Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Does It Make A Difference If The President Is A Truculent, Ill-Advised Imbecile?


Nikki Haley by Nancy Ohanian

Yesterday Señor Trumpanzee announced, as expected, that he's withdrawing the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal, "reneging," as NBC put it, "on a landmark pact and raising the question of whether Tehran might respond by resuming its frozen weapons program." Babbling like a psychotic money, Señor T imagines he got even with with Obama for making fun of him at the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2011. Trumpanzee: "It is clear to me that we cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement. The United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal."
Trump further said that he would impose the "highest level" of sanctions, which would not only affect Iran but other countries that do business with it. The Treasury Department said a series of primary and secondary sanctions-- those affecting American and foreign partners of Iran-- would go back into effect after wind-down periods specified by law.

...If Iran seeks nuclear weapons, he said, it will face "bigger problems than it has ever had before."

But the move also raises two important questions for the Trump administration and the international community: whether Iran will respond by resuming its quest for nuclear weapons-- and whether reneging on the Iran pact might affect North Korea's willingness to cut a denuclearization deal of its own with the president.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in the air on his way to North Korea during the announcement, Trump said. Critics of Tuesday's move said Trump is giving North Korea little reason to trust him.

"We are basically just going back on our word," said Jon Wolfstahl, who was the National Security Council’s senior director for arms control and nonproliferation under Obama.

The withdrawal of the U.S. leaves a big hole at the negotiating table after Trump had sought over the past six months to force a new deal by threatening to scrap the existing one.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday that his country would remain engaged with the other signatories to the original deal.

"We've known for months that President Trump wouldn't be committed to this deal," he said. "The Iranian foreign ministry will continue talks with remaining countries in the deal."

French President Emanuel Macron, who spoke with Trump Tuesday morning, tweeted his "regret" over Trump's decision. "The nuclear non-proliferation regime is at stake," he wrote.
Alan Grayson mentioned something to me on the phone a few minutes ago that I don't think he'll mind me sharing: "Let’s see how people feel about this if Iran celebrates the Prophet’s Birthday (Nov. 20-21) by exploding a nuclear weapon." President Obama, reminding everyone about the difference between a thoughtful and literate president instead of a senile ape, posted a reaction on his Facebook page, asserting that "There are few issues more important to the security of the United States than the potential spread of nuclear weapons, or the potential for even more destructive war in the Middle East. That’s why the United States negotiated the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in the first place."
The reality is clear. The JCPOA is working-- that is a view shared by our European allies, independent experts, and the current U.S. Secretary of Defense. The JCPOA is in America’s interest-- it has significantly rolled back Iran’s nuclear program. And the JCPOA is a model for what diplomacy can accomplish-- its inspections and verification regime is precisely what the United States should be working to put in place with North Korea. Indeed, at a time when we are all rooting for diplomacy with North Korea to succeed, walking away from the JCPOA risks losing a deal that accomplishes-- with Iran-- the very outcome that we are pursuing with the North Koreans.

That is why today’s announcement is so misguided. Walking away from the JCPOA turns our back on America’s closest allies, and an agreement that our country’s leading diplomats, scientists, and intelligence professionals negotiated. In a democracy, there will always be changes in policies and priorities from one Administration to the next. But the consistent flouting of agreements that our country is a party to risks eroding America’s credibility, and puts us at odds with the world’s major powers.

Debates in our country should be informed by facts, especially debates that have proven to be divisive. So it’s important to review several facts about the JCPOA.

First, the JCPOA was not just an agreement between my Administration and the Iranian government. After years of building an international coalition that could impose crippling sanctions on Iran, we reached the JCPOA together with the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the European Union, Russia, China, and Iran. It is a multilateral arms control deal, unanimously endorsed by a United Nations Security Council Resolution.

Second, the JCPOA has worked in rolling back Iran’s nuclear program. For decades, Iran had steadily advanced its nuclear program, approaching the point where they could rapidly produce enough fissile material to build a bomb. The JCPOA put a lid on that breakout capacity. Since the JCPOA was implemented, Iran has destroyed the core of a reactor that could have produced weapons-grade plutonium; removed two-thirds of its centrifuges (over 13,000) and placed them under international monitoring; and eliminated 97 percent of its stockpile of enriched uranium-- the raw materials necessary for a bomb. So by any measure, the JCPOA has imposed strict limitations on Iran's nuclear program and achieved real results.

Third, the JCPOA does not rely on trust-- it is rooted in the most far-reaching inspections and verification regime ever negotiated in an arms control deal. Iran’s nuclear facilities are strictly monitored. International monitors also have access to Iran’s entire nuclear supply chain, so that we can catch them if they cheat. Without the JCPOA, this monitoring and inspections regime would go away.

