A question for Scott Walker about Iran: What’s your alternative?

REUTERS/Jason Miczek
Gov. Scott Walker: "People forget that even amongst the Islamic world, there is no love lost between the Saudis and the Iranians. And so they’re going to want to have a nuclear weapon if the Iranians have a nuclear weapon."

It’s probably too soon to take Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker seriously as a possible next president. He looks strong in the latest polls. And he’s being touted as a likely leader in the race to be the last representative of the Republican hard right standing at the end of the nominating fight against the representative of the Republican business establishment, possibly Jeb Bush.

Walker may end up as exactly that. And he may be the nominee and the next president. It’s just too soon to take that possibility too seriously, still nine months before the Iowa caucuses, when a sensible country wouldn’t be breathlessly discussing such things.

If you recall 2012, we went through four or five flavor-of-the-month Republican poll leaders (Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Perry, for example), none of whom survived even to the New Hampshire primary as serious contenders.

But it’s not too soon to notice what Walker is saying, other than his fabulous reference to shopping at Kohl’s, because it’s always a good idea to expect and demand substance from those auditioning for and aspiring to be president.

A few days ago, Walker was on the Hugh Hewitt radio show. (Transcript here.)  Near the top of the show, Hewitt asked about the tentative framework deal on nuclear technology and inspections between Iran and the P5-plus one countries:

Hewitt: Would you reject that deal if you took the Oval Office?

Walker: Absolutely, on Day One. I mean, to me, it is, the concept of a nuclear Iran is not only problematic for Iran, and certainly for Israel, but it opens the doors. I mean, the Saudis are next. You’re going to have plenty of others in the region. People forget that even amongst the Islamic world, there is no love lost between the Saudis and the Iranians. And so they’re going to want to have a nuclear weapon if the Iranians have a nuclear weapon. This is something that just escalates right before our eyes. And the fact that this administration began these discussions essentially conceding that they’re going to allow enrichment to go forward with the Iranians just shows you that they don’t have the same level of concern that I think I and Senator [Marco] Rubio and many others out there have, that a nuclear Iran is a problem for the entire world, not just for Israel.

Set aside for moment whether you agree that the deal is as bad as Walker says it is, and even the technical, legal, constitutional questions about whether President Walker would have the authority on Day One to repudiate the deal.

Hewitt, whom I know to be a smart guy and, on some matters, a substantive guy, did not ask a single follow-up question. Would you need to coordinate such a reversal with the other five signatories, which include several of America’s best and longest-standing allies (Britain, France, Germany) plus the other two strongest military powers in the world (Russia, China)?

Some questions

And he didn’t ask Walker:

After you have insulted all of the other signatories, whose help you are presumably going to need to stitch together the new Walker plan for dealing with the threat that you believe Iran poses, what will your new policy be? Are you going to ask those countries, whom you have just insulted, to join you in a restoration of the full economic sanctions and try to go back to negotiations with Iran? Do you have any reason to believe the rest of the P-5 and China will go along with that after you have unilaterally rejected the deal that they signed? Are you going to invade Iran and install a government friendlier to the United States and Israel? Are you going to just bomb the Iranian nuclear development sites and see what happens afterward? Are you going to ask the Israelis to do that for you?

Maybe there are some other options for Day Two. What are they and which of them would newly inaugurated President Walker pursue?

I’m not saying there are no other options. And I’m not saying Walker has no clue what they are. But his plan for Day One certainly screams for those questions to be asked, and some version of them should be asked of everyone currently speaking against the framework agreement. What’s your alternative?

Comments (74)

  1. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/07/2015 - 10:38 am.

    The Plan

    Why do you think he needs a plan? He stared down protesters in Madison–that’s all we have to know.

    After all, people demonstrating peacefully in a state capitol are the equivalent of ISIS. The same skill set could easily be transferred to dealing with Iran.

  2. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 04/07/2015 - 11:19 am.

    The other signatories

    Let’s wait and see if they even agree to sign the deal. France is already on record as saying the U.S. caved to a bad deal. France!

    • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 04/07/2015 - 12:30 pm.

      At best, this is a vast overstatement. In all likelihood, Mr. Tester, your statement is closer to an opinion than any public truth, let alone France’s actual position. In fact, the closest I can find is that France is less optimistic, but nothing that suggests that they think it’s a bad deal.

  3. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 04/07/2015 - 12:30 pm.

    The threat of a nuclear-armed Iran is so horrendous we must scuttle any possibility of a deal that might prevent that.

    Yup.

  4. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 04/07/2015 - 12:43 pm.

    Skill sets

    Basically, I’m torn…

    Mr. Holbrook is right on target, with tongue firmly in cheek.

    Tongue-in-cheek is not Mr. Tester’s style, but he raises a relevant point. We don’t really *have* a deal just yet.

    And finally, Eric’s not-entirely-rhetorical question has plenty of merit: If the proposed agreement with Iran is a failure in one or several ways, what’s Walker’s alternative?

  5. Submitted by Joel Stegner on 04/07/2015 - 12:46 pm.

    Keeping his word

    Walker’s promises before becoming governor don’t exactly match what he ended up doing when elected. Why is there any reason to trust what he says, particularly when he is dealing with international diplomacy, an issue with which he has utterly no experience? He has show considerable flair for offending people and pandering to his base, which might work as a Republican candidate, but doesn’t work quite so well as President – given a President is so able to offend other people, not just by what he thinks and does, but who he is. Obama managed to offend social conservatives simply by having the audacity to run or and get elected President – before he gave them any policy-related reason to dislike him. George W. Bush was not well informed about the world before he became President, but he was in a social circle where there were many international business connections, something Walker lacks. That Walker didn’t bother to finish college says a lot about his sense of values, centered around self promotion.

  6. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 04/07/2015 - 02:50 pm.

    Obama has destabilized the Middle East; that is beyond dispute. I would hope Walker would work to repair our credibility, and stability in the region first. Iran has N Korea for a model of what being a nuclear armed pariah looks like; I don’t think that’s what they want, so put the very real possibility right up in their faces.

    What we need is a strong leader who puts America’s best interests front and center. Someone who is not afraid to take up the mantle that Obama tossed aside.

    I have to admit, by the way, that the notion Walker could possibly insult our allies any worse than they have been the past 8 years.

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 04/07/2015 - 03:43 pm.

      I dispute your claim.

      “Obama has destabilized the Middle East; that is beyond dispute.”

      You need to back that one up. How has Barack Obama destabilized the Middle-East? Baseless claims don’t fly here.

      As a simple matter of fact, it was Barack Obama’s predecessor who destabilized the Middle East by invading a sovereign nation under false pretenses with no plan to withdraw and no design for what victory was. Every prediction made by the Bush administration was incorrect, and that invasion increased Iran’s power and influence in the middle east and spawned a new generation of would-be terrorists and dictators.

      IN FACT, this Iranian nuclear deal, and normalization of international relations, would hugely stabilize the middle east.

      • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 04/07/2015 - 04:07 pm.

        This Won’t Be easy

        I’m loath to agree with Mr. Swift, but he is half right here. Of course he completely misses the half that lies with Bush 43; that he unleashed an fathomable amount of violence, bloodshed and instability into the Middle East. But while Mr. Obama never made himself out to be the peace candidate that some lefties hoped he would be, he has shown an eager readiness to use the military and a reluctance to wind it down it’s (mis)adventures.

        That the Bush administration was either completely incompetent or outright deceptive doe not allow us to gloss over the misdeeds of Obama. We have a massive military-security state that drains far too much of our treasure and economy and Obama wants to greatly increase it’s budget.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/07/2015 - 05:03 pm.

          Who’s to blame?

          Saying that either Bush or Obama “destabilized” the Middle East assumes that the region was ever “stable” to begin with. The region is defined by ethnic and religious conflicts that spill over into political turmoil.

          The periods of quiet (I won’t call them peace) have all been imposed by authoritarian mandate. That is not a situation that can last indefinitely. Syria was quiet for years under the Assad regime. Jordan is a monarchy propped up with US aid. No one cared much about Iraq under Saddam until 1990 (there was that time when the Carter administration cut ties over human rights, but we can’t say anything good about the Carter administration, can we?), but he kept things under control.

