‘P5 Plus 1’ Talks Reach Framework Of Agreement On Iran’s Nuclear Program

Talks in Geneva have reached a framework agreement regarding Iran's nuclear program that, if it's complied with, appears at first glance to be about the best deal available under the circumstances.

Iran Nukes

After two extensions beyond the original March 31st deadline to reach an agreement, the negotiators from the so-called “P5 Plus 1” group meeting in Geneva have apparently reached what is being called the framework of an agreement that would limit Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons in exchange for relief from international sanctions:

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Iran and European nations said here tonight that they had reached a surprisingly specific and comprehensive general understanding about next steps in limiting Tehran’s nuclear program, but officials said that some important issues needed to be resolved before a final agreement in June that would allow the Obama administration to assert it has cut off all of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon.

Both Germany’s foreign office and President Hassan Rouhani of Iran said that key parameters of a framework for a final accord had been reached, with the details to be negotiated by June 30. But Western diplomats cautioned that on several of the key issues that were debated here for the past eight days between Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, there were still significant differences.

Nevertheless, there was no mistaking the upbeat mood surrounding the announcement. “We have stopped a cycle that is not in the interest of anybody,” an exuberant Mr. Zarif said at a news conference after the announcement.

Britain’s foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, said in a statement, This is well beyond what many of us thought possible even 18 months ago and a good basis for what I believe could be a very good deal.” Mr. Kerry is scheduled to give a news conference, at which he is expected to provide some details of the American understanding of what was negotiated.

According to European officials, roughly 5,000 centrifuges will remain spinning enriched uranium at the main nuclear site at Natanz, about half the number currently running. The giant underground enrichment site at Fordo — which Israeli and some American officials fear is impervious to bombing — will be partly converted to advanced nuclear research and the production of medical isotopes. Foreign scientists will be present. There will be no fissile material present that could be used to make a bomb.

A major reactor at Arak, which officials feared could produce plutonium, would operate on a limited basis that would not provide enough fuel for a bomb.

In return the European Union and the United States would begin to lift sanctions, as Iran complied. At a news conference after the announcement, Mr. Zarif said that essentially all sanctions would be lifted after the final agreement is signed.

As The Washington Post notes, President Obama was cautiously optimistic in his statement after the agreement was announced, and he warned Congress not to take action that could wreck the deal:

Negotiators from Iran and major world powers reached agreement Thursday on a framework for a final agreement to curb Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from international sanctions, an accord that President Obama hailed as a “good deal” that would make the world a safer place.

Participants in the talks said the sides, including the United States and its key European allies, would promptly start drafting a final accord to be completed by a June 30 deadline.

Obama, in an appearance in the White House Rose Garden shortly after the deal was announced, said the United States and its partners “reached a historic understanding with Iran, which, if fully implemented, will prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

He said he was convinced that the deal would leave the United States, its allies and the world safer.

“It is a good deal, a deal that meets our core objectives,” he said. “This deal would cut off every pathway that Iran could take” to build nuclear weapons.

He said the accord calls for “the most robust and intrusive inspections” ever negotiated for any nuclear deal in history. Obama added that “if Iran cheats, the world will know it.”

Seeking to head off what he called “inevitable” criticism, he asked whether anyone really thinks that the deal is “a worse option than the risk of another war in the Middle East.”

Obama said he would personally assure Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a forceful critic of the negotiations with Iran, that the accord is the best way to ensure that Iran does not obtain nuclear weapons. He said he would also “make clear our unshakable commitment” to Israel’s security.

“Big day,” tweeted Secretary of State John F. Kerry. He said the European Union, the six major world powers and Iran “now have parameters to resolve major issues on nuclear program. Back to work soon on a final deal.”

Kerry later said in a news conference that if Iran violates the agreement, the sanctions can be “snapped back into place.”

He expressed hope that members of Congress would “give us the time and space” needed to fully explain the agreement.

The terms of the agreement as it exists so far are spelled out in a Fact Sheet that has been released by the State Department which I have embedded below.  As always, the devil is in the details that have been agreed to today, and in the details of the formal agreement that the parties still need to agree to at some point before June 30th. On paper, though, what was agreed to looks very good from the point of view of the United States and the other nations that have been negotiating with the Iranians for the past several years. The Iranians are agreeing to convert their heavy water research reactor to a reactor that cannot produce large amounts of plutonium. Their underground nuclear facility, which many military analysts believe may be beyond the capability of either Israel or the United States to completely destroy in a military strike, will be converted to a research facility that will be under IAEA monitoring.  The number of centrifuges will be significantly reduced beyond a point where they would likely be useful in developing nuclear weapons. While Iran will still be able enrich some nuclear material under this agreement, it will be far less than they are capable of enriching now and will be under IAEA observation and inspection. Iran has agreed that it will not construct any new facility capable of enriching fissionable material for at least fifteen years. Finally, the “breakout” time frame during which Iran could theoretically develop a nuclear weapon if it put all available resources into that effort, which currently is estimated at two to three months, would be extended to at least a year with these restrictions in place and that time frame will stay in place for at least a period of ten years. Assuming that Iran complies with these agreements, then international sanctions that have been in place against the regime in Tehran for quite some time will, slowly be lifted, apparently based on a timetable that the parties will agree to assuming that the IAEA verifies that the Islamic Republic has in fact taken the steps agreed to in the agreement. If Iran does not comply with the agreement, then, obviously, the sanctions will not be lifted or could potentially be imposed again, and discussion regarding other options would move to the front of the agenda.

Obviously, not everyone is going to consider this a good deal. The Israeli government has already released a statement calling the agreement “detached from reality,” and one can expect that Congressional Republicans will take a similar tone in the days, weeks, and months to come. We have yet to hear from the Saudis or another of the other nations in proximity to Iran who have been as hard-line in their position on Iranian nuclear weapons as the Israeli have. That being said, though, this agreement seems to be about the best that the United States and its negotiating partners in Europe could have asked for under the circumstances. Contrary to the demands of the Israelis and the rhetoric of Congressional Republicans, the idea that Iran’s nuclear research program could be completely abandoned is nothing short of pure fantasy. Additionally, based on how the negotiations have proceeded it seems apparent that the caricature of the Iranians as a insane religious fanatics is ridiculous, and always has been. That’s not to say that they are good actors or that we should implicitly trust them, of course, but it does mean that, just like virtually any other nation on Earth, they are people we can negotiate with and, if they comply with their agreements, begin to life the sanctions that have been imposed against them virtually since the day the Islamic Republic came into existence. If they don’t comply with their agreements, then obviously other options will have t be considered but there has never been any rational reason to reject diplomacy with Tehran, and no reason to automatically assume that they would never comply with international agreements.

There will be more to come as we learn more about this agreement, of course, but as things stand now this seems like a good and significant step forward.

Here’s the outline of the agreement released by the State Department:

Parameters for a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran s Nuclear Progra… by Doug Mataconis

FILED UNDER: General, National Security, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. michael reynolds says:

    What a shame, no war for Bibi and the GOP. What now for the Bombs! wing of the Republican party? Where can they go to start and then botch a new war?

  2. C. Clavin says:

    Obama doesn’t do anything.
    Except get shit done.
    Imagine the exaltations were he white and Republican.

  3. David M says:

    This is specifically part of why I voted for Obama instead of either McCain or Romney. Joe Biden may been onto something when it said it was BFD, but it’s looking more and more like he should have been talking about Obama’s entire presidency.

  4. Lit3Bolt says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Israel and/or the Saudis will find other ways to get their US-Iran war, don’t you worry.

  5. michael reynolds says:

    I see our right-wing friends are waiting to hear what they think from Limbaugh and Hannity. I’m sure they’ll be along as soon as they’ve memorized the talking points.

  6. David M says:

    @michael reynolds:

    LIfe is hard when you have to be told why you disapprove of something you don’t understand.

