Iran’s chief negotiator on the nuclear agreement, Abbas Araqchi, says that there is an informal side deal to the formal agreement between Iran and the six other powers (the U. S., Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China), which he called a nonpaper.
The State Department says that there is no such secret agreement. I’m going with Araqchi on this one.
Araqchi seems very happy with the results of the negotiation: “No facility will be closed; enrichment will continue, and qualitative and nuclear research will be expanded. All research into a new generation of centrifuges will continue.”
I predict that this whole thing is going to blow up and be a disaster for the Obama administration in the latter half of 2014.
Yes, and you also predicted that Syria’s chemical weapons would never be destroyed. Sorry this is one area where you and I are on different pages. Iran is moving in the right direction and once again we have China and Russia aligned on our side.
But Assad is still in power, and the Syria mess is spilling throughout the region. The deal was much better for him and the Russians than for us. He doesn’t need chem weapons to kill his people.
And how do you know all chemical weapons will be destroyed? I don’t believe it.
The region was already a mess,and Syria is only one part of it, not the main cause. Assad’s removal was not the primary goal, it was to get control of his chemical weapons and destroy them. So far so good, they have hit every target. Whether or not you believe it, or there can be a guarantee that 100% of the chemical weapons are destroyed, the fact is that this is a huge diplomatic success and more chemical weapons have been destroyed by going this route than bombing Syria and getting us into another war. I know you have said that your more of a hawk, and I think part of the problem is that those who are hawks never believe that diplomacy can work.
I am a huge believer in diplomacy, just not with these folks. Check out David Keyes article at The Daily Beast. He’s a human rights guy, not a neo-con.
Assad’s primary goal wasn’t to keep all of his chemical weapons, it was to stay in power, and he’s succeeding.
Right, but our goal was to remove the chemical weapons so that they didn’t fall into the hands of terrorist groups. As I said in one of our early discussion, we needed Assad to stay in power and his cooperation in order to get access and destroy the chemical weapons. Think back to Iraq, we couldn’t even control the loss of all the standard military weapons when Saddam fell and we had troops on the ground. If Saddam actually had WMD’s we would have been total screwed, and there is no doubt some of them would be in the hands of terrorist. Here is your choice, destroy Syria’s chemical weapons and Assad stays in power, or take Assad out and loose track of his chemical weapons. Which would you choose?
I don’t know that that was the only choice. I think we could have done both.
How, if we couldn’t even secure standard military weapons in Iraq when we had boots on the ground? And who comes after Assad when there are so many diverse rebel groups and not has the strength to step in and run a country.
But we didn’t get behind the “moderate” rebels in the beginning. There was no countervailing force to Russia whatsoever.
I guess for me the really upsetting thing is a sense that we just surrendered to the Russians. If all hell broke loose in Syria, chemical weapons could have just have easily ended up in the hands of Chechen terrorists as terrorists against us. So the Russians had as much interest in securing those weapons as we did. If we were going to accept Assad, we should have said to the Russians, you can keep him (and Syria was Russia’s during the Cold War), but we need you to join with us on keeping Iran from getting nuclear weapons. We haven’t negotiated wisely or well with the Russians over Syria and Iran. And that’s why you see so many Dem senators upset about the Iran deal.
We do have Russia and China both joining us on Iran. In fact, there is no one that I know of standing on Iran’s side. As far as the Democratic Senator they are so far in AIPAC pocket that they are trying to blow up the diplomacy process so that war is the only option. This is what Netanyahu is after. He wants America to fight a war for him.
On Syria, we did not surrender to Russia. That is a right-wing talking point. What Obama did was back Putin into a corner, where Putin’s best option was to side with us so that he could try to keep Assad and prevent the chemical weapons from falling into the hands of people that might use them against Russia. He is already having problems with terrorist bombings. He would be even more panicked if chemical weapons were floating around out there. The best negotiation is when you can get the other side to do what you want for their own reason. This was a major diplomatic win for Obama, and the right-wingers can’t stand it.
Russia and China are joining Iran in pulling a fast one on us and the Europeans. Bottom line, Iran is going to get nuclear weapons. Obama hasn’t won anything.
I have no problem with diplomacy, it’s dithering I can’t stand. We had this myth that Assad was different from his father and brother, that he was not a brutal butcher like them, he was more civilized because he was an ophthalmologist (like Rand Paul!). We got him wrong, thinking he wasn’t as tough as he proved to be, and we gave false hope to the rebels that we were going to help them. We bear a lot of the responsibility for the hundreds of thousands dead in Syria and all the refugees creating instability throughout the region. If we thought he was the lesser risk (the devil we knew), we should have made that clear to the rebels. Putin saw weakness when Obama said there was a red line, then let that line be crossed with impunity, then said he was going to Congress. Putin didn’t give up anything in the chemical weapons deal — he got us to recognize the legitimacy of Assad, and it was just as much in his interest to have weapons destroyed.