          The authoritarian rule means that the opposition takes all manner of shapes. When there is no opportunity to work for real change, ISIS is going to seem as a much a valid option to the people living there as any other opposition group. No, the Middle East didn’t need our help to destabilize.

          • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 04/07/2015 - 08:50 pm.

            Bush blundered by invading Iraq. Obama took that blunder to disaster by leaving it for Islamic terrorists to re-take…along with all the military material he left.

          • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 04/08/2015 - 07:35 am.

            Correction

            I should have added “further” before “destabilized”.

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/08/2015 - 09:08 am.

              Correct

              I’m not saying that the US has no guilt in the current situation in the Middle East. The invasion of Iraq certainly added to the existing instability.

        • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 04/07/2015 - 06:23 pm.

          Just to be clear–you’re saying Obama should have walked away faster and further from the ME,Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan? Or that he should have been a mediator/peace maker for the region?

          It’s a part of the world where you can’t win a war or make peace as an outsider.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 04/07/2015 - 03:51 pm.

      What Mr. Swift apparently wants is “Bibi Bush”.

    • Submitted by jason myron on 04/08/2015 - 07:57 am.

      Uhh, no.

      George Bush destabilized the Middle East. Obama didn’t blunder us into two wars, costing us trillions of dollars and the lives of America’s finest. THAT is what is beyond dispute, despite your attempt to rewrite history.
      Walker’s alternative is straight from the GOP playbook. Keep this country in a state of perpetual war that provides plenty of photo ops, patriotic jingoism and soundbites, not to mention a bloated military budget with plenty of pork laden government contracts. Military enlistment also doubles as the only jobs program the party has ever believed in.

  7. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 04/07/2015 - 05:34 pm.

    More to the point

    What is the GOP’s alternative to Scott Walker?

  8. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 04/07/2015 - 06:44 pm.

    A good question for Obama

    I think those who ask Mr. Walker what his plan is should ask Mr. Obama that question: What will he do when this agreement either will not materialize by July or fails by next year? He must have a plan B and he always referred to military option, right? On the other hand, this is just an agreement that is not ratified so any country can pull out at any moment for any reason.

    Mr. Rovick, the threat of nuclear Iran is so horrendous that we should not sign agreements that help it do it. Also, will you please clarify what you mean by ‘Bibi Bush?”

    Mr. Stegner, do you dismiss Bill Gates’ ideas because he didn’t finish college?

    Mr. Ecklund, let me back “Obama destabilized Middle East” statement. Obama pulled American troops out of Iraq and now it is under full Iranian control and ISIS is running amok (sure, it was Bush’s fault… sorry, agreement but responsible leaders adjust when circumstance changes). He bombed Libya’s Kaddafi, a guy who gave up his WMD after the American victory in Iraq, for absolutely no reason and now it is a failed state breeding terrorists; on the other hand, he didn’t bomb Syria in a very similar circumstance, even after Assad crossed the red line announced by Obama, and hundreds of thousands of people are dead, Assad’s power is secured, and Iran’s position is stronger than ever. He let Egypt’s friendly government fail and now the new government is cozying up to Russia. He allowed Yemen to fall to Shia rebels and thus become another Iranian satellite state (meanwhile, America lost half a billion worth of weapons there). He allowed the Cedar revolution in Lebanon to go to waste with Hezbollah (meaning Iran for all practical purposes) running the show there now (and America still supplies weapons to Lebanon). He insisted on another agreement between Israel and Hamas in Gaza thus guaranteeing a new war in the near future. And I am sure I am still missing something…

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 04/07/2015 - 08:50 pm.

      Bill Gates

      dropped out of Harvard during his sophomore year because his software business was taking up too much of his time. He didn’t drop out just before finishing for reasons never clearly specified.

      And I think that you would agree that a Commander in Chief who disclosed all of his options would be irresponsible.

      The differences between Syria and Libya are too extensive to go into here (start with population density).

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 04/08/2015 - 07:54 pm.

      A good question for Gutman ?

      What do we owe the Iraqi’s? Guns, blood, $, put it on the table. The world changes every day, all your arguments have pre-drawn conclusions, not to mention your hyperbole? Isis is now America’s fault? Syria is now America’s fault? What else are you going to blame on America for not blowing up and shedding our blood and treasure!? Dude, we have a senate, we have a congress these bozo’s whether you like them or not are elected, don’t like this system feel free to vote for someone else! Your complaint on this end is interpreted as: Obama is a bad guy because he did not leave more American blood and treasure on the battle field over a futile endeavor!
      Oh, but don’t ask you to bleed or pay taxes, that’s for all those other guys!

      • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 04/08/2015 - 10:01 pm.

        An answer

        Mr. Wagner, imagine that I am not against paying taxes – I just don’t want them to be wasted. And of course we owe Iraqis nothing – if anything they owe us. And it is funny that you are talking about Congress considering how little attention Obama pays to it and how much he wants to keep it out of his deals. As for Obama being a bad guy, I do not know him personally but for America he is a bad president because America is more vulnerable and the world is a more dangerous place after his 6 years in office. Or do you consider all the things I listed food for America?

        • Submitted by Pat Berg on 04/09/2015 - 07:18 pm.

          Only half an answer

          You were also asked about your willingness to bleed (or to offer your kids up in the event you are beyond a “suitable age” for military combat service). How do you feel about *really* standing behind your convictions in *that* way?

        • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 04/09/2015 - 08:33 pm.

          Sorry didn’t see the answer.

          What does wasted mean? Not sure anyone wants wasted tax $, unless you are the crook trying to screw the government, by the way happens in private enterprise as well, remember Bernie Madoff, Tom Petters, medicare fraud etc. etc. ironically republicans keep reducing enforcement $ with the IRS meaning they want people to rip off Uncle Sam and get away with it. Where did the little attention Obama pays to these deals come from? Need to show that derivative linkage, like acceleration and velocity. Please clarify how we are more vulnerable? That looks like an unsupported opinion “hyperbole” not a supported fact. If we are more vulnerable perhaps a second look at the powers behind the “Sequester” is in order. Actually consideration for the things listed are viewed as biased opinions fed by a biased attitude. In order to form a context one needs to compare to a relative baseline, which is?

      • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 04/10/2015 - 10:16 am.

        The facts are indisputable. ISIS would not exist today if Obama hadn’t abandoned Iraq. They simply filled the void he left for them, picked up the weapons, vehicles and other materials Obama left and did what comes naturally.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/10/2015 - 02:56 pm.

          Really

          Let’s pretend for a minute that President Obama was able to get the Iraqis to agree to an acceptable SOF agreement, and that the US could have stayed in Iraq until everything was ginger-peachy. Tell us, Mr. Swift, how long would that have been? One year? Two years? A decade? How was the US going to crush the rise of militant Islam in an area of the world rife with it? Why would a continued occupation have made the Iraqi people see the US, and the government it was propping up, as anything other than an enemy?

          The facts are indisputable, to anyone not blinded by Obama hatred: if militant Islam was going to arise in Iraq, it was going to come up no matter how long the US stayed. When democracy and secularism are alien ideologies, it is too much to expect them to take hold anywhere.

          • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 04/11/2015 - 07:16 am.

            Well, you’ve got a point RB. Although he held all the cards, Obama would surely have bungled any negotiation with Iraq, just as he bungled everything else he touched. A Middle East conflagration was assured the minute he took office.

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/13/2015 - 09:15 am.

              Now try it another way

              Try it without looking at the issue through the lens of Obama hatred. Pretend for a minute that you are a loyal American who wants US policies to succeed, regardless of who the President happens to be. With that in mind, ask yourself how long the US would have to stay in Iraq to make sure ISIS–or something like it–would never have come up.

              • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 04/13/2015 - 12:14 pm.

                As long as it takes. The cost of aintaining a garrison is peanuts compared with what we’ll spend to put their rampage to an end, dealing with a newly empowered Iran and a destroyed Syria.

