The frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination, Donald Trump, whose crude propaganda campaign receives free air time hour for hour on CNN, FOX, MSNBC, and headline news in other media, said in reaction to the Vienna agreement that all of Iran is laughing at us. No, Mr. Trump, the whole world is laughing at us because you are dominating the political discourse of the Republican Party—now also with respect to the agreement designed to prevent Iran from building a nuclear arsenal.
The GOP clown show starring real estate mogul and TV reality star Trump occurs at a time when we are faced with a choice between war and peace. And this choice does not involve non-state actors, such as ISIS, Al-Qaeda, al-Shabaab, and the likes but a major nation state—Iran.
Do we really want John McCain “Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” refrain come true?
Have we forgotten the lessons of Vietnam and the post-9/11wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?
Have we forgotten how many young Americans lost their lives and limbs in those conflicts?
Yesterday, seasoned politicians in the Congress and elsewhere as well as novices like Mr. Trump condemned the agreement before reading the whole document without offering peaceful alternatives; in one way or the other they echoed Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s assessment that the world the world is now a "much more dangerous place" than without the agreement.
Not exactly a logical argument. Without the implementation of this agreement and its strict inspection regimes Iran is free develop the capability to build nuclear bombs.
How would that make the world a safer place?
Even some thoughtful and knowledgeable observers complained that the Vienna agreement does not touch on Iran’s human rights violations and support of terrorism.
Fair enough. The negotiations in Vienna were from the outset strictly about the most pressing problem, namely, the threat of an Iran with nuclear weapons. The sanctions as punishment for Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism remain in place.
Yes, lifting the tough sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program will provide the mullahs with more resources some of which could be channel to terrorists. But even during the economically tough times, there is always room for these sorts of transactions in authoritarian states.
But it should also be noted that most of all the decision-makers in Iran came to the negotiating table and made an agreement to improve the country’s economic conditions and the hardship of its citizens.
Forgotten in the attacks on President Obama is that the Vienna agreement was not the result of U.S.-Iranian negotiations but rather a multilateral affair with all important players involved, most of all the UK, France, Germany, the European Union, Russia and China. If the agreement is rejected in Washington, there will not be allies for sanctions against Iran and certainly not for military actions.
Ronald Reagan remains a much admired figure in the GOP. But there seems no collective memory among those who like to portray themselves as Reagan’s heirs. They should remember that their hero negotiated arms treaties with the Soviet Union, our most formidable enemy during the long Cold War.
Reagan’s formula expressed in particular during the INF treaty negotiations, “trust but verify,” was an excellent one that also guided the U.S. and its partners in the negotiations with the Iranian delegation in Vienna.
The hawks in Washington and elsewhere around the warn that the agreement with Iran will not sit well with “moderate” Arab states, most of all Saudi Arabia. Not a good argument in view of Saudi Arabia’s history in the spreading of its kind of Wahhabi Salafism without which there would be an Al Qaeda/ISIS movement. Nor should one forget that the vast majority of the 9/11 terrorists were Saudis.
Congressional Republican's tried to sabotage the Vienna negotiations by appealing to the most conservative religious and political strata in Iran to prevent an agreement.
That's when they showed their cards.
If Republicans manage to derail the deal that, of course, could also be rejected in Tehran, the choice is a tragic one--war, not peace.