  7. humanoid.panda says:

    The interesting thing is that it seems the republicans are not able to muster much outrage over this, mostly its rather clear that the deal is much stronger than most people presumed it would be.

  8. Tillman says:

    @humanoid.panda: Leaves me to wonder how much damage the Cotton epistle actually did in the negotiations, or if all it did was keep a more comprehensive deal from emerging today.

  9. David in KC says:

    General points look good. Need to wait until the details are hammered out, but looks better than I expected. Wonder if it wouldn’t have been a tad better if certain Senators hadn’t tried to throw the President under the bus.

  10. LaMont says:

    It will be fun to see conservatives try to crap on yet another policy that will be wildly popular to everyone else.

    If this deal gets done it will cement President Obama as arguably the most accomplished President since President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Especially when you look at it within the context of unprecedented obstruction in 6 of the 8 years that he will be President. That is quite an amazing feat.

  11. David M says:

    @Tillman:

    Leaves me to wonder how much damage the Cotton epistle actually did in the negotiations, or if all it did was keep a more comprehensive deal from emerging today.

    I would like to think it didn’t end up causing any damage. I hope it’s a safe assumption that the Iranians were more concerned with their own domestic politics rather than the GOP.

    I was always more concerned with what the letter said about the GOP, and their desire to end the negotiations and attempt to start a war with Iran, both of which are against the wishes and interests of our allies.

  12. LaMont says:

    @David M:

    That’s what I would like to think also. However, fact of the matter is, if I were negotiating on Iran’s behalf, I would’ve definitely use it as leverage…

  13. stonetools says:

    Kudos to John Kerry, who worked his Massachusetts ar$e off on this. If this goes through, he will have already gone down in history as one of the more consequential SoSs of the US and he has 20 months to go.
    Kudos of course to Obama, who is on his way to becoming a great foreign policy President. The Republicans will of course attempt to sabotage this, because that’s what they do. We will have a very good contrast for the 2016 election between the party of war and the party of successful peace negotiation.
    This has been a great week for liberals, with what happened in Indiana. And we have got a couple of days to go yet!

  14. LaMont says:

    @LaMont:

    I think it’s also telling that Sec. Kerry specifically asked congress to “give it some space” before they get all the details to come later. I think the stunt the Senate Republicans played did have some effect on the negotiations.

  15. wr says:

    @michael reynolds: ” I’m sure they’ll be along as soon as they’ve memorized the talking points.”

    I couldn’t disagree more strongly.

    They’ll be cutting and pasting in far less time than it would take to memorize.

  16. C. Clavin says:

    Seems that Nobel was prescient.

  17. C. Clavin says:

    Everytime a neocon war-monger says Hitler…you have to take a drink.

  18. Jack says:

    but there has never been any rational reason to reject diplomacy with Tehran, and no reason to automatically assume that they would never comply with international agreements.

    You mean besides the continued chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel”. Yeah, no reason at all to reject diplomacy with Tehran or assume that they would never comply with international agreements.

    “Iran’s top leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei repeated the words “death to America” during a speech on Saturday as he voiced mistrust of U.S. efforts to reach a nuclear deal, even as Washington and its allies spoke of real progress and urged Tehran to take “difficult decisions.”

    “Mohammad Reza Naqdi, head of the Basij militia unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, has surfaced to reassure the world that death for Israel is still very much on the table on the eve of the P+5 nuclear talks, and will never be negotiated away as part of any nuclear deal with President Obama.”

  19. David M says:

    @Jack:

    I notice you forgot to link to the source there…

    …and assuming you were right about Iran, what is your alternative? Please be specific and detailed.

  20. Jack says:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiehVx64fFY

    Zarif Presser:

    • Iran keeps Frodo underground facility and will build centrifuges within it – but will not activate them.
    • Iran will continue nuclear enrichment in other facilities.
    • Iran will be allowed to develop more heavy water facilities.
    • ALL UN and U.S. Sanctions will be lifted.
    • UN sanctions lifted immediately.
    • U.S. as soon as legally possible.
    • Iran promises to wait 10 years until it builds a nuclear bomb.

    Obama Presser:

    ◾ Iran will not be able to pursue a bomb containing plutonium.
    ◾ Current plutonium facility (heavy water) to be taken down.
    ◾ Current plutonium moved to (probably Russia)
    ◾ Installed centrifuges will be removed by 2/3
    ◾ No enrichment at Fordo – but fordo will remain.
    ◾ 10 years of extensive monitoring.
    ◾ Maintenance of 1 year capability to bomb.
    ◾ Removal of U.N. and U.S. Sanctions
    ◾ Congress to be fully “briefed” (*note not asking permission “deal” vs. “treaty”)

    Who are you going to believe ?

    Consider:

    “If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep your healthcare plan, PERIOD” !

  21. Jack says:

    @David M:

    I notice you forgot to link to the source there…

    Google it. I did.

  22. LaMont says:

    @Jack:

    Someone chanting “Death to America” or “Death to Israel” is NOT a rational reason to reject diplomacy. To do so would establish us as cowards who easily give in to fear mongering.

  23. David M says:

    @Jack:

    How are the two lists actually different?

  24. Jack says:

    @LaMont:

    Someone chanting “Death to America” or “Death to Israel” is NOT a rational reason to reject diplomacy.

    Someone?? Someone??? Really?? Iran’s top leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is no different than Ali Babba the Hooka Lounge owner to you it seems.

  25. David M says:

    @LaMont:

    Someone chanting “Death to America” or “Death to Israel” is NOT a rational reason to reject diplomacy. To do so would establish us as cowards who easily give in to fear mongering.

    Your mistake was assuming Jack isn’t a complete coward.

  26. Jack says:

    @David M:

    How are the two lists actually different?

    Funny how Obama didn’t mention:
    • Iran will continue nuclear enrichment in other facilities.
    • Iran will be allowed to develop more heavy water facilities.

    He must have simply forgot that part.

    Even Neville Chamberlain would have walked away from this deal. Iran gets everything it wants and we get a promise.

    That, Unicorn farts and pixie dust is apparently all some people need to suggest Obama deserves yet another Nobel prize.

  27. C. Clavin says:

    Crazy Jack is as Republicans are always; wrong.
    Yalta
    Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty
    Nixon and China
    SALT
    The extension of SALT
    And then there is the biggest Foreign Policy blunder in our history: Iraq.
    You could take people like Crazy Jack seriously…if they were ever right about anything.
    I mean….anything.

  28. C. Clavin says:

    @C. Clavin:
    Or Neville Chamberlin.

  29. C. Clavin says:

    @Jack:
    So Jack…you prefer war with Iran.
    Have the balls to say it.

  30. David M says:

    @Jack:

    Apparently you are unaware of the facts of the agreement, maybe you should read up on them before making it obvious exactly how ignorant you are. (Unless of course that’s your goal, and then congratulations are due for a job well done.)

  31. Jack says:

    @C. Clavin: Don’t you have some cattle to “rustle”?

  32. Jack says:

    @David M: I linked you to Iran’s minister explaining the details of the agreement as they see it.

  33. Jack says:

    @C. Clavin:

    So Jack…you prefer war with Iran.
    Have the balls to say it.

    No. I believe a starting point for negotiations is:
    1) Iran must give up pursuit of a Nuclear bomb…completely.
    2) Iran must announce publicly in both English and Arabic that Israel has a right to exist
    3) Iran must begin to act like reasonable country and then they will be treated like a reasonable country (Their leader shouting Death to America” is not acting reasonable).

    Those are the minimum starting points for negotiations.

  34. C. Clavin says:

    @Jack:
    See…it’s actually you that believes in Unicorns.

  35. Dave D says:

    @Jack: And when those fail? I remember Bush had strong words against their nuclear program and then we invaded Iraq and let North Korea get the bomb. Should we just bloviate more about the Axis of Evil and hope Iran capitulates?

