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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Unicorny Nuclear Deals

Jeffrey Goldberg posts at the Atlantic Danger Ahead for Obama on Iran:
“The perverse genius of Benjamin Netanyahu and his aides (and their Republican handmaidens) is that they have managed to turn a moment in which President Obama should have been busy defending his pursuit of a nuclear agreement with a dangerous adversary into a stress test of the U.S.-Israel relationship.”
He asserts that American Republicans, Israeli hawks, and Benjamin Netanyahu are willfully distracting Obama from the hard work in which he is honorably engaged: “defending his pursuit of a nuclear agreement”.  Got all that?  Our president is not, nor does Mr. Goldberg seem to believe he should be, defending a good agreement.  Nor, according to Mr. Goldberg, should he be pursuing a good agreement, or even, come to think of it, should he be trying to figure out whether a good agreement can even be had at this time.  No, what our President is currently doing and, according to Mr. Goldberg, what he should be doing, is “defending the idea that he is pursuing” an agreement.  There is so much wrong here it is hard to know where to begin.  How does Mr. Goldberg know any agreement being pursued here is or even could be defensible?  He himself concedes the agreement – as far as any of us know from reports – evidently  will involve allowing Iran to enrich uranium and, after a while, build nuclear warheads.

Indeed, Mr. Goldberg immediately admits the following:

“Netanyahu has a credible case to make. Any nuclear agreement that allows Iran to maintain a native uranium-enrichment capability is a dicey proposition; in fact, any agreement at all with an empire-building, Assad-sponsoring, Yemen-conquering, Israel-loathing, theocratic terror regime is a dicey proposition.”

Just so.  In fact, there is actually no agreement that can be made with Iran under the current circumstances.  They want to make nukes and we don’t want them to.  Somebody wins, somebody loses.  Benjamin Netanyahu didn’t make up those rules.  It’s the way the situation happens to be.  Which is I suppose rhetorically convenient for Mr. Goldberg’s case since as far as I can tell, his closer argument ( which he refers to as “dispositive”) is that Netanyahu doesn’t have a better idea for an agreement than Obama does.  No kidding.  Mr. Netanyahu doesn’t have a better idea for a deal with Iran for the good and obvious reason that Iran will accept no deal that doesn’t allow them to develop nukes, and we are theoretically opposed to them doing that.  Exactly what sort of deal is possible here?  Unfortunately, only one sort: an imaginary one.  This seems to suit the purposes of our President just fine, but I for one think it’s forgivable Mr. Netanyahu disagrees quite strongly.