What Negotiated Solution to Iran’s Nuclear Program Would You Find Acceptable?

 

shutterstock_137764901There were recently reports that the multi-party talks about Iran’s nuclear program were approaching a deal that would have the Iranians pause their nuclear program for a decade in exchange for lifting of sanctions. This was promptly reported in the conservative press as some variation of “Obama Gives Iranians the Bomb in Ten Years.”

It didn’t sound like an especially bad plan to me. A lot can happen in ten years, especially if tensions between nations are allowed to deescalate. I’m also a firm believer in the Churchill notion that “To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war.” But I could be wrong. Perhaps this is a bad deal. However, I’m also a firm believer in the notion that complaining about something without offering a solution is just whining. So I have a question for everyone here on Ricochet: What kind of negotiated solution would you find acceptable?

But before that, I need to remind everyone of some important elements in the equation:

  1. The Iranians aren’t crazy. To the extent that any government is, the Iranians are rational. There’s this idea floating around that the Iranian government is populated by lunatics who want to see the world reduced to a cinder to bring about the Islamic equivalent of the Second Coming. This is simply a fantasy. It’s folly to assume the other side are all crazy. They may be odd, they may be different, they may have different values, but to assume that they are incapable of rational thought is nonsense.
  2. They’re fighting the Islamic State. Iran is a Shia country with strong cultural and political ties to Shia dominated Iraq. Sunni ISIS is a threat not only to their coreligionists, but to their interest in Iraq. As a result, the Iranians are helping to fight ISIS. Negotiations with Iran over their nuclear program have a lot of dimensions, this is one of them.
  3. Agreement isn’t bilateral. The US and Iran are only two parties in these talks. They also include Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia. So when you’re tempted to talk about how “Obama is doing X,” remember that these are seven-party talks, and keep in mind the larger context of what is going on in Europe.
  4. The threat isn’t imminent. The Iranians don’t have a functioning nuclear device. They haven’t tested one. (We would know). If they have access to designs that they may have purchased, we don’t even know of those designs actually work. And if you examine their uranium enrichment program, they don’t have the capacity to build a weapon yet.

While reading this, no doubt, some of you are ready to respond that no negotiated solution is possible, and the only thing we can do is bomb Iran. A few points about that:

  1. The Osirak thing isn’t an option here. As we all know, the Israelis took matters into their own hands in 1981 and stifled Iraqi nuclear ambitions by bombing the Osirak reactor. Knocking the Iranian nuclear program out the same way is not an option here. First of all, the Iranian program is spread out over multiple locations. Second, those locations are fortified, in anticipation that somebody might try that trick again. Third, the Iranians have built a substantial air-defense system to defend these nuclear sites. If it can be done at all (which is highly doubtful), knocking out the Iranian program isn’t going to be done by a handful of F-16s.
  2. Airstrikes would mean going to the mattresses. Its well known and well established that the Iranians have no problem supplying and supporting various terrorist organizations. If we were to bomb the Iranians, it would mean a war, and the Iranians would go to the mattresses. They would press the buttons, pull the strings, whatever metaphor you want to use, on their various client terrorist organizations, and they would hit back in a substantial way.
  3. It would mean war with Iran. Bombing Iran wouldn’t be like shooting a few missiles at a couple of aspirin factories, it would mean a war. It would probably mean the Persian Gulf would be closed to oil shipping. Iran has a population larger than Afghanistan and Iraq put together, and a land area larger than Afghanistan and Iraq put together. Occupation is simply not an option, and there won’t be public support for an extended war.

So, with these factors in mind, what is your solution? (Keep in mind that any negotiated agreement now needs to be a treaty that can pass with a 2/3 vote, because 47 Republicans in the Senate just shot to hell any chance of any other kind of agreement).

So let’s hear it. What negotiated agreement would you find acceptable?

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  1. Mendel Inactive
    Mendel
    @Mendel

    The knee-jerk conservative response to this is probably “no deal will work as long as Obama is president.”

    And in this case, the knee-jerk conservative response may be correct.