  36. David M says:

    @Jack:

    I believe a starting point for negotiations is:
    1) Iran must give up pursuit of a Nuclear bomb…completely.
    2) Iran must announce publicly in both English and Arabic that Israel has a right to exist
    3) Iran must begin to act like reasonable country and then they will be treated like a reasonable country

    That’s just comical. It’s like you’ve watched a bunch of South Park episodes and think negotiation is Cartman running around saying “respect mah authoritah”. Or maybe it’s combination of the underpants gnomes and Cartman.

    Step 1: Demand Iran “respect mah authoritah”
    Step 2: ???
    Step 3: Iran agrees to ridiculous demands.

  37. wr says:

    @Jack: “Iran must begin to act like reasonable country and then they will be treated like a reasonable country”

    You mean they should invade Iraq for no reason, topple the government and bring chaos to the entire region? Like, you know, a reasonable country?

  38. de stijl says:

    @Jack:

    Iran must announce publicly in both English and Arabic

    In Arabic? Wow, your knowledge of the cultures and history of the Middle East is truly astounding.

  39. al-Ameda says:

    Gee, I sure hope that Bibi and Cotton approve of this.

  40. de stijl says:

    @Jack:

    (Their leader shouting Death to America” is not acting reasonable).

    Perhaps the Republican nominee for President shouldn’t sing “Bomb, bomb, bomb. Bomb. bomb, bomb Iran” too?

  41. Dave D says:

    Even Reagan favored diplomacy but the neocons have won the foreign policy soul of the party and we are left with the new diplomacy of the Republican Party : Give us everything we ask for or we’ll invade.

    A few weeks after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, a strange document arrived in Washington. It came as a fax, on plain paper, from the Swiss ambassador in Tehran.

    The fax laid out the terms for a “grand bargain” — in essence a peace treaty between the U.S. and Iran. It put everything on the table: Iran’s support for terrorism, its nuclear program, even its hostility towards Israel. In exchange, Iran asked Washington for security guarantees, an end to sanctions and a promise never to push for regime change.

    Iran’s reformists were again trying to reach out to Washington, as they had after 9/11 (see Chapter 2 of the film). But the State Department thought Khatami’s reformist government was politically weak and promising more than it could deliver. And the White House, newly victorious in Iraq, saw no need to negotiate with Iran. The fax never received a reply.

  42. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:

    Well, by that standard: I believe Obama.

    My health insurance dropped by $6,000 a year on a family of four, for a much better, much more secure policy. Given that every scare tactic your side employed on Obamacare turned out to be bullsh!t, yeah, I’ll trust Obama.

  43. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @de stijl:

    LOL, you beat me to it. I was about to ask him how anyone in Iran would know what was being said, given that they speak Farsi.

  44. Grumpy Realist says:

    @Jack: um, dude–people in Iran speak Farsi.

    If you can’t even get that straight, maybe you should sit down and let the grown-ups talk.

    (honestly, you’re sounding like a seven-year-old hopped up on sugar playing video games.)

  45. C. Clavin says:

    @David M:
    It’s pretty clear Jack doesn’t get out much.
    The problem is that he’s just parroting the Republicanist talking points.
    Which…again…are always wrong.

  46. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I see our right-wing friends are waiting to hear what they think from Limbaugh and Hannity. I’m sure they’ll be along as soon as they’ve memorized the talking points.

    Michael, they don’t have to wait… the response was crystalized by Marx, back in 1932.

    Groucho Marx, that is.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHash5takWU

    Lyrics from the above video:

    WHATEVER IT IS, I’M AGAINST IT
    From the Marx Bros. film “Horse Feathers” (1932)
    (Harry Ruby / Bert Kalmar)

    I don’t know what they have to say
    It makes no difference anyway
    Whatever it is, I’m against it!
    No matter what it is
    Or who commenced it
    I’m against it!

    Your proposition may be good
    But let’s have one thing understood
    Whatever it is, I’m against it!
    And even when you’ve changed it
    Or condensed it
    I’m against it!

    I’m opposed to it
    On general principles
    I’m opposed to it!
    (He’s opposed to it)
    (In fact, he says he’s opposed to it!)

    For months before my son was born
    I used to yell from night to morn
    “Whatever it is, I’m against it!”
    And I’ve kept yelling
    Since I first commenced it
    “I’m against it!”

  47. David M says:

    This issue is actually a pretty good way to check for ODS. It’s a fairly simple test, does the person prefer this agreement or nothing? Keeping in mind that nothing likely leads to the ending of sanctions, more progress towards a nuclear weapon and war.

    It should be an easy answer, but this agreement will be seen widely as a success for the Obama Administration, so I don’t have high expectations for most Republicans.

  48. michael reynolds says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:
    I have linked to that on more than one occasion. Marx Brothers, man, 83 years old that song and still funny.

    And of course Duck Soup should be required viewing in every world history class. Groucho’s monologue. . .

    I’d be unworthy of the high trust that’s been placed in me if I didn’t do everything in my power to keep our beloved Freedonia in peace with the world. I’d be only too happy to meet with Ambassador Trentino, and offer him on behalf of my country the right hand of good fellowship. And I feel sure he will accept this gesture in the spirit of which it is offered. But suppose he doesn’t. A fine thing that’ll be. I hold out my hand and he refuses to accept. That’ll add a lot to my prestige, won’t it? Me, the head of a country, snubbed by a foreign ambassador. Who does he think he is, that he can come here, and make a sap of me in front of all my people? Think of it – I hold out my hand and that hyena refuses to accept. Why, the cheap four-flushing swine, he’ll never get away with it I tell you, he’ll never get away with it.

    . . . Is a nice summary of much of what passes for diplomacy.

  49. C. Clavin says:

    @Jack:
    Jack:

    • Iran will continue nuclear enrichment in other facilities.

    Facts:

    The deal requires Iran to give up 97 percent of its enriched uranium and 70 percent of its centrifuges, allow International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors access to everything from nuclear sites to uranium mills to centrifuge plants, and limit itself to energy-grade uranium, not uranium enriched enough for use in weapons.

    We definitely should go to war for that 3 percent.

  50. C. Clavin says:

    The Arms Control Association, a nonpartisan group in Washington, called the framework agreement a “historic breakthrough” and said that if it was fully carried out, the agreement would block Iran’s pathway to a bomb. The group said the agreement “promises to lead to one of the most consequential and far-reaching nuclear nonproliferation achievements in recent decades.”

    @Jack:

    Even Neville Chamberlain would have walked away from this deal. Iran gets everything it wants and we get a promise.

    Let’s see…who should I listen to???

  51. socraticsilence says:

    @Jack:

    So they can say whatever they want in Farsi as long as they say what you want them to in English and Arabic?

  52. C. Clavin says:

    From the man who is always wrong, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu:

    “A deal based on this framework would threaten the survival of Israel.”

    His track record???

    Almost two decades ago, in 1996, Netanyahu addressed a joint session of Congress where he darkly warned, “If Iran were to acquire nuclear weapons, this could presage catastrophic consequences, not only for my country, and not only for the Middle East, but for all mankind,” adding that, “the deadline for attaining this goal is getting extremely close.”
    Almost 20 years later that deadline has apparently still not passed, but Netanyahu is still making dire predictions about an imminent Iranian nuclear weapon. Four years before that Congressional speech, in 1992, then-parliamentarian Netanyahu advised the Israeli Knesset that Iran was “three to five years” away from reaching nuclear weapons capability, and that this threat had to be “uprooted by an international front headed by the U.S.”
    In his 1995 book, “Fighting Terrorism,” Netanyahu once again asserted that Iran would have a nuclear weapon in “three to five years,” apparently forgetting about the expiration of his old deadline.
    For a considerable time thereafter, Netanyahu switched his focus to hyping the purported nuclear threat posed by another country, Iraq, about which he claimed there was “no question” that it was “advancing towards to the development of nuclear weapons.” Testifying again in front of Congress again in 2002, Netanyahu claimed that Iraq’s nonexistent nuclear program was in fact so advanced that the country was now operating “centrifuges the size of washing machines.”

