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Sunset Boulevard

February 2nd, 2014 - 5:24 pm

The New York Times has enjoined Congress not to impose further sanctions on Iran because the administration is on the verge of a “deal”. The gist of the NYT’s argument is that after years of waiting, the chance for a diplomatic solution with Tehran is now at hand. Here is their reasoning.

Amazingly, after 34 years of mostly diplomatic silence between Iran and the United States, we are in the midst of negotiations with the potential to eliminate the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran….

under the terms of the interim agreement, the Iranians have six months to prove they are serious about this process. If they fail this test, the United States will surely act immediately to impose additional sanctions, and our international partners, understanding that we have given a negotiated approach a chance to succeed, are likely to join us.

We don’t know whether Iran can be persuaded to peacefully give up its nuclear weapons ambitions — but it is very much in our interest to give this diplomatic process every chance to succeed.

Thus we should grasp at this ‘chance for peace’ — whatever the risks — before it passes us by. There are a number of logical problems with this approach one of which might best be described by a citing an analogy.

Imagine someone is offering to buy the New York Times. The terms are that the Times hands over its assets today and the buyer has six months to prove they are serious about paying. If the buyer doesn’t pay then the Times can sue in court to repossess their building. A great deal isn’t it?

Of course it is not. It’s a terrible deal, one likely to cause more trouble than it averted; but it is precisely the kind of deal that the NYT is asking the legislature to agree to. The problem with taking Iran at its word is the general difficulty of dealing with those who have bad credit ratings. When you are dealing with someone you don’t trust or who has a record of defaulting, the only reliable method is cash on the nail. Otherwise you are bound to be taken to the cleaners.

But there is a much stronger objection to accepting a deal with Tehran largely on faith: the problem of conceding more power to Iran over the negotiating process over time. The power relationship between two parties gradually changes with the years. The question is, who is rising and who is in decline? Robert Gates, who served as Secretary of Defense under president Obama, explained how with each passing step the administration would have to up and up the ante in an interview with Hugh Hewitt.

Gates said: [Emphasis mine]

We, I think we are seeing in the Iranian’s willingness to come to the table the potential success of a strategy pursued by Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama of ratcheting up the economic pressures on Iran to the point where it hurts so badly, the Iranian people, that their government is forced to come to the table or be at risk of having domestic turmoil. I think that’s happened. I think what’s really important is what happens in six months. And my view is that the administration ought to set a specific date. You know, they talk about six months. My view is, and what I would be arguing if I were in the Situation Room is okay, then the negotiations begin on whatever the date, January 25th or whatever. Exactly six months from then, the negotiations stop. Either they’re successful or they’re not, because the Iranians are perhaps the world’s best at slow rolling a negotiation. Well, it’s just, we’re close. Let’s do another month. Let’s do another two months. I think we ought to have a firm deadline. I think that while I oppose the imposition of additional sanctions right now, because I do think it would blow up this opportunity, I don’t see why there is opposition to the Congress passing sanctions that would be triggered at that six month point, so that in essence, the message to the Iranians is if there is no successful negotiations, an agreement at the end of six months, you are going to be significantly worse off than you were when these negotiations began. It’s not going to be a return to the status quo before the negotiations. And finally, from my standpoint, the only agreement that we ought to be willing to sign up to is one that rolls back the Iranian program to the point where they are no longer a nuclear weapon threshold state, a state that could go to a nuclear weapon relatively quickly. So I think the important agreement, it’s not that we began the negotiations that it’s a bad idea. I think that what people ought to be focused on is what happens at the other end of those negotiations, and what kind of an agreement we get. And a poor agreement is clearly far worse than no agreement at all, in my view.

The longer you wait the more you have to threaten. In other words, if the Iranians take the money and run, America would have to brandish really dire consequences in six months. Why let the customer take your product and risk his absconding in the belief you can hire a SWAT team to repossess your goods in a half year’s time. Is this wise policy? Or would it not have been better to charge him for it as he walked out the door? Who believes that in those six months the credibility of the Obama administration to act severely against Iran will have increased rather than decreased?

In all probability the Obama administration will be even less able to issue dire threats to Iran than it can today. Power will shifted in their favor over time with this agreement. This brings up something the New York Times misses entirely. Shifting power to Iran is destabilizing in itself.  A bad deal actually increases the risks of war.

Students of international relations have long argued that rapid shifts in relative power can lead to war. ‘The growth of Athenian power and the fear which this caused in Sparta’ or the rise of Germany, for example, are common explanations for the Peloponnesian war and World War I, respectively.

More recently, the economic and military rise of China has led many to wonder about the likelihood of a war with its neighbors or the United States. In each case, the declining state fears that it will negotiate in a position of weakness once the balance of power has shifted, and hence it is argued, prefers fighting now.

