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Pulling Out of the Iran Deal Could Endanger U.S. Troops

Iran has the ability, and now the incentive, to wreak havoc on Americans and American objectives in neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan.

U.S. Army/Sipa USA/NewscomU.S. Army/Sipa USA/NewscomPresident Donald Trump announced yesterday that the U.S. is withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) restricting Iranian nuclear development. This could have disastrous consequences for American servicemembers in the Middle East.

Iran has the ability to destabilize the region, and it often does so to promote or protect its interests. This is not unique to the Middle East; other regional powers around the world engage in similar behavior. But Iran is bordered by Afghanistan and Iraq, countries with high concentrations of Americans engaged in long-running nation-building operations. The laws of geopolitical physics make destabilization much easier than stabilization, so Iran can wreak havoc on our efforts with exponentially less investment than we put in.

Iran's destabilizing presence in Iraq since 2003 has been pronounced and devastating. Following the downfall of Saddam Hussein, Iran manipulated the sectarian tensions in Iraq and helped instigate a drawn-out civil conflict that has caused tens of thousands of Allied casualties. In 2015, General Joseph Dunford estimated that more than 500 American deaths in Iraq between 2005 and 2011 could be directly linked to Iran. Tehran's political and military influence on Iraq's Shia population not only prolonged the war but helped alienate Iraqi Sunni tribes, delivering that population into the hands of Al Qaeda and later ISIS with reverberations throughout the world.

In Afghanistan the situation is more complicated, since the Iranians and Americans share a common foe in the Taliban and affiliated groups. But Tehran opposes an American presence on its borders, and it suspects the U.S. of using Afghanistan as a base of intelligence activities against it. A 2014 RAND corporation study concluded that the Iranian government can increase pressure through economic, political, and military means on Washington's efforts in Afghanistan if it chooses.

With the U.S. pulling out of the JCPOA and reinstating sanctions on Iran, any good will that exists between our countries will evaporate. If history is a guide, Tehran will retaliate by ramping up efforts across its borders against Americans and American objectives.

And that will run headlong into two of President Trump's—and the American people's—other priorities: defeating ISIS and ending the conflict in Afghanistan.

Should a jilted Iran seek vengeance against the United States, they will likely start by reenergizing the Shia militias in Iraq and increasing support for Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria. Both actions would compromise counterterrorism objectives and reopen the Sunni grievances that empower radical groups like ISIS. Washington's triumph over ISIS could quickly be undone or, worse, lead to a more violent sectarian fragmentation in the Levant that pulls in U.S. allies, such as Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.

On the campaign trail, Trump said the Afghan war "wasted an enormous amount of blood and treasure." But as president, Trump sided with his predecessors by increasing troop levels there to battle insurgents, hoping that stability will follow and give us the elusive graceful exit. While the merits of that strategy were already dubious at best, any chance at success could be greatly jeopardized by a disgruntled Iranian government. The United States would actually have more leverage over Iran and its nuclear ambitions if we were not stuck in a conflict right next door.

The Afghan and Iraqi conflicts have taken a terrible toll on our warriors already, and it would be unwise to assume they won't be targeted again if relations deteriorate. Obviously, the United States has the ability to overwhelmingly retaliate against Tehran. But a war with Iran is not in our interest either. At a time when we should be reducing our Middle East presence and re-focusing on higher-priority threats, an Iran war would draw us in further, at great expense in both money and lives.

Protecting the lives of American servicemembers and minimizing the risk of war should be high priorities for the commander-in-chief. Those responsibilities became significantly tougher this week.

Photo Credit: U.S. Army/Sipa USA/Newscom

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  • Shirley Knott||

    So maybe we should stop 'nation building.'
    Support the troops, bring them home.

  • John||

    I think the first step to stop nation building is to stop letting the reactions of our enemies determine our actions. Just a thought.

  • Shirley Knott||

    Or maybe the first step is to stop creating enemies.
    The US owns the Iran debacle, it's a monster we created decades ago.
    Everybody acts like history began 10 or 20 years ago.
    As you sow, so shall you reap.

  • John||

    It is cute you think that the US has a choice in who its enemies are.

  • Shirley Knott||

    It's absurd that you think enemies 'just happen.'
    We broke it, they're pissed.
    Maybe we should stop breaking other people's stuff.
    Also, since you appear to be amongst the hard-of-thinking, note this sub-discussion was regarding first steps.
    The US absolutely has a choice in whether to make enemies or not. Is that the only source of enemies? Of course not. But it's the only one 'we' can do anything about.

  • John||

    Enemies don't just happen. But you seem to think that every event is driven by US actions and that other country's don't have their own reasons for doing things. It is the typical Reason board bullshit fantasy that if we just leave the world alone we won't have any enemies. That is just a fucking fantasy. Iran is our enemy because they want to be our enemy. They don't like us. They don't like us not because of something we did or did not do. They don't like us and want to destroy us because of their own reasons, namely it gives them an enemy to keep their own people distracted and because a decent number of people in the Iranian government are bat shit crazy and believe in a bizarre form of Shia Islam that says they are going to summon the 12 Imam from beyond who will establish the world Caliphate.

    It is what it is. At some point you need to realize Shirly, Americans are not that fucking important. America doesn't magically drive and control what the rest of the world does.

  • ||

  • John||

    Yeah, A coup that happened 50 fucking years ago is why Iran is building nukes and in Syria. Jesus Fucking Christ. And the US is actually quite popular with the Iranian people. It is its rulers who hate us. Are they still made about a fucking communist being replaced by the Shah? REally? A bunch of crazy Shia Muslims just can't get over an atheist being thrown out fo power?

    What the fuck is wrong with you people? Did you fall on your head? Will you just believe anything people tell you?