                Honestly, it’s hard to envision a worse situation than the one we’re in now. And make no mistake; Obama owns every bit of it. That’s not hate, that’s the fact.

                • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 04/13/2015 - 01:48 pm.

                  So, you’re ok with being there forever.

                  Unless you have no imagination, It’s not hard at all to envision a worse scenario. Imagine a McCain/Palin administration’s machinations as it came to Iran, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Russia, Ukraine, etc etc etc. And hey, while ISIS continues to make a royal mess of things in the Middle East, they haven’t knocked down any Twin Towers here.

                  Try to imagine a world in which we DIDN’T invade Iraq in 2003, and instead PROPERLY finished the mission in Afghanistan. No US-created power vacuum in the M.E. + far fewer radicalized by the Iraq invasion + Not disbanding the Iraqi army + not lying to the UN about Iraqi WMD = No ISIS.

                  I’d go on, but I’d start to sound like John Lennon.

                • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/13/2015 - 01:52 pm.

                  “Obama owns every bit of it”

                  Including the decision to go to was in Iraq in the first place? I had no idea he was that powerful.

                  “The cost of maintaining a garrison is peanuts . . .” You’re speaking of the cost in dollars. What about the cost in lives, in political energy (how would we respond to a crisis elsewhere?), or the cost in American prestige? We could be like the Portuguese, defending our empire for decades against all logic–what do they have to show for it now?

                  • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 04/13/2015 - 07:18 pm.

                    How can we respond to crisis? Like Ukraine? Save prestige? Like with our NATO allies that were spied on, double crossed and treated like pariahs?

                    The answer is we can’t, until Obama is just a bad memory, and the bust of Winston Churchill has been gratefully accepted and displayed with the honor the gift deserved.

                    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 04/13/2015 - 09:19 pm.

                      A compliment Mr, Swift

                      We should invade Russia? or go face to face in another regional conflict. Your OK with the blood and treasure, jack up the taxes and send your kids to die on a Russian battle field: I compliment you sir on your patriotism.

                      Curious, What Prestige is it that we lost? Shoot first and ask questions later?
                      Could you clarify the spying piece?
                      Art of war: Sun Tzu (~1000 year old war manual) Probably required reading in every military academy and business school on the planet. Its called intelligence gathering, from your friends and your enemies. Are you for it or against it?

                      Pariahs? Like the 7 countries that just got together to work out the Iran deal? Not to respond but “Preempt” a crisis. There is a difference.

                      Not sure how Winston Churchill came into this deal? Are you suggesting we re-instate the draft or mandatory military participation? Actually I agree with you on the mandatory military participation, with some additional definition/clarification of course. But this is “Pro-active” not reactive.

                      ” From 1938 to the outbreak of war in September 1939, Churchill urged the government to be more pro-active against Hitler, including for an early call for conscription.”

  9. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 04/07/2015 - 09:00 pm.

    No win

    Obama’s done a lot wrong but in foreign affairs – middle eastern affairs-all that can be said is that he’s made the best of a bad hand he was dealt by Bush II and Bush I, for that matter. He hasn’t started any new wars and the Iran framework has a better chance of avoiding any future war by encouraging the democratic elements in Iranian society to gain strength and power.

    Scott Walker’s comments sound much like the noise coming out the GOP controlled House and Senate which in turn sound a lot like the noise that we used to hear more of from Richard Perle, William Kristol, Paul Wolfowicz and their ilk. That noise translated means, let’s have another war. War worked so well in Iraq so let’s see how it works in Iran.

  10. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 04/08/2015 - 07:03 am.

    Nuclear arms

    Under the status quo, Iran is moving toward obtaining nuclear arms, or at least that’s the bad case scenario we must consider. Near as I can tell, the sanctions and their continuation will not prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons, it will merely make the process more uncomfortable, and perhaps more difficult. As I understand it, in order to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons, we have a choice between negotiations and war. And while it does seem to be the case that while opponents of President Obama’s deal are not opposed to negotiations, they are firmly opposed to any negotiation that has any possibility of succeeding, or any deal that has a possibility of being made.

    This goes to what I think of as Hiram’s first rule of politics to wit: Politicians who favor a policy contingent on the fulfillment of an impossible precondition, in fact oppose the policy. To put it more metaphorically, if any guy tells you on a news show that they are in favor of something only if and when hell freezes over with the refrigeration paid for by his opponents, that politicians is against that thing.

  11. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 04/08/2015 - 08:06 am.

    What is really asinine about most of the conservative reaction (and comments here) is the idea that the Middle East was a peaceful shire until Obama showed up and screwed it up.

    The fact is that the ME is inexorably rolling toward a Götterdämmerung propelled by the various end-time/rebirth fantasies of Christians, Muslims and Jews.

    The inevitable and entirely foreseeable failure of the US in Iraq and Afghanistan clearly indicated to all of the local movements the exact limits of conventional military power and thereby expanded the weapons of war of all parties into those of which the US has previously resisted. Beheadings? Targeting civilians? Torture? Nuclear strikes?

    Bring it on !

    Negotiations are for wimps.

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 04/08/2015 - 09:07 am.

      “The inevitable and entirely foreseeable failure of the US in Iraq and Afghanistan clearly indicated to all of the local movements the exact limits of conventional military power and thereby expanded the weapons of war of all parties into those of which the US has previously resisted.”

      That is an excellent encapsulation of the true and damning cost of the Iraq war- not just the trillions of dollars and the thousands of dead Americans and hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 04/08/2015 - 01:00 pm.

      Theological note

      ‘End-time’ fantasies are mostly a Christian concept.
      Jewish and Muslim hopes are mostly in this world.

  12. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 04/08/2015 - 08:39 pm.

    Questions and answers

    Mr. Brandon, you have no idea why Walker dropped out so you should not make a judgment. Yes, I agree that Commander in Chief should keep some things to himself – except Obama told the entire world when Tirkit will be attacked, when he will pull the troops out of Afghanistan, when he would bomb Syria (except he never did) etc. And if Walker is a future Commander in Chief, he should stay quiet about his plans, shouldn’t he?

    Sure, there is a difference between Syria and Libya but so is the difference between NY and Mexico and yet people go on vacation to both of them. Consistency is one of the main virtues of any supervisor let alone a President unless he wanted to emphasize that America attack only the weak and ignore the strong even if they do the same things…

    Mr. Kingstad, do you consider all the things I listed in my previous post good things? Please clarify. If your only criterion is not starting any wars regardless of what happens because of that, I can see your point but on this basis Chamberlain’s policies were also a success. Also, can you give me an example when “democratic elements” within dictatorship gained power on their own?

    Mr. Foster, you are correct, most likely the sanctions would not have prevented Iran from getting nukes. But you are incorrect in your second assumption: Negotiations will not prevent Iran from getting nukes either because Iran wants it badly, as I proved in my Community Voices piece today so negotiations have not succeeded.

    Mr. Rovick, you are also correct – the Middle East has never been a peaceful place. However, what is going on there now, after Obama, is way worse than it was before – just admit it. As for negotiations, in the world power struggle, unfortunately, they are a way for a weak (in many cases mentally, not militarily, a party not ready for a real fight) to avoid that fight, for its own peril. It is not coincidental, that in all sports, the one who is afraid to fight – loses. And “inevitable and entirely foreseeable failure of the US in Iraq and Afghanistan” was the result of the same thing – a fear to fight hard because opponent will be bruised and that is not humane (and of course, Bush’s stupid idea to build democracy in the Middle East and Obama’s rush to do stupid things); it has nothing to do with the US military.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 04/08/2015 - 11:01 pm.

      What I said is

      “…. He didn’t drop out just before finishing for reasons never clearly specified.”
      There is no judgement in this statement; just in yours.
      If you do in fact know why Walker dropped out, please inform the world.
      You’re still suffering from ‘straw horse syndrome’.

  13. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 04/09/2015 - 06:20 am.

    “Negotiations will not prevent Iran from getting nukes either because Iran wants it badly, as I proved in my Community Voices piece today so negotiations have not succeeded.”