  53. Davebo says:

    Don’t feed the jack booted troll.

    He copied and pasted his rant from Newsmax which I believe someone had already predicted would happen.

    Then he tipped his hand when he demanded Iranian leaders denounce violence in pig latin for some reason.

  54. JohnMcC says:

    Very pertinent story at thediplomat-dot-com by the recent managing editor Zachary Keck detailing how the GWBush administration’s inappropriate sanctions on the North Koreans (specifically on their financial connection to the world (Banco Delta Asia in Macau) led to the Pyongyang mob kicking out the IAEA inspectors that Pres Clinton and Sec’ty Albright had negotiated and who had been actively keeping weapons development from happening. (Thanx to Larison for the link!)

    http://www.thediplomat.com/2013/11/iran-is-not-north-korea-but-if-it-were/

    And thanx to my friend Mr Clavin for the Munich drinking game. Where’s our social disease when you need it?

  55. Senyordave says:

    I watched an analysis of the Iran talks recently where the expert talked about the “rational actor” aspect. He kept stressing that for all the terrible things about Iran’s leadership (and some of these guys are truly awful people), ultimately they are rational actors. It occurs to me that Obama and his negotiating team are rational actors, the European negotiating team are rational actors, and the Iranian negotiators are rational actors. The only party that are not rational actors are the majority of the Republican Senators. They have shown themselves to be more concerned with obtaining power than the best interests of the US (and maybe they are rational actors in a way). I’d like to think they would pay for their actions during the next election cycle, but I don’t actually believe it.

  56. Franklin says:

    @michael reynolds: We’re off-topic here, but … I’m sure my current health care plan is more secure and stuff, but how in the hell did the price go down for you? Mine went up by approximately the same amount yours went down.

  57. gVOR08 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I see our right-wing friends are waiting to hear what they think from Limbaugh and Hannity. I’m sure they’ll be along as soon as they’ve memorized the talking points.

    Jack’s doing his lonely best, but yes, it does seem to take a few days for the messaging guys to come together on something then spread it through the RW echo chamber. After Mike Pence made a fool o himself on Stephanopolis’ show, how many days did it take him to come up with ‘It’s not a license to discriminate’?

  58. michael reynolds says:

    @Franklin:

    I don’t have any idea. I’d been with BC/BS in North Carolina, and when I moved to California I could literally not get any coverage. None. The work-around was to form a corporation and do a group plan. Ended up being $2400 and change per month. When Obamacare came online I checked it out, got a no-cap policy that will cover my soon-to-be-adult children, and it came in at $1900 and change. The corporate policy was Blue Cross, this is Blue Shield.

    Interestingly, I lied to my first California insurer about my enjoyment of cigars. The second policy of course didn’t even ask. So I was always in danger of a cancellation and now don’t have to worry about it.

    Bottom line, totally honest application plus since then I’ve added some meds, so it should have cost more. In fact, first day out I was at CVS picking up something or other and the guy said it was $140 IIRC. Then I updated my coverage info with the new policy and the $140 med was suddenly $10.

    I think I have co-pays now on office visits – $15 – and my old policy had no copays. But at $15 a pop the four of us would have to see the doctor a hundred times each to pay back the 6 grand savings. That would be a doctor visit a day, 365 days a year, plus a month of double visits.

    So, yeah: good deal. Still not cheap, but I’ll take 6 large.

  59. anjin-san says:

    @Jack:

    Iran must announce publicly in both English and ArabicIran must announce publicly in both English and Arabic

    I think that gets you an honorable mention in the moron hall of fame…

  60. An Interested Party says:

    “Iran’s top leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei repeated the words “death to America” during a speech on Saturday as he voiced mistrust of U.S. efforts to reach a nuclear deal, even as Washington and its allies spoke of real progress and urged Tehran to take “difficult decisions.”

    “Mohammad Reza Naqdi, head of the Basij militia unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, has surfaced to reassure the world that death for Israel is still very much on the table on the eve of the P+5 nuclear talks, and will never be negotiated away as part of any nuclear deal with President Obama.”

    Hmmm…similar to the ridiculous things that Republicans say to their targeted domestic audiences, not to mention what Bibi said to keep his job…much like what Iranian leaders talk about, the GOP talking points are also never fulfilled…

  61. michael reynolds says:

    @gVOR08:

    Well, it’s not like they actually understand the issues. Politics for them begins and ends with hatred of Mr. Obama. So it’s not like they’ll be reading Foreign Policy to parse the details. They just need to have someone explain how this proves Obama is black. I mean, evil and Muslim and all.

    The problem they’re going to have is that they’ll forget this isn’t a two-party talk, but P5 + 1. So in order to believe that Mr. Obama is a fool who got taken by those clever Persian rug merchants, they’ll have to believe that Cameron and Merkel and Putin and Xi and Hollande are all equally gullible and/or secret Muslims.

    And the #47Traitors will have to maintain their craziness in the face of German and British foreign ministers appearing on American TV, or perhaps even Congressional hearings, to explain how great the deal is. Only the Israelis will be out there yelling and the net result will be to further isolate Israel and damage its credibility.

    Not a good week for Republicans or for Likud.

  62. C. Clavin says:

    @Senyordave:

    The only party that are not rational actors are the majority of the Republican Senators.

    And Israel. Or at least Netanyahu.

  63. Tyrell says:

    @David in KC: But let’s make sure that everything is covered, read the fine print, no hidden loopholes, strong verification, and tough consequences for any violations. After all, we are dealing with the Iranian government here. They are not known for their mental stability.
    “Fine print ? They don’t even read the large print “

  64. James P says:

    @C. Clavin: Barry gets stuff done? Really? Like what? Capitulating like Neville Chamberlain.

    @michael reynolds: Fret not, we will have a real president in 22 months and he or she will not be bound by this.

    We can launch cruise missiles at Arak, Natanz, Fardot, and Bushehr. When their facilities are obliterated (like Israel did to Osirak in 81 and Syria in 07) we won’t have to worry about them cheating. BHO obviously doesn’t have the guts, but Bibi does and he is not a signatory to this capitulation.

    In the interim I WANT Iran to cheat in order to blow up this sham of a deal (pun partially intended).

    I remain confident that the GOP can throw plenty of monkey wrenches into this. I bet we’ll even have Menendez with us!

  65. David M says:

    Smarter trolls please, this is kind of pathetic here.

  66. James P says:

    @al-Ameda: Bibi and Cotton hate the deal. I hear your teammates Xavi, Pique, Suarez, Messi, Neymar, Pedro, Rakitic, Jordi Alba and Busquets don’t like it either. Puyol’s on the fence, but he’s retired so he doesn’t count.

  67. Grumpy Realist says:

    @David M: and how…

    Hey trolls–when everyone’s sitting around the table playing craps and you don’t know who is the mark–it’s you.

    You’re useful idiots to the Likudniks and the Bomb Bomb Bomb Iran Death merchants. That’s all. Gonna pay higher taxes for a war? Gonna pay for $200/bbl of oil when the Straits of Hormuz? Gonna sign up for the military and actually putting your money where your mouth is?

    Yeah, didn’t think so….

  68. James P says:
  69. David in KC says:

    For being good Christian people, the “conservatives” sure have a thing for starting wars and not bothering to try and work out a peaceful soloution. To hell with the innocent civilians that get caught in the blast zones. Followers of the Prince of Peace, my ass.

