The new New York Times interview with President Obama is an interesting read. I am glad that he is our leader at this point. He explains what his approach to Iran and other countries is. He lays out his way of thinking about countries that have been deemed enemies of the U.S. It’s being called the Obama doctrine. It seems more than sane to me. Here is a small snippet:
“You take a country like Cuba. For us to test the possibility that engagement leads to a better outcome for the Cuban people, there aren’t that many risks for us. It’s a tiny little country. It’s not one that threatens our core security interests, and so [there’s no reason not] to test the proposition. And if it turns out that it doesn’t lead to better outcomes, we can adjust our policies.”
The doctrine is: We will engage, but we preserve all our capabilities.”
The notion that Iran is undeterrable — “it’s simply not the case,” he added. “And so for us to say, ‘Let’s try’ — understanding that we’re preserving all our options, that we’re not naïve — but if in fact we can resolve these issues diplomatically, we are more likely to be safe, more likely to be secure, in a better position to protect our allies, and who knows? Iran may change. If it doesn’t, our deterrence capabilities, our military superiority stays in place. … We’re not relinquishing our capacity to defend ourselves or our allies. In that situation, why wouldn’t we test it?”
This does not mean that his foreign policy is perfect. I still am highly wary of his use of drones over the term of his presidency. I also don’t like the way that whistle blowers have been treated. However, the main policies that he lays forth seem to me that they are highly reasonable. He seems to understand our place in the world. We are militarily the most powerful country in the world. Why couldn’t we try new approaches, especially when the downside, given our technological and military position, is small. His approach to Cuba and Iran, at least at this point, seem like victories for peace.
I highlight two of the quotes that Huffington Post also highlighted.
GOP Trying to Pass Iran Bill
Right now the U.S. is in danger of the Republican party nullifying our countries historical peace agreement with Iran. If they truly believe in what they are doing they are crazy, if they are just playing politics it might be even worse. If this is just to rob the Obama administration of a huge foreign affairs accomplishment then they are clearly not responsible enough to govern in any way. Too many leaders in that party are in thrall to the military industrial complex. This is an outrage and a disgrace. Many of my friends growing up were Republicans. My grandfather was a Republican. This modern day version, which the Republican leadership represents, have almost nothing in common with the Republicans of the past. What has it come to when the Iranian leadership sounds saner than many of our politicians?
I’m going to be reading closely the details of the Iranian deal over the next few days. Based on what I’ve read so far I think this is a major victory for peace. I am hoping the far right of our country and Israel won’t be able to derail it somehow. The thing is, this even benefits them, as a more peaceful world is to everyone’s benefit, aside from war profiteers. Unfortunately I believe there are some in both those camps that are exactly that. But for all sane people, although there is still a way to go, there is a reason to feel hopeful.
Obama: ‘I’m Embarrassed’ For Republicans Who Sent Letter To Iran
I really enjoyed Obama’s response to the Republicans who decided to put their names on a letter to Iran. Conan O’Brien once compared Bill Clinton with The Road Runner, the way that Republicans would try to catch him and end up destroying themselves in the end. I actually think Obama merits this comparison much more than Clinton, as Clinton was self-destructive in many obvious ways. The Republicans are thrashing about climbing over each other to tarnish Obama, and their actions just make Obama look like the adult in the room. I mean, think about what the Republicans did: They reached out to the Ayatollah (The Ayatollah!) in an effort to weaken our Commander in Chief! That is not only unprecedented, but batshit insane! It is so insane that the remarks by the Ayatollah actually seem more reasonable than the Republicans. I would like to be mad at this action, but it is so self-defeating that it seems more like a strange gift. It is true that it is long enough before the next election that it may be forgotten by then. But if it is not, and dear god I hope it is not, it will certainly be a plague on their house.
Salon On Netanyahu Speech
Above is Salon’s take on Netanyahu’s speech to Congress today. Although I tend to agree with them, my point today isn’t really to focus on this one write up. At the end of the day it is one write up and you should be reading a bunch of them, mixing and matching, and trying to come to your own conclusion. However, this is an event that you should be reading about. A foreign head of state is trying to sway US policy. This is highly unprecedented in the fact that this head of state actually spoke directly to our congress to try and change our policy.
I have long viewed Netanyahu as a thug and a bully whose intentions do not run in accord with the best intentions of our country. Nor do I think that his intentions have long term Middle East peace at the heart of them. I think he is someone that is about self-serving political and military power above all else.
But don’t take my word for it. Read, read, and read some more.
Netenyahu Intelligence Proved False
The above link is to a Guardian article that states that the intelligence that Benjamin Netenyahu used to say Iran was a year away from a nuclear bomb was false.
Look it is not as if I have any special information on this subject. However, if you examine enough articles about Netenyahu over time, one can’t help but feel he is a bad actor on the world stage. Israel’s policy under him is not only highly questionable, but it is a fact that he is trying to influence U.S. politics as well. The sooner he is discredited, the better.
Iraq’s Abandoned Chemical Weapons
Another sad and completely mind boggling chapter from our War in Iraq. Apparently we did find chemical weapons in Iraq, and we helped build them! The weapons date from before 1991. These are not the weapons we went looking for, but are old weapons from the Iraq/Iran War. Our soldiers were put in harms way and it was kept secret, for several reasons, all of which are senselessly embarrassing. A New York Times article that will leave you scratching your head to say the least. I wanted to kind of give the short version, but really it is an article that should be read in full to be understood.