    I don’t know if the plan to be put in place will succeed either. But it is something, and doing something has a better chance of doing nothing, of staying on the present course which results either in Iran having a nuclear weapon or going to war. Bear in mind that whatever happens with the Iran deal, the option to go to war, such as it is, is always there.

    Let’s be clear here. The high risk folks, the people who are recklessly gambling, the people who are gambling the future of humanity in pursuit of narrow political goals, are the people who may not want, but are perfectly willing to allow Iran to continue, their program of building nuclear weapons.

  14. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 04/09/2015 - 08:52 am.

    Walker Logic

    So if Iran gets a bomb it is only logical that Saudi Arabia would also want to get a bomb. Mr. Walker conveniently forgets about the 100 plus uninspected, unregulated nuclear weapons in Israeli inventory as a prime cause of Iran’s quest for a bomb.

  15. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 04/09/2015 - 12:11 pm.

    So if Iran gets a bomb it is only logical that Saudi Arabia would also want to get a bomb.

    How compelling is the logic from other’s point of view? How many tyrants are thinking, the United States would not have invaded Iraq if Saddam Hussein did have the bomb? I that a logic we want the world’s bad guys to pursue?

  16. Submitted by Bill Willy on 04/09/2015 - 01:20 pm.

    Dear Warheads

    Just for a little reality-check’s sake, it never hurts to pause once in a while to consider the reality of Planet Earth’s current locked-and-loaded nuclear arms situation:

    “Nine countries together possess more than 16,000 nuclear weapons. The United States and Russia maintain roughly 1,800 of their nuclear weapons on high-alert status – ready to be launched within minutes of a warning. Most are many times more powerful than the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. A single nuclear warhead, if detonated on a large city, could kill millions of people, with the effects persisting for decades.”

    United States: 7,315 warheads

    Russia: 8,000 warheads

    United Kingdom: 225 warheads

    France: 300 warheads

    China: 250 warheads

    India: 90–110 warheads

    Pakistan: 100–120 warheads

    Israel: 80 warheads

    North Korea: Less than 10 warheads

    Iran: Zero warheads

    Total: 16,400 warheads

    http://www.icanw.org/the-facts/nuclear-arsenals/

    For all those that so passionately repeat and repeat negotiations with Iran are a fool’s errand, the one absolutely undeniable FACT I would point to is this:

    In the 70 years since the U.S. dropped those two atomic bombs on Japan, and the 65 or so years since the first nuclear bomb was invented (thank-you science) not ONE of those 16,000+ unimaginably destructive pieces of “military equipment” has been used by any of the nine countries that have them.

    And that genuinely remarkable and ongoing (as in not “static,” but in need of “constant vigilance”) record of achievement has been accomplished though years and years and round after round of NEGOTIATIONS.

    And, as it relates to the topic of these particular negotiations, it MAY be worth noting that five of the countries involved in them (America, Britain, France, Russia and China) account for over half the countries on the short list above, control the vast majority of the world’s nuclear weapons, AND, not unimportantly, have so far succeeded in NOT using them by communicating and negotiating with one another.

    In other words, five of the seven countries represented in the negotiations have VAST EXPERIENCE IN NEGOTIATING “desired outcomes” when it comes to the threat of nuclear weapons being unleashed on human beings… They KNOW what it takes.

    Personally, I have no idea what it takes and am amazed that everyone has, so far, been able to find the ways to prevent even ONE nuclear weapon being used. So it seems at least a little odd to me that people have such strong opinions that say the efforts of those highly experienced and so far successful negotiators are an “obvious failure” and a general “waste of time” that will lead to “sure catastrophe.” Like all the people in those Swiss rooms are stupid, blind, naive, don’t know what they’re talking about, etc..

    Really… Five of the countries represented in those meetings possess 16,000 warheads between them but haven’t used any of them on each other or anyone else in 65 years, but they’re “going down the wrong path and being led by the nose straight into Dupedland” which will lead ALL the nations of the world into some version of Living Hell!

    You’ll have to excuse me, but I am far more inclined to pay attention to, and go along with, whatever it is the people with actual experience in the extremely weird art of “nuclear negotiations” say and come up with than those with NO experience but LOTS of opinions that seem to amount to the idea that negotiations are for suckers.

    Although he wouldn’t be alone by any means, to say that Scott Walker would be in over his head, were he to find himself in a real conversation with the real world nuclear negotiators alluded to above, is such an understatement that it can’t be stated.

    So I’d say the best alternative would be pay attention to what the people doing the negotiating are actually saying and doing, take it and those 65 years of weapons-backed experience and SUCCESS seriously, and not just knee-jerk it out of hand because… Well… Because so many people that have no real clue as to how to keep people from blowing each other up say “it’s stupid.”

  17. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 04/09/2015 - 07:55 pm.

    Logic

    Mr. Brandon, you tried to explain Bill Gates’ dropping out of college implying that Walker did not have a good reason which is clearly judgmental.

    Mr. Foster, it is not true that doing something is always better than doing nothing – for example negotiation a deal with North Korea gave the world a false sense of security that NK exploited. It is also wrong to assume that we will always have the (same) option to go to war: if this deal will allow Iran to have secretly have nukes or have it right after it expires , American position in a war will be much worse. Now, why are you jumping to a judgment of calling some “the people who are recklessly gambling, the people who are gambling the future of humanity in pursuit of narrow political goals?” Why are you saying that they are willing to let Iran continue? Where is the proof? For example, I am not willing..

    As for the logic of the tyrants who think that “the United States would not have invaded Iraq if Saddam Hussein did have the bomb,” it is, unfortunately true. The opposite is also true: We attacked a weak guy who gave up his nukes (Kaddafi) and did not attack a strong one (Assad). But it means that there is even more reason not to let Iran have nukes – by any means.

    Mr. Blaise, please explain why Saudi Arabia did not care enough about Israel’s nukes to pursue its own but is going ballistic because of Iranian one?

    Mr. Willy, what difference does it make how many nuclear warheads other countries possess? There are millions of guns in America – would you want another Adam Lanza to have one? But ultimately, are you saying that it would be no big deal if Iran also has nukes? And if you are not, than the success of these negotiations should be measured in how much assurance this agreement would give us that Iran would not get nukes; and the answer to this is: no assurance.

    All the negotiations you were talking about were intended to decrease the number of existing warheads and reduce a chance of their use and those negotiations were to certain degree successful. None of those negotiations ever succeeded in preventing a country that wanted to get nukes from getting them. Yes, some countries gave them up voluntarily but either because they genuinely did not see the reason to have them since they were not trying to export their way of life and gain more influence or out of fear that they would be bombed (Kaddafi is this case) but that is different that the case with Iran.

    I do not see how it is possible to connect past possession and non-use of nukes with these negotiations. France and England beat Germany in WWI but did a stupid thing in Munich. As they say, past performance does not guarantee the future success, especially if we consider that Kerry and Obama have not achieved anything in their lives in international negotiations. So yes, many people in Lausanne are naïve at best (and that does not apply to Iranian delegation).

    You disagree with those who think that this agreement is terrible but are you familiar with their arguments (I wrote a Community Voice piece on this)? Can you find where they are wrong in their logic? And I am sure that you think that Bush team was wrong on everything but they also had experience so why a different approach now?

    • Submitted by jason myron on 04/10/2015 - 06:56 pm.

      Mr.Gutman

      Just once after using the word “Logic” as the header to your posts, it would be really great if you actually followed it up and applied some. Your insistence on proof while offering up none of your own is beyond old, as are your broad statements of opinion masquerading as fact.

    • Submitted by Bill Willy on 04/10/2015 - 11:37 pm.

      One fact only

      Hello Ilya.

      What I said was:

      A) the one fact about nuclear weapons no one can dispute is none of them has been used in the 65 years they’ve existed;

      B) the key to that relatively amazing accomplishment has been a long history of communication between nations, their negotiations and agreements; and

      C) that I’m more inclined to trust the judgment of those that have an experienced-based background in those type of communications, negotiations and agreements than I am to trust the judgment of politicians and everyday people that don’t have any of that experience or “in-the-room-insight” but have no hesitation when it comes to expressing their feelings, beliefs and opinions on the negative side of the “negotiations” subject.

