Tempers are flaring over the Iran nuclear deal. On C-Span, I watched some of the testimony by State Under Secretary Sherman and Treasury Under Secretary Szubin before the Senate banking committee, and the Senators I watched were not very polite, even the Democrats. It looks like the Senators want to kill some Iranians’ they want the streets of Tehran to run red with blood. I was appalled. These are the same senators who have basically approved Israel’s and India’s nuclear weapons program. And they have done little but complain about Pakistan’s and North Korea’s bombs. This is a strange country and Congress is a strange institution. We have already invaded two of Iran’s next door neighbors, Afghanistan and Iraq; do they just want to drop one huge, multi-megaton atomic bomb and destroy all three countries at one time?
Meanwhile, on the PBS Newshour, Ray Takeyh and Nicholas Burns debated the effectiveness of Obama’s speech. Takeyh thought Obama had utterly failed, and Burns did not do very well defending Obama. Takeyh complained that the agreement will expire in ten or fifteen years, and then Iran can build a bomb, glossing over the fact that in ten or fifteen years Iran will stand exactly where it stands today without the deal. It will still be a member of the NPT, which says that it cannot build a bomb. He said that the negotiated deal was bad and that the US should go back and renegotiate it. When asked if it would not be hard to drag the other parties, including Russia and China, back to the table, he said it would be hard but not impossible.
What he failed to say, and what no opponent has said that I have heard, is that the deal will give the next President, or Israel, or the UN, or whoever, at least ten years to negotiate a new deal or extend this one. The attitude seems to be that Kerry is a lousy negotiator, but the Republicans have no one who can negotiate anything better in ten years. This is probably true, because Ronald Reagan is dead, and he was the only Republican who seemed able to negotiate any kind of arms control agreement. Colin Powell has basically become a Democrat, because the Republican Party has become some kind of an insane asylum. It turns out that Condi Rice plays the piano much better than she can negotiate treaties. No wonder Donald Trump is doing so well. “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.” The Republicans know they are so stupid that they cannot even understand this nuclear agreement, much less negotiate anything better.
Another aspect of this that is very odd to me is that many of the negotiators and defenders of the Iran deal are Jewish, while Israel’s allies in trying to kill it are good ol’ Christian white boys. Those most conflicted over the agreement are Jewish Democrats like Chuck Schumer. Do they go with Israel, or with the President’s Democratic Party? They may well determine whether the Senate can override the President’s veto of the bill rejecting the Iran agreement. John Kerry’s father was Jewish, although he claimed to be Irish. Wendy Sherman is Jewish, according to Wikipedia. Her Treasury colleague today, Adam Szubin, appears to be Jewish. They were grilled, and I thought mistreated, by some angry, white senators from some agricultural states, who apparently know more about cotton and corn than about nuclear energy or international agreements.