On the heels of the just announced agreement with Iran on its nuclear program, negotiated by China, Russia, Germany, France, England, and, of course, the United States, comes praise for the diplomatic efforts of President Barack Obama.

In that framework of a final agreement, which is to be reduced to its legal language by June, Iran is to scale back its nuclear program signficantly and a series of inspections and safeguards will be implemented to ensure compliance.

Earlier this year Obama took major steps to normalize relations between the U.S. and Cuba after more than a half century of rancorous discourse, travel taboos, economic sanctions, and assassination plots.

In the ongoing battle against climate change—the most difficult part being the intransigence of conservatives to even acknowledge the problem as something to seek resolutions to—last November Obama announced a bilateral agreement with China in which that nation works to reduce emissions.

This triumvirate of accomplishments… an Axis of Non-Evil?… certainly is more worthy of Nobel Peace Prize scrutiny than anything Obama did prior to being honored with that award in 2009, the year he entered office.

Of course the praise for this feat is near universal in this country as Congress rejoices that, with the threat of Iran nukes eliminated, it can finally pare the Defense budget to a reasonable level that will still allow for our security as a nation.

Oh, I wish. Republicans right and righter (no left in that Party) are vociferous in their condemnation of the pact and issuing vague threats…well, not so vague…to attempt to dismantle it. They seem to be in utter defiance of the Benjamin Franklin adage

There has never been a good war, nor a bad peace.

They seem determined to commit war on Iran no matter the cost.

One can reasonably express skepticism that Iran will fail to keep its bargain or that the inspection process will somehow fail or that, just maybe, instead of nukes Iran has the largest garage in the world with a battalion of Ted Kaczynskis producing pipe bombs to be mailed to each American household.

But, it does not matter what the terms of the agreement are nor how staunchly they can be enforced. Were Iran simply to surrender all nuclear materials it possesses, with Geraldo Rivera hosting the biggest live TV event since the opening of Al Capone’s vault so the world can bear witness, these critics speak and act as if nothing will satisfy their concerns short of bombing Iran into submission.

Will there be strict compliance with this agreement should it go into effect? How the hell do I or anyone know that. And strict compliance means Iran builds no nuclear weapons. But, absent strict compliance, is there some basis for forecasting whether it’s true and clear goal…preventing Iran from raining nukes down on Israel, the U.S. or any other achieved?

Well look at this list of treaties dealing with limiting nuclear arms.

  • Treaty of Tlatelolcol           1967
  • Treaty of Rarotonga          1985
  • Treaty of Bangkok             1995
  • Treaty of Pelindaba           1996
  • Treaty of Semipalatinski    2006
  • START I                             1991
  • SALT I                                1972
  • ABM Treaty                        1972

Some of these treaties have expired of their own accord. Others experienced the withdrawal of at least one of the signatories including the United States.

From a technical viewpoint, have all these treaties been upheld while in effect? I don’t know and I don’t care. The principal purpose of each and every one of these diplomatic coups was to avoid mushroom clouds that were killing people.

Since there have been none of these mushroom clouds appearing with the intent of killing large numbers of humans since August 9, 1945, I look at them as a success. Not unequivocably so, but the expiration and/or violation of any of them has not resulted in catastrophe.

But we all know that prior to this basic agreement’s inception, there was  a wide call among the neocons to just go ahead and bomb Iran as the primary preferred pre-emptive action to be taken.

Here on Moyers and Company Robert Perry scores the pre-agreement commentary by such as John Bolton, Thomas Friedman, and Joshua Muravchik that appeared in either the Washingtton Post or the New York Times. Friedman actually advocated for arming ISIS to help thwart Iran while the other two were all in for the U.S. to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Bolton continued the contrived warmongering of the Bush Administration of which he was a part (also getting paychecks from Reagan and Bush I as part of his resume) by ignoring or lying about some basic facts. Here  he is taken to task for doing so by Jon  Schwarz.

And there are even commenters on a Post-Gazette editorial who extend their record of inane insanity by urging us to have war with Iran now rather than waiting until later.

Iranians seem to be pretty damned happy.

Surprisingly that grumpy old red state conservative Pope Francis not only spoke favorably of the deal but had the temerity and audacity to do so during his annual Easter address. According to many folks in this country promoting peace is not very Christian.

Alas, no matter the outcome of this deal, thwarted by Congress or not, observed fully by Iran or not, unilateral destructive action by Israel or not, this small step towards peace will remain that. Just one small step for man, but forever leaping into war for mankind.