      If you – or anyone else – have any ideas about a more effective solution than negotiations for continued prevention of the use of nuclear weapons I’d be interested in hearing about it.

      And before you answer, remember: Regardless of the number of nuclear weapons in the world, no one has used them and negotiations have been the key to that. So the question you’d be answering would be, what do you think would be more effective in continued prevention of their use than negotiations?

      • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 04/11/2015 - 11:27 am.

        Connections

        Hi Bill, this is what I said. 1. All negotiations in the past prevented the countries that had already possessed nuclear weapons from using it (even though it is questionable because there could have been other, more compelling reasons not to use them, i.e. the MAD doctrine) but did not prevent other countries from acquiring them (India, Pakistan, North Korea) and that is where we are at now: Trying to prevent another country from getting nukes. So you reference to past “successes” is irrelevant. 2. Both Obama and Kerry are as much politicians as McCain and Schumer so I do not see a reason to trust the former more than the latter. Besides, so far, Obama’s track record in international affairs has been abysmal as I pointed out in my first post for this article so logically one should be more inclined NOT to trust him on this deal. As for effective solution, unfortunately, I see the force as the only way to stop a country that craves nuclear weapons. It may be ugly but it is better than letting them have it (same as going to war with Germany in 1938 would have been ugly but much better than what happened in a year and dropping nuclear bomb on Japan was also very ugly but less ugly than a protracted operation to liberate all Pacific islands).

  18. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 04/10/2015 - 08:15 am.

    “it is not true that doing something is always better than doing nothing – for example negotiation a deal with North Korea gave the world a false sense of security that NK exploited.”

    Possibly. But it could also be argued that the campaign of sanctions against Iran are giving many a sense of security that might be very well false, that Iran is currently not on track to build nuclear weapons.False or not, I feel more secure when Iran is the target of nuclear inspections than when it is not.

    The goal of sanctions is to reach a deal. If we refuse to reach a deal, what’s the point of sanctions?

  19. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 04/10/2015 - 10:30 am.

    Questions

    Why are you saying that they are willing to let Iran continue?

    The reason why am saying it is that they haven’t presented a policy alternative that would hinder Iran’s nuclear weapon production. The policy they do advocate, sanctions, allow Iranian production to continue.

    Where is the proof?

    The pudding? But actually I think the proof flows logically from the statements of the opponents of the deal. They will tell you very strongly that Iran is moving toward nuclear weapons production. From that it flows rather indisputably I think, that the sanctions are not effective in halting or really even slowing down nuclear production. It seems to be the case that opposition to this framework is utterly incoherent.

  20. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 04/10/2015 - 08:09 pm.

    Thanks for your input

    Mr. Foster, I always appreciate your input. I would agree with you that we all will feel more secure when Iran is a target of STRICT nuclear inspections. The problem is that this agreement will not impose those strict inspections and very soon there will be no inspections at all.

    Now, my position (and other deal opponents may have a different one) is that sanctions are indeed useless if a country strongly wants to do something – see North Korea example. In theory, the goal of the sanctions is to break the will of the opponent and force that opponent to do what you want – that is the real deal. The opponent is the one who should beg for mercy. In this case, it was the opposite: The West begged Iran to negotiate promising multiple benefits. That is why this deal is so skewed in favor of Iran: sanctions or not, they wore the West off and the West was willing to do anything just to avoid another war. Having said that, I would guess that if sanctions truly cut off the entire oil export from Iran and gasoline import to Iran (why did everyone forgot about that path – it was widely discussed in the beginning of sanction regime), there would have been a possibility to have a better deal.

    An alternative to sanctions is clear – military force. But when the West is so terrified of this, it is destined to lose, just like France and England were destined to lose in 1938 and then again in 1939. In any conflict or competition, the side that is afraid to fight will always lose.

  21. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 04/11/2015 - 06:56 am.

    The West begged Iran to negotiate promising multiple benefits.

    Well that’s one way of characterizing. We wanted negotiations because we wanted things from Iran. To force Iran to the negotiating table is why we instituted a campaign of sanctions. As I see it,there is nothing skewed by this deal to avoid war. Going to war is an option the west retains. So does a return to the sanction policy.

    Why engage in a policy to force Iran to negotiate if there is no real desire to reach a deal? More specifically, how can we retain the support of allies whose support for sanctions was absolutely critical for their success but was obtained on the promise to them that the goal of our policy was a sincere desire to peacefully resolve our differences?

    The reality, I suspect, is that opponents of this deal didn’t want negotiations, that didn’t really even want sanctions. In political terms, they want anything Barack Obama is against and support anything Barack Obama in a blind and dangerous desire to reduce important international security to matters of petty domestic policies. And even worse, they want to go to Iran, their disastrous solution to just about any security issue. The only reason they can’t say that directly is that they are aware of how thoroughly their preferred policy has been discredited.

  22. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 04/11/2015 - 11:29 am.

    Let’s be specific

    Mr. Foster, it looks like you ignored my arguments. If you withhold an allowance from your son after he got drunk, it is not because you want to negotiate how much of a “drunkenness” will be allowed in the future but because you want this to never happen again. So, going back to Iran, the negotiators could have discuss how soon the sanctions would be lifted and what the process of verification would be but not the initial UN demand that all nuclear related activities would be stopped. This is the kind of negotiations that was originally envisioned by everyone (see previous Obama statements) so the desire for peaceful resolution was, I suppose, sincere. Iran should have begged for a deal in order to survive. Yes, going to war is an option we retain but it will be under much more unfavorable conditions for the West. And return to sanctions policies will actually not be an option because Russia and China will never again agree to this.

    In case you haven’t noticed, there are plenty of Democrats who strongly dislike this deal so you cannot accuse them of doing everything against Obama in their “blind and dangerous desire to reduce important international security to matters of petty domestic policies.” They just see this deal as very bad for America and the world, which it clearly is. In my previous post I said that “… this agreement will not impose those strict inspections and very soon there will be no inspections at all” but you did not respond to this. And of course, going to Iraq was not disastrous (the war was won quickly and with minimum losses); staying there was – and that is a mistake that should not be repeated.

  23. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 04/12/2015 - 07:28 am.

    “If you withhold an allowance from your son after he got drunk, it is not because you want to negotiate how much of a “drunkenness” will be allowed in the future but because you want this to never happen again. ”

    Well the familial context confuses it, but family members negotiate stuff including behavior all the time. In any event such issues are relevant to whether we will negotiate. But we made the decision to negotiate a while back, the decision now is whether we will implement deals made in the negotiations. The other alternatives, in the family context, to destroy the family, in the Iranian context, to destroy Iran, remain available.

    The president’s opponents don’t like the deal, but they didn’t like the negotiations in the first place, and the fact is, no deal would have satisfied them. What they do want is what they are unwilling to say they want; war with Iran.

    “In case you haven’t noticed, there are plenty of Democrats who strongly dislike this deal so you cannot accuse them of doing everything against Obama in their “blind and dangerous desire to reduce important international security to matters of petty domestic policies.”

    I am not surprised at disagreement within the Democratic Party. Democrats unlike our Republican friends, think for themselves and don’t blindly accept the dictates of Ann Coulter. And this is an issue on which reasonable people might very well differ. Maybe war is a better alternative than negotiations. But I think it must be clear that war is the real and only alternative to the path we are on. If our policy is to prolong negotiations with no real desire to conclude them with a deal, we have to accept the very real possibility of a nuclear Iran or another destabilizing war in south Asia.

  24. Submitted by Jon Lord on 04/12/2015 - 10:44 am.

    Just a thought

    Assuming Iran was able to build a nuclear bomb, does anyone think they are insane enough to use it? I imagine Ilya can come up with a reason however irrational, but I think that most would agree it would be signing their own death warrant. I believe they understand that. That it would be a death warrant for any country using nuclear weapons is clearly the reason they aren’t used. With the possible exception of a country led by some insane person who might get into office and who believes in the end of the world scenario, sanity, when it comes to the use of current nuclear weapons, rules. Iran might want to sell enriched uranium but building a bomb doesn’t give them, say, much of a leg up on Israel. If we won’t negotiate with Iran over the lifting of sanctions vs the bomb, what’s to stop them from building one anyway, if that’s what they want to do. If we negotiate a deal with Iran and they go back on their word to let us inspect their nuclear facilities we can always end any deal we make with them.