  • juris imprudent||

    Watching John do the whirling Dervish of "we didn't do nuthin" is pretty funny. Yeah John, someone's brain isn't keeping up here.

  • John||

    Yes Juris, the US is to root of all conflict in the world. No one ever has any of their own reasons and every bad thing that happens is because of the US.

    Are you capable of admitting that the US is ever right about anything? Seriously, name one international conflict that you do not side against the US on? Name one.

  • juris imprudent||

    Please get your words out of my mouth.

    WW2

  • John||

    WWII, but not the cold war? So the communists were in the right or at least not any more wrong than the US? Good to know. That pretty much says everything that can be said about the absurdity of your position. You are all about the righteousness of Iran and the old USSR against the evil American imperialists.

  • juris imprudent||

    Sure John, just keep arguing with the voices in your head. I'll just step over here.

  • John||

    You said WWII not me. You somehow couldn't think of anything more recent. I ask again, why do you live in a country you clearly despise? Why not move to a better place like Iran or maybe China. Live in a country whose foreign policy you can support? Help fight the evil America.

  • juris imprudent||

    John, down thread you asked me a question and I answered it. That is a much more productive form of discourse than you telling me what I think and why I'm wrong. I mean, heck, if you just want to do soliloquies - go for it, just don't invoke my name.

    And you didn't ask me for the most recent, you asked me "name one". I did and you self generated a hissy fit. Even for you, that is unbecoming behavior.

  • ||

    A coup that happened 50 fucking years ago is why Iran is building nukes and in Syria

    No.

    A coup that happened 50 fucking years ago is why they have ill feelings towards the US and the UK and don't trust either one at all even a little bit no matter how many times you scream "we're the Good Guys!"

    If we knew for a fact that a foreign power was behind JFK's assassination, and that assassination had led to a brutal, decades-long dictatorship that only ended in a shitty revolution that made everything much, much worse, would you be over it now and never thinking about it when that country came back to present some New Deals?

    Iran is building nukes because they are one of the few remaining major world powers that doesn't have them. That doesn't have anything to do with anything the US may or may not have done in the past.

    Iran is in Syria because Syria is in their backyard, is disintegrating, and is a place where Sunnis have been persecuting Shias rather aggressively. It's not a zero-sum affair - while the conflict is definitely two-sided, you can't erase the fact that what the Sunnis don't like about the Shias is that the Shias tend to have a more tolerant and inclusive attitude.

    You're right that not everything is always about the US - Iran's drive for nukes isn't, really, and their involvement in Syria isn't, really.

    BUT, their antagonism toward the US? Yeah - that has to do with actual things the US Gov has actually done to them.

  • JoeBlow123||

    "BUT, their antagonism toward the US? Yeah - that has to do with actual things the US Gov has actually done to them."

    Do you have any authority to claim this or do you just like parroting what all the Marxist academics like to preach about in college about Mossadegh and the big bad USA? One event does not a relationship define for one, two I doubt anyone here can speak for what Iranians think.

    In any event I have a hard time fathoming how someone is siding with the religious zealots in Tehran who trample on individual liberty in every way imaginable over the USA. Religious zealots who have repeatedly tried and successfully killed Americans.

  • tommhan||

    And what about the maturity of their legislators burning our flag in their house of government? How can the whole world not see them as the insane religious thugs they clearly are.

  • Carter Mitchell||

    ONE MORE TIME!!!! Iran is NOT building nukes. NuttyYahoo's years-old (and possibly faked) "data" and circus side-show not withstanding, EVERY report from the international inspectors has concluded that they are not pursuing nuclear weapons, unlike the rogue State of Israel - apartheid, racist, neo-Nazi, murdering, terrorist Israel - who already has hundreds and attacks its neighbors on a regular basis, threatening even more attacks if they respond in any fashion.

    Talk about that for a while.

  • Carter Mitchell||

    Apparently you will, John, as you're just regurgitating the propaganda spoon-fed to you by the state-owned media - CNN, Fox, NPR, etc.

    Yes, when you fuck with people, they get pissed. Washington warned against entangling alliances, but the crony capitalists and death merchants NEED wars to keep the profits flowing.

    And yes, a coup that happened 50 years ago, engineered by the CIA to ensure BP profits, installing a brutal dictator. Also, enough with the "building nukes" bullshit. If you want to call out a rogue nuclear terrorist state, start talking about Israel - who stole the technology and materials for the nuclear arsenal from us to begin with.

    Close the bases in the 180+ countries that we're occupying and stop meddling in other people's affairs. Unless they're crossing our borders, we have no business crossing theirs.

    As a former Marine who spent time in Japan and Okinawa, I can tell you that they do not long for our continued occupation. Even though you don't hear about the protests from our presstitutes, they tolerate us because they have no choice, since they have no more say over their leaders' actions than we do.

  • SDN||

    Maybe you should read something besides High Times to understand that when the Koran says "infidels convert or die" they take it seriously.

  • Carter Mitchell||

    Maybe you should actually read the Quaran - if you can actually read.

  • JoeBlow123||

    "Apparently you will, John, as you're just regurgitating the propaganda spoon-fed to you by the state-owned media - CNN, Fox, NPR, etc."

    You clicked the wrong link. This is not Infowars.

  • Just Say'n||

    Somebody gets it

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    This could have disastrous consequences for American servicemembers in the Middle East.

    You know what else endangered servicemembers in the middle east?

  • Benitacanova||

    The clap?

  • juris imprudent||

    Camel spiders?

  • Carter Mitchell||

    Yeah, old, ugly, fat guys in the penthouse sending kids to die for their profits.

  • Unemployed Armenian Tranny||

    A belligerent CIA?

