Sunday, August 02, 2015

Republican Hypocrisy on Iran

In listening to Republican opponents to the Iran nuclear arms agreement, one thing quickly becomes clear: despite the lies and bluster, they have no real alternative other than war with Iran.  Even more frightening, they seem to have learned nothing from the Iraq War debacle and seem oblivious to the reality that Iran has more than twice the population of Iraq and that the population is far more educated and sophisticated than that of Iraq.  But facts and objective reality mean nothing to today's GOP.  An editorial in the New York Times looks at the lies and hypocrisy of the Republicans.  Here are excerpts:
The exaggerations and half-truths that some Republicans are using to derail President Obama‘s important and necessary nuclear deal with Iran are beyond ugly. Invoking the Holocaust, Mike Huckabee, a contender for the Republican presidential nomination, has accused Mr. Obama of marching Israelis “to the door of the oven.” Tom Cotton, a senator from Arkansas, has compared Secretary of State John Kerry, who helped negotiate the deal, to Pontius Pilate.

What should be a thoughtful debate has been turned into a vicious battle against Mr. Obama, involving not just the Republicans but Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. The unseemly spectacle of lawmakers siding with a foreign leader against their own commander in chief has widened an already dangerous breach between two old allies.

Policy considerations aside, what is most striking about the demagoguery is how ahistorical, if not downright hypocritical, it is. Negotiating with adversaries to advance a more stable world has long been a necessity, and Republican presidents have been among its most eager practitioners.

Richard Nixon normalized relations with China when it was considered a Communist menace. Ronald Reagan signed a landmark missile agreement with the Soviet Union, which had fomented unrest worldwide and persecuted Jews. The agreement eliminated an entire category of missiles. Mr. Reagan even negotiated with Iran after the Islamic Revolution, selling it arms to use in its struggle with Iraq and using the proceeds to arm Nicaragua’s contra rebels in defiance of Congress.

But what these critics do not mention is that the basic bargain Mr. Obama agreed to — benefits in exchange for nuclear limits — was endorsed by President George W. Bush and the other major powers in 2006.  

Negotiating with enemies is an essential component of statecraft and can be a crucial alternative to war. Even when America was at the height of its powers, its leaders — including Republicans — knew that any successful deal would involve some compromise with the other side, not complete capitulation. Yet that is exactly what the Republicans are demanding of Iran today as they lay plans to repudiate Mr. Obama’s hard-won accord in pursuit of some mythical “better” deal.

[A] preponderance of responsible opinion — the five major powers, the United Nations Security Council, most American nuclear experts and scores of leading American diplomats — have endorsed the pact as the best way to ensure that Iran does not get a nuclear weapon.

America is stronger when important national security decisions have bipartisan consensus. None of that seems to matter to the accord’s opponents, many of whom never intended to vote for the deal and made clear during congressional hearings last week that facts will not change their minds.
Why the change in the GOP from the era of Nixon and Reagan?  One - perhaps two - words: Christofascists and racists.  Both describe the most active part of the GOP base.   And they hate Obama because he is half black and they hate all non-Christians.  On top of all that, they live in a fantasy world. The irony?  They are really little different than the Islamic extremists the continually condemn. 

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