  25. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 04/12/2015 - 01:12 pm.

    Past and future decisions

    Mr. Foster, you are incorrect – we did not make a decision to negotiate anything; if anything we made a decision to impose sanctions in hopes that it would lead to forcing Iran to comply with the UN resolutions meaning stopping the programs – as I said that was how Obama presented it at that time. And alternative in my example is not destroying the family but, for example, taking away car keys so you son cannot drive to the parties. In our case, the alternative is forcing Iran to comply with the UN resolutions, whether during negotiations or militarily (and a war does not mean destroying a country) and, as I pointed out but you ignored, it is becoming more and more difficult as time passes.

    You keep repeating that opponents do not like this deal and would not like any deal but that doesn’t make this statement right. In fact, if this deal included complete destruction of Iran’s nuclear program, they would have been satisfied. And I, as one of the strong opponents, am telling you that I do not want a war; all I want is full and complete abandonment of Iran’s nuclear program and if it will take military force, so be it.

    You said that “Democrats unlike our Republican friends, think for themselves.” Can you give me other examples when they did not support Obama’s policies? I remember “let’s vote for this bill (ACA) and then we will see what’s in it” uttered by a Democrat. And I also remember multiple cases when Boehner could not convince his fellow Republicans to vote for a bill he supported while Democrats always vote party lines with very few exceptions. After all, there are multiple Republican candidates and only one Democratic.

    Mr. Lord, I want to point out that, first, Iran may easily survive a nuclear response – it is large enough and has a lot of mountains, and second, just having a Bomb will make Iran immune to any retaliation and will allow it to remake the Middle East to its own liking. And unfortunately, the “end of the world” scenario is not out of question for Iran considering that it is a theocracy. And it was said many times to it would be practically impossible to re-install the sanctions regime after they are lifted even if Iran cheats.

  26. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 04/13/2015 - 06:02 am.

    we did not make a decision to negotiate anything;

    It’s more of a case that people didn’t want to negotiate anything. They wanted to appear at a negotiation table in order to present a charade to the world to the effect that they were making a meaningful effort to avoid war. That charade continues when supporters of going to war are now presenting themselves as critics of a deal that they would have opposed no matter what it provided.

    That’s a view that’s out there. But it just isn’t the view of the administration or of a lot of Americans who have seen the actual results of a long series of wars in the middle east and now south Asia.

    ” In fact, if this deal included complete destruction of Iran’s nuclear program, they would have been satisfied.”

    Typically, in a negotiation, each party gives something up. One party rarely capitulates entirely to the other because, among other reasons. you don’t need negotiations to capitulate.

    “Can you give me other examples when they did not support Obama’s policies?”

    Oh sure. There was substantial Democratic support for Bush’s tax cuts. There was substantial opposition among Democrats to Obamacare. There will be significant opposition to the president’s position on the pipeline. Really, it’s hard to think of any controversial issue where the president commanded unanimous support of Democrats in Congress or elsewhere. We Democrats are a fractious lot. I have always been rather part of that. The Republican lockstep on issues in Congress has always made me more than a little uneasy.

  27. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 04/13/2015 - 09:34 am.

    Historical analogies

    I am not a big fan of historical analogies for a lot of reasons. For one thing, when making them, people have a sort of bias to the famous. Everything reminds them of Munich, nothing reminds them of an uneventful day in 1957. Yet any given day is far more like to be uneventful than eventful. But going back in history, I am reminded of the negotiations leading up to our war against Iraq. There were negotiations beforehand, meetings in Switzerland as I recall. Nonnegotiable demands were placed on tables for negotiation. Iraq was subject to arms inspections, remember? The inspectors found nothing which at the time was used to attack their credibility. Now we know it was because there was nothing to be found and the embarrassment of that is why the whole inconvenient history of the events leading up to the Iraqi War has sent down the memory hole to be replaced the one size fits all revisionist history of Munich.

    As I have noted here and elsewhere, these are issues on which reasonable people can differ. But let’s be honest and upfront about what the differences are. The Bush administration back then was unserious about negotiations, using them as a pretext for their desire to go to war, and war was what they got, with the disastrous consequences we are dealing with today and in the foreseeable future Knowing what we know, does war make sense as a first option? Doesn’t it make sense to learn from the past and not repeat the choices that were so awful so recently?

  28. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 04/13/2015 - 07:35 pm.

    Vote and history

    Mr. Foster, as I pointed out and you ignored, Obama himself talked about Iran’s abandonment of its nuclear program when he was pushing for sanctions. After all, that is what the UN resolutions required. You are correct, in negotiations both sides get something so in this case Iran would have gotten a sanctions relief – presumably what it is supposed to want the most… Or its nuclear program is more important than sanctions relief? But then it means that they are up to no good and that there is even more reason to make sure they stop their program completely.

    Obamacare passed the Senate with all 60 Democrats voting for it (otherwise it would not have passed) just before new Congress took place. The idea was to pass it in the last moment, before people even read it. On Keystone you are correct though – but that is the only other one and the one where it is impossible to find a reason not to support it. But here is an undeniable proof that Democrats vote party line much more than Republicans: http://projects.washingtonpost.com/congress/112/senate/members/, http://projects.washingtonpost.com/congress/110/senate/members/, http://projects.washingtonpost.com/congress/110/house/members/.
    If you click on the header of the rightmost column, it will sort things out by percentage and Republicans will be on top (minimum vote along party line) while Democrats will be at the bottom (maximum vote along party line).

    I do not remember those specifics about negotiations with Iraq but I will trust you on that. However, I also remember that Iraq did not comply with all international demands at that time. But anyway, let’s analyze it. Iraq did not comply with non-negotiable demands, was attacked, and lost quickly with minimum casualties on all sides. After that Libya gave up its own nuke program that no one knew about and Iran was asking to negotiate. Now, if at that time, Bush pulled American troops out of Iraq and negotiated with Iran from the position of overwhelming force, he would have been called the greatest president of our times. Unfortunately, it was not enough for him to win the war and negotiations; he wanted to leave a legacy of nation building… and failed miserable. But that doesn’t negate the possible great result of his Iraq war that could have been achieved had he been less ambitious (or less passionate about helping others).

    Getting back to Iran, I never said that the war should be the first choice as you imply. But it should not be a “no-choice” either as it currently is.

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 04/13/2015 - 08:56 pm.

      MR G.

      As the Stones would say “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime you may get what you need” .
      You’d make a great dictator! Problem is: NO matter how hard the conservatives scream about Obama being a dictator you constantly tell us he isn’t because he can’t gt you what you want, Global Dictator powers.
      Evidently you think the the legislative process cheated to get Obamacare thorough? And here I thought 60 was within the rules as enough to pass that piece of legislation.

      Undeniable proof:? Did you also look at the 102,3,4 etc congress’s or don’t they count in this version of “Undeniable proof”

      Geez, didn’t comply with “all demands” as the Queen of Hearts would say “Off with their heads” great reason to send what 600,000 +/- to their graves.

      And what does all this have to do with good old Scott Walker and his mid-east plan? Off topic by chance?

  29. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 04/14/2015 - 06:30 am.

    Obama himself talked about Iran’s abandonment of its nuclear program when he was pushing for sanctions.

    I did too. Such talk is common before negotiations start. You don’t open talks with your final offer.

    “Obamacare passed the Senate with all 60 Democrats voting for it (otherwise it would not have passed) just before new Congress took place.

    Well, no, the point of Obamacare was to provide universal and affordable health care for all Americans, not to provide bed time reading for Congress people. It passed the way it did because Congress was under time pressure, but in that in no way, affected the validity of the bill. Touchdowns don’t count for fewer points because they were scored in the last minute of a football game. In any event, there are many instances of Democrats supporting Republican bills. It’s just a fact that we think in all sorts of different ways. There will certainly be a significant number of Democrats who oppose the Iranian deal.