If America is to drive an advantageous bargain now is the time. In fact the anticipation of this shift is already causing the Sunni states to arm up. Only a few days ago the Royal United Services Institute had this to say about the consequences of a deal with Iran.

The Geneva agreement envisions allowing Iran to possess a ‘mutually defined enrichment programme’, wording that represents a conditional recognition of Iran’s claimed right to enrich. If a comprehensive agreement includes Iranian enrichment to lower levels, Saudi Arabia would most likely demand exactly the same scope for its own emerging nuclear programme. Also, if the interim or a future deal confers upon Tehran a special status in the Gulf and in the wider Fertile Crescent, then it is most likely that the Kingdom would not accept it, and may pursue a regional revisionist policy to assuage its own security fears.

The deal the NYT hankers after is not some static, paradaisal state, a long-sought solution that will fix things for good. It will simply be another starting point from which, by all indications, the Sunni states will start acquiring equivalent rights to enrich uranium. The NYT makes the mistake of begging the question. They assume that all change must be for the better. They ignore the fact that up until now, both countries have not openly gone to war. The real test of the undisclosed deal is whether it will have the effect of maintaining at least that state of affairs.

And that is by no means guaranteed. The Obama administration is rapidly losing influence internationally. To use the metaphor of the movie Sunset Boulevard, if the administration is not “ready for its close-up” now it will be even less photogenic six months from today. The argument is all in favor of taking the close up now.

There is no argument that a good deal with Iran can be desirable. But can such a deal be negotiated? And if so why not throw everything into the diplomatic effort now? Taking an IOU from Tehran in the belief that a hollow agreement now can be made good by threats in the future does not look like a good deal.


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Top Rated Comments   
We are now a 1949 Nash, wheezing down Sunset Boulevard, headed for a doctor’s appointment, Barack Obama at the wheel, the dull red ball of the setting sun in our eyes. Squinting, I ask him why they call it Sunset Boulevard, and he replied

They call it Sunset Boulevard
'Cause that’s where the country's headed
The pedal’s floored, and floored down hard
The tires they are shredded
With our policemen off the street
The world has turned to others
But I will say and then repeat
The Muslims are our brothers
They mean no harm to you or me
They’re good and kind and gentle
My doc’s the man we’re off to see
He seems to think I’m mental
But that of course could not be right
I’ve never been more saner
And even in this fading light
I’m better than John Boehner

30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
How to negotiate with Iran:

US - "No"
IR - "Whatt do you mean by No?"
US - "No means No"
IR - "How dare you? You heathen capitalist bully"
US - "We dare we decide you obey"
IR - "You have no right as we are as good or better"
US - "You are not. From children with plastic keys sent to clear mines to Jews in Argentina to politicians in Lebannon, and there is more, you have proven to be unworthy"
(Insert list of crimes betrayals and human rights abuses)
IR - "The UN will stop you"
US - "The UN can do nothing against any Veto Power"
IR - "Russia and China will stop you"
US - "We deal direct with them"
IR - "We have oil"
US - "Fracking, everyone does"
IR - "You can do nothing"
US - "As of today you are blockaded by air and sea."
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
If we are discussing the trends in power relationships between the United States and Iran; the best parallel may come from animal psychology. Iran is the alpha male of the coyote pack. Buraq Hussein Obama is the pampered pet bichon frise that has rolled over on its back exposing its belly in hopes of not becoming a snack. The NYT is the bichon frise's beta, which will go along with anything the bichon frise wants, regardless of consequences. This will not end well.

As for the prospect of nuclear proliferation; it has been evident that Buraq Hussein and the Left have absolutely no problem at all with any country developing nuclear weapons, as long as the country is an enemy of the United States and western civilization.

The only nuclear proliferation that the United States will oppose, and try to draw a real "line in the sand" over will be any Asian defensive efforts or alliance against the Chinese. Whether Obama has the credibility to defend that line, will be affected by his past conduct in such matters.

Subotai Bahadur
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (33)
All Comments   (33)
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I'm betting we are under attack, have been under attack, and the main goal of the Federales is to keep the knowledge quiet, lest they have to react. - Subotai Bahadur

(Context: Iranian or Al Qaeda terror cells could be starting Forest Fires on American soil as a first wave of Islamic attacks..)

How would we ever know if the Feds are covering this up? The official policy of Justice and DHS under Obama is to lie to the American people. How do you tell when a liar is telling the truth? It's a difficult thing.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
This isn't about a diplomatic solution with Tehran. This is about buying the Iranians enough time to go nuclear. To do that, Obama had to hamstring the Israeli's. Preventing Israel from conducting a conventional attack upon Iranian nuclear facilities in hopes of delaying the Iranian nuclear program. Obama has even used the phrase "give peace a chance".

