Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Strange Senate Politics of Negotiating with Iran

As I write, a drama of great importance is playing out in Washington.

The President and his diplomatic team are trying to negotiate a deal with Iran that would lift sanctions in exchange for limits on Iran's unclear program. This may not work, but if it does it will be great for everyone.

Republican in the Senate are trying to sabotage this effort by passing a new sanctions law; they are trying to claim that this law would "strengthen the President's hand" but everyone involved in the diplomacy says it would wreck their work. Ok, they're the opposition, and besides they're Republicans, so nobody expects them to act in the best interests of the US or the world.

But now several Democrats have added their support to the bill, raising the danger that it could pass over a Presidential veto. The reason seems to be that AIPAC and its "pro Israel" allies are determined to derail the negotiations; they think Iran is Nazi Germany reborn, a country so evil that negotiations are a waste of time. I think this is wicked and wrong. What's more, everyone who has looked closely at the military options says that we really have none. Bombing Iran could slow their nuclear program for a few years, but they could exact a grim revenge through terrorism and in the long run they would only be more determined to get the bomb.

Below is a list of the Democratic co-sponsors of the sanctions bill. If you live in any of these states and don't want the US to start another war in the Middle East, please consider writing to your Senator to let them how you feel about this.

New York: Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand
Maryland: Ben Cardin
New Jersey: Cory Booker
Connecticut: Richard Blumenthal
Arkansas: Mark Begich and Mark Pryor
Colorado: Michael Bennet
Delaware: Christopher Coons
North Carolina: Kay Hagan
Louisiana: Mary Landrieu
Virginia: Mark Warner
West Virginia: Joe Manchin

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