Responses to the Iran Deal

A Point-by-Point Response to the Iran Deal’s Critics

What’s In the Iran Deal?

The Single Most Important Question to Ask About the Nuclear Deal With Iran

Why Republicans Are So Mad About Obama’s Nuclear Deal With Iran

I have been reading a lot of articles about the Iran deal this morning.  Over at The Atlantic alone, a magazine that has a reputation for serious writing and features different political stripes, there are four detailed articles that take a number of stances about the deal, though they come down overall on the side of being favorable of the deal, if cautiously so.  Above are links to the four Atlantic articles.  The third, the one that is most skeptical of the deal, is by Jeffrey Goldberg.  I will admit that I am no fan of Goldberg, as I feel he too often totes the Israeli line.  However, I do think he is an intellectual that is at least coming to the table with serious intent.  I find that when trying to parse what is going on, it is best to try and read a bunch of information, weigh out different opinions, and decide for yourself.  It’s always worth reading people that are on the opposite end of an issue, as long as they seem to be coming to the debate honestly.  However, as always, read, weigh the various facts against each other, think, and decide for yourself.  I personally am in favor of the deal at this point as it seems the best option based on what I have read.  If you know history, even presidents that I would not view favorably overall, such as Reagan and Nixon, negotiated with countries that we were at odds with, and ended up with better outcomes than would have been seen with force.  I think today is a day for celebration, if cautiously so.  However, I acknowledge that I am basing this opinion on my world view, along with the various things I have read today and over the last year as this deal was worked on.  Don’t take my word for it.  Get outside of your propaganda zone and do the heavy lifting yourself.

The Pope On The Military Industrial Complex

The Pope On The Military Industrial Complex

From the article at Daily Kos

Pope Francis said Monday that “many powerful people don’t want peace because they live off war”. The Argentine pontiff made the hard-hitting comment in response to a question from one of the 7,000 children taking part in an audience held with the Peace Factory organisation. “This is serious,” Francis told the children.

“Some powerful people make their living with the production of arms.

“It’s the industry of death”.

Pope Francis has said so many things that make sense.  Although I’m not joining anytime soon, or any other religious organization, he has made me think of the Catholic Church in a new light.  Although I know there are still views that he has that I don’t agree with, he seems by and large a true force for good, someone that is striving for economic justice, environmental sanity, and peace.

A note to people of other sects and faiths:  If you want to be taken seriously outside of your bubble of fellow believers, do things in the name of your religion that actually bring about a better world.

Why should it be that Pope Francis seems to tower above so many religious leaders?  Why is it such a shock that an extremely high ranking religious leader is actually standing against so many of the things that cause human suffering?

The Obama Doctrine

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.”

And later:

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.  

News of a Iranian Deal Good News For the Sane and Peaceful

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.

Netanyahu Speaks to Congress

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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.

White House Israel Relations at a New Low

White House Israel Relations at a New Low

Above is a New York Times article about how the relationship between the White House and Israel is at a new low due to the actions of Benjamin Netanyahu and the GOP.  Normally anytime I typed the words “new low” it would be along the lines of something negative, but I think in this case it is a good thing.  Isreal’s treatment of the Palestinians under Netanyahu is atrocious.  The way that Israel and APAC have tried to influence U.S. politics is atrocious.  If we ever want to see peace in the Middle East Netanyahu and his fellow rightwing politicians need to be marginalized.

American Sniper: Divide and Conquer

I want to talk one last time about the controversy surrounding the movie American Sniper, at least until I’ve seen it.  So much of history has been divide and conquer.  You saw this in the South during Reconstruction, where poor blacks and whites were pitted against each other instead of forming a union against the oppressive few.  But it seems like, concerning the movie, you have one side claiming that we shouldn’t make mythical heroes out of trained killers, and the other claiming that we should honor all of our men and women in uniform.  Both arguments can have their valid points, depending on the context and how they are made.  However, why argue over this when both sides should be arguing for peace?  Peace will prevent innocent lives being lost on either side of the divide.  Peace will ensure that our men and women don’t have to kill in our names.  It will also ensure that these men and women don’t come home maimed, psychologically damaged, or worst of all, in body bags.  Yet while our positions harden as insults from both sides reign down, over a fucking movie, the “owners” are planning the next geopolitical move that will lead to more death.