SecState Hagel in his Senate confirmation hearings, inadvertently let slip Obama's plans, which is containment. Obama knows that 'containment' won't stop the real consequence of Iran gaining nuclear weapons capability, which is nuclear proliferation.

“the region will be far less stable and far more threatened if Iran were to have a nuclear weapon. It will spur a nuclear arms race. It has risks for greater terrorism. It will be destabilizing." Kerry said the threat extends beyond the possibility that Iran could actually use the weapon on its enemies, specifically Israel. Iran simply having a nuclear weapon would "spur a nuclear arms race" in the region and could be used to support terrorists groups like Hezbollah, he said. Interview with SecState John Kerry - March 5, 2013

So this is INTENTIONAL betrayal and by any standard, dereliction of his duty by the CIC. As the President is a civilian however and is protected by the dems from impeachment, Obama will get away with it. So we're screwed.

Iran will get the bomb.
Nuclear proliferation will spread into unstable, third world regimes and other jihadist States.
Sooner or later, terrorist groups will get their hands on and use those nukes.
Not just on Israel but on the 'Great Satan's' major port cities as well.
Panic and chaos will result and calls for the restoration of order will be 'bi-partisan'.
Nationwide, Martial Law for 'the duration of the national emergency' will be declared.
Under martial law, there is prior constitutional precedent for legal suspension of constitutional provisions.
Under an Obama or H. Clinton administration, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to foresee the 'opportunity' that a national crisis under martial law will offer to the left.

All of this of course is 'incidental' and could never actually happen.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Taking Iran at its word....which word? The one that says they are not going to move one inch off of their nuclear ambitions or the one that signed the phony Geneva deal that we can't see?

The least transparent administration ever, the one that has been caught in lie after lie, signed a deal they won't show us...with a partner who says the deal is a sham in their favor...and the answer to our suspicions..."trust us".

Is that comforting to anyone with a firing synapse?
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
It looks more and more that the admin. wants entire MENA rearrangement. I just cannot figure out whether they think they can peacefully make Iran a local hegemon, or they are aiming for an explosion there.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
OT:

P.S. Hoffman, who died recently, was in the movie Charlie Wilson's War. He played a CIA guy who kept trying to tell Tom Hanks about the old Zen master during the movie, only to be interrupted, finally getting to the punchline at the end.

I can only find parts of the thing on YouTube. Does anyone know of the whole thing condensed into one clip or even just remember the story? I get as far as the war breaking out and the boy not having to go due to his bad leg.

Question: has anyone ever seen a clip of the whole thing or even just know the story?
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hah! You got the Earworm, don't you? Don't worry, by dawn you will probably have found it.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Whose side is Obama on?
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Good question. As for any president, one would like to think “America’s side”; but, as with Wilson in Paris, there are so many facts inconsistent with that answer. “The transnational elite’s side”? Much better; a strong contender, certainly. “His own side” may always be the ultimate answer with him. “Israel’s side” is right out, of course. How about “KSA’s side” (remembering the infamous bow)? Not really; fits both Bushes better, actually. “Iran’s side” seems preposterous at first; but as one tests the idea that it’s the best answer, don’t a lot of his actions (not words), otherwise so frustratingly inexplicable, resolve into clarity?
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
According to this line of thought, the only entity that can betray President Obama is Iran. Hell hath no fury . . . .
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
So......... What are the odds that, five and 1/2 months from now, Iran pops a nuke (test only)? After all, it worked for North Korea. What will these genius diplomats come up with then??????
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh, that's easy. Immediately request nuclear disarmament in the MENA starting with Israel.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Iranian commander: We have targets within America...

http://dailycaller.com/2014/02/01/iranian-commander-we-have-targets-within-america/2/

I actually believe him, that the Iranians have infiltrated American cities and would invoke acts of terrorism against soft targets. This guy is likely exaggerating Iranian capabilities, like "Baghdad Bob", but the Iranian QUDs and their intelligence agencies have been both active and successful around the world, so why not the wide-open borders of American also?

A real President would appreciate the threat, and send quiet and not so quiet messages that not one Iranian life is safe the moment Iranians are suspected acts of terrorism on American soil. America would begin carpet bombing Teheran as soon as we eliminated their air defenses, assuming we have any bomber wings left not already decommissioned by Obama's SECDEF.