In the same way, we are now legitimizing the Iranian regime. As for AIPAC, forget Israel. If Israel didn’t exist, you’d still have Saudi Arabia, you’d still have the Sunni-Shiite split, and the proliferation that a nuclear Iran will cause with the Sunnis. Just what we need, more nukes among all the crazies in the Mideast.
Putin knows that Obama wants out of the Mideast. To the extent we create a vacuum, he will fill it, because he wants in.
I’m not saying this is easy, I’m not saying I wish Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld were back, I’m just saying I’m disappointed in how Obama is handling foreign policy now compared to his first term. I voted for him in 2012 believing he wouldn’t let Iran get nuclear weapons. I don’t believe that anymore.
I disagree, we don’t “bear a lot of the responsibility for the hundreds of thousands dead in Syria”. We are not responsible for other people’s Civil Wars (unless like in Iraq we took out the leader and create the vacuum) and we do not have to pick a side and back them when there are no good options on either side. Like I said before there was no one rebel group that was big enough or strong enough to lead the country if Assad were to be taken out.
The real and doable goal was to get control of the chemical weapons, which is being accomplished. I also think that you are reading Putin wrong. You give too much credit to him and his supposed strength. I don’t think he saw Obama as weak, but just the opposite. I think that he was convinced that Obama would act, even without congressional approval. When Obama agreed to go to Congress the way I saw it at that time was he was using it as a stall tactic until he could get face to face with Putin at the G-8. Then John Kerry conveniently blurts out that Assad could avoid a US attack by giving up his chemical weapons. Magically within a couple of hours both Putin and Syria agreed. But somehow this is viewed as Putin being strong. Sorry, I don’t buy it. If we had bombed Syria, Putin would have had no choice but to get more deeply involved in Syria, which his country cannot afford to do at this time. So what he gets to puff out his chest and act like a big man, we got Assad’s chemical weapons without dropping one bomb. The problem with the right-wing and neo-cons is that they see everything through an authoritarian viewpoint, so they automatically assign the diplomatic success to the authoritarian dictator. If they don’t see you as an authoritarian leader they view you as being weak. Obama showed his strength when he gave the order to go into Pakistan to get Bin Laden. Had that mission failed in all likelihood he would have been impeached by the Republicans for going into a country that we were not at war with and was a so-call “ally”.
One final point, Putin did not get us to recognize the legitimacy of Assad. Obama said at the time that the Syrian Civil War still needed to be resolved through Geneva II, which means a peaceful transition of power from Assad to a new government. But no one focused on that at that time because everyone needed Assad to remain in power until the chemical weapons could be secured and destroyed. Let’s see what happens after we are reasonably certain that the chemical weapons have been removed. Dropping bombs can be done quickly, diplomacy cannot. We will see what happens before the end of Obama’s second term.
Good discussion, I enjoy them.
I think we gave false hope at the beginning of this to some of the Syrian rebels, both directly and indirectly (through the Saudis, Turks, etc.) that we would be providing significant support.
I think it was made clear to Assad that in exchange for cooperation on chemical weapons, we’d back off and let him stay. I predict he will.
I hope you’re right about Iran, the alternative is awful. I’d rather be safe than right.
Who gave the rebels false hope? I don’t recall Obama saying anything that would have led them to believe that. Maybe it was McCain and other neo-cons in Congress. I also don’t think that Obama made it clear to Assad that he could stay if he cooperated. Go pull up Obama speech from that time and look at where he talked about a transition of power under Geneva II. That is what was started today by the UN. There is a long way to go, but Kerry made it clear we still think that there needs to be a transition of power from Assad. I think the ultimate negotiating position with Assad is would you like to live and transition power or hold on and end up like Saddam or Gaddafi, Frankly, I do not trust the Saudis on anything. Where were most of the 9/11 terrorist from? Who was given a free pass out of the country when all flights were grounded? My former Governor and Senator Bob Graham who headed the Senate Intelligence Committee was very frustrated about the redacted 9/11 reports and said that he couldn’t disclose what was being redacted but it was about the involvement of a country that rhymed with “baudia ababia.”
The Geneva thing is a huge waste of time and $, total BS. Telling Assad he could stay wasn’t something that would have been done publicly.
We will see. People didn’t believe we could get his chemical weapons through diplomacy. It would be a bigger waste of money to get involved in Syria’s war, not to mention American lives.
Do we file this under the heading ” Future lies of Obama administration”to be continued and added at later date.