  70. James P says:

    BHO did such a great job with the Bergdahl deal (sarc) why would we expect a community organizer to do any better with this deal.

    There is one and only one good thing about it. It does not apply to the next president.

  71. James P says:

    To the tune of the Beach Boys’ Barbara Ann:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_iKuMVqht4U

    Bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb

    Bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb

    Bomb Iran

    Yes, bomb Iran. Let’s Bomb Iran. Bomb Bomb Bomb

    Bomb Bomb Bomb Bomb

    Bomb Iran

    ___________

    If we had a real president and Iran thought there was an actual chance that we would pound the hell out of them is it possible that we could have cut a much better deal?

    Iran made ZERO concessions because they knew Obama had no guts and there would be no repercussions of any kind. They would be afraid of Walker or Cruz.

  72. michael reynolds says:

    David Ignatius:

    Perhaps the most important part of the framework involves inspection and verification plans. Here, too, the United States seems to have obtained most of what it wanted. The IAEA could permanently monitor all of Iran’s nuclear facilities, using an intrusive measure known as the “additional protocol.” Inspection of Iran’s mines, mills and other elements of its nuclear supply chain would continue for 25 years. It’s a tougher package, in terms of preventing Iranian breakout, than many critics feared.

    Zarif’s characterization of the deal was far different from Kerry’s or Obama’s. But such spin-doctoring is to be expected in any negotiation. This looks like a pretty good deal. I just wish it were signed.

    Ignatius is the press mouthpiece of the foreign policy establishment. So the consensus will be that this is a pretty good deal. Add to that the other five countries’ foreign ministers and the conventional wisdom is already setting in concrete.

    If Republicans manage to screw this deal they’ll be adding 5 points to Hillary’s victory margin and lose the Senate. So the wiser heads will be trying to tone down the GOP response and just make a lot of mooing noises about strict verification, blah blah. But then. . . there’s Ted Cruz. He can be counted on to make this as embarrassing as possible to Republicans.

    As for Netanyahu, I can only say, Don’t think you can come to our country and try to play politics with the man who won two terms. Bibi, you just got spanked by Barack.

  73. Matt says:

    @Jack: Does that include us stopping our support of terrorist groups active in Iran?

  74. JohnMcC says:

    @James P: Capitulating like Neville Chamberlain: Another drink of single-barrel!

  75. JohnMcC says:

    @James P: National Review! Wow! That’s the functional equivalent of two Neville Chamberlains! Drinks all around!

  76. JohnMcC says:

    @James P: Hah Hah Hah! What branch of the service did you serve in you COWARD. How many poor b@stards are you planning to send to the grave?

    As well as a liar, you are a despicable chickenhawk!

    I was a pararescue medic in VietNam. I know what wars look like close up.

    You know NOTHING and should be slowly strangled with the words you’ve strung that would send boys to die for your stupid @ssholery.

    And I am still — at 70yrs old — the man to do it, dipsh!t.

  77. C. Clavin says:

    @James P:
    Well at least this troll admits what he wants…another war in the Middle Esst.
    It makes even less sense than pretending that he has acPhD.
    But at least he says it.

  78. C. Clavin says:

    @James P:

    Iran made ZERO concessions

    That’s as factually accurate as you having a PhD.

  79. C. Clavin says:

    @JohnMcC:
    I’m a little hungover from all this!!!

  80. Tyrell says:

    Many of us remember the hostage crisis of 1979-80. Americans were taken hostage and abused. US property was seized. It seems those crimes need to be settled: any property returned or paid for. Those guilty of taking, holding, and abusing hostages need to be handed over to the US for trial. No, we haven’t forgot.

    “Ayatollah Assahola !” (popular bumper sticker of 1980)

  81. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Tyrell:

    Do some reading about Operation Ajax, then get back to us about unsettled scores.

  82. Loviatar says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    then get back to us about unsettled scores.

    He won’t respond these types never do. Their memory of slights and wrongs always seem to start with themselves being wronged never a thought to maybe, just maybe, my side might be at fault.

  83. J-Dub says:

    I think its notable that the last post Jack made was about Iranians speaking Arabic. I guess he was too embarassed to return after making a fool of himself.

  84. @James P:

    We can launch cruise missiles at Arak, Natanz, Fardot, and Bushehr. When their facilities are obliterated (like Israel did to Osirak in 81 and Syria in 07) we won’t have to worry about them cheating. BHO obviously doesn’t have the guts, but Bibi does and he is not a signatory to this capitulation.

    Use cruise missiles against hardened targets? Are there any other pointless exercises you want to try out?

  85. Guarneri says:

    The alternative, plain to anyone with any sense whatsoever, (so we must excuse the lefty crowd here) is to leave the status quo of economic sanctions. We got nothing material in return for Iran getting back up and running to fund humanitarian (snicker) efforts, like terrorists. My LPs would fire me for negotiating like this.

    I suspect even left leaning observers in the press, academia etc will not be pleased.

    But hey, we got a framework for thinking about a possibility that might be enforceable kinda maybe in the future but don’t put it on paper…..

  86. @HarvardLaw92: Or the 290 who were killed in the shoot down of Iran Air Flight 655 by the USS Vincennes which the United States took almost ten years to pay any reparations for and never apologized for.

  87. Loviatar says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    You know what has always amazed me about the Iran crisis, the gall of the Americans who were there in the 70s. They acted felt they owned Iran, in their minds, God dammit we bought this country fair and square who are the Iranians to complain. Also, could you imagine the actions of Tyrell if the same had happened here in the US. I believe he would proudly be one of the first through the embassy doors.

    See thats always the tell with a Republican, the lack of empathy, the inability to put yourself in others shoes (along with the horns, the tail and forked tongue).

  88. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Timothy Watson:

    True. I think that 30 years of Iranians being tortured & killed by CIA trained agents of a regime that we 1) installed and 2) propped up for three decades probably takes the prize though.

  89. J-Dub says:

    @Guarneri:

    leave the status quo of economic sanctions

    Which leaves Iran on the path to a nuclear weapon and the US using military force to stop them. If that is your opinion then you should just come out and say it.

  90. Tillman says:

    @Guarneri: Getting your news from Zarif lately too?

  91. Blue Galangal says:

    @C. Clavin: Oh my gosh, it’s 9:17 and I’m already drunk!

  92. C. Clavin says:

    @Blue Galangal:
    @JohnMcC:
    Best thread ever!!!

  93. Loviatar says:

    @JohnMcC:

    Hah Hah Hah! What branch of the service did you serve in you COWARD. How many poor b@stards are you planning to send to the grave?

    As well as a liar, you are a despicable chickenhawk!

    I was a pararescue medic in VietNam. I know what wars look like close up.

    You know NOTHING and should be slowly strangled with the words you’ve strung that would send boys to die for your stupid @ssholery.

    And I am still — at 70yrs old — the man to do it, dipsh!t.

    Thank you, for your service then and your words today. Not enough of us veterans speak up about this, we allow the loudest voices to dominate the conversation and usually they’re the ones without the guts to have actually experienced war first hand.

    One of my biggest regrets is I didn’t speak up and do enough to stop the Iraq misadventure, I allowed those with the loudest voice to dominate the conversation and as a result we needlessly lost over 4000 American men and women.

  94. Electroman says:

    @JohnMcC: You were a PJ? Sir, my hat is off to you.

  95. Mu says:

    Those that keep saying “we didn’t get enough” keep forgetting that “Bullies with big sticks keeping other bullies from getting sticks” club only works as long as all the bullies agree. If like today the bullies are infighting the solidarity might be wobbly. And while Russia doesn’t have a direct border with Iran anymore they do both border the Caspian sea, offering uncontrolled shipping of anything they like. Or the Chinese might decide that a 50 year exclusive supply contract for all of Iran’s oil exports might be worth a little bit of diplomatic yelling.
    We huffed and we puffed, and the Iranians didn’t call our bluff and gave us a piece of paper. And everybody better pretend that the world is still like 1995, or else.