However, Iran has already killed Americans and the USA did nothing. The only thing that would change Iranian behavior at this point is effective military action (i.e. goat herders can consider their tents safe from American cruise missiles), which ain't gonna happen for at least the next three years.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
We know from monitoring terrorist communications and training manuals that setting forest fires is a tactic specifically endorsed by and trained for in Al Quada and other groups.

1) last summer here in Colorado, we had 4 widely separated major forest/grass fires around the state within one hour. There were no clouds or lightning anywhere in the state, and 40 mph winds pretty much statewide.

They were at Royal Gorge, Black Forest, La Veta, and a large grass fire on the east side of Pueblo.

It took weeks to get them out.

As soon as the La Veta fire was out, another one started a few miles away.

I personally know that the points of origin of two of the fires were found, and the Federales have taken that part over.

2) With no natural causes on any of these fires, they can be assumed to be human caused. Functionally simultaneous, scattered around the state too far away from each other to be reached sequentially in any case. What does that imply? I will also note that the Federal aerial tanker firefighting fleet has been allowed to decay by Buraq Hussein Obama, because the replacements for worn out planes have been slowed down. At the time we had 1 (one) of the modified DC-10 slurrybombers in the country. We were supposed to have 12. They are amazing coming in on the deck dropping all that orange slurry. Would have been real helpful to have more.

3) Also, there have been other major fires of suspicious origin, including the Waldo Canyon fire on Pikes Peak in 2012 which took out a housing development on the west side of Colorado Springs and could have taken out several towns; and the Hayman fire a few years ago that got a large swath of National Forest. We have the best wildland firefighters in the world, or it would have been a lot worse in all these fires.

4) And that is just in Colorado. Residents in other states may want to chime in if they have been having similar events.

5) I'm betting we are under attack, have been under attack, and the main goal of the Federales is to keep the knowledge quiet, lest they have to react.

Subotai Bahadur
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Here on the left coast, in southern California, we have a weather event called the Santa Ana Winds, low humidity, high pressure, hot winds. We don't need foreign agents to start fires. We have our own local pyromaniacs that live for this type of weather. The fire we had last month was caused by three transients throwing paper into a camp fire in the hills. I'm actually surprised we haven't had more fires this year than we have.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
We know the mechanics of the running of air cover for this administration. The MSM and public broadcasting outlets simply do not report anything that will reflect negatively on Obama or the Democrats in general. What matters is why.

There are two different motivations for two different groups that must be kept in the fold - with some overlap. The "true believers" who are in academia and government and entertainment - those self-important pseudointellectuals who are defective in the sense that they have no real humility, are bigoted against any devout religion, and have hitched their star to ideological ideas of the left, most importantly collectivism, centralization of power, and affirmative action - require a narrative in which their people and their ideas literally do no wrong. They form the money and the organizers, the "office class", if you will, of the left.

The other and larger group, the low information voters, are comprised of people who sign on to the ideological program secondarily. They are where they politically due to the fact that they are benefiting from the current economic situation, in some way or another, financially, whether it be welfare, public employment, grant/subsidy sustenance, working in a rent seeking "private" industry, etc. In other words they believe in the ideological rants because it aligns them with the people who keep the cash flowing.

In both cases, and especially in the case of the overlap subset, any reporting of failure of the current administration spells the end of the dream. So the MSM and public broadcasting simply refuse to report it. First, they are largely ideologues themselves. Secondly, they are playing to an audience which actively seeks out "news" sources that exclude any negative stories that might make their guy look bad, and interrupt the dream/magic government income. This has become a circle which spins tighter and smaller. Take your typical NPR listener who loudly proclaims that his chosen information stream is the most accurate, completely and neutral ideologically, and point out that Brent Bozell's MRC has literally PAGES of lists of stories (not stories themselves, but LISTS) of things that the left media distorted or refused to report altogether, and that NPR listener will not check it out, ever. The response you will get is something along the lines of, "Well, those stories must not have happened because if they did, I would have heard about them on NPR", or, "Anyone who criticizes the president (and by extension me) like that Bozell person is a racist and is motivated by bigotry, not pursuit of the truth". In no case will the ideologue pursue any information that might cast doubt upon the "wisdom" of his association with the current administration and their philosophical/political set of ideas.

And in fact, if NPR and the NYT actually started portraying the failures of this administration and the Democrats in general with the same vigor they apply to the center/right, the people who patronize those "news" sources would quietly depart, looking for other information streams which, like NPR and the NYT do now, carefully excise or distort any facts or information which might challenge the cherished narrative.

Seen in the light of all this, the actions of the MSM in terms of going along with these policies are explained.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama is pretty much focused on defeating whites in America. Everything else is secondary and not really very meaningful to the POTUS. The whole point of having that maimed marine for the state of the union address was just the visual for the low information voters. The words as usual were meaningless.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
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