    “However, I also remember that Iraq did not comply with all international demands at that time.”

    Here is something that’s true about complicated deals. Whenever you want to find someone in breach, you can always sift through the agreements and find violations. It’s true for car leases, it’s true for international arms deals. The fact is, there were extensive international inspections, and those inspections did not find a nuclear arms program. We know now that a significant factor in that failure to to find such a program was the fact that none existed, something of a cautionary tale for the Iranians, I would think.

    “Getting back to Iran, I never said that the war should be the first choice as you imply. But it should not be a “no-choice” either as it currently is.”

    The presient’s Republican opponents in Washington have made the choice not to talk about war, because they know how deeply their decision to go to war with Iraq was discredited by history. But by not clearly articulating the policy they favor, by giving the impression at least is that they support negotiations only on the condition that they never succeed, they are the ones putting America and the whole world really, at the risk of nuclear holocaust.

    As I said, I am not a fan of historical analogies, but sometimes I can’t resist in indulging them. Maybe Munich is the right example, but maybe the question is where are we in the process. Are we Chamberlain in 1938? Or are we David Lloyd Georgre and Rene Clemenceau in Paris of 1919. In that meeting, the negotiations were just a facade for capitulation, perhaps in the same way many want the negotiations with Iran to be today. If we succeed today in forcing capitulation today, as the allies did in 1919, will we be setting ourselves up for another Munich, not today, not tomorrow, but not too many years down the road?

  30. Submitted by Jon Lord on 04/14/2015 - 07:24 am.

    It’s doubtful, Ilya, that all of Iran would need to be covered with nuclear weapons to completely destroy the ruling party and their nuclear facilities. Killing all Iranians shouldn’t and most likely wouldn’t be the object of a return nuclear strike. If you had one nuclear warhead, would you fire it at a nation with, say, 80 nuclear warheads? As soon as you did, you’d see a few more than you fired coming back at you before your warhead hit it’s target. Two or three would likely be enough to end the Iranian peoples wish to be struck by another. If their ruling party is hiding under some mountain, they’d likely want to stay there fearing retaliation from their own people.

    Only Christian Fundamentalists want to see the end of the world in their lifetime. They believe it’s written in the Bible that it’s time. They’ve always believed that.

  31. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 04/14/2015 - 07:54 pm.

    Example

    Mr. Foster, let me give you another example. A judge orders a man to refrain from beating his son and also, on the basis of past behavior, prohibits his contacts with his son. This man may try to get some visitation rights and even try to get the joint custody with his wife – so some negotiations will be taking place with each side hoping to get something – but under no conditions he will ever be allowed to beat his son again, right? The UNSC ordered Iran to stop nuclear activities and explain past activities and that should not be negotiable; time frame of lifting sanctions and providing assistance medical field should be.

    Don’t you think that before voting, all senators should know what they are voting for? Do you mean to say that if Obama presents a bill and says that this bill would make everyone happy forever, the Senate should vote for it without reading just because the goal is so good? And the Congress was not under pressure, Democrats were. And only because they wanted to pass a bill that they knew would not have a chance in a new Congress and against the will of majority of Americans – so it was not a very moral approach and has nothing to do with touchdown. Did you read my links? Why can’t you admit that you were wrong when you said that Democrats do not vote party line and opposed Obama on ACA? Democrats may think in all sorts of different ways but they still vote the way they are told (unlike Republicans which is clear from WP study).

    I agree, Republicans should be more honest and explain that if Iran does not give up its program completely, the military attack will be the only choice. But they can also say that we will not repeat our mistake in Iraq and will not occupy Iran with the goal of trying to build a democracy there – what happens after this government is gone will be completely up to Iranians.

    Your example of 1919 is interesting but I think there is a big difference. Germany at that time was subject to excessive demands because allies wanted revenge. This time, the only demand is what the UNSC wanted.

    By the way, have you read about Russia’s selling S-300 to Iran? So the war in the future will be much more difficult so your argument that the military option will always be available is not valid.

    Mr. Wagner, I don’t get it – I never screamed that Obama is a dictator. Neither did I say that Obamacare was passed illegally or anyone cheated – the only thing we were discussing was whether Democrats vote the party line. The Washington Post looked at 100th and 102nd Congress and the results were the same – can you provide a reason why you think 103rd and 104th would be different?

    But you are right, this thing is a little bit off topic – but it was not me who brought it up: Mr. Foster was the first one to bring Obamacare up as an example of Democrats opposing Obama (and that was relevant since we were talking about Democrats’ opposition to Iran deal and why it is based on the deal substance and not dislike of everything Obama does) and I just showed that this example was incorrect, that’s it.

    Mr. Lord, have you heard of a concept of the 12th Imam concept. You may want to read this then: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sheldon-filger/why-does-iran-want-nuclea_b_6792894.html. Yes, the author is not exactly a liberal but I do not think he invented this speech..

  32. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 04/15/2015 - 07:16 am.

    A judge orders a man to

    A judge orders a man to refrain from beating his son and also, on the basis of past behavior, prohibits his contacts with his son.

    Legal matters are typically a matter of negotiation, and that’s particularly true of family law. However, in the course of litigation, it is sometimes the case that one or both of the parties choose to bring things to a judicial conclusion. That’s the legal equivalent of going to war, and it’s often a pretty bad idea.

    “Don’t you think that before voting, all senators should know what they are voting for?”

    Oh sure, but that doesn’t mean reading every bill. And in my copy of the constitution I don’t see the founders made that a requirement. And as you suggest, while Congress wasn’t under pressure to pass a bill, Democrats were under enormous pressure to pass a bill.

    “Why can’t you admit that you were wrong when you said that Democrats do not vote party line and opposed Obama on ACA? ”

    Because I am right on the facts. A significant number of Democrats voted against Obamacare.

    ” Germany at that time was subject to excessive demands because allies wanted revenge. ”

    People are far more concerned with bombs than motivation. My Republican friends are right about thing. We are waging war against religion in the middle east. And the believers will fight back.

  33. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 04/15/2015 - 07:19 am.

    Revenge

    And by the way, of course our war against Iraq was a war of revenge.

  34. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 04/15/2015 - 07:39 pm.

    It is simple

    Mr. Foster, you are correct that judicial conclusion is an equivalent of war but it has nothing to do with what I said – beating will never be allowed, the same as enrichment should never be allowed in Iran; and you ignored this point.

    Of course the Constitution did not require senators to read the bills they vote for… it was assumed to be a common sense at that time. Would you vote for anything without reading it? Would you sign any papers without reading them? I highly doubt that but you are OK with your senator’s voting for something he or she doesn’t know enough about? Really? Yes, Democrats were under enormous pressure to pass this bill – but not from their constituents… it was from Obama and party leadership. And no Democratic senator voted against Obamacare and only 34 Democrats voted against that in the House – and you call it a “significant number?”

    Can you give an example of a Republican saying that we are waging a war on religion in the Middle East? And what kind of revenge against Iraq are you talking about? And what does it have to do with Iran – the UNSC resolutions are very clear – no nuclear activities – and we will just enforce it…

  35. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 04/16/2015 - 06:33 am.

    you are correct that judicial conclusion is an equivalent of war but it has nothing to do with what I said – beating will never be allowed, the same as enrichment should never be allowed in Iran; and you ignored this point.

    And the solution to that problem is to go to war. And that’s what I am saying. The real problem for critics of this Iran deal isn’t the deal itself, it that it represents a policy other than going to war with Iran. Well, we have fought a series of wars against middle eastern and south Asian countries and they don’t seem to be getting us anywhere. But hey, maybe the next on is the charm.

    “Of course the Constitution did not require senators to read the bills they vote for… it was assumed to be a common sense at that time.”

    Actually, the common sense of the constitution has always been to divide the Congress into committees so that members could specialize. But committees aren’t in the constitution either.

    “Would you vote for anything without reading it?”