Fourth, Iran is complying with the JCPOA. That was not simply the view of my Administration. The United States intelligence community has continued to find that Iran is meeting its responsibilities under the deal, and has reported as much to Congress. So have our closest allies, and the international agency responsible for verifying Iranian compliance-- the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Fifth, the JCPOA does not expire. The prohibition on Iran ever obtaining a nuclear weapon is permanent. Some of the most important and intrusive inspections codified by the JCPOA are permanent. Even as some of the provisions in the JCPOA do become less strict with time, this won’t happen until ten, fifteen, twenty, or twenty-five years into the deal, so there is little reason to put those restrictions at risk today.

Finally, the JCPOA was never intended to solve all of our problems with Iran. We were clear-eyed that Iran engages in destabilizing behavior – including support for terrorism, and threats toward Israel and its neighbors. But that’s precisely why it was so important that we prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Every aspect of Iranian behavior that is troubling is far more dangerous if their nuclear program is unconstrained. Our ability to confront Iran’s destabilizing behavior-- and to sustain a unity of purpose with our allies-- is strengthened with the JCPOA, and weakened without it.

Because of these facts, I believe that the decision to put the JCPOA at risk without any Iranian violation of the deal is a serious mistake. Without the JCPOA, the United States could eventually be left with a losing choice between a nuclear-armed Iran or another war in the Middle East. We all know the dangers of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon. It could embolden an already dangerous regime; threaten our friends with destruction; pose unacceptable dangers to America’s own security; and trigger an arms race in the world’s most dangerous region. If the constraints on Iran’s nuclear program under the JCPOA are lost, we could be hastening the day when we are faced with the choice between living with that threat, or going to war to prevent it.

In a dangerous world, America must be able to rely in part on strong, principled diplomacy to secure our country. We have been safer in the years since we achieved the JCPOA, thanks in part to the work of our diplomats, many members of Congress, and our allies. Going forward, I hope that Americans continue to speak out in support of the kind of strong, principled, fact-based, and unifying leadership that can best secure our country and uphold our responsibilities around the globe.

There was also a joint statement-- in the form of a press release-- from Prime Minister May, Chancellor Merkel and President Macron.
It is with regret and concern that we, the Leaders of France, Germany and the United Kingdom take note of President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States of America from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Together, we emphasise our continuing commitment to the JCPoA. This agreement remains important for our shared security. We recall that the JCPoA was unanimously endorsed by the UN Security Council in resolution 2231. This resolution remains the binding international legal framework for the resolution of the dispute about the Iranian nuclear programme. We urge all sides to remain committed to its full implementation and to act in a spirit of responsibility.

According to the IAEA, Iran continues to abide by the restrictions set out by the JCPoA, in line with its obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The world is a safer place as a result. Therefore we, the E3, will remain parties to the JCPoA. Our governments remain committed to ensuring the agreement is upheld, and will work with all the remaining parties to the deal to ensure this remains the case including through ensuring the continuing economic benefits to the Iranian people that are linked to the agreement.

We urge the US to ensure that the structures of the JCPoA can remain intact, and to avoid taking action which obstructs its full implementation by all other parties to the deal. After engaging with the US Administration in a thorough manner over the past months, we call on the US to do everything possible to preserve the gains for nuclear non-proliferation brought about by the JCPoA, by allowing for a continued enforcement of its main elements.

We encourage Iran to show restraint in response to the decision by the US; Iran must continue to meet its own obligations under the deal, cooperating fully and in a timely manner with IAEA inspection requirements. The IAEA must be able to continue to carry out its long-term verification and monitoring programme without restriction or hindrance. In turn, Iran should continue to receive the sanctions relief it is entitled to whilst it remains in compliance with the terms of the deal.

There must be no doubt: Iran’s nuclear program must always remain peaceful and civilian. While taking the JCPOA as a base, we also agree that other major issues of concern need to be addressed. A long-term framework for Iran’s nuclear programme after some of the provisions of the JCPOA expire, after 2025, will have to be defined. Because our commitment to the security of our allies and partners in the region is unwavering, we must also address in a meaningful way shared concerns about Iran’s ballistic missile programme and its destabilising regional activities, especially in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. We have already started constructive and mutually beneficial discussions on these issues, and the E3 is committed to continuing them with key partners and concerned states across the region.

We and our Foreign Ministers will reach out to all parties to the JCPoA to seek a positive way forward.
Not everyone is opposed to what Trump did. Staten Island mafioso, Michael "Mikey Suits" Grimm, recently released from prison and running for Congress, issued a statement too: "President Trump's decisive rejection of the terrible Iran Deal is yet another foreign policy victory that will make our country and the world a safer place. We cannot allow the world's leading state sponsor of terror to ever obtain nuclear weapons, and the deal devised by Barack Obama's Administration did nothing to protect our long-term interests while giving away massive concessions to the regime in Tehran. The financial concessions Iran secured under the deal were further used to militarize the rogue state while funding violence and terrorism across the Middle East. As we have seen, President Trump's bold approach and leadership have already helped us reach historic steps toward peace and denuclearization in the Korean Peninsula. I am confident that today's decision will reinforce the pressure on Iran and ultimately lead to a final solution to the Iranian threat."