    Experience has shown that the Iranians love to make lots of concessions at the negotiating table – especially regarding inspections – and then stonewall once it comes time for those concessions to be implemented. Without a president willing to use all options to enforce the provisions of an agreement, those provisions are worthless. And there is little evidence that Obama has the resolve to do so, especially when that Iranian stonewalling takes the form of a million tiny quibbles against the inspection process, and not a straight-up refusal.

    In this vein, the multilateralism of the deal is also not a selling point. Russia and China also have a history of ignoring or encouraging Iranian bad behavior, and several European countries also have conflicted interests when it comes to Iran.

    • #1
  2. Fake John Galt Coolidge
    Fake John Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Let Iran get the bomb. Watch Israel go up in smoke. The Muslim world will rally around Iran as the strong horse. With this new mandate Iran will take over or direct ISIS to holy jihad against Europe with Russia as an ally. European cities will go up in a flash, along with a few US cities like DC, and New York before things settle down. Afterward the flyover part of th US can get rich selling goods to the war torn world. In the end it could be a win win scenario if a sizeable chunk of the powers that be get removed from the playing field.

    • #2
  3. Tuck Inactive
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    Fred Cole: It didn’t sound like an especially bad plan to me.

    What makes you think the Iranians are negotiating in good faith?  To Mendel’s point:

    “Experience has shown that the Iranians love to make lots of concessions at the negotiating table – especially regarding inspections – and then stonewall once it comes time for those concessions to be implemented.”

    They have a history of not doing so.  Given the fact that Obama is negotiating in bad faith: he’s making an agreement he has no authority to negotiate, they’d be foolish to negotiate in good faith.  As you note:

    “To the extent that any government is, the Iranians are rational.”

    • #3
  4. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    Put simply, Iran has no need for nuclear enrichment to have a civilian nuclear program for energy. Japan, Canada, and Korea all have nuclear facilities and no nuclear weapons program. Simply put I am fine with them having all the nuclear energy they can muster, I would even agree to us providing them with technology to help implement it and ensure it is run safely. What my demand would be that they agree to use a nuclear energy generation system that does not require any enrichment or plutonium.

    That is why all of this is a jest. They could have had 100 nuclear energy plants by now if they would have just agreed to make ones that don’t require fuel that could also be use for a bomb. But, they don’t just want nuclear energy they want a nuclear bomb.

    Plain and simple, no centrifuges and no enrichment. In return we help them establish safe and efficient nuclear power plants, ease sanctions, move toward normalizing relations. Of course we would need an inspection regime to make sure they are keeping to it. More importantly we need a specific and strict punishment system if they fail to comply. First incident of non-compliance triggers immediate imposition of sanctions against certain key elements of their economy. If they fail to cooperate then sanctions ramp up. If they do in fact break out with a nuclear weapon then I would demand full economic embargo by all signatories.

    Alternatively I would also take a treaty that allows them to do whatever the heck they want but if they ever detonate a nuclear device, we will automatically nuke their whole country. Also if any nuclear device goes off anywhere in the world we will nuke their whole country. Basically we will hold them personally responsible for anything bad that happens, and we will not just put sanctions on them but rather annihilate their entire civilization.

    • #4
  5. Carey J. Inactive
    Carey J.
    @CareyJ

    My acceptable deal is this:

    All Iranian nuclear enrichment equipment must be destroyed, and their Guardian Council must eat the enriched fissile materials they have on hand. If this can be achieved through negotiation, well and good. If we have to blow Iran to dust bunnies, first, I’m okay with that, too.

    • #5
  6. Albert Arthur Coolidge
    Albert Arthur
    @AlbertArthur

    Just about everything in your post is wrong-headed, Fred, but I’d go insane if I tried to keep up with you so I’ll just start with this:

    Fred Cole: I’m also a firm believer in the Churchill notion that “To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war.”

    I think your quote is silly, especially since the event where Churchill supposedly said that was closed to reporters. This was in 1954 after he had played key roles in two world wars, so, sure, Churchill would prefer not to go to war, but he sure as [expletive] was willing to fight to defend what he believed in and to destroy his enemies.

    Valiuth:Alternatively I would also take a treaty that allows them to do whatever the heck they want but if they ever detonate a nuclear device, we will automatically nuke their whole country. Also if any nuclear device goes off anywhere in the world we will nuke their whole country. Basically we will hold them personally responsible for anything bad that happens, and we will not just put sanctions on them but rather annihilate their entire civilization.