  • GILMORE™||

    non-interventionist Reason magazine, arguing that we need to keep our troops "safe" while they intervene

    surely US policy should be structured around the mythic idea of making the world safer for our military to meddle abroad?

    wtf

  • ||

    wtf

    TDS.

    Again, there's plenty to stand in his way and/or for him to bungle up, but it's not unfathomable that at the end of his first term, Trump would have started no wars except a trade war with the largest communist country in history, drawn down troops from long-standing wars in the ME, run one of the most transparent (but baffling) administrations in history, and brokered peace on the Korean Peninsula. But, he's a loathesome political outsider who ran on the GOP ticket and, I can only assume because of the latter, Reason *must* hate him.

  • John||

    If God willing Trump is able to get North Korea to actually give up its nukes and start to open up to the rest of the world with an eye towards reunification, watching the normally peacenik Reason staff suddenly turn into Neocons butthurt over the prospect of peace is going to tragic comedy.

  • An Innocent Man||

    I started off thinking it was the occasional troll who believed it, but I'm more and more convinced it's large numbers of those on the left who would rather there be full out war on the Korean peninsula, than take the chance Trump gets even partial credit for a lasting peace.

  • Tony||

    Sort of how you've been slobbering with praise of Obama for negotiating an end to Iran's nuke program?

    Oh wait.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    What end to the nuke program would that be?

  • Tony||

    The one Trump just canceled because Obama Muslims bad!

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Except that so- called "deal" didn't actually do anything whatsoever to stop Iran's nuke program.

    It was just make believe.

    Like Obama's claims about Obamacare. And THAT deal has been unequivocally and definitively proven to be an abject failure.

  • Tony||

    Well we're all certainly aware of the Hannity talking points du jour.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    I'm aware that nothing of substance has ever emanated from your brain.

  • Carter Mitchell||

    Make believe? You mean the "nuke program"? Of course.

    If you want reality, let's talk about the hundreds of nuclear weapons possessed by Israel. Anything to say about that?

  • John||

    I would have loved it if Obama had done that. But he didn't. Instead he gave them a billion dollars in cash, and ended our economic sanctions in return for nothing. Obama didn't end Iran's nuclear program dumb ass.

  • Tony||

    So their nuke program is ongoing? Evidence? Or do you mean when it restarts it as threatened due to Trump's cancelling America's obligation?

  • John||

    Yes Tony it is. They have full capability to enrich Uranium and all of the facilities and knowhow they had before this absurd agreement. Their nuclear program was in no way diminished by this agreement. Go find anything in the agreement that did so if you don't believe me.

    This agreement did nothing except save the Mullahs from bankruptcy and give them the money to fund proxy wars in Syria and Yemen. I wonder how many Syrians died thanks to the cash Obama gave them? But that is okay because Obama. God you are hideous/

  • Tony||

    So your preferred course of action is continued sanctions that always have dubious results and then no IAEA inspections. Give Iran the greenlight on nukes and then make them pissed enough to do it.

  • John||

    The evidence is their statement today that they are going to enrich more Uranium. How the fuck do they do that without an ongoing nuclear program, you half wit?

    And the other evidence is their refusal to allow full inspections. Why would they do that if not to conceal their ongoing nuclear program?

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "So their nuke program is ongoing? Evidence?"

    No one has ever produced any evidence that it ever stopped.

  • Tony||

    Except the inspections ordered by the deal Trump just tore up.

    Now if it's not salvaged they're free to develop as they please. I don't get why you people think that's the better alternative.

  • John||

    Except the inspections ordered by the deal Trump just tore up.

    The inspectors only go where the Iranians allow them and do not see most of Iran's actual nuclear facilities. Are you so stupid you can't understand how meaningless that is?

  • Tony||

    According to publicly known intelligence, you're just full of utter shit John. You're spreading falsehoods. So link to this claim you keep repeating or shut up.

    And your solution to the supposed problem of not being able to inspect enough is... no inspections at all?

  • John||

    According to publicly known intelligence, you're just full of utter shit John.

    Sorry but the voices in your head are not public intelligence. You have no links or any citations to back any of this up. And what you are saying contradicts what even the Obama people are saying. Just give it up,.

  • Tony||

    Oh I almost forgot, you're getting this from known objective source Bibi Netanyahu. The claim is that Iran may be developing nukes somewhere in secret. That's a provable claim, so don't you think we should prove it before abandoning the deal we made? The only party known to violate this agreement is the US under Trump.

    Maybe Iran has been violating it all along too. You're trying to force the debate into accepting "If it's not perfect, it's worthless." And the only reason you want it to be worthless is because it was an Obama achievement. Trump could turn around and sign his name to the exact same deal and you'd think it was the best thing ever, and everyone here goddamn well knows it.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "Except the inspections ordered by the deal Trump just tore up."

    The inspections were never anything but security theater

  • Tony||

    What does that even mean?

    Western powers are in a conspiracy to give Iran a break because...?

  • ||

    Western powers are in a conspiracy to give Iran a break because...?

    They don't have a choice. Iran is going to develop nukes. Those who pretend to control all that happens on Earth have to pretend this is happening with their permission.

    If you think Iran is not working toward getting nukes, I just don't even know what to tell you.

  • Tony||

    So why tear up the one agreement we could get to attempt to suppress that?

    Nobody's buying this move by Trump. You don't all have to always praise the dear leader. It would do wonders for your credibility if every once in a while you agreed with the entire rest of the planet that he screwed something up.

  • ||

    So why tear up the one agreement we could get to attempt to suppress that?

    I don't really care. The argument I'm making is that it doesn't make any difference. Iran is going to do what Iran is going to do, and I don't think they much care about DJT's opinion.

    You don't all have to always praise the dear leader.