And Darrell Issa, forced to retire by Democrat Doug Applegate told whomever still listens to whatever he has to say, "I applaud President Trump’s bold leadership putting Iran, and its regional proxies, on notice and demanding that they permanently abandon any ambition to develop nuclear weapons. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action negotiated under the previous administration was irresponsible agreement that put our people at risk, left our most important allies in the Middle East in jeopardy, and did not achieve a single stated foreign policy objective of the United States. As I said in 2015: No nation has ever abandoned its nuclear ambitions without first agreeing to actually abandon its nuclear ambitions. Absent any commitment by the Iranian regime to permanently abandon its goal to develop nuclear weapons and a robust ‘anywhere, anytime’ inspections regime, the JCPOA was not worth the paper it was written on. Needless to say Doug Applegate, a former frontline Marine Colonel, saw it very differently from Issa. "Trump’s repudiation of the Iran Deal is utterly ill-advised, insulting to our allies, a huge risk for little gain. The Russians will find it to their liking because disruption inevitably spikes oil prices and will help save the Russian economy... which is, of course, why they so love their useful fool, Donald Trump."

But most of the responses I hear were more in line with what Ro Khanna (D-CA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) had to say after the speech yesterday. Ro, a member of the House Armed Services Committee: "Withdrawing from the Iran Deal only sends the message that the US can't keep its commitments when administrations change and the only way to resolve disputes with us is through nuclear deterrence. Pulling out makes it more likely, not less, that Iran will acquire a nuclear weapon."

Elizabeth Warren: "America should be a country that keeps it promises. The Obama Administration negotiated a landmark agreement to peacefully prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. But President Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from the Iran Deal breaks our word, hurts our credibility with our allies, empowers Iranian hardliners, and doesn't make us any safer here at home. There's no question that Iran's government is a bad actor. But inspectors have independently verified that Iran has been complying with the deal-- a fact that even the Trump Administration has conceded. I'd rather the United States-- together with our allies-- counter Iran's bad behavior with the nuclear deal than without it. Instead, President Trump has pulled the US out without offering any real alternative to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, creating chaos and confusion across the Middle East, and the world. This isn't a strategy. It's a recipe for disaster."

Carol Shea Porter: "This decision will make Americans and people all across the world less safe. Before the agreement, Iran was months away from having a nuclear weapon. Now, they are at least a year away, and we can snap sanctions back into place immediately if they make any move towards developing a weapon. Under the deal, Iran cannot enrich uranium beyond 3.6 percent, far short of the 80 percent needed for a weapon. Iran agreed to give away 97 percent of its nuclear fuel. In addition, we forced them to take the vast majority of their centrifuges out of service, meaning it will be very difficult and noticeable if they try to enrich more material. And we mandated inspections, so if they try, we will know, and we can take appropriate action. The Iran Deal is not perfect. But we must consider the danger facing the world before the deal and the improved security we now enjoy because of it. We should side with our allies and stay with them in this deal. American leadership is at stake. You don’t do arms control agreements with your friends; you sign them with your enemies in order to make the world a safer place for all. Inspections have confirmed that Iran is complying with this deal. We should too. We have a responsibility to the people we swore to protect-- and to the world-- to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons. That’s what this deal does, and without it, we seriously risk another conflict in the Middle East. We should steer our nation down the pathway to a safer and more peaceful world, not the pathway to war."

Major General (Ret.) Paul Eaton released a statement through VoteVets that is very much worth thinking about:
If Iran is in compliance with the deal, as all indications say they are, then Donald Trump’s decision today is an active violation of a deal we signed.

The implications for the United States violating agreements it signed could be disastrous and far-reaching. It puts American security in greater danger, frays our alliances, and sends a message to North Korea, and others, that the word of the United States is not worth the paper it is printed on.

Democrats and Republicans alike-- even many who opposed the Iran Deal-- correctly note that losing our ability to monitor Iran's nuclear program blinds us in the face of great risk to us and to our ally, Israel. At a time of great peril around the world, the multilateral Iran deal is our best hope at keeping a nuclear Iran out of the question.

Now, unfortunately, America must rely on its allies to clean up Donald Trump's mess, and keep Iran from restarting its nuclear program. If they can do so, we may be able to avoid catastrophe.

But that will be a credit to them, not to Donald Trump.

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At 6:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The first step to starting Bolton's first war. Make no mistake, trump doesn't care about iran.

He's a puppet of the boltons and, still, the bannons here. LITERALLY a puppet.

At 7:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Truculent, Ill-Advised imbecile" describes 95% of americans including 90% of democraps.

so... no, it makes no difference.

At 12:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Does It Make A Difference If The Arrogantly Moronic President Is Elected by A Truculent, Ill-Advised Voting Public Made Up of Imbeciles?"



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