    We don’t need a treaty for that, just a president with a backbone.

    • #6
  7. user_891102 Member
    user_891102
    @DannyAlexander

    Fred, you’re confusing rational thought-processes with rational end-goals; the Iranians have plenty of the former and none of the latter.

    (And sure, I’m projecting my values when I declare what kind of end-goal would and wouldn’t be rational — I reserve the right to hold my civilization, or at least my worldview and moral code, as superior to theirs. So let’s get that preemptively out of the way.)

    This is definitely one of those instances when Reductio ad Hitlerum is appropriate.  Which is to say, if you look at the Final Solution to the Jewish Question — at the aggregation of protocols, planning documents, after-action reports, etc., etc. — it was a marvel of rational thought-processes.  Indeed, not just rational but also canny:  The Nazis made a point — by way of explicit policy directives — of not occasioning a significant and newsworthy show of what their genocidal enterprise aimed at, at least for the duration of that enterprise, so as to complete the work involved with minimal hindrance; after the “achievement” was secured, the Nazis’ intention was that they would proceed to inform the world.

    (See esp. Laurence Rees’ documentary “Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State.”)

    The Iranians are slipping up in the shush-shush-don’t-tell-them-about-the-genocide-plans department, but they’ve otherwise done their best to be comparably meticulous and dogged. In the OP here, your own descriptions attest to same.

    I would encourage you to read through the chapter covering the Iran nuclear topic that appears toward the end of Israeli journalist Ari Shavit’s recent book. Shavit is no fan of Bibi Netanyahu — this is not a matter of dispute. Moreover, a very large chunk of this chapter consists of a conversation with Amos Yadlin (IAF Maj. Gen. retd.), who in the current Israeli electoral campaign has been designated by the Labor Party (seeking to unseat Bibi) as their go-to guy for the Defense Minister nomination in the event of victory on 17 March. Yadlin until very recently was IDF MilIntel chief — he’s also notable as one of the F-16 pilots in the pivotal 1981 raid on Osirak.

    Yadlin — as much from the standpoint of one professional appreciating the work of other professionals as anything — emphasizes that for years (decades really) now, the Iranians have been playing what he terms the long game. He takes pains in Shavit’s book to point out how patiently methodical the Khomeinists have been, not least given the numerous setbacks encountered on the way to their nuclear-arsenal objective. Yadlin thus would be one of the last analysts — with recent, expert, and panoramic insight on which to call — who would term the Tehran regime irrational — **at the level of the course of action they have been taking in support of their overarching goal.**  The goal itself — again, per Yadlin — is altogether another matter.

    Moving on from the rational/irrational topic, I have to point out that you’re smokescreening us here with more than a few unsupported assertions about key intel determinations (and capabilities to make determinations).  To wit:

     http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/the-most-overlooked-line-in-netanyahus-address

    The ISIS “dimension” you cite is irrelevant unless it’s being explicitly included in the negotiations — and if we’re going to be horse-trading with the mullahs on ISIS, we certainly cannot do so without bringing the Iranian ICBM “dimension” (at least!) into such a negotiation; presumably our P5+1 “friends” would very much appreciate that, or they ought to if they even knew what was good for them.

    And speaking of the whole P5+1 rabble, if they have collectively helped bring us to the present pass in the negotiations, then completely setting aside the POTUS’s own aspirations, one has to ask oneself, “Is *this* what *they* (the P5+1) considered, from the outset, to be at least one of the acceptable negotiations end-game scenarios? *Really?*”

    Which ultimately gets us to what Bibi was saying on 03 March in the first place: Scrap the negotiation as presently constituted and start it all over from the beginning — with the threat that the US will bomb with the aim of inducing (and if necessary exacerbating) economic and political-control cracks in the ruling-regime edifice. Doing so doesn’t entail trying to cover every nuclear site in Iran.

    Moreover, make the negotiation a US-versus-Iran affair — and if the Russians and Chinese are irked by that, inform them that they are welcome to bring their military capabilities to bear in-theater (hint: they can’t — for that matter, neither can the Iranians).

