A big gamble too. Much at stake, especially for the Middle East. And a fait accompli it seems. The U.N. Security council just approved it, not surprising as their representatives, headed up by our own Secretary of State John Kerry, made the deal with Iran in Geneva. Of course, congress will vote on it and might reject the deal, but if so, Obama will veto that and then congress will need a 2/3s majority vote to over ride the veto and I know of no one who predicts that likely to happen.
In retrospect, it seems the only way the deal’s detractors could have stopped the deal was to stop the negotiations. If you recall, Republican Senator Tom Cotton tried to do just that last March when he took the unorthodox step of writing “an open letter to Iran’s clerical leaders, signed by 46 other Republican senators, warning that a future Congress or Republican president could revoke or alter an agreement.” Nice try, but it did not derail the negotiation train.
The above quote comes from an article in the Washington Post Sunday describing Kerry’s defense of the deal. I think it gives a good presentation of Kerry’s cornerstone position which emphasizes, like the president did, there is no real alternative to stopping Iran from attaining a nuclear weapon in the near future other than a military attack. There is no question it is a gamble due to questions about verification limits and that Iran figures to be in a stronger position to build a bomb in 10 years when most of the restrictions are lifted.
Also, the deal allows their $350 billion dollar economy to be boosted by over $100 billion in funds that have been frozen internationally. Funds that can be used for nuclear and ballistic missile research in the interim, along with bolstering their terrorist efforts in various parts of the Middle East. As one critic puts it: “…the most likely effect of his (Obama’s) engagement policy is not the implosion of the Islamic republic, but its perpetuation.”
Our allies in the region, Israel and various Arab states, fear this possibility. And that fear might prompt a nuclear arms race in the region, something our state department is well aware of and trying to head off.
All of those are valid points and Kerry does not address all of them in the aforementioned article. Given the significance of this deal, I will continue to try to sort out the pros and cons in upcoming weeks as it will be a major issue debated upon in the election race.
For the moment, the foremost point on my mind was raised by the president several days ago in response to his critics: “What is your preferred alternative?” The only one you are likely to hear about is that we should have scrapped negotiations and tightened the sanctions even further. But that horse has left the barn.
As the security council vote of support indicates, our key partners in maintaining the sanctions want this deal, and can not be counted on to take it back. They welcome reopening Iran economically, not stronger sanctions.
So, what I want to hear from a critic is some other possible course of action right now other than a military one. If I find one that makes any sense, I’ll let you know.
No, Donald, not from you.