    Yes, I would. Actually, it’s physically impossible to read everything legislatures vote on. There is just too much, and the amendments fly by too quickly.

    “I highly doubt that but you are OK with your senator’s voting for something he or she doesn’t know enough about?”

    The quality of legislation isn’t depended on whether my senator knows anything about it or not.

    “Democrats were under enormous pressure to pass this bill – but not from their constituents”

    Republicans were under enormous pressure to oppose the bill. But that’s what happens in a democracy.

    “And no Democratic senator voted against Obamacare and only 34 Democrats voted against that in the House – and you call it a “significant number?””

    Yes and that happened only after a long negotiation, Many Democrats voted against the bill in the House.

    “Can you give an example of a Republican saying that we are waging a war on religion in the Middle East? ”

    I hear it on right wing media all the time. This is a war between Islam and America is one of O’Reilly and Hannity’s and others most frequent refrains. Do you seriously think we would have gone to war against Iraq if their national religion was Buddhism?

  36. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 04/16/2015 - 06:14 pm.

    Let’s talk merit

    Mr. Foster, you keep repeating the same thing over and over again but that doesn’t make it right. The opponents don’t want to go to war – they just do not want a deal that allows beating a son and think that if a guy wants to do it, he should go to jail. After that, it may take police and shooting but it is the right thing to do (and may indeed take a war to rid Iran of nuclear program) but it is not a goal but just the means to achieve the goal that everyone agrees upon. You are inventing a justification for yourself to disagree with opponents of the deal while even Obama said that no deal is better than a bad deal and this is what this is – a very bad deal. Why don’t you argue the merits of the deal rather than attributing some bad intentions to its opponents?

    Committees are supposed to discuss things in depth but everyone is supposed to read the bill before voting. I bet not many people would support their elected representatives if those representatives would be voting for bills without reading them, just because they are told to do so. You said you would vote without reading – good. Have your read your mortgage, car lease, employment contract, etc. before signing? You never answered that question… I also wonder, since you said that the quality of legislation does not depend on whether your senator knows anything about it, what if all senators would follow that… We may as well have a monarchy here if Senators would not care what they vote for…

    So you acknowledged that Democrats were under enormous pressure to vote for the bill from Reid and Obama and then say that it applies to Republicans. Actually, not, because Republicans did what the people wanted, not their bosses. And finally, since when is 34 out of almost 400 a significant number?

    Neither O’Reilly nor Hannity were saying this – instead they referred to “militant” Islam, and that makes all the difference. But you conveniently omit that modifier to fit your narrative. And what does religion have to do with Iraq war? A lot of Koreans and Vietnamese are Buddhists – America did go there… But that is the third imaginary reason for Iraq war that I hear – oil, revenge, and now religion…

  37. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 04/17/2015 - 05:43 am.

    he opponents don’t want to go to war – they just do not want a deal that allows beating a son and think that if a guy wants to do it, he should go to jail.

    Then they pretty much want a continuation of the status quo, which leads to Iran having nuclear weapons. Those are the alternatives to a policy of negotiation. I guess in your analogy, what that means is that they favor is endless litigation while the parent continues to beat the son, if that helps.

    “Committees are supposed to discuss things in depth but everyone is supposed to read the bill before voting.”

    Maybe, but they don’t. And the fact is, Congress turns out an enormous volume of complex legislation, and lots of people don’t read it all. We can’t allow a non readers veto, a situation where legislation is invalid simply because legislators have chosen, for whatever reason, not to read it.

    “So you acknowledged that Democrats were under enormous pressure to vote for the bill from Reid and Obama and then say that it applies to Republicans.”

    They were under pressure from a lot of people. I know I told my congressman that if he didn’t pass health care legislation, he risked losing my support. Boy, did that scare him.

    “Neither O’Reilly nor Hannity were saying this – instead they referred to “militant” Islam, and that makes all the difference.”

    Presumably “militant” Islam is Islam and a religion just like any other. In Minnesota we have the Missouri Synod. They are pretty militant, but they are still Lutherans. The Catholic faith often refers itself to a church militant. Does that make the Pope as any less Catholic?

    “And what does religion have to do with Iraq war? ”

    I am sorry. The fact is I hear on the media all the time, people tell me that we are at war with Islam. And by the way, that’s what our enemies say who always refer to us as “crusaders”. It just isn’t a coincidence that the country we chose to go to war with was an Islamic nation. And even if it wasn’t, it’s certainly perceived as that by Muslims, militant and otherwise who watch American media by satellite.

  38. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 04/17/2015 - 07:45 pm.

    What to believe

    Mr. Foster, I thought I said it clearly enough: a dad who beats his son should go to jail and Iran should quit nuclear activity. To achieve those outcomes may require armed confrontation but it is better than agreements that would allow dad to keep beating his son and Iran building nukes. If everyone agrees that Iran should not get nukes, then the choice is between an agreement that for sure prevents it and military force. Therefore, agreement should be evaluated on the basis of how much guarantee it gives that Iran will not have nukes and that is what I urged you to do but you don’t want to.

    True, is a senator did not read a bill and still voted for it, it shall not be an invalidating factor so the ACA is the law. I was talking about what is right and what is wrong. And you could have asked you representative what you wanted but the fact remains that most people did not want that law passed. So Obama and Reid forced Democrats to do the opposite of what majority of population wanted.

    Militant Islam is not Islam according to all scholars and Obama but an aberration because Islam is peaceful and ISIS just doesn’t know what true Islam is. And how many people have Lutherans and Catholics murdered lately in the name of their religion? You can’t have it both ways.

    Of course our enemies are trying to attribute bad things to us in order to drum up their own support and confuse us; that doesn’t make it true. Do you have a habit of believing what your enemies say? Or the media? And by the way, you still didn’t answer if you read the papers you sign…

  39. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 04/19/2015 - 10:24 am.

    a dad who beats his son should go to jail and Iran should quit nuclear activity.

    Possibly, but the differences are significant. In the case of the dad, what he is doing is illegal. There is nothing illegal about Iran’s nuclear activity. In the case of dad, there is an external force, the police that is capable of enforcing the law. In the case of Iran, the dispute is whether such force not exists, but whether it should be used, In effect, the analogy works to the extent it does, because it assumes away the problem. Iran’s nuclear program cannot be assumed away.

    “True, is a senator did not read a bill and still voted for it, it shall not be an invalidating factor so the ACA is the law. I was talking about what is right and what is wrong.”

    I think it’s right that all Americans have access to affordable health care. That’s the morality that drives my position. Policy shouldn’t be driven by reading choices of 535 legislators in Washington.

    “Militant Islam is not Islam according to all scholars and Obama but an aberration because Islam is peaceful and ISIS just doesn’t know what true Islam is.”

    It seems to me, they are wrong. For one thing, scholars don’t have the authority to decide what Islam is or not. For myself, when people say they have a religion, and that their religion dictates what they do, I take them at their word. I just don’t have any other standard to judge them by. Certainly, there is nothing about religion generally that precludes the concept of militancy. Christianity certainly went through it’s own violent period. And I suggest that there are many millions of Muslims in this world who see their co-religionists targeted by drone strikes see what is happening as a war between Christianity and Islam.

  40. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 04/19/2015 - 11:32 am.

    Mr. Foster, of course Iranian nuclear activity is illegal – according to several UNSC resolutions which call for Iran to stop it. And theoretically the force also exists – the UN may assemble military force to enforce the resolutions. So my analogy works very well.

    So in your mind immorality of an elected representative voting for a law that he has not read and that is against the wishes of his constituents is overridden by the morality of a law itself? But who decides that? You may think that this law is moral but majority of Americans did not. And I am not even talking about immorality of “the end justifies the means” approach in general for cases like this.

    Are you saying that Islam IS a militant religion? Other religions may have something that allow for militancy but at this time they do no act on it, so there is no equivalency. And while it is correct that many in the Islamic world see the strikes as religiously motivated (because they are brainwashed by ISIS propaganda), we should not repeat this entirely false statement. As soon as Islamic terrorism and aggression stop, there will be no confrontation.

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