The words today are all mine! They’re prompted most immediately by the Iran nuclear deal and Scott Walker: I’ll blow up any Iran deal, no matter what our European allies think, written by Greg Sargent for The Plum Line at the Washington Poston April 2.
Let’s get some facts on the table, straightaway. The world is a complicated place. The United States of America has relationships every country in the world, including enemies like Iran and North Korea. And, sometimes, we agree with another nation on one issue and not on another. So, for example, we’re aligned with Iran in Iraq, fighting ISIS—or whatever it’s called—and maybe, perhaps, a little bit aligned with Saudi Arabia in Yemen, fighting against forces which are maybe, perhaps, a little bit aligned with Iran. We also support Israel, which provides a common “we hate you” platform for all of the afore-mentioned nations. Etc.
Now, to manage all of this complicated stuff, we need mature people in charge; people who understand nuance, unlike the regime which took office on January 20, 2001. And, frankly, we have them. Are they perfect? No, but in the world circa 2015, no one can or will be perfect.
So let’s look at Iran. Does anyone believe, seriously, that anyone in the Obama Administration wants Iran to have a nuclear weapons capability? Good. So, let’s be real. We can’t bomb Iran away, and even if we could, Iran’s nuclear program will come back, soon, with no future opportunity for a deal. So what about letting having Israel bomb Iran? Well, based on the recent past, I’m confident that Prime Minister Netanyahu would have been more than happy to poke President Obama in the eye by bombing Iran, if he thought the effort would eliminate the threat. That he hasn’t should speak volumes about Israel’s capabilities.
Then there are the allies, so quickly dismissed by the dimwitted governor from Wisconsin, Scott Walker. Blow up the deal on day one is a fair representation of his slightly milder words, and he’d “pull back on that on January 20, 2017”—the actual words—“even if our trading partners did not want to reimpose sanctions.” Now, as the great philosopher Momma Gump said, “stupid is as stupid does.” Unilateral sanctions hurt one country only: the United States of America. Everyone else sells to and buys from Iran, and we don’t. Not so smart! Think otherwise? Take a look at our Cuba policy since 1962.
I had a five-year-old child once. (Now she’s 22.) When she was five, frankly, she behaved better than Governor Walker, Speaker of the House John Boehner, the Israeli Prime Minister, and many others. Stamping your feet and demanding this or that, always with a threat, gets you not very far, almost always.
The hand we’ve drawn here is not a good one. In a complicated world, the Muslim world is “complicated on speed and steroids.” It’s also a world left behind by Europe and North America for many, many decades. We’re paying for that neglect now, and we simply don’t have the hand too many of our leaders act like we have. Yes, we can bluff, for sure. But, when you bluff in poker you lose your money. When you bluff about nuclear weapons capabilities, a loss matters just a wee bit more.
So where does this leave us? For me it’s pretty simply. If you liked our foreign policy between 2001 and 2008, vote for an R next year. All of them will probably make you feel good, and some will make you feel better. Otherwise, not so much on an R!
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