  96. michael reynolds says:

    @Guarneri:

    Hey, dummy: we weren’t negotiating over Iran’s support for Hezbollah or their “humanitarianism? (What?) We were negotiating nuclear weapons. So your fantasy partners who would have judged your fantasy involvement in these negotiations would in fact have fired you for being a clueless imbecile who’d forgotten what we were negotiating.

    Oh, and guess what? This was not bilateral, it was multilateral, and the sanctions are multilateral, so had you blundered your big ever-wrong self into the negotiations and begun demanding Iran make nice you’d have been bodily ejected by countries who did not sign up for sanctions in order to make Bibi Netanyahu happy.

  97. JohnMcC says:

    @Electroman: Shucks and gosh…. Saw a lengthy (several hour-long episodes) story about the training the present PJs go through. I’d never have made the grade today! And believe me, I was terrified very often.

  98. Loviatar says:

    @Electroman:

    You were a PJ? Sir, my hat is off to you.

    I know, people just don’t get what that means. You’re jumping from an aircraft into a war zone to rescue your fellow soldier. Bullets flying, guns going off and you’re jumping into that because a fellow soldier is injured and needs you. And you do it time and time again. Damm.

    These fuckwads who push war should have to do that once.

  99. CB says:

    @Loviatar: @Electroman: @JohnMcC:

    Just chiming in to agree, and say that I’m in awe of anyone who volunteers to be a PJ. I wouldn’t make it through hour one of extended training day, much less the job itself. Much respect.

  100. michael reynolds says:

    OK I’ll pitch in a grand to help cover the cost of a cage match between @JohnMcC and @James P.

  101. anjin-san says:

    The “Worse than Neville Chamberlain” crowd has lost Bill O”Reilly

    O’Reilly: Alternative To Iran Agreement Would Be ‘World War’

    “But I think the point is that you don’t want a war with Iran,” O’Reilly continued. “You don’t want to be bombing that country because the unintended consequences will set the world aflame. So if you can get something that’s decent, you give it a shot. I think that’s a legitimate point.”

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/o-reilly-support-iran-deal

  102. al-Ameda says:

    @socraticsilence:

    So they can say whatever they want in Farsi as long as they say what you want them to in English and Arabic?

    Farsi, Arabic, Hebrew, English? Hey, it’s all the same.

    Most Americans couldn’t locate North America on a labeled map of the continents of the world, let alone know that in Iran (or as ‘real’ Americans say, Eye-Ran) Farsi is the language of the people.

  103. Rick DeMent says:

    I would just like to take the time to remind the National Coalition of Crazy Right Wing Uncles (NCCRWU) that as long as there is no deal, the Iranians are free to do what you accuse this framework of “allowing” them to do anyway.

  104. J-Dub says:

    and nobody knows the hell of war like Bill O’Reilly.

  105. DrDaveT says:

    @Tyrell:

    Many of us remember the hostage crisis of 1979-80. Americans were taken hostage and abused. US property was seized. It seems those crimes need to be settled: any property returned or paid for. Those guilty of taking, holding, and abusing hostages need to be handed over to the US for trial. No, we haven’t forgot.

    Yes, vendetta is a such a sensible basis for a foreign policy.

    Your memory is short. Iran remembers that the US assassinated the democratically elected prime minister of Iran and installed a tyrant dictator in his place because that prime minister was about to nationalize the oil companies.

    A few hostages and a few burnt flags seems like a pretty mild response to that, don’t you think? The US can’t win a game of one-upping past crimes with Iran, and shouldn’t try. We lost the moral high ground in 1953.

  106. JohnMcC says:

    Damn! Once more I make the resolution to never, ever keyboard under the influence. I repeat, my memories are all colored by sheer terror. And not every day was full of gunfire and heroism.

    As I’ve mentioned a few times here, I was drafted after I’d been too stupid in HSchool to get accepted into college. I beat it into the USAF because the infantry didn’t appeal to me. When the Gulf of Tonkin business came along I was just a schmuck of a clerk typist but didn’t see how I could let the country go to war while I was processing payroll records in New Jersey. So I volunteered for the (then-new) PJ program. The Old Dad (of revered memory) was a Citadel graduate – class of ’43, company D – and I guess I got that sh!t from him (I was only 18yrs old so what did I know?).

    Still, the idea that someone blithely advocates slaughter without a sense that there’s a moral imperative of putting their own hide on the line (looking at you Mr Cheney!) just leaves me furious.

    And our social disease visiting here with the extremely ignorant talking points (Gog of Magog – really!?) urging war with Iran — oh my god!

    And on top of that there was a 750ml bottle of 1792 just waiting for the Munich/Hitler drinking game….

    I’ll shut up. I become a stereotype of an old veteran that even I recognize and I don’t like it. Please, everybody — just forget I mentioned it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFCekeoSTwg

  107. CB says:

    @JohnMcC:

    Sir, it would be an honor to get off your lawn.

  108. Loviatar says:

    @JohnMcC:

    Still, the idea that someone blithely advocates slaughter without a sense that there’s a moral imperative of putting their own hide on the line (looking at you Mr Cheney!) just leaves me furious.

    THIS

    Its been mentioned that I write here in regards to Republicans with a “passion”, no its anger. I’m young enough and had left the military recently enough that I had friends who fought in the Iraq misadventure, believe me its not passion I write with its anger.

    —-

    Sir it was an honor to have served in the same force as you.

  109. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Republican Middle East policy is akin to blowing one’s foot off because the little toe itches.

  110. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JohnMcC: Greatest war song ever and nobody does it better than Clancy. Thanx.

  111. michael reynolds says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    It’s a heartbreaking song.

    Just one of many things Mr. Churchill was wrong about. He was a great man and a great leader, but between Gallipoli in WW1 and Greece and Crete in WW2, and depending on where you come down on Torch and Husky and the entire Italy campaign, all of that as well. And that’s not even getting into India.

    It’s probably time to take another look at the Churchill hagiography. I really understand how insanely hard it is to make strategic decisions in the middle of a sh!tstorm, but still Winnie made a lot of mistakes and got a lot of men killed. We should at very least have a much more nuanced view of him.

  112. JohnMcC says:

    @Loviatar: My friend, if given the chance to do it all over again I am afraid (at least in some of my darker moments) that I likely would have satisfied myself with shuffling paper at McGuire AFB. And the fellows of your cohort who served three or four tours — I stand amazed at YOUR courage.

    Now please — let’s talk about something else.

  113. Loviatar says:

    @JohnMcC:

    Now please — let’s talk about something else.

    Yes lets. All of a sudden I’m having dark thoughts.

    —-

    So tell me, any good stories from leave in Vietnam. I’ll share my Hamburg and Amsterdam stories if you share your Hanoi stories. 😉

  114. Scott says:

    @michael reynolds: I just so happen to be listening this week to Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History podcasts on WWI. He examined the whole Dardenelles/Gallipoli campaign and Churchill’s role in it. Yes, there are questions.

    Very good podcast by the way. Recommend it to anyone. If you want to really understand true horror of war, the disaster of WWI has it.

  115. JohnMcC says:

    @michael reynolds: I agree about Churchill. His tenacity was a huge blessing and he is rightly revered for it; but we do not know whether someone else might not have had an equivalent virtue in the darkest hours. I’ve thought that Winnie proves that the old cliche about “often wrong but never in doubt” does have a virtuous side in some circumstances.

    The American hagiography of Churchill is blind to the fact that he was turned out of Downing St prior to the end of the war and his 2nd term was far from successful. He failed on the housing issue, opposed the European Defense Community that became NATO and spilled huge amounts of Britain’s remaining wealth in Malaysian and Kenya.

