Is Obama being too harsh on critics of the Iran nuclear deal?

I find it amazing to read stories that suggest that when President Obama links those who attack the Iran deal with the war-mongers who lied us into the Iraq invasion, that he is somehow going too far.  I would propose that he is actually not going far enough.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu  was one of those who advanced the thesis that the USA needed to invade Iraq and that this would bring peace and stability to the Middle East.  I have never heard a self-criticism from the Prime Minister.  In the USA, most of the war hawks hid in closets as the Iraq situation deteriorated, though some have been willing to uphold the delusional notion that the invasion was correct.

But in typical US fashion, rather than learn from history, the same rascals who lied and scared us into the Iraq invasion are attacking the Iran nuclear deal.  I just read today that some of them are saying that President Obama is trying to scare the US public by arguing that the alternative to the deal is war.  These opponents of the deal are claiming that there are other alternatives than war.

I do not think that Obama is overstating the case.  When I listen to the rhetoric of the Republicans, and particularly their comparison of Obama to former British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and the infamous Munich Pact signed with the Nazis (in 1938), I can come to no other conclusion than that most of the Republicans want war.

Let’s consider the analogy for a moment.  In 1938 Nazi Germany was preparing to invade Czechoslovakia.  They had been arming for years and had made clear that they had expansive territorial objectives.  Britain and France were trying to channel the Nazis toward an attack on the then USSR.  The Munich Pact was aimed at redirecting the Nazis away from a war with the West and toward an attack on the East.  Britain and France were prepared to sacrifice not only the Sudetenland, but all of Czechoslovakia, toward that end.

In Iran there is simply no comparison.  Even if one is deeply critical of the Iranian regime–as I am–Iran has not invaded another country in about 1000 years; has made no territorial threats on its neighbors; seeks to be a regional power (but, so what else is new?); and is a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.  The analogy simply does not hold.

But let’s go one more step.  When anyone discusses the Munich Pact and appeasement what they are really saying is that military force should have been deployed against the Nazis.  I think that such a proposal would have been absolutely correct in 1938, i.e., that a combined military force should have been prepared to defend Czechoslovakia and hit Nazi Germany.  In other words, the alternative to appeasement in 1938 was not continued negotiations but a willingness to go to war.

For this reason, when the Republicans throw around this ahistorical analogy about Munich they ARE saying that we should be prepared to go to war with Iran, a war that would be an act of naked aggression against a country that represents no threat not only to the USA but also has no plans to attack another country.  Ironically, the USA and Iran are cooperating in Iraq in fighting the Islamic State, though this cooperation is taking place in support of an intensely sectarian regime in Baghdad (but that is another story).

The punchline?  President Obama is not only right to link opponents of the nuclear treaty to those who led us into Iraq, but he should not pull back from such a forceful articulation.

The second part of the punchline is that we need a broad front of peace and social justice forces to unite in support of the treaty and against the war hawks.  This will mean more than sending emails but it actually necessitates swift and determined mobilizations.    The proponents of war must be blocked and their plans derailed.

4 thoughts on “Is Obama being too harsh on critics of the Iran nuclear deal?

  1. We can be reasonably certain if a Republican POTUS got such a treaty it would be hailed as a diplomatic triumph of unequaled magnitude, Do these Democrats opposing the treaty hold dual citizenship?. How many people in West Virgina hold that? How many in New York? I’ll support a Tea Party proposal that prohibits anyone who holds a dual citizenship from being eligible to run for a U.S. elected office. The Tea Party’s not likely to do that if they get money from A.I.P.,A.C.too. I’ve donated to Jewish Voice For Peace – they’re not Netanyahu’s lapdogs like so many in the U.S. Congress. The Zionist lobby is the tail that constantly wants to wag the American foreign policy dog. .

  2. I’d like to know how war was the only other option & inevitable without the treaty. This is more a question than a comment. Was Iran ready to attack if they didn’t get the deal they wanted, or was it more of America attacking if Iran didn’t agree to the deal? I’m going to assume with the whole republican desire for war that it was America? Why would America attack Iran if Iran didn’t threaten America? Sorry but I’m just trying to make sense of this whole thing.

    • I appreciate your feedback.
      To answer the question, first, Iran has not been threatening to attack anyone. Yes, there has been plenty of rhetoric but there have been no threats and it is especially important to note that Iran has condemned the use of nuclear weapons.
      So, why would the USA attack? There are several reasons. For one, there are political forces who see Iran as an obstacle to US ambitions in the region. They wish to eliminate an independent Iran in the same way that they wanted to eliminate an independent Iraq. It has little to do with the character of the regime itself. Rather it has to do with the willingness of the Iranians to go along with the USA or not.
      A second issue is that the Israeli political establishment has been sounding the alarm, or actually i should say a part of the Israeli political establishment. Netanyahu has used the alleged threat of Iran as a way of keeping the minds of Israelis off of internal matters as well as keeping the attention of the world away from the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. As long as Netanyahu acts ‘crazy’ many people will lose their focus on other issues.
      Finally, there are elements in the US political establishment that believe that every conflict, particularly conflicts with countries in the Global South, should be resolved through force or threat of force. They are threatened not by anything particular to Iran but threatened by the future of a multi-polar world in which the USA is not the only decision-maker.

  3. Bill, Good response. You hit the nail on the head. The U.S. corporatocracy wants economic hegemony throughout the Middle East region and Africa as well. Also, Wall Street is not happy about Latin American countries steering away from U.S. endorsed policies. That’s why Venezuela gets negative treatment in the U. S. corporate media.

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