    Please point out to me where I'm praising Trump.

  • SteelDriver||

    "Except the inspections ordered by the deal Trump just tore up."

    Hans Blix, is that you?

    :D

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I think Stuxnet did more to damage Iran's nuclear program than a guy named Ned who went to Iran with zero authority and said some shit in a closed room.

  • Tony||

    Okay but this river of crocodile tears over the loan repayment money is straight-up talk radio horseshit and I'm tired of John flinging it.

  • John||

    TALK RADIO!!!

    Do you understand how stupid you sound when you say shit like that? How can you not see that?

  • Tony||

    Your brain is pickled by right-wing bullshit John. You idiots all say the same things so it's not hard to suss out. The fact that you get your bullshit from pajamasmedia or Breitbart and not FOX or talk radio is the whole point: you all say the same fucking lies using the same words.

  • John||

    Tony,

    You are a delusional idiot who can't accept any fact that doesn't support your dying and evil political ideology.

  • Nardz||

    Tony,

    Your contributions are invaluable and I truly appreciate them. There is no clearer window into the progressive hive mind and y'alls collective nervous breakdown.

    And here's a thought on the Iran deal: have Germany, France, and the UK stated that they'll pull out of the JCPOA also?
    If not, if they do maintain their participation - how then is Iran to (continue) restart their nuclear weapons program? Would that not be a violation? If US (bribery) participation was the only thing binding Iran to renounce nuclear weapons development, what was the point of the deal and participation by other nations?

  • Tony||

    It's certainly possible (and maybe best-case) that the only outcome of this action is to make the US look like a big fucking asshole who doesn't keep its word, but why is that a good thing?

  • ||

    It's certainly possible (and maybe best-case) that the only outcome of this action is to make the US look like a big fucking asshole who doesn't keep its word, but why is that a good thing?

    Explain to us again why bombing Libya and gloating over Qaddafi's death was the most brilliant thing ever.

  • Tony||

    Explain why you discovered a sudden passionate love for Qaddafi once you could attempt to implicate Hillary Clinton in a scandal.

  • Tony||

    Oops I answered my own question.

    I never get tired of watching partisan sociopaths play-act at empathy for other people in order to get a zing at a politician they don't like. John has this down to an art form. Bonus points when you do it for an insane brutal dictator.

  • ||

    Explain why you discovered a sudden passionate love for Qaddafi once you could attempt to implicate Hillary Clinton in a scandal.

    That has nothing whatsoever to do with what I said, you blithering idiot.

    You're shrieking that the worst thing in the world here is for the US to go back on its word and show itself to be an asshole, but you've been defending Obama's and HRC's actions in Libya since they were undertaken.

    IOW, I'm pointing out, once again, what a flaming, pathetic, idiotic hypocrite you are, not expressing my undying love for Qaddafi. But you would have to think for two seconds to have seen that, so I'm not surprised that you misunderstood.

  • Tony||

    I will praise the Libya action for not doing what a Republican would do and start a never-ending ground war. I don't know if you know this, but Hillary Clinton did not personally ass-rape and murder Qadaffi. I don't know of any good options at the time. Do you? Some utopian noninterventionist horseshit perhaps?

    It's hard to talk about Libya since it because such a signal and distraction whose basic purpose was to absolve George W. Bush for his war crimes by making a false equivalence. To find some sort of scandal to pin on Obama. We're out of Libya. It's a mess, but Obama didn't make it.

  • ||

    I don't know if you know this, but Hillary Clinton did not personally ass-rape and murder Qadaffi

    I don't know if you know this, but I didn't actually say that she did. What I said was:

    "Explain to us again why bombing Libya and gloating over Qaddafi's death was the most brilliant thing ever."

    Libya was told "abandon your nukes or face the consequences." They did, and the moment there was an uprising, the Obama administration assisted in overthrowing the government and then HRC gloated about the results on national TV. You and the mainstream media have been mansplaining to us ever since that this was "Smart Power at its Best."

    But why did we have to interfere at all? Handwaiving about "utopian noninterventionist horseshit" because you think it makes you look tough won't cut it. Show me you have some knowledge of these situations. Show me you can find Libya and/or Syria on a map.

    Please explain to me why Trump reneging on this deal is so, so much worse than what Obama did in Libya. So far, your explicitly stated reason is "because Republican." Which is exactly what I'm pointing out to you: you are a blindly partisan idiot and a naked hypocrite.

  • ||

    Tony, you truly are an idiot. She unleashed so many unintended consequences but what do you or her care right? I mean, 'we came, we saw and Khaddafy is dead' or some shit, right? Not only was the action in Libya stupid launched by stupidly greedy people, they mocked the outcome because that's what evil, stupid people with remedial intelligence do.

    Like you give a shit what Libya's refugee crisis did to place like Greece, Spain and Italy.

  • ||

    she care

  • Unemployed Armenian Tranny||

    Not to mention those "other nations" got the chance to have their representaive bodies ratify the damn thing. The U.S.....not so much.

  • Chili Dogg||

    Tony, even John Kerry admitted that Iran would use some of the $150 billion to support terrorism. (I had a link to a CNN article about it but the link was too many characters. You can easily google it for yourself.)

    Even if you like Obama, you have to admit he is a horrible negotiator. The economic sanctions that you scoffed at in an earlier post actually hurt Iran and brought them to the table to negotiate. So far, so good for Obama's approach. However, once at the table, Iran had the advantage that Obama was desperate to make a deal for his legacy. They had him over a barrel and he made a weak agreement. He kept the details secret from the American people, hid side deals that were awful, made little if any effort to get American hostages out of Iran, allowed Iran to keep military sites off limits, allowed Iran to self-examine and report, did not try to get approval by the Senate, as the Constitution requires, etc.

