The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Thursday, March 12, 2015


The Democrats and their many media allies are in a tizzy about the GOP "letter" sent to the Mullahs of Iran concerning the on-going nuclear negotiations in which a bad deal* is almost guaranteed, based on a number of leaks about the terms of the agreement. The Dems are suggesting that "arguments about diplomacy must stop at the water's edge" and the the GOP letter is "unprecedented. Here's a typical comment from Leslie Gelb:
That letter to Iranian leaders from 47 Republican senators could well destroy critical bipartisanship in U.S. foreign policy for years to come and treacherously undermine the bargaining power of the person constitutionally authorized to conduct American affairs abroad—the President of the United States. On top of what House Speaker John Boehner did by unilaterally inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress, this letter seriously points to one terrible conclusion: A formidable number of congressional Republicans hate President Obama more than they love America.

These acts go entirely beyond legitimate criticism of presidential actions abroad. They are not like a few legislators wandering in foreign lands and expressing their disagreement with their government. They surely exceed the usual congressional resolutions of disagreement with presidential policy.

What the 47 did was not a trivial matter or “a tempest in a teapot,” as Senator John McCain has described it. It could well affect possible Iranian concessions in the end game. The ayatollahs could well conclude from that letter that concessions they might have made just aren’t worth it politically, as the agreement would go nowhere anyway. They’d be taking political risks for nothing.

Beyond these negotiations, the effects on our national security may well be profound and lasting. Just look at the future implications of what these Republican senators said in their letter. They maintained, in effect, that this thing a president of the United States has been negotiating will either be thrown out by Congress or discarded by the next president, so don’t waste your time. Did the 47 even consider how future Congresses would apply such words to future presidents?
And then, there's Max Fisher in left-wing Vox whose hyperbolic rant against the GOP is entitled "Republicans are crossing a dangerous new line: sabotaging US foreign policy"

The media wants us to believe that a simple letter (published publicly for all to see) undermines Barack Obama's negotiating position. They want us to believe it is unprecedented. Steve Hayes helps set the record straight:
The whole idea that this is controversial is preposterous on its face. Republicans write this letter, basically re-stating their long-held views that they’re not going to be bound, as Members of Congress, as Senators, by an agreement that President Obama doesn’t include them in. That’s stating the obvious. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. And the idea that this is somehow new or this is ending the idea that foreign policy stops at the water’s edge, is totally preposterous.

Remember, the number two Democrat in the House of Representatives flew to Baghdad – we later found out on a trip financed by Saddam Hussein -- appeared on Sunday shows from Baghdad – this is David Bonier – to trash the Bush administration and the arguments they were making about Iraq.

In 2007, Nancy Pelosi went to Damascus, despite the Bush administration’s request that she not to do that, embraced Bashar Assad and basically got his back, suggested he wanted peace with Israel.

In 1990 – go back to the Gulf War – Jimmy Carter wrote a secret letter to members of the U.N. Security Council telling them that they should oppose the resolution that George H. Bush was pushing that would have led to war in Iraq.

The idea that this is unprecedented or new is preposterous. The only thing wrong with the letter is it should have come earlier and should have included references to Iran and al Qaeda.
So ... it appears that when democrats don't stop at the border, it's okay with the media—as long as a GOP president is in office. Visiting vicious dictators—okay. Sending a secret letter to the UN security council—okay. Praising a blood thristy leader of Syria—okay. But when the GOP questions a really bad* negotiation that could lead to catastrophic consequences, their move is "unprecedented."

As I've noted many times over the past six years, virtually every foreign policy decision made by Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and now, John Kerry has been wrong and in some cases disastrous (Libya comes to mind). Why should anyone believe that this time, Barack Obama and his Team of 2s will be right?

Barack Obama contends that he can control Iran's rush toward nuclear weapons through arms control verification and peace talks. Unfortunately, when fantasy (Obama's view) and reality (the lessons of history) collide, reality has a way of winning.

Douglas Feith summarizes:
The Iranian regime is theocratic and revolutionary. It came to power in 1979 on a wave of extremist religious ideology and remains committed to exporting its revolution. Its leaders despise liberalism and democracy. They particularly hate Western respect for the rights of women and homosexuals. The regime remains in power through torture and murder of its domestic critics. It makes frequent use of public executions—the numbers have increased lately even though President Hasan Rouhani is commonly called a reformer.

Abroad, the Iranian regime acts as a rogue. Its agents and terrorist proxies have committed bombings and other murders in countries including France, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Iraq. A U.S. court convicted Iranian agents of plotting in 2011 to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. by bombing a Washington, D.C., restaurant. Iranian officials foment hatred of the U.S. and Israel and call for the annihilation of both.

Iranian leaders have a long record of shameless dishonesty. Their aid to the tyrannical Assad regime has been massive since the Syrian civil war began, but they routinely deny it. And they make a practice of lying to United Nations weapons inspectors. Commenting on how the inspectors have repeatedly been surprised by what Iran hides, Olli Heinonen, former deputy director-general of the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency, told this newspaper in 2013, “If there is no undeclared installation today . . . it will be the first time in 20 years that Iran doesn’t have one.”

Iran is a bad actor, and history teaches that constraining bad actors through arms control and peace accords is a losing bet. The arms-control approach is to invite bad actors to sign legal agreements. This produces signing ceremonies, where political leaders can act as if there’s nobody here but us peaceable, law-abiding global citizens. The deal makers get to celebrate their accords at least until the bad actors inevitably violate them.

Nazi Germany violated the Versailles Treaty. The Soviet Union violated the Biological Weapons Convention, the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, various nuclear-arms treaties and other international agreements. The Palestine Liberation Organization violated the Oslo Accords. North Korea violated the Agreed Framework.
If an "agreement" is reached with Iran, there is a 99% probability that Iran will violate it. History, both past and present, is a key indicator. Unless of course, you're Barack Obama or any one of his supporters. Then, well, the 1% is all that matters. Maybe that's because Obama and his supporters are obsessed with the 1%. Oops, that's a different context, isn't it?