    The P5+1 arrangement was a fig-leaf (requested by the US) for what was in reality a US-versus-Iran negotiation all along — and the Iranians have taken maximal advantage of the non-US “partners'” delusions of importance in order to set all parties to negotiating with/against themselves (not against the Iranians).

    Bottom line, Fred, is that you’re offering a false choice (made worse by its being undergirded by asserted facts very much not in evidence).  One can’t get to a good deal via a bad negotiation.

    • #7
  8. AUMom Member
    AUMom
    @AUMom

    Actually I find no type of negotiated settlement with Iran to be acceptable. The Iranian people may be rational but the government is not.

    • #8
  9. Asquared Inactive
    Asquared
    @ASquared

    Any deal that gives Iran a clear timeline to permissably develop a nuclear weapon in direct violation Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to which Iran is a signatory is an unmitigated disaster. There is no other way of describing it.

    To say it is not an especially bad deal is an almost incomprehensible statement.

    • #9
  10. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Fred Cole: The Iranians aren’t crazy. To the extent that any government is, the Iranians are rational. There’s this idea floating around that the Iranian government is populated by lunatics who want to see the world reduced to a cinder to bring about the Islamic equivalent of the Second Coming. This is simply a fantasy. It’s folly to assume the other side are all crazy. They may be odd, they may be different, they may have different values, but to assume that they are incapable of rational thought is nonsense.

    Here’s my thing: this may well be true, but I’m not very confident that it’s true.

    This is an imperfect analogy, but imagine there’s some jerk in town who regularly makes comments — sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly — that someone should really kill his next door neighbor. It’s really hard to tell if he’s being serious (if he is, why is he advertising the fact?), but it’s also well-known that the guy’s got a violent past.

    I don’t know about you, but he strikes me as exactly the kind of person who should not be allowed to acquire a firearm in a may-issue state*, nor the kind of person who should be sold a GhostGunner.

    If you want a gun, you can’t go around threatening people.

    * I do not approve of may-issue licensing in a free society, but the world stage is not a free society.

    • #10
  11. lesserson Member
    lesserson
    @LesserSonofBarsham

    “Peace in our time!” Cause I’ve got a piece of paper that says if we back off they’ll stop doing that thing that they’re not supposed to be doing that increases their power and influence…

    Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

    Regimes don’t have to be full of apocalyptic psychopaths to be irrational, especially when said regime has no problem with giving aid and support to people who are self-declared apocalyptic psychos. However, in this case it is completely rational for them to want a Nuclear weapon. We don’t do jack squat now when North Korea does something worrisome. Why? For the same reason you wouldn’t want to spook a four year old that’s gotten his little hands on a loaded gun. Nuclear Deterrence works both ways, especially when we value the lives of the general public orders of magnitude more than the other side.

    As to “what’s your plan?”, I question the premise. If someone in high authority somewhere insisted that we need to kill off 98% of humanity in order to save the planet and then insisted we go ahead with it because I didn’t have an alternative they liked we’d say they were nuts. Giving yet more time and legal wiggle-room to a completely “rational” bunch of leaders that unashamedly supports suicidal jihadism as a governmental expense may not rise to the “Rainbow 6” scenario but I can still say it’s not a good idea and not be whining.

    That being said I’m not sure there’s a better deal we’ll get out of this administration, but how high a bar is that?

    • #11
  12. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    I like the idea of providing Iran with free Thorium technology since all they want is to generate electricity for domestic use.

    • #12
  13. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    Where to start with this.

    Fred Cole: The Iranians aren’t crazy. To the extent that any government is, the Iranians are rational. There’s this idea floating around that the Iranian government is populated by lunatics who want to see the world reduced to a cinder to bring about the Islamic equivalent of the Second Coming. This is simply a fantasy. It’s folly to assume the other side are all crazy. They may be odd, they may be different, they may have different values, but to assume that they are incapable of rational thought is nonsense.

    Put down the torch Fred, it’s just a field of strawmen, not your actually opponents in this debate.  Your fundamental mistake in your way of thinking on this is your belief that regimes largely act rationally.  A quick review of history reveals this to be false.

    Fred Cole: Agreement isn’t bilateral. The US and Iran are only two parties in these talks. They also include Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia.