    You wrote that the deal would end Iran's nuclear program. At best, the deal was a temporary delay. When it ended in 2030, Iran could then produce nuclear weapons. I don't understand why people think that the Iranian leadership would be any more trustworthy than North Korea's, which lied about its actions and produced nuclear weapons.

    Today, Trump welcomed home hostages from North Korea. Obama welcomed home a deserter. The juxtaposition is striking.

    Please stop with the juvenile personal attacks on anyone who disagrees with you. It does not help your cause.

  • Just Say'n||

    The non-interventionist position would be to not involve ourselves in the Iranian nuclear program debacle and to no longer have troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan. But, I don't think Reason has presented a non-interventionist case for anything in a long time. This is the publication that advocated for sanctions against Russia for lolz just a few months ago.

    Point to me who the non-interventionists are at Reason? Cathy "Make War With Russia Because I Hates Putin" Young or "newly woke" Matt "I loves me some NATO" Welch?

  • John||

    The best is Chapman. Chapman sends years taking the side of every enemy of the United States no matter how vile and now suddenly is all about war with Russia and how Trump is a dreaded appeaser. Chapman's piece of Trump and Russia has to be the most hypocritical thing Reason has ever published.

  • GILMORE™||

    ""Point to me who the non-interventionists are at Reason?""

    for the record (and i think you already know), I'm *not* one myself...

    ... mainly because i think it involves too much intellectual-incoherence when it ends up confronting various real-world choices between 'bad' and 'worse' options.

    But what i find worse is the sort of "Throwing spaghetti against a wall", make-it-up-as-they-go-along approach they seem to have w/ Foreign Policy stuff., .... vacillating between

    - 'anti authoritarian' rationales (as you point out vs. Russia),

    - occasional support for multilateralism

    (despite it being the most-seductive path to "wars in no-one's interests", out of belief that collective-action has inherent casus belli, and an easy way to cover up abusive aggression as 'supporting our allies', etc)

    - to shikha screeching about how "hostile rhetoric" will cause WWIII - as though diplomacy consists entirely of bland, mealy-mouthed, bureaucratic vacuousness.

    - throw Sheldon and Chapman into the mix just for kicks

    All i really want from them is some sort of simple consistency and coherence. Even if i disagreed w/ it, it would at least be a framework to relate to. Instead its always this grasping, often self-contradictory mush.

  • Just Say'n||

    Sheldon and Chapman are contributors, though, and not on staff. So, I'll give them a pass on publishing their nonsensical foreign policy positions. But, all of their staffers oscillate between "Imperial America is tits" and "OMG, for the love of cocktail parties, don't do that because reasons that completely contradict our previous position".

    The disturbing conclusion that I've come to is that Robby may be the most libertarian writer on staff. Although, I'm not going to knock KMW even though she worked for the god damn Weekly Standard.

    In all, The American Conservative presents a more restrained realist foreign policy than anything that has been written in Reason since the turn of the 21st Century.

  • Just Say'n||

    And The American Conservative doesn't even identify itself as "libertarian" they're pushing some rehabbing paleoconservative points.

    That's what it has come to: only paleoconservatives take foreign policy seriously anymore. Everyone else is just playing whack-a-mole

  • John||

    So Iran is this aggressive militaristic country likely to wreak havoc on US troops. And that makes having an agreement that allows them to buy any military hardware they want and sell all the oil they want to pay for it a good idea why?

    My God is Reason shameless on this issue. Reason has argued for years that the Mullahs are a peaceful regime and that there is no evidence they even want nukes or would be a threat to anyone if they did. Now they are "the Crazy" such that we must appease them or they will do something horrible.

    Pick a version of reality other than "I want" and stick with it.

  • damikesc||

    Well, to this writer's credit, he isn't even pretending that the JCPOA actually was doing anything.

    That Iran is ALREADY threatening to enrich more uranium than ever before within weeks kinda indicates that they have not been honoring that agreement.

  • Nardz||

    And the wonderful images of Iranian LEGISLATORS burning American flags.
    But they were totally gonna act in good faith otherwise...

  • Unemployed Armenian Tranny||

    I like a good legislative flag burnin, way mire than a legislative back-patting boo-ho sit-in.

    Besides, are we just going to ignore the fact that Iran hasn't attack or even acted in any significant militaristic way since they last shredded an entire generation of its children into a U.S.-created homicidal dictator, in the 80s.

  • John||

    The Afghan and Iraqi conflicts have taken a terrible toll on our warriors already, and it would be unwise to assume they won't be targeted again if relations deteriorate. Obviously, the United States has the ability to overwhelmingly retaliate against Tehran. But a war with Iran is not in our interest either.

    So can Iran not be deterred? If it can, then doesn't our ability to destroy them make they're attacking us unlikely? If it can't, then isn't letting them have nukes a very bad idea?

  • juris imprudent||

    They don't want us to have a free hand remaking the ME, if you can believe the nerve.

  • John||

    Maybe the Sunnis would like our help in keeping the Iranians from murdering them? How about that possibility. You really think they are peaceful and a threat to no one don't you?

  • Just Say'n||

    Maybe the Sunnis should deal with their own problems. I know it's a radical idea, but it might just work

  • John||

    Maybe the world isn't that simple. And maybe the Iranians actually mean it when they say they want to destroy us? Why do you think no one is ever a threat to the US no matter how much they say they are?

  • juris imprudent||

    Maybe you can detach your mouth from the Saudi arse? They have never been our ally and if you are too big a fool to remember, all 9/11 peeps were Sunnis not Shias. 15 were Saudis.

  • John||

    Maybe you should get your head out of Iran' ass? Iran has been our avowed enemy for going 40 years. But they don't really mean it because of Saudis? What are you, retarded?

  • juris imprudent||

    Anything else you care to invent?

    Not that you can be expected to recognize facts.

  • John||

    What facts? Is Iran an enemy who means us harm or not? What is your position? If they are, then what are you arguing with me about? If you think they are not, then how do you explain the fact that they say they are and do mean us harm? Are they lying?

  • juris imprudent||

    Psst John, it's the ME, they pretty much all hate each other, and none of them truly love us.

    You're the one with Saudi fingers pulling your strings.

  • John||

    Psst John, it's the ME, they pretty much all hate each other, and none of them truly love us.

    So Iran does hate us. Explain again why them having nukes is a good idea? Moreover, if the ME are just a bunch of savages who hate each other, maybe said savages having a nuclear arms race is a bad idea? You do realize a nuclear war in the middle east would have very bad effects on everyone including the US?

  • juris imprudent||

    It isn't a good idea. It just isn't up to us.

    And honestly, if they all want to kill each other, who are we to stop them? Is that another FYTW clause in our Constitution?

  • chorizo||

    If you don't want to die a violent death at a young age just because your life is more expendable than the lives of your superiors, don't join a violent gang that uses violence to achieve its political and economic objectives. When your job is to defend your gang's territory by armed force, you know that the reason you are armed is that you will meet armed resistance at some point. You know what you are getting into when you join a gang notorious for these activities. Or as Samuel L. Jackson would say "Yes they deserve to die and I hope they burn in hell."

    The Endless Wars will never stop so long as the culture believes that wearing matching outfits absolves the wearer of any atrocity committed while in costume.

  • JoeBlow123||

    "The Endless Wars will never stop so long as the culture believes that wearing matching outfits absolves the wearer of any atrocity committed while in costume."

    It would be nice if this was true, but the world is filled with wolves. To disarm yourself is to leave yourself subject to the people with the weapons.

  • Benitacanova||

    So getting jerked around by our self-declared enemies = good.

    But getting wise to them = bad.

  • ||

    In other words, same old Iran with or without a piece of paper signed by a President who didn't get it ratified by the Senate. Never mind the cash he sent them. America was better off letting Iran sink under the weight of its own unpopular theocracy and work from there. But noooo. Obama wanted a legacy and he chose to give life to Iran's tyrants. Just my take there and open to being told I'm off.

    If Iran reacts like the way you say it will that doesn't say much about their 'good will' to begin with. You don't criticize or protest something by falling back so easily on bad habits.

    Iran was likely to start testing the treaty and at every threat, the West was going to add more goodies and concessions to it to the point the West would have been Iran's bitch. Wake up already.

    Are American governing elites and punditry this naive?

  • Nardz||

    Rufus,

    You're totally on point.
    And if anything has been proven past the point of possible denial over the last 3 years, it's that our elites and punditry are shockingly incompetent morons

  • Just Say'n||

    The folly of empire. Iran poses no threat to the US, but we must now embroil ourselves further into the nonsense of the middle east in order to protect our occupying forces in countries that pose no threat to us either.

    Just leave

  • ||

    No but it indirectly poses a threat and in particular to Israel. Like it or not, Israel is part of the calculus.

  • juris imprudent||

    Wrong, this isn't about Israel. We are fronting for the house of Saud.

  • ||

    True enough.

  • Just Say'n||

    What if I told you that you're both right?

    So, now should we make war with Russia because they threaten eastern Europe? No, that's different for reasons, you say?

    OK, how about we make war with China because they threaten Japan? No, that's different for reasons, you say?

    Maybe, the idea of making war for allies who are big kids who can deal with their own problems is not the best idea for a supposedly "America First" foreign policy.

  • Just Say'n||

    Or maybe all this "America First" talk is no different from George W. Bush's foreign policy, who also began his term by pledging "no nation building"

  • ||

    Yeh well 9/11 blew up anything he said before then.

  • John||

    Or maybe you should wait until we actually get in a war before you say that. If you are so anti interventionist, why are you so in love with international agreements that do nothing but make intervention to enforce them a question of US credibility? You say you are against intervention but you don't seem to understand why intervention happens or how to prevent it.

  • juris imprudent||

    Poor old U.S credibility - on the line since Viet Nam and usually with a similar result.

  • John||

    Juris Imprudent,

    Your position is that you hate intervention so, therefore, you want the stay in the JCPOA, which is nothing but an international agreement the enforcement of which is a readymade excuse to go to war.

    Do you realize how stupid that sounds?

  • juris imprudent||

    Perhaps it sounds stupid because it is only in your head?

  • John||

    Then what is your position? If you think we should leave the JCPOA, then we agree.

  • juris imprudent||

    Well how nice of you to ask instead of telling me.

    There never should have been a JCPOA. Thus any discussion of leaving would be moot. Of course that would deny Presidents their god-given right to craft a legacy. Next we'll be talking about not building monuments to their egos.

  • Nardz||

    "There never should have been a JCPOA."

    Agreed.
    Unfortunately, that ship has sailed in this little realm we call reality.
    You know that saying about crying and spilled milk, no?

  • Unemployed Armenian Tranny||

    Would that be the same nuclear-armed Israel that seems hell bent on Iran's destruction, conventionally, at least for now? Yeah, why the fuck would Iran want a nuke? Some mysteries will never be solved I guess.

    Honestly though I think Iran is stupid for trying to get into the nuke game, if only because it will give the zionists the excuse they are looking for - which for the record is why I think the story that they are doing so is bullshit.

  • Tony||

    From his FOX News gig, John Bolton promised war with Iran before 2019. One hopes that Trump gets tired of being distracted by his mustache before he gets convinced of the uber-neocon worldview that's been itching for this ever since they fucked up Iraq.