Because, indeed, because they have seduced My people, saying, ‘Peace!’ when there is nopeace—and one builds a wall, and they plaster it with untempered mortar

Ezekiel 13:10

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  • Devildog  On April 5, 2015 at 11:48 PM

    Way out man, way out. You link us to the HuffPost analysis, I prefer the WashPost editorial (despite tutoring,I still don’t know how to link it).

    You quote Franklin about there never having been a good war or a bad peace. I say there have been many (bad) agreements that have led to many wars (good or bad).

    You credit all these bs treaties with preventing nuclear war. I credit mutual assured destruction.

    A simple question for you (UMOC). Why has an agreement taken so long to negotiate if Iran has no interest in nuclear weaponry? Don’t you think we and they know what is necessary for peaceful nuclear development and don’t you think we would agree to let them do what is necessary? Obama stated his objectives for an agreement-how many did he achieve? Not even an agreement, just a so-called framework of an agreement.

    This, a phony agreement with China, Cuba, and you want to give him another Peace Prize. Instead of kissing his feet, why not give it a wait and see? Thanks though for telling us what the Pope thinks. Very enlightening!

    • Little_Minx  On April 6, 2015 at 3:20 PM

      To link to WaPo articles, go to Google News, then type the relevant keywords in the Search box:

      • Devildog  On April 6, 2015 at 9:46 PM

        Thanks Minx.

    • umoc193  On April 6, 2015 at 10:20 PM

      As to all those treaties, all I know is that each was designed to in some way limit the spread of nuclear weapons which, of course, limits the chances of the use of such weapons. And so far the U.S. is the only nation to employ them.

      MAD? Of course that’s a consideration. I lived through the Cold War and the Cuban Missle Crisis. It’s an apt acronym in light of how mad it seems to use these weapons.

      Now, did I say Iran has no interest in nukes? Don’t think so. That they were willing to sit down and make numerous concessions (if reduced to an enforceable agreement) is puzzling in some ways but completely understandable in others. Then again each of the P-5 +1 has its own motivations as well as mutual ones.

      And no, I am not advocating for another Peace Prize, only stating that his recent actions in these areas would provide more justification for the award than what existed when he got it in 2009.

      BTW, I’ve heard the Pope also favors orange Peeps.

      • Devildog  On April 6, 2015 at 11:39 PM

        Another Peace Prize for the framework? You have damned it with very faint praise when you say Obama is more worthy of it for that than for what he actually received it.

  • C J  On April 6, 2015 at 10:49 AM

    Excellent post Umoc! Avoiding war until there is no other choice sould be the creed of the USA. It seems that was the rule until the anit-communist conflicts of the 50s and 60s. Since then we have really lost our compass and therefore our direction. I don’t adocate USA isolation from the complexities of today’s world; but I do think we are breedng anmosity around the world by trying to force our views on everyone. It is time to step back and develop a long term sustainable foreign policy.

    • Devildog  On April 6, 2015 at 10:29 PM

      I don’t quite understand the meaning of, “avoiding war until there is no other choice”. Should I take that to mean that we should agree, agree, agree, stand back, stand back, stand back, until we are physically attacked? Then, with no other choice, we should defend ourselves?

      You want a long-term, sustainable foreign policy? Well, how about starting with a strong economy and a strong military.

  • Tourist  On April 6, 2015 at 8:06 PM

    UMOC says it’s the treaties. Devildog says it’s MAD. Why can’t they both be right? They *are* both right.

    UMOC says: “Since there have been none of these mushroom clouds appearing with the intent of killing large numbers of humans since August 9, 1945, I look at them [the treaties] as a success.”


    Here’s a commenter at Salon on MAD:


    The US and USSR faced off for 45 years. The Pakistanis and the Indians have done that for 20 or so.Russia nad China have been growling at each other for decades. No one has lobbed a nuke since 1945. The concpet is called MAD (mutual assured destruction) and it has not only prevented nuclear war, it has prevented conventional large-scale war a la WWII as well.

    Israel has hundreds of nukes and the means to deliver them. Why would not MAD work for them too.

    And BTW how likely is it that a Muslim power would nuke the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, the second most holy site in all Islam? or try to vaporize a few million Muslims that live in Israel and the WB.

    Pure evil vs. pure good exists only in comic books.


    But standoffs are unstable. Murphy guarantees that something will go wrong sooner or later. We need also to be walking it back wherever we can: treaties, agreements, deals.

    What do Brazil, Argentina, Taiwan, South Korea, Sweden, Libya and South Africa have in common? Each abandoned a nuclear-weapons program. South Africa had bombs; it dismantled them. Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan inherited nuclear arsenals (missiles, too) with the breakup of the Soviet Union. They didn’t want them. Japan could have nuclear weapons a week from Thursday but doesn’t so far.

