Let me be your conscience for a minute.
Imagine you appear in court to present a defense about charges against you; before you even have the opportunity to explain to the court that those charges are frivolous, unfounded and downright preposterous, the Judge rules that you are guilty of all charges. Every attempt to explain to the court that you haven’t even presented your defense yet is countered by the Judge reiterating that you will be found guilty no matter what. In a last-ditch effort to convince the judge, you mention that you have proof, you have witnesses that can corroborate your argument and support your defense, the Judge reiterates that it doesn’t matter. If that seems unfair, unjust, it is. Does it sound like a court drama to you?
Since the Nuclear Agreement deal with Iran, Republican Representatives in Washington have been up in arms touting how bad of a deal it is, how grave a mistake the Obama administration has made. If you read between the lines, most (if not all of them) are going to vote against it. Here is the irony, well before they have the opportunity to read the content of the agreement they’ve already made up their minds, just like the judge in the scenario above would find you guilty irrespective of the circumstances; it doesn’t matter what the content (of the agreement) is, Republican Representatives are against it. Is it fair? Is it just? Whatever your party affiliation is, you should be disappointed; such behavior should worry you a great deal.
Notwithstanding that Republicans oppose everything Obama (most of the time for no logical reason), is the Nuclear Agreement with Iran really a bad deal? If you’ve ever tried to get a consensus among four or five members of your family to decide where to go on vacation, you’d be able to begin to appreciate the difficulty to have seven countries – with varying levels of interests, local political pressure and varying degree of openness between one another – coming together to have dialogs over a complex issue such as dealing with nuclear capability in Iran. It is always easy for anyone to sit in the comfort of his/her home passing harsh judgement without any understanding of what it takes to get from point A to point B. I’ve heard many bashing players (football, basketball, hockey, etc.) for not doing this and that in the field; if that same individual is given the same opportunity, under the same circumstance, s/he would do worst. Yes, it is easy to judge; it’s even worst to support others who rush to judgement. But for making ourselves feel good, there is no other benefit whatsoever. So, what exactly makes the Nuclear Agreement with Iran a bad deal?
First, let’s try to understand what the deal is; the Obama administration believes it’s less costly to the American people (and to the rest of the world) to have an agreement with Iran by setting boundaries preventing manufacture of nuclear weapons. – I also believe it is indeed less costly to have an agreement than to go to war (wars are very costly, not just in soldiers’ lives but also in the country’s economy; US is still paying for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. See Iraq War Revisited) – Keep in mind that “to limit Iran’s capability to produce Nuclear weapons” has always been the primary objective of the Obama administration. So, on Tuesday, July 14 2015, the President of the United States, Barack Obama announced to the world from the White House podium that …a “comprehensive long-term deal with Iran that prevents it from obtaining a nuclear weapon” has been reached. That should have been welcome news, right? Not a chance say the Republicans! Without boring you with the details of the deal (you can read about it in the July 14, 2015 issue of USA Today), the Obama administration was successful; it has reached an agreement with Iran, drastically curtailing its capability to produce nuclear weapons. Mission accomplished, right?
The Republican Representatives who oppose the agreement (which is all of them) believe that the deal should have gotten more concessions out of Iran. To paraphrase Republican talking points, the deal should have brought Iran to its knees. Put your logical hat on for a moment; how likely do you imagine Iran would have signed a deal as suggested by the Republicans? Don’t answer that. You don’t have to be a negotiator to understand that in a negotiation both parties have to make concessions (perceived as good by the opposing party concessions are made to). In the Nuclear Deal Dialog with Iran case, both parties came to the table with “non-negotiable conditions” (take it or leave it items). The United States would not agree to any deal unless Iran has agreed to end its nuclear weapons pursuit ambition; that was the United States take-it-or-leave-it condition which Iran (and all other parties) signed off on. In other words, the Obama administration’s Mission Accomplished banner should be raised. Not a chance say the Republicans!
It is perfectly logical for anyone to question the second aspect of the agreement, that of verifying and enforcing the agreement. However, to question whether full and complete verification and enforcement of the deal is possible does not justify rejecting the deal itself. The United States had signed “limiting arms race” agreements with the Soviet Union many times in the past; the verification and the enforcement particulars are always embedded into the agreement. So it is with the Iran Nuclear Deal agreement. So, instead of repeating (echoing) talking points from your Republican Representatives – who most likely have yet to read the content of the agreement – read about the pros and cons of the deal and decide for yourself whether to take the country to war with Iran is a better alternative than to sign an agreement. No one would deny that the job of verification and enforcement of the agreement could be difficult (so it was with the Soviet Union; US Administrations knew about the difficulty of verification [enforcement was almost impossible] ahead of any agreement with the USSR); however, the difficulty of the job is far outweighed by the benefit of the agreement.
Any logical individual would agree that the deal is not necessarily perfect but it is much better than the alternative; so, what’s with the hawkish behavior that has plagued the Republican Party since the announcement of the signing of the Nuclear Agreement?
It could be that the hawkishness of the Republicans – when it comes to international relations – is a serious symptom of denial, naivety, lack of empathy and indifference for soldiers’ lives and the economy of the country. One needs not be an historian to know that wars – as many we have engaged into – have not solved any society ill. When presented with an alternative such as in the case of the nuclear deal agreement with Iran, we should be eager to work out the kinks (not work to kill the agreement) which make the deal imperfect. Insanity is to do the same thing over and over and over while expecting a different outcome.
The maneuver by the Republicans to kill the agreement – although impossible to succeed (2/3 of both houses are needed to override the President) – is beyond politics; it’s beyond attempting to bloc everything Obama. It’s just insanity.