The military-industrial complex and the establishment media reject diