NASA has proven that it is easier to find liquid water on Mars than to find a major Republican politician who will admit that the U.S. is at least partially to blame for Iran's hostility to the U.S. It's easier to denounce Iranians when they scream "Death to America" than to acknowledge that they have some justification for their anger. It's easier for us to threaten war with them than for us to leave our warm cocoon of self-righteousness and take a good hard look at our own behavior.
We now face a new worst-case scenario if Iran-hawks like Senator Tom Cotton manage to torpedo a nuclear deal with Iran. Proponents of the deal have argued that the Framework agreement was better than expected and that we should be happy if the final deal closely mirrors it while filling in some gaps. Iran gave up more than we expected it to and we are unlikely to get anything more. The hawks have said that the Framework is not good enough.
Israel and the U.S. are at odds over two issues--how to deal with Iran's nuclear program and Israel's occupation of the West Bank. Below are key events that every American should know in order to understand how we got here. Of course, this list is incomplete--one could write a several hundred page book on these topics. And Israel's defenders will no doubt come up with a list just as long defending Israel's actions and highlighting the evil deeds of Iranians and Palestinians.
Joshua Muravchik is a neoconservative fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University's School of Adanced International Studies. He recently wrote a Washington Post op-Ed advocating war with Iran. Usually neocons say something along the lines of
We can't have a deal with Iran! The deal that Obama is negotiating is a bad deal! (They say that, even BEFORE knowing the details of the deal.) Better no deal than a bad deal!
There is no doubt that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu gave a great campaign speech yesterday, and I'm sure he was very convincing to those who don't follow events in the Middle East and the nuclear talks closely. But put aside his soaring rhetoric and perfect delivery and ask yourself one question: Is his approach a realistic way to deal with Iran's nuclear program, or is he just shooting at the best chance for a peaceful resolution with a Bibi gun?
Write something critical about Israel and you are almost guaranteed that an Israeli apologist will say, "Why are you attacking Israel when all the Arab/Muslim countries surrounding it are so much worse?" They are likely to follow up that since you are focusing your criticism on Israel--the only Jewish nation in the world instead of focusing on countries like Saudi Arabia or Iran or terrorist groups like Hamas or ISIS, you must be an anti-Semite. This attack is used so often because it is one of the most effective tools a hasbarist has to discredit Israel's critics.
The Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act was introduced in the Senate on December 20, 2013. It gained steam rapidly and by January 14 the bill had 59 co-sponsors--43 Republicans and 16 Democrats. Then something funny happened. Outsiders actually read the bill and it became apparent that the bill was "designed to torpedo the Nov. 24 first step nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1".
The Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act is to diplomacy what Sharknado is to meteorology or ichthyology. Well, that's not a perfect analogy. Both the NWFIA and Sharknado are jokes, but Sharknado was so bad it was good, whereas the NWFIA is just bad. The NWFIA would institute a new round of crippling sanctions should we fail to reach an agreement with Iran or if Iran fails to negotiate in good faith. This in and of itself sounds reasonable--at least to American ears, and it might not nec
Over a year has passed since my proposal to solve the Israeli/Palestinian conflict while simultaneously addressing the Iran nuclear crisis. I still think it is a mistake to treat the two issues separately since we miss opportunities by artificially compartmentalizing our foreign policy.
As Joel Braunold points out in his Open Zion article, intervening in Syria is both a security imperative and a risk. I agree with everything he says, but I think he missed the most important reason to intervene in Syria. Israel is watching this very carefully to see if Obama's red line in Syria means anything. If we fail to launch some sort of attack (preferably as part of a multinational force), then Israel will conclude that we have a backbone made of silly putty. Israel will conclude that it can not count on us to keep our w