    Slapping away Bolton's war boner depends on whether this move was just Trump fulfilling one of his extremely ill-informed campaign promises and not actually part of any plan.

  • John||

    Maybe Trump should send Iran another billion dollars in cash on pallets. Or tell the DEA to not prosecute Hezbollah for drug dealing. That should help the situation.

  • Tony||

    Just because Trump's idea of Arting the Deal is to take what he can before screwing everyone doesn't mean adults don't actually have to make compromises when negotiating. And giving Iran its own money back was hardly painful for any American, you talking-points-spewing gasbag.

  • John||

    Sure Tony it was a compromise. Giving Iran everything it wanted in return for nothing was a "compromise". You really are a comedian sometimes.

  • Tony||

    In return for a stop on their development of nuclear weapons, which I gather was a major international priority. I realize you live in an information void where truth is whatever you want it to be.

    Trump is doing essentially the same kind of deal with North Korea and you're probably masturbating to it right now. I just can't figure out whether its your partisan blinders or your bigotry that more informs your incompatible opinions on this topic.

  • John||

    In return for a stop on their development of nuclear weapons,

    That is just untrue. They didn't stop anything. Everyone knows that. They don't allow inspectors for areas that they deem "military" and they freely admit they still have all of the capability they had before. All we got was an illusory "promise" not to build nukes, but no way to verify that and no reason to think they would keep that promise. Iran got everything it wanted up front in return for a promise that can be broken at any time and without any way to know if that promise is being kept. There is nothing else to give Iran under this agreement. And no way to hold them accountable if they break that promise.

    The agreement is worthless. Everyone knows that. Obama made it because Obama doesn't give a fuck if Iran gets nukes. And he doesn't give a fuck if they use them even on America. All Obama cared about is making sure that whatever happened he didn't get blamed. That is all that was going on here.

  • Tony||

    There's a spectrum between perfect and worthless, and that's where most people place this deal. There's no evidence of Iran cheating, so your asserting it just to score partisan points is rather flimsy. What are you even bitching about? You'd rather they go on with no inspections? That billion dollars was really precious to you, huh?

  • John||

    Explain the value of an agreement that cannot be verified, gives the other side all of the benefits up front and no reason to comply after it receives those benefits, and does nothing to diminish their capacity to build nuclear weapons.

    There are gradients between worthless and perfect. This agreement, however, is not one of them. It is straight up worse than useless. It gave the Mullah's money and credibility in return for nothing.

    You cannot give a single virtue of this thing except to say "Obama did it", which is not a virtue.

  • Tony||

    Just not gonna buy into your rightwing media horseshit–supplied talking point that absolutely nothing has been done to curb their nuclear development. It's just not true. And since your entire argument rests on that premise, you're gonna have to do better. Nobody is with you on this except Trump and the guy he just hired to start a war with Iran.

  • John||

    Just not gonna buy into your rightwing media horseshit–supplied talking point that absolutely

    Yes Tony, you refuse to believe any fact that doesn't fit your narrative. We know that. But that doesn't make them any less true. Yelling "RIGHT WING Talking POINTS" whenever someone points out the truth that you don't like is not an argument and convinces no one.

    Thanks for playing doofus.

  • Tony||

    Because that's what comprises most of your thoughts. It's something I'm well trained to recognize. You would be horrified if you knew just how much of your worldview was informed by lies. Horrified.

  • Nardz||

    "It's something I'm well trained to recognize. You would be horrified if you knew just how much of your worldview was informed by lies. Horrified."

    Hmm...
    Have you ever heard of the term, projection?
    Nevermind that, though. Please do go on about the extensive training you've received. There are some things my dog is having trouble with, and I'm looking for new techniques (she'd be an amazing wingman if she didn't get so freaked out by strangers).

  • Tony||

    Well a big part of it is being able to hear dog whistles.

  • ||

    Well a big part of it is being able to hear dog whistles.

    Where "hear dog whistles" = "substitute what you're saying with a point I find easier to refute."

  • Nardz||

    Racist

  • JoeBlow123||

    "In return for a stop on their development of nuclear weapons, which I gather was a major international priority."

    Well obviously Iran cared little for this as they managed to extract a sunset clause and refused to discuss renegotiation.

    In any event, you all mischaracterize this treaty. It was a feeler to see if Iran wanted to rejoin civilization. Chaos and growing tension in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Bahrain, and Lebanon that all traces back to Tehran unfortunately mean one thing. Iran declined the invite.

    So I ask this then, if they act like an enemy, why enrich their coffers? They seem very capable of funneling massive amounts of money into the IRGC and Qods Force, why fund these terrorists?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Holy shit, John Kerry just said "what the President has done by withdrawing unilaterally [from the Iran deal]"

    That dude has no fucking shame.

  • Tony||

    The other parties to the deal are trying to salvage it.

    Of course it's possible that among all world leaders Trump is the smartest.

  • Shirley Knott||

    Far more likely that amongst all the world's "leaders" the smartest is their bowel movements.

  • Mark22||

    Of course, Europeans are trying to salvage it: European companies are making big bucks in deals with Iran, while the US bears most of the military risk.

    European leaders have been very smart, in particular in terms of taking advantage of idiots like Obama and Clinton.

  • JoeBlow123||

    "Of course, Europeans are trying to salvage it: European companies are making big bucks in deals with Iran, while the US bears most of the military risk."

    Bingo. Europeans have been outsourcing security to the USA for ages and it's time those fuckers take care of themselves.

  • JeremyR||

    History shows us that paying others not to attack you rarely works, as they just use the money you pay them to increase their forces...

    Which Iran literally has done, moving into Syria

  • Mezzanine||

    They were invited to Syria by the sovereign government so they are allowed to move in. US and Israel broke into Syria and became violent squatters.