    Iran is fairly isolated internationally and not particularly trusted by countries that get along nicely with Germany and Japan now, but didn’t always. Things change. Where would Iran be if it seriously broke an agreement with the world’s powers? Is Iran aware of this? Does this matter to it? (Be careful. It’s a trick question.)

    It’s like an in-box test. Every problem demands an immediate response. Kicking some of them down the road is the only answer. Maybe something good will happen. It won’t without trying. Bad-to-worse is always an option. What’s the hurry?

    Devildog, take your own advice: “Why not give it a wait and see?”

    • Devildog  On April 6, 2015 at 9:18 PM

      Tourist, I have no other alternative but to wait and see (as with Obamacare) and voice opinions (without, of course, facts to back them up).

      Did you know Tourist that I have had haircuts since 1945? What is the relevance of that, you ask. My barber(s) say that my having haircuts has prevented the use of nuclear weapons. He is as close to the truth as are you and UMOC concerning treaties. I can explain how MAD worked. Your explanation as to how treaties worked? Oh, yeah, legal obligation and morality.

      MAD might not work with madmen. Try this on for size. Israel may or may not have something to fear from a nuclear attack but the Sunni countries might have more to fear than Israel. The threat of a nuclear weapon being used may be more effective than its actual use. We all should know that Iran’s goal is to dominate the whole Middle East (plus, of course, the elimination of the Jewish State). If you want to argue (with Obama) that it’s ok for Iran to have nuclear weapons, go right ahead. The countries you cited having nuclear weapons and giving them up or not developing them did not have territorial ambitions. Iran does!

      As for your trick question, I think it might have sanctions in its background. I think Iran cares about sanctions but not too much-of course it would like to have them removed but not by giving up too much to accomplish that. So, my answer is that Iran would be in the same position it is know with the “world’s powers”, knows that, and hardly matters to it. That a bump in it achieving its objectives, certainly worth violating a bogus agreement even if it mean having sanctions, of any kind, reinstated.

      Oh, good morning Tourist. Hope you can watch and enjoy the Wisconsin-Duke game. That, the opening of the baseball season and the Pens going down the tubes (seemingly) are more important than Iran (or almost as important).

  • Tourist  On April 6, 2015 at 10:41 PM

    Howdy, Devildog!

    Baseball, yes. Basketball, no.

    You: “I can explain how MAD worked. Your explanation as to how treaties worked? Oh, yeah, legal obligation and morality.”

    +++ Neither. Rational self-interest. Not that different from MAD, except that instead of “you blow me up, I’ll blow you up” (note that MAD is defensive) it’s “let’s stop wresting out here on the ledge and move inside where we’re both less likely to fall.”

    “If you want to argue (with Obama) that it’s ok for Iran to have nuclear weapons, go right ahead.”

    +++ Where did I day anything of the sort? I hope the agreement works. The agreement is about preventing that.

    “I think Iran cares about sanctions but not too much – of course it would like to have them removed but not by giving up too much to accomplish that.”

    +++ It says it’s willing to give up development of nuclear weapons. That’s what we say we want it to do, too. Lifting sanctions is good for everybody. Win-win times two. You don’t think it will work because you don’t trust them because you don’t trust them.

    “So, my answer is that Iran would be in the same position it is now with the “world’s powers”, knows that, and hardly matters to it. That a bump in it achieving its objectives, certainly worth violating a bogus agreement even if it mean having sanctions, of any kind, reinstated.”

    +++ I think it’s objectives include being a normal country. If not, then, as *you* say, it’s in the same position as now and so are we. Nothing lost by giving this a chance.

    • Devildog  On April 6, 2015 at 11:36 PM

      But, Tourist, even with the treaties, countries still retained their MAD. So, how did a treaty prevent a nuclear attack?

      How would Iran having a nuclear weapon be bad?

      A normal country? You didn’t address my assertion, as well as Bibi’s and the Sunnis that Iran wants to “take over” the entire Middle East. They have, as I saiid and you didn’t respond to, territorial ambitions. It is a prime reason for terrorist activity. It is not a “normal” country and becoming one is not one of its objectives. IMHO, of course!

      What to lose by signing the agreement, you ask. Plenty! Removing sanctions permit it to resuscitate its economy thereby enabling it to increase spending on its nuclear weaponry program and to spend more on its surrogate terrorists. Obama should go back to his original agreement objectives and increase sanctions until Iran agrees-I’m not sure sanctions will work but that is the alternative.