  116. Electroman says:

    @JohnMcC: I was about to talk of my days at AFRCC and “the big board” back when it was at Scott….but I’m going to talk about something else as well – and somewhere else, to boot.

  117. Franklin says:

    @de stijl: Or an *actual* President calling some countries the “Axis of Evil”.

  118. C. Clavin says:

    @michael reynolds:
    Interesting that the worlds greatest business man is clueless about negotiating.

  119. Tillman says:

    My impression of this thread.

    I’ll leave it to the viewer to guess who’s in what casting. (dibs on Donny)

  120. Tillman says:

    @JohnMcC: @michael reynolds: he had, to use the parlance of my times, a real boner for war. “Often wrong but never in doubt” is a good way of putting it.

    He was certainly the dude necessary for the time, though I wonder sometimes how much politicians — even former military men and women — affect a war they politick during.

  121. michael reynolds says:

    @C. Clavin:

    It’s absolutely typical of businessmen who think because they’ve solved the problem of getting plumbing supplies to a job site they’re ready to run the world.

    How many negotiations have any of these loudmouths been in that involved war and mass casualties if they failed? Um. . . zero. How many of them have come within an order of magnitude of the complexity of what’s going on the middle east? Um. . .zero.

    Oh, but they could always do it better, ’cause, see, what you need to do is just bluster a lot, offer a bribe, and everyone sit down and drink some Scotch and compare who’s got the hottest secretary. Drew, whose most fraught negotiation was probably over office supplies, thinks he’d do better than Obama/Merkel/Cameron/Hollande. And yet he literally doesn’t even know the players let alone the issues.

    What a maroon.

  122. C. Clavin says:

    @Guarneri:

    The alternative, plain to anyone with any sense whatsoever, (so we must excuse the lefty crowd here) is to leave the status quo of economic sanctions.

    I’m not sure why you constantly opine over that which you have no apparent knowledge…but you do it all the time…so I shouldn’t be surprised. Take, for instance, economics.
    Anyway…this was THE opportunity to deal with moderates in Iran. Every day the sanctions are in place…staus quo or otherwise…extremists in Iran get stronger. The opportunity here was the chance to help Rouhani deal with domestic issues resulting from 30 years of US sanctions, and help him to fend off radicals. Squander this opportunity and Rouhani’s administration would weaken, and could fail, paving the way for extremists. This was the chance for moderates on both sides to deliver. It’s critical to note that Republicans and Netanyahu are not moderates…they are the radicals and extremeists on this side. Having Republican Senators and Netanyahu do everything they can to weaken our negotiating position doesn’t help us protect Israel.

  123. michael reynolds says:

    @Tillman: @JohnMcC:

    I’m writing an alt-history of WW2 now and getting deeper into the Mediterranean campaign (Tunisia, Sicily, Italy) and coming to see what a fiasco Italy was, how strategically irrelevant it turned out to be, and at such a cost.

    I think the Americans were naive to believe we could cross the channel in ’42 or even early ’43 – our army basically sucked in the first inning (Kasserine) and by Sicily it was clear neither we nor the Brits had a clue about combined operations.

    But then, if we’d learned so much in Tunisia and Sicily, how did we manage to so utterly screw up Italy? No one had a map? They didn’t notice that Italy is nothing but one mountain range after another with rivers in between? They didn’t notice that old monastery sitting atop the only road to Rome? They get to Anzio and decide to sun themselves on the beach until the Germans have plenty of time to surround them?

    I’m starting to come down with George Marshall – should have taken the direct route. (But preceded by much better training than we had in ’42.) In theory we could have hit France a year earlier and wrapped the war earlier.

    This is why you have to send young men to war – by the time they’ve aged a bit they begin to realize how likely it is that they’re being led by jackasses.

  124. JohnMcC says:

    @michael reynolds: Joint operations! Hah! I recall one episode from Churchill’s own multivolume WorldWarTwo in which a joint committee of USNavy and Admiralty types (imagine the braid sitting around THAT table) were hashing out a way to run North Atlantic convoys. Something fairly important, ya know! And someone suggested that one particular topic be “tabled”. To the Americans, this meant setting it aside to be decided on later. To the English, it meant putting that item front and center ahead of every other consideration. The resulting failure of communication paralyzed the entire proceedings until Churchill and Roosevelt using their personal cable communication (“former Naval Person”) got them back in harness and pulling in the same direction. I’ve always used that to explain the phenomenon of ‘two nations divided by a common language’.

    And in the Med there was the wonderful joint operation of invading Sicily. Montgomery goes one way, Patton goes the other. What could go wrong?

    I envy you the pleasure that awaits you as you write.

    Edit: I agree that Marshall is one of the 20th century’s least appreciated military/foreign policy figures.

  125. de stijl says:

    @Franklin:

    Or an *actual* President calling some countries the “Axis of Evil”.

    Well at least one Republican President was nice to the Iranians. He sent them presents: a cake, a Bible, and some missiles. What a mensch!

  126. michael reynolds says:

    @JohnMcC:

    It’s fun work. My set-up is a fictitious Supreme Court decision making females subject to the draft. But from there I’m walking it forward strictly according to the history – barring the occasional invented-but-historically-irrelevant fire fight here and there.

    I can’t believe they pay me to do this. Don’t tell my publisher it’s fun!

  127. michael reynolds says:

    @JohnMcC:
    The only thing I know of to fault Marshall for was his choice of Lloyd Fredendall, who, had he turned in that kind of performance in the Red Army would have at very least been given a one-way train ticket to the Gulag, and more likely would have had an early appointment with a wall, a blindfold and a hail of bullets.

    A great, great man, general Marshall. We got damned lucky with him.

  128. de stijl says:

    They would be afraid of Walker or Cruz.

    The same way they were afraid of Bush/Cheney? The guys they snookered using Chalabi and Curveball into invading Iraq and deposing Saddam thereby vastly increasing their regional standing?

  129. Surreal American says:

    “Only Nixon could go to China”

    Well, there are no Nixons going to China anymore in today’s GOP, so someone has to take up the slack.

  130. Surreal American says:
  131. James P says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Iran made ZERO concessions

    That’s as factually accurate as you having a PhD.

    On that we agree.

    There is no need for Iran to have any centrifuges. Centrifuges are for enriching uranium. There is only one reason to enrich uranium – to build a bomb. YOu do not need to enrich for civilian purposes. The fact that they get to keep their centrifuges means they have made no concessions.

    Iran wants a bomb and BHO is giving it to them. He’s worse than Chamberlain because Chamberlain didn’t actually arm Hitler.

  132. HarvardLaw92 says:

    There is no need for Iran [Israel] to have any centrifuges. Centrifuges are for enriching uranium. There is only one reason to enrich uranium – to build a bomb. YOu do not need to enrich for civilian purposes. The fact that they [Israel] get[s] to keep their centrifuges [bombs] means they have made no concessions.

    Iran wants [Israel has] a [many] bomb[s] and BHO is giving [the US gave] it to them [to Israel]. He’s [The US is] worse than Chamberlain because Chamberlain didn’t actually arm Hitler.

    FIFY

  133. James P says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Israel is not a rogue nation threatening to wipe its neighbors off the map. Israel has a legitimate need for nuclear weapons………..if they have them (wink – wink).

    Israel is a responsible nation. It is not a signatory to the NPT so they are not violating anything (if they have nukes). Israel is not ruled by genocidal maniacs who think they need to murder millions in order for a missing Mehdi who fell down a well 1,200 years ago return.

    Iran seeks genocide. Israel seeks peace. Israel would never use nukes in anything other than a defensive capacity – can the same be said of Iran? I think that constitutes a pretty substantial difference.

    If Iran has nukes, they will give it to Hezbollah to put in a suitcase. They’ll fly it to Venezuela and march it across the unguarded southern border with the Mexican drug cartels – they will then use that to detonate it in Manhattan.