    You say this as if it has any relevance on the likelyhood that Iran will abide by the agreement.  You also included Russia as if they aren’t a primary reason that Iran is as close as they are to having a bomb.

    Fred Cole: The threat isn’t imminent. The Iranians don’t have a functioning nuclear device. They haven’t tested one. (We would know). If they have access to designs that they may have purchased, we don’t even know of those designs actually work. And if you examine their uranium enrichment program, they don’t have the capacity to build a weapon yet.

    North Korea has successfully built and tested a bomb, proving that any regime can ultimately reach this no longer impressive technological feat.

    Fred Cole: First of all, the Iranian program is spread out over multiple locations. Second, those locations are fortified, in anticipation that somebody might try that trick again. Third, the Iranians have built a substantial air-defense system to defend these nuclear sites. If it can be done at all (which is highly doubtful), knocking out the Iranian program isn’t going to be done by a handful of F-16s.

    This displays a rather poor knowledge of U.S. military capability.  The U.S. has bombs that can penetrate 200 feet of earth to destroy a bunker.  Between our stealth advantages and weapons such as cruise missiles, Iran’s air defenses are a joke.  You can argue that it is immoral to pre-emptively bomb Iran, or that it is unnecessary, but you will not argue that we can’t succeed in demolishing their nuclear program. Such an argument is willfully blind to reality.

    Fred Cole: Occupation is simply not an option, and there won’t be public support for an extended war.

    I told you to get out of the strawman field.  It would be a couple of nights of bombings.

    To answer the question of the title, I could accept a deal that does not allow Iran to do any enriching of uranium.

    • #13
  14. Asquared Inactive
    Asquared
    @ASquared

    Fred Cole: So let’s hear it. What negotiated agreement would you find acceptable?

    Here is what I posted on another forum in response to a similar question.

    My response is simple. I would not allow the US to be a party to ANY agreement that authorizes Iran to develop nuclear weapons and I would use the veto power on the UN Security Council to prevent any effort by Iran to escape its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that Iran is a signatory to. I would also remind the UN Security Council that it is required to enforce the NNPT and point out that Iran is violating that treaty.

    If the European countries want to allow Iran to have a nuclear bomb, the US should not be part of those discussions.

    I would also continue a complete and total unilateral trade embargo as long as Iran continues to violate its obligations under the NNPT and I would remind any NNPT signatory trading with Iran of Iran’s status under the NNPT and inform them that they are violating their obligations under the treaty by trading with Iran. I would authorize all covert organizations to engage in whatever actions necessary to hider and degrade Iran’s nuclear program, including cooperating fully with Israeli intelligence agencies. I would also open the equivalent of Radio Free Europe in the Middle East (from international waters if necessary), broadcasting information directly to the Iranian people letting them know the physical danger their leaders are putting them in and assuring the ordinary citizen that America wants peace in the region and we will cannot allow Iran to use a nuclear weapon to slaughter innocent civilians. Radio Free Iran would also broadcast moderate Muslim teachings from the Koran, emphasizing the “Religion of Peace” aspects of Islam that everyone has assured me are an integral part of the Koran.

    If and when Iran develops a nuclear weapon, I would not attack them militarily immediately (though I would support any Israeli actions) but Iran would know that we will focus our monitoring efforts on their country and if they detonate a nuclear weapon or allow a nuclear weapon they develop to leave their possession, they will know what the full military option looks like, including boots on the ground. If Iranians want to die for their religion, I’m willing to offer them the opportunity.

    • #14
  15. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    lesserson:“Peace in our time!” Cause I’ve got a piece of paper that says if we back off they’ll stop doing that thing that they’re not supposed to be doing that increases their power and influence…

    Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

    What I wish Fred would openly admit in the post is that he is fine with Iran obtaining nukes.

    Instead he argues that we can’t destroy the program, or that they may not be able to build them.  Come out and say you’re not concerned if the totalitarian regime of Iran obtains nukes.  Do so in the post itself so everyone can see it.

    • #15
  16. user_88846 Member
    user_88846
    @MikeHubbard

    Ever since the Iranian regime seized our embassy in the Carter years—a casus belli if ever there was one—we’ve been at war with Iran.  Simply because congress hasn’t gotten around to the technicality of declaring war doesn’t change the actual facts on the ground: this is a regime that sponsors terror at home and abroad.