  • John||

    ISIS invaded Iraq who then invited the US to help them defeat ISIS which was based in Syrian. That is the only reason we are in Syria. But, since this is reason, I am sure you will now explain how ISIS is really in the right and preferable to the evil US.

  • Just Say'n||

    Why not just state the fact that we created ISIS to overthrow Assad? The first good thing Trump did after getting elected was ending the CIA program that was funding and arming "moderate rebels" (no such thing).

    You know who else was fighting ISIS? Hezbollah. You know who funds Hezbollah? Iran

    Oh, the sick irony

  • John||

    Why not just state the fact that we created ISIS to overthrow Assad?

    Because it is not a fact. That is not what happened. ISIS was created out of the ruins of Al Quada in Iraq after it fled Iraq into Syria. The US did not create ISIS. You really will believe anything as long as it blames the- US. You hate the US more than anyone I have ever met. Why do you stay here? My God, We have the worst government in the world according to you.

  • Just Say'n||

    "You hate the US more than anyone I have ever met"

    Measuring patriotism against how many Americans you are willing to see sacrificed overseas and how many foreigners you are OK with blowing up. The same neoconservative trick all over again.

    I had thought that conservatives had gotten better, but I was wrong. Underneath every Mike Lee is Dick Cheney just trying to break free

  • JoeBlow123||

    "Why not just state the fact that we created ISIS to overthrow Assad?"

    Paging Alex Jones and all 9/11 Truthers! We found one of yours!

  • Just Say'n||

    Syria is a monument to the folly of empire and America's duplicity in foreign affairs. Ask the Kurds how well things worked out for them after doing our dirty work defeating ISIS, which we helped create. Now they have to fend off our "allies" the Turks.

  • John||

    Ask the Kurds how well things worked out for them after doing our dirty work defeating ISIS,

    But supporting the Kurds would require intervention which you hate. But if we don't support them, you claim we sold them out. Basically, there is nothing the US could do that you wouldn't hate them for. Seriously, why do you not live in Iran? Go live in a country with a foreign policy that you support and who fights the evil US.

  • Just Say'n||

    We could have just not armed ISIS and not cared about whether or not Assad stayed or not. If we never got into the little adventure of ousting Assad the Kurds would have been much better off to begin with. The brave Kurds have sacrificed so much and been stabbed in the back at every turn.

    And yes, I oppose American service members dying overseas in the name of Empire because I "hate America". That's exactly it. You conservatives are nothing more than flag waving chicken hawks. Buckley screwed everything up by isolating the Tafts of the Old Right.

  • Nardz||

    "We could have just not armed ISIS and not cared about whether or not Assad stayed or not. If we never got into the little adventure of ousting Assad the Kurds would have been much better off to begin with. The brave Kurds have sacrificed so much and been stabbed in the back at every turn."

    I wholeheartedly agree, and the Kurds have been getting screwed by the west for... Oh, about 100 years exactly now. It's a shame.
    Yet, the above is spilled milk. While a valid point, it's no use lamenting the fact during a discussion about what steps the US should take going forward - we can't unintervene.

  • ||

    we can't unintervene

    No, but we can work to change the paradigm under which we operate by pointing out that the "USA Army can fix anything with enough explosions" attitude has led to a lot of unsuccessful outcomes.

  • Nardz||

    Definitely

  • JoeBlow123||

    "Syria is a monument to the folly of empire and America's duplicity in foreign affairs. Ask the Kurds how well things worked out for them after doing our dirty work defeating ISIS, which we helped create. Now they have to fend off our "allies" the Turks."

    I could explain the complexities of all of this to you, but I have a feeling it would be wasted. This post demonstrates such shallow thinking on so many levels.

    I suggest you google "NATO" and "PKK" and "Article 2(4) of the UN Charter" on the territorial integrity of states. Perhaps this would clear some of the haze that appears to be afflicting your higher reasoning capabilities.

  • SF Pete||

    "Could Endanger" is the operative phrase here.

    Please tell me what evidence you have that Iran ever stopped "endangering" US Troops.?

    There is a ton of evidence out there that they never stopped, and have been planning more "endangerment".

  • Just Say'n||

    Between the Saudis and Iranians it's a close race over whose proxies killed more American servicemen

  • juris imprudent||

    The Wahhabis are way ahead on that score.

  • Just Say'n||

    True. I'm trying to be diplomatic

  • Curly4||

    Yes, the US pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal could put US soldiers in danger. Also staying in the nuclear deal could put the world in danger. If Obama and the other nations had wanted this to be binding he should submitted as a treaty to be approved by the senate. Then the US would have to break the treaty to get out. However, I don't think that Iran nor Europe wants the gentleman's agreement because it would cost them to much. I would almost say that Europe had rather stay in the deal with Iran that it would to get out even if costs them in trade with the US which I doubt that it would. This would give Iran the opportunity to restart its nuclear program while still keeping most of its foreign trade. About the only nation that will lose trade it the US.

  • Mark22||

    Iran has the ability, and now the incentive, to wreak havoc on Americans and American objectives in neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan.

    That's easy to fix: let's pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • mtrueman||

    "an Iran war would draw us in further, at great expense in both money and lives."

    Not to mention stability. Just as we've finally established stability in the region, those pesky Iranians are threatening to go and destabilize it all over again.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    It appears some genuine libertarians have crashed this meeting of Libertarians For Right-Wing Military Belligerence.

  • Unemployed Armenian Tranny||

    Well, if any troops get hurt as a result of correcting what is essentially an illeagal treay, we'll just have to call it part of Obama's legacy.

    Fuck off, Moore...the Constitution still applies here.

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