    If Israel has 200-250 nukes, we should help them fortify their stockpiles by giving them 2,000 more from our stockpile.

  134. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @James P:

    And yet Iran has never engaged in a military attack against anyone, while Israel does so on a regular basis. Israel is the very definition of a rogue nation.

  135. James P says:

    @HarvardLaw92: You’re trolling me, right?

    You can’t be that dumb. Why are al-Quds forces from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard on the Golan Heights? Bird watching?

    Why are they embedded with Houthis in Yemen and Hezbollah in Lebanon? What is Gen. Soulemani doing in Tikrit? Yeah, Iranian proxies like al-Sadr have never attacked US forces.

    Iran has Hezbollah proxies in Venezuela.

    Israel on the other hand has never attacked another nation. They were attacked in 1948, 1967, and 1973. They defended themselves. They defended themselves in 1981 when they bombed Osirak and in 07 when the bombed the Korean-built plant in Syria. When they bomb Netanz that will be a defensive action. Israel has never launched an offensive military operation.

    Again, what are al-Quds forces doing embedded with the Houthis?

    Learn a little something about geo-politics and you might not embarrass yourself.

    You don’t like Israel do you? I wonder why that is? I bet you think the Holocaust was a big lie, don’t you?

  136. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @James P:

    Israel on the other hand has never attacked another nation

    Incorrect. Israel attacked Egypt in the Lavon Affair in 1954. It invaded Egypt in 1956 in the Suez Crisis. It took it upon itself in 1981 to attack nuclear facilities in another sovereign nation (Iraq) which had not attacked it. It invaded Lebanon in 1982. The list goes on and on.

    Israel apparently thinks that it can do whatever it likes, attack whomever it likes, and justify that in the name of defense. This is especially apparent in its holding of nuclear weapons, while expecting no one around it to feel threatened by their existence. You apparently agree with them as some function of your twisted religious beliefs.

    Speaking frankly, no, I’m not that fond of what Israel has become, but the Shoah? Yea, I’m pretty well acquainted with that one. My relatives were the ones going up chimneys, not yours.

  137. James P says:

    @HarvardLaw92: It’s beyond me how any Jewish person could not support Israel. I just don’t get it.

    Yes, I do support anything Israel does. Israel is a nation which has been ordained by God.

  138. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @James P:

    I am not an Israeli. I am an American. I support the interests of MY country, and a destabilized Middle East in which ANYBODY has nuclear weapons is not in the interests of MY country. Israel is a foreign country. I wish it well (as long as it conducts itself honorably), but I owe it nothing. My country owes it nothing.

    Perhaps you should consider moving there.

  139. Grewgills says:

    @HarvardLaw92:
    Follow your own advice. DNFTT

  140. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Grewgills:

    I’m of the opinion now that he isn’t going to leave, so we might as well have some fun destroying him. He’s single-handedly discrediting everything he professes to believe in. On some level, that’s useful.

  141. James P says:

    @HarvardLaw92: You may be an American first, but I am a Christian first. Therefore, I support Israel – unconditionally and without limitation.

    It is in my country’s best interest to support Israel because an enemy of Israel is an enemy of God and it important that we be on the right side of God. I would urge you to read Ezekiel 38 and 39 to learn what happens to the enemies of Israel.

    Because I love America I want us to be on the right side of God – therefore, we must unconditionally and unquestioningly ally ourselves with Israel.

  142. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @James P:

    Feel free to move there at your earliest convenience.

  143. DrDaveT says:

    @James P:

    Because I love America I want us to be on the right side of God

    Yeah, we already went over that in a different thread. You didn’t respond, presumably because you had nothing.

    It’s beyond me how any Jewish person could not support Israel.

    Why should this subject be different from all the others? Many things are beyond you.

    I just don’t get it.

    Yeah, we know.

  144. Lars the Great says:

    @James P:
    Praise the Lord. He who opposes the will of God shall be cast down! You know this and the rest of these liberals don’t big surprise they’ll find out the truth in the fires of hell! Israel must prevail and be arisen up for the Lord to come in his majesty and cast them down into the pit.

  145. michael reynolds says:

    Good grief, now this idiot’s drawing other idiots. The downward spiral continues.

  146. wr says:

    @michael reynolds: “Good grief, now this idiot’s drawing other idiots. The downward spiral continues.”

    It’s a little misleading to say he’s “drawing other idiots,” when all he’s doing is typing another name into the little box on top of the comments.

  147. Lars the Great says:

    @James P:

    Echo chambers are so very boring.

    You can say that again.

  148. Grewgills says:

    @James P:
    Thank you for the irony. Most of your trolling is boring, but that gave me a chuckle.

  149. C. Clavin says:

    @James P:
    Perfect…another couple phony PhDs are just what this site needs

  150. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    It’s a little misleading to say he’s “drawing other idiots,” when all he’s doing is typing another name into the little box on top of the comments.

    Guys, could we give this a rest until we have conclusive proof? This “every one right of harvardlaw92 is Jenos” is getting really tiresome.

  151. wr says:

    @Ebenezer_Arvigenius: Seriously? Lars the Great was created specifically to echo “James P” — and basically admits it right above your comment.

    You are free to disagree about J and J, obviously, but this one isn’t even intended to be hidden — it’s a great big wink, as if we’re all enjoying the assclown’s sockpuppeting together.

  152. anjin-san says:

    @James P:

    Echo chambers are so very boring.

    How then, do you deal with the space between your ears?

  153. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @wr:

    Nah, according to James, “Lars” is one of our liberal commenters spoofing a right wing troll. No idea which one, but I tend not to like sockpuppets in general.

    Also according to James, “James P” has been IP banned. It (hopefully) shouldn’t be returning.

  154. al-Ameda says:

    @James P:

    Iran seeks genocide. Israel seeks peace. Israel would never use nukes in anything other than a defensive capacity – can the same be said of Iran? I think that constitutes a pretty substantial difference.

    We – the United States – supported Iraq in the nearly decade (1980-1988) long Iran-Iraq war that resulted in the death of nearly 1 million Iranians. We knew of and tacitly supported Hussein’s use of Sarin Gas against Iranians and Kurds during that time, we supported Iraq because after the Iranian Hostage Crisis we wanted Iran to bleed to death. These things do come around, don’t they?

  155. JohnMcC says:

    @James P: It wasn’t written in Ezekiel?

  156. Turgid Jacobian says:

    “The fact that they appear in both Old and New testaments is telling”

    Not really… the folks around to make prophesies for the New Testament knew their Prophets.

  157. JohnMcC says:

    @Turgid Jacobian: Obviously you don’t understand magic. If it is in both Old and New Testaments the mojo is increased by a power of 10.

  158. Surreal American says:

    I prefer the prophecies of Grog and Eggnog, especially around the month of December.

  159. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @James P:

    You are not welcome here, to the point that the owner of the site attempted to ban you.

    Evidently he failed, but Jesus man, take the hint.

  160. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @James P:

    You should read this.

    The pertinent part reads:

    I’ve IP-banned “James P,” who apparently followed Doug over from Facebook and initially did so on his posts.

  161. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Working link to James Joyner’s comment about banning you

    HERE

    Yes, he banned you. No, you are not welcome, so just take the hint and leave.

  162. HarvardLaw92 says:

    I’ve asked him to speak to you directly. Given that this is his website, and he evidently doesn’t want you here any more than the rest of us do, given the fact that he tried to ban you, perhaps you’ll get the hint and go.

    We value intelligent dissent, but we have no use for trolls.

  163. HarvardLaw92 says:

    I linked you to his direct comment stating that he banned you. Whether or not you dislike me is immaterial, but that comment should serve to inform you that the owner of this site wants you gone as well.

    Funny, for a “conservative”, you seem to have zero respect for his property rights.