    I do not believe we can negotiate this regime.  Seizing an embassy is a violation of all international standards.  We can only negotiate with a new regime.  I hope that we can slowly but surely strangle Iran until demography dooms them without war.

    But should they get the bomb, they might be able to hold on.  For the life of me, I can’t understand why Obama isn’t letting the Israelis do our dirty work.

    • #16
  17. Steve C. Member
    Steve C.
    @user_531302

    There’s no deal possible. The interests of Iran and the interests of the U.S. and our regional allies are diametrically opposed.

    Given the public information about Iran’s program, it is likely they are not very close to a practical weapon. Meaning, any potential military action is far in the future.

    My preferred course of action is to reimpose the sanctions as the price Iran needs to pay for continuing to pursue their program. In this case there should be sufficient time to take military measures, if necessary.

    Lastly, and of importance. The idea of the UN Security Council engaging in these talks without the participation of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the Gulf States and Israel, smacks to me of Munich. The nations who are most directly threatened by a nascent Iranian bomb have been excluded.

    • #17
  18. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Mike Hubbard:Ever since the Iranian regime seized our embassy in the Carter years—a casus belli if ever there was one—we’ve been at war with Iran….

    This makes me wonder.

    What are the modern historical precedents for wars which outlast the leaders in charge of both parties at the war’s outbreak?

    I can’t think of any more recent than medieval times (100-years-war, 30-years-war, the Crusades, etc).

    • #18
  19. Ricochet Contributor
    Ricochet
    @TitusTechera

    Mr. Cole, I rather regret the treatment you’re given in the comment. I would have supposed you have more good will on which to bank… Let me state a few objections.

    1.The US has allowed the Norks to get a bomb. Who believes they will stop Iran?–The negotiations are not serious so long as one does not say, if you want the bomb, you will die for it. Absent that, nuclear proliferation, in Iran &, because of it, elsewhere among Muslims, is inevitable. No American Senator or President has said or will say that, which is why everyone assumes that the Americans will lose again. Your opinions & questions, as stated, ignore the serious questions of foreign policy: Who fears whom?

    2.Your sense of the negotiations seems defeatist to me–you’re quick to reason carefully about how to minimize losses. Iran, you imply, has the strong hand, & America had better realize that’s so. Perhaps you are right: I disagree with you about the purpose or at last the prudence of Sen. Cotton’s letter, but I agree that it weakens American foreign policy. But I see no reason to seek a deal now. Perhaps you expect America’s foreign policy competence to deteriorate after 2016?

    As to your question, America either allows nuclear proliferation or does not; I assume not allowing it is the popular opinion; it seems wise to me–conditions to prevent it are the only acceptable deal. A president with war on his mind could do it the hard way, but could also cripple Iran economically to do it. Something like that seems to me the necessary antecedent of negotiations.

    • #19
  20. Tuck Inactive
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    Misthiocracy:

    I can’t think of any more recent than medieval times (100-years-war, 30-years-war, the Crusades, etc).

    How about the war to spread Islam?  That’s been going on for a bit, with fits and starts.

    Religion is a very effective way to transmit values from generation to generation.  I suspect that’s its biological value—there are no traditionally atheist societies.  Not one.

    • #20
  21. Jager Coolidge
    Jager
    @Jager

    Fred Cole: So, with these factors in mind, what is your solution? (Keep in mind that any negotiated agreement now needs to be a treaty that can pass with a 2/3 vote, because 47 Republicans in the Senate just shot to hell any chance of any other kind of agreement).

    You seem disappointed that 47 Republicans in the Senate “shot to hell” any chance of  Pres. Obama making a non-binding agreement rather than a treaty. This is a feature of our system no a bug. I don’t want a nuclear deal with people who chant “death to America” with out a lot of public debate.

    Are you really arguing that Mr. Obama and a hand full of world leaders, with no input from their legislative bodies, should be allowed to enter into an agreement that violates existing Treaties?

    This goes to my “preferred” deal. Iran has signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty. This says that they agree not to pursue nukes. Maybe they should just follow the treaty they signed.

