I was away for Thanksgiving so please excuse the recent lack of posts. Let’s get things started back up by discussing the Iran deal, which has already come up in a different thread anyway.
First of all, I’m glad there was a deal. I think a deal makes war with Iran less likely, not more, despite the objections of the war hawks that it makes war more likely. The reason they don’t like the deal is because they really don’t believe it makes war more likely and war is what they want. If they really thought it made war more likely then they would be cynically cheering it on.
That said, the deal irks me on a visceral level because I reject the premise upon which it is based. As I have said before, I think it is in America’s best interests that Iran not get nukes. I don’t think Iran is suicidal enough to use nukes on us, but a nuclear Iran would likely change the regional balance of power. And while the regional balance of power isn’t all that great at present, I would file these concerns under the “Devil you do know” catagory. So I have no objection to the US using regular mechanisms of diplomacy (which don’t include sanctions which are arguably an act of war) to attempt to dissuade Iran from getting nukes. The premise I reject is that a sovereign nation and/or some international outfit (in this case the 5 + 1) can ultimately tell another sovereign nation what weapons it can or can’t have.
Reaction to the deal has generally been as expected. Non-interventionists cons have generally been supportive (See TAC for example.) Interventionist cons have been skeptical at best and in panic mood at worst (See Jennifer Rubin for example.). Our friend Sempronius pointed out in the other thread that Thomas Fleming has expressed some skepticism about the deal in the comments of this Srdja Trifkovic’s article. I’ll admit I was a little surprised by his remarks, but not totally. Dr. Fleming believes that Carter responded inadequately to the hostage crisis, and that he was honor bound to respond in a way other than how he did. Dr. Fleming has always been concerned, from my reading of him, with the issues of honor and appearances. Once you have publicly made known your allies and interests then you are honor bound to stick with them lest you appear feckless and untrustworthy on the international stage. I don’t want to put words in Dr. Fleming’s mouth. Read his replies. While I don’t agree, his points make sense in context and aren’t quite the abandonment of non-intervention that Sempronius and company are making it out to be.
I agree that the complicity of the Iranian Regime in the hostage situation potentially warranted a military response and that Carter could have handled that situation better, but at this point I don’t think that has much to do with the current situation except to the degree that it supports Dr. Fleming’s contention that Iran (and Iranians) just aren’t to be trusted. And I do appreciate the issue of appearances and honor on the world stage. While I’m glad we avoided war in Syria for example, it isn’t good for appearances that America publicly got played on the world stage by Putin. I don’t think this agreement necessarily appears bad for the US. In fact, it potentially appears good for us because it demonstrates we are capable of reasonableness. But the issue of appearances is one reason why I think declared neutrality is such an appealing option. If you simply declare your neutrality and lack of desire to meddle anymore, then you can’t look weak or dishonorable. No one thinks Switzerland looks bad because of how something went down ib Syria.