t understand how power works and the calculus of leaders who have nothing to lose.

      1. John, I’m not sure you’re going in the right direction here, because you see the motivations of the mullahs to being aligned with maintaining power. You’re applying what you consider ‘rational analysis’ to the problem.

        If you want to get religious about this, let’s not forget that there’s a significant “Twelver” constituency to the Iranian leadership, and given their curious beliefs in The Return, they may want to immanentize the eschaton.

        If we need to be concerned that Iran will act ‘irrationally’, it won’t be the calculus of ‘maintaining power’ that should be of greatest concern, it’s the reality of some barking lunatic pressing the button because he’s the Mahdi.

        Having said that – *IF* Iran presses the button, it’s likely to be someone in the Middle East that gets a thermonuclear mushroom of butthurt. America may be the Great Shaitan, but we’re a long way off and the Shia have scores to settle far closer to home.

        1. The problem is that once you are in power the way the Mullahs are, the only way out is feet first. Their own people despise them and would kill them first opportunity. So holding onto power is necessary to stay alive.

          And yes, my argument assumes they are not no kidding religious nuts. And there is nothing that says they are not really that crazy. And even if there is, there isn’t enough to make me want to bet my life on it, which is effectively what letting them have nukes does.

    2. Irrational? Hardly. It’s well documented that Harold Godwinson considered the William the Bastard a credible threat.

      If you want words that are more appropriate than “Irrational” – try “ballsy”, “desperate” or “ambitious”. Was an amphibious assault, possibly against a fortified bridgehead risky? Sure, but it wasn’t unheard of.

      One in 10.000? Please. William had reliable intelligence that even if Harold’s fyrd were going to be anywhere Senlac Hill, they’d be exhausted from a forced march from two prior engagements.

      1. But even with all of that, he still would have lost had Herold not fallen into depression over the Papal Bull and resigned himself to what amounted to a single trial by combat. Harold’s brother Tostig told him to leave the Army and go back and raise another while he took on William. Had Harold done that, the victory at Hastings would have been one of the great Pyrrhic victories in history. It would have left a victorious but greatly weakened Norman Army easy pickings for the army Harold would have raised in the mean time.

        And sure Harold considering him a threat, but he had to. The fact remains the odds of William succeeding were very small. He only did it because his other choice was to look weak and likely end up dead.

    3. Well, England had been invaded many times by Danes and Germans.

      Helped that Harald Hardrada – King of Norway – landed a massive army in northern England a few weeks earlier. Then decided to have a picnic and got caught without most of their armor away from their boats and wiped out by the English Army.

      Harold should have waited to raise the fyrd (militia) and let his army recover from Stamford Bridge. Sounds like William was trying goad him by pillaging the countryside and it worked.

      William the Bastard was just really, really, lucky that the Danish King waited a couple of years to try to reclaim England – then was willing to be bought off.

      1. They hadn’t been invaded by armies that depended on horses the way the Normans did. Yeah you could get a lot of people across. But no one had ever tried to get horses across.

  28. Cirincione says that the deal “eliminates the three ways Iran could build a bomb”?with uranium enriched in centrifuges, with plutonium made using nuclear reactors, and in a secret facility.

    Since we have no way to actually inspect anything in a meaningful way, I don’t see how the deal prohibits Iran from doing any of these things.

    1. He might have a different definition of “secret facility” than I do.

      1. Since we have to get permission to inspect anything, I don’t see why Iran would even need a secret facility.

  29. I’d suggest that as part of the treaty we should have offered command and control advice to Iran.

    Like, failsafes, how to avoid false positive radar attack warnings, how to use crisis phones, etc.

    Or let the Russians do that.

    I’m less worried about bombing Israel than accidentally launching against the Saudis when they get nukes.

    1. I’m slightly less worried about an intentional attack than an accidental one.


  30. Looks like Harold Godwinson killed the thread ….

    1. The rotten bastard.

  31. Apparently Suderman is lousy at counting noses. The Iran deal is being blasted by ALL GOP folks, except, as one noted, the only one who could have gotten a worse deal : Rand Paul.

  32. I came into this discussion a bit late. All I can say is that a world where every 3rd world despot has his own nuclear weapons is completely uncharted territory. Some here think that maybe it will make the world more peaceful, nuclear weapons was no doubt the deciding factor that prevented WW3 between the West and the Soviets, but even between those two rational actors there were a few close calls.

    Now far less rational actors on the world stage are going to obtain nuclear weapons, I highly doubt they’ll be more successful then the United States and the Soviet Union at avoiding war. How many times can the world roll the dice on this one, and get lucky?

    No this is a very disturbing development for the future, and unfortunately there seems to be very little anyone can do to prevent it.

  33. Which of course is utter nonsense. First they tell you this is a great and glorious deal and then in order to shut you up they pretend to repeat the words back at you, that you never said. It’s only the lovers of this deal who are prattling on with “Well we can’t go to war with them!”

    But they in fact are the only people actually suggesting that. Maybe something like NOT relieving the sanctions before completely caving might have been a better approach.

  34. Every sensible citizen should write his/her Senator: Support this deal or explain how you get a better one.

    1. No. Ask them why no deal isn’t a better alternative.

  35. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ??????

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