    Since this whole issue is about them violating the treaty, how can we make any new deal or treaty and expect they would follow the new agreement?

    • #21
  22. Pony Convertible Inactive
    Pony Convertible
    @PonyConvertible

    I have to disagree with your element #1 of your equation.  Iran has stated numerous times they want to eliminate Israel.  They are not just talking about the State, but the people as well.  I believe they mean what they say.  Therefore, I think they are crazy.  Thus, negotiations are pointless.  Whatever they agree to means nothing.  They won’t honor their word.

    • #22
  23. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @GrannyDude

    Valiuth:Put simply, Iran has no need for nuclear enrichment to have a civilian nuclear program for energy. Japan, Canada, and Korea all have nuclear facilities and no nuclear weapons program. Simply put I am fine with them having all the nuclear energy they can muster, I would even agree to us providing them with technology to help implement it and ensure it is run safely. What my demand would be that they agree to use a nuclear energy generation system that does not require any enrichment or plutonium.

    That is why all of this is a jest. They could have had 100 nuclear energy plants by now if they would have just agreed to make ones that don’t require fuel that could also be use for a bomb. But, they don’t just want nuclear energy they want a nuclear bomb.

    Plain and simple, no centrifuges and no enrichment. In return we help them establish safe and efficient nuclear power plants, ease sanctions, move toward normalizing relations. Of course we would need an inspection regime to make sure they are keeping to it. More importantly we need a specific and strict punishment system if they fail to comply. First incident of non-compliance triggers immediate imposition of sanctions against certain key elements of their economy. If they fail to cooperate then sanctions ramp up. If they do in fact break out with a nuclear weapon then I would demand full economic embargo by all signatories.

    Alternatively I would also take a treaty that allows them to do whatever the heck they want but if they ever detonate a nuclear device, we will automatically nuke their whole country. Also if any nuclear device goes off anywhere in the world we will nuke their whole country. Basically we will hold them personally responsible for anything bad that happens, and we will not just put sanctions on them but rather annihilate their entire civilization.

    On the the grounds that it just might be possible that the people who are actually doing the negotiating are in possession of more information and have a better grasp of the history than I do, I offer the following humbly:

    1.) North Korea has the bomb. Despite having demonstrably loony leadership, North Korea has not (yet) nuked anybody. Call  me naive, but it seems to me that since nukes tend to have a return address, the reason for little Kim’s restraint is that even nut cases don’t want to be nuked back.

    2.) North Korea has the bomb. North Korea has not been subjected to invasion and regime change. Might not Iran—a country that also made the short list for our enemies in the War on Terror (A of E, remember?) —have concluded that possession of a nuclear bomb is an excellent deterrent to being suddenly and violently deprived of sovereignty?

    3.) The Islamic fundamentalists would, as I’ve said in another thread, love to destroy America and the American W of L. They can’t. Why do we speak of them as if they are superhuman?  An aside—you do realize, don’t you, that when you get all “Obama-is-the-anti-christ and the world is going to end”-y, you sound just like my environmentalist friends who declare that we’re going to be sweating in seaside hovels eating pigeons and rats by 2050?

    • #23
  24. Tuck Inactive
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    “Last Friday, US Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman scolded South Koreans for being too nationalist. In her words, “Nationalist feelings can still be exploited, and it’s not hard for a political leader anywhere to earn cheap applause by vilifying a former enemy.”…

    “…Sherman negotiated the US’s nuclear pact with North Korea in the 1990s. The North Koreans used the deal as a smokescreen behind which they developed nuclear weapons while receiving financial assistance from the US which paid off the regime for signing the deal.

    “Once Pyongyang was ready to come out as a nuclear power, it threw out the nuclear inspectors, opened the sealed nuclear sites, vacated its signature on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and began testing nuclear bombs.

    “Sherman is now the US’s chief negotiator in the P5+1 nuclear talks with Iran….”

    So let’s take it as a given that we’re not going to get an agreement that’s in America’s interest out of these talks.

    • #24
  25. Asquared Inactive
    Asquared
    @ASquared

    Kate Braestrup:

    On the the grounds that it just might be possible that the people who are actually doing the negotiating are in possession of more information and have a better grasp of the history than I do, I offer the following humbly:

    1.) North Korea has the bomb. Despite having demonstrably loony leadership, North Korea has not (yet) nuked anybody.

