Tuesday, July 14, 2015
It's a Brand New Day!
It will probably fall on deaf ears in Congress but this "historic deal" with Iran has sent oil prices plummeting as it looks like a whole new source will open up to oil production. For weeks now we've been hearing from Republican candidates how the Obama administration sold out its allies, yet this deal was reached through six countries, including Russia, and the EU. The negotiations also had the full sanction of the UN, which will be administering the inspection of Iranian domestic nuclear and military sites for the next ten years.
Of course this isn't good enough for our conservative friends in Washington, or the Donald, who believes that the duplicitous Iranians got the better of the US on this deal. The foreign allies they refer to are Israel and Saudi Arabia, which are likewise not too happy about this nuclear deal as it brings Iran back onto the international scene, as most economic sanctions would be lifted if Congress approves the deal. A military embargo would remain in place for the next five years.
Our man Mitch has called pitching this deal to Congress a "hard sell." I don't doubt he would have a relatively easy time lining up votes against the nuclear agreement, as there are many Democrats who are against it as well, notably Chuck "The Schmuck" Schumer, scheduled to be the next Democratic Senate Leader when Harry Reid steps down. These cold warriors simply can't get past Iran being an existential threat to the United States and their good buddies in Israel. Saudi Arabia also worries that an unfettered Iran will spark more Shi-ite uprisings, not to mention challenge its authority in OPEC.
What frustrates conservatives the most is that the Obama administration is radically reshaping the nature of American Foreign Policy, bringing it into the international mainstream. His recognition of Cuba late last year and now this nuclear agreement with Iran represent a decisive move away from the Bush Doctrine that has dominated American FP since the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Every Republican candidate is campaigning against these FP moves except Rand Paul, who favors normalization with Cuba and is open to negotiations with Iran. This has made him a favorite target among his peers, notably Marco Rubio, who has trashed Rand on Cuba. But, Mitch seems to have softened a bit since assuming the leadership of the Senate, willing to work with the President on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, so there is hope Mitch will be open to the nuclear agreement, as long as there is something in it for Republicans.
Of course, the Donald felt he could have done all this in a week, by "doubling up and trippling up" sanctions. Not that we could have imposed any harsher sanctions than we have already done, short of going to war. Now that an agreement has been reached, he no doubt will take credit.
On the Democratic side of the Campaign Trail 2016, Hillary has expressed her support for negotiations, but expressed her reservations at the same time in pure "Clintonian" fashion. Sadly, it seems too hard for many persons in this country to get past events that took place 35 years ago, still viewing Iran in the same dark-cloaked world of the Ayatollah Khomeini.
Whatever happens in November 2016, a small window of opportunity has been opened for a brand new Foreign Policy that may become the Obama doctrine if he is able to carry through on it in his remaining 18 months in office. If enough pieces are in place before he steps down it will make it very difficult for the next president to blithely overturn these measures, as has been suggested by many of the GOP candidates.
The interesting thing is that these bold Foreign Policy moves have all occurred since Hillary stepped down as Secretary of State. Kerry has been Obama's foot soldier on FP, showing negotiation skills the Donald could only dream of having, and that Hillary didn't show while she was leading the State department. To be fair, these bold moves usually don't come until the last two years of a two-term President, but it is clear that Obama has worked much more closely and efficiently with John Kerry than he did with Hillary Clinton. Makes me wonder who the Democrats should have running for President to carry forth this legacy.