      No one has answered my question as to why negotiations are taking so long if Iran is interested only in peaceful development and we certainly would go along with that. 3-6 months at most should take care of that. Instead we have an 18 month framework.

  • Tourist  On April 7, 2015 at 8:22 AM


    I think I am to respond now on three points: (1) “Even with the treaties, countries still retained their MAD. So, how did a treaty prevent a nuclear attack?” (2) “How would Iran having a nuclear weapon be bad?” (3) Iran’s “territorial ambitions.” Maybe four: (4) Why the negotiations are taking so long if Iran only wants peaceful nuclear use.

    (1) MAD prevented the attacks. As I said, the MAD standoff was not (is not) sustainable. It’s unstable. Something will go wrong. The treaties are about the recognition, and the mindset, that we have all gotten ourselves into a situation precarious in the extreme. Treaties express our desire to do something about it. It’s all we’ve got.

    (2) How would Iran having nukes be bad? In MAD terms, it wouldn’t be. But see “(1)” above. I’m less concerned about the legitimate leaders of Iran using the things first than I am their (the weapons) being diverted by rogue elements or carelessly. The idea is to rein in, reduce and eliminate nukes rather than watch them proliferate. I wouldn’t want Japan, Canada or Australia to have them either, just as I don’t want everyone in the movie theater armed to the teeth.

    (4) BECAUSE NOBODY – PEOPLE, SOUVERIGN NATIONS – LIKES TO BE TOLD WHAT TO DO. The ambassador to the U.S. from an African nation once showed the journalist a letter from the State Department saying his nation’s sea-turtle preservation practices had been found to be in compliance and his nation could therefore continue to sell shrimp in the American market. The ambassador added: “I didn’t know we were being evaluated on sea turtles.” Yes, yes, yes, we should hang tough until Iran capitulates totally, because that’s how the world works.

    (3) Truly, Dog, I am not up to speed on Iran’s territorial ambitions. So I googled exactly that. It’s a popular refrain. Even the people who are most charged up about it don’t seem to have too many specifics. “Wants to dominate the region” is about as far as it goes. I’m not saying Iran isn’t a bully or a troublemaker or a sponsor of terrorism or even a threat to world peace somewhere up there on the list. But half the countries on the planet would enjoy dominating their regions. Opportunistic about territory? The map of the Middle East was drawn by Britain and France with features such as Winston’s Hiccup. After sweeping a continent, the U.S. added two more states in my lifetime. China took Tibet. Israel is somewhat larger today than when it was artificially created. If Iran manifests territorial ambitions, deal with them!

    Here’s the thing about that: As Josh Marshall pointed out, opponents of the deal purport to be totally freaked out by the prospect of Iranian nuclear weapons. That’s the intolerable game-changer. Iran cannot be permitted to acquire nuclear weapons. Nothing is more important than that.

    So what do “territorial ambitions” have to do with an agreement designed to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons? That’s apples and oranges in a messy world.

    Bibi insists that Iran not be permitted to acquire nuclear weapons and has declared that any agreement designed to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons is unacceptable if it does not include an acknowledgement of Israel’s right to exist.

    That’s what I call ordering your priorities.

    Or maybe something else is going on.

    • Devildog  On April 7, 2015 at 7:22 PM

      Thanks Tourist for taking time from your busy life to respond in some depth. I’m going to make it simple.

      1. An agreement in every instance, including this one, is not necessarily better than no agreement.

      2. Just about everyone, including the most anti-Obama Republicans, would approve of an agreement along the lines proposed by Bibi.

      3. Most Americans would approve of an agreement along the lines proposed by Obama at the beginning of negotiations.

      4. Most Americans, including about 2/3 of the Senate (which would include double digit Democrats) are in opposition to the framework of the agreement that has been made public.

      Summary-this is an agreement that gives up too much for too little and would permit Iran to obtain nuclear weapons in too short a time frame even if it adheres to the agreement, and quickly if it doesn’t (which we would be powerless to do anything about when discovered). The agreement puts all the cards in the hands of Iran and it gets sanctions lifted. Some people say that’s worth avoiding military action now and then. Maybe so, that’s someone’s judgment. But Obama said Iran cannot be allowed to have nuclear weapons-and that it wouldn’t happen on his watch. At least the latter probably will turn out to be a truthful boast.

      I just like to call a spade a spade (as I see it). Just less us not pretend that this agreement accomplishes anything worthwhile. If one thinks that letting Iran obtain nuclear weapons is better than military action or increased sanctions to prevent that, so be it.

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