    So, on this grounds, any country that wants to violate their treaty obligations under the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty should be allowed to do so with America’s blessing?

    • #25
  26. Jager Coolidge
    Jager
    @Jager

    Steve C.:

    Lastly, and of importance. The idea of the UN Security Council engaging in these talks without the participation of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the Gulf States and Israel, smacks to me of Munich. The nations who are most directly threatened by a nascent Iranian bomb have been excluded.

    This struck me as well. Fred states that the “deal” is on the up and up because it is not just Obama but several European countries are involved as well.

    It would seem that the “neighbors” should be invited.  Once one power has a nuke others will get them.

    • #26
  27. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @GrannyDude

    Asquared:

    Kate Braestrup:

    On the the grounds that it just might be possible that the people who are actually doing the negotiating are in possession of more information and have a better grasp of the history than I do, I offer the following humbly:

    1.) North Korea has the bomb. Despite having demonstrably loony leadership, North Korea has not (yet) nuked anybody.

    So, on this grounds, any country that wants to violate their treaty obligations under the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty should be allowed to do so with America’s blessing?

    Not at all. I think North Korea’s nuke is a big problem, not just because the beloved leader might lose one too many marbles, but because mistakes happen. Even well-organized, relatively not-crazy countries like the United States have trouble managing a nuke collection. Possession of something that dangerous requires a lot of boring oversight and sustained, un-sexy attention to detail over many decades and many changes of leadership.  I think it’s a very good idea to keep Iran nuke-free for as long as possible and preferably forever. But I do think the logic of MAD might prove to be as applicable to Iran as it was to the Evil Empire. (Not, of course, to a death cult like ISIS, but Iran is not ISIS.)

    Incidentally, among other things, I would sincerely hope that anyone negotiating with the Iranians understands that losers have longer memories than winners. We have forgotten about Mossadegh, for instance. The Iranians absolutely have not.

    • #27
  28. Asquared Inactive
    Asquared
    @ASquared

    Kate Braestrup:

    Asquared:

    So, on this grounds, any country that wants to violate their treaty obligations under the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty should be allowed to do so with America’s blessing?

    Not at all. I think North Korea’s nuke is a big problem, not just because the beloved leader might lose one too many marbles, but because mistakes happen. …I think it’s a very good idea to keep Iran nuke-free for as long as possible and preferably forever.

    Then I don’t understand what your point is.  I can accept that Iran might someday have a nuclear weapon and we might not be able to prevent it.  What I can’t accept is the US negotiating a clear path for Iran to develop a nuclear weapon with our blessing.  Fred seems perfectly fine with it.

    • #28
  29. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @GrannyDude

    Tuck:

    Misthiocracy:

    I can’t think of any more recent than medieval times (100-years-war, 30-years-war, the Crusades, etc).

    How about the war to spread Islam? That’s been going on for a bit, with fits and starts.

    Religion is a very effective way to transmit values from generation to generation. I suspect that’s its biological value—there are no traditionally atheist societies. Not one.

    It depends on how you define “atheist.”

    • #29
  30. Jager Coolidge
    Jager
    @Jager

    Fred Cole: The Iranians aren’t crazy. To the extent that any government is, the Iranians are rational. There’s this idea floating around that the Iranian government is populated by lunatics who want to see the world reduced to a cinder to bring about the Islamic equivalent of the Second Coming. This is simply a fantasy. It’s folly to assume the other side are all crazy. They may be odd, they may be different, they may have different values, but to assume that they are incapable of rational thought is nonsense

    This is not really that heartening.  At one time I am sure that Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Bashar Al-Assad and the Turks have been accused of using chemical weapons. All were signatories of the 1925 Geneva Protocol that outlawed the use of chemical weapons. These “rational actors” saw a need and had a weapons so they used the weapon.  A “rational” choice for a leader in the middle east may be the use of a weapon of mass destruction.

    What in history leads you to believe that a treaty or “deal” would stop Iran from using a nuke? It seems to me that when they have a weapon the find a rational reason/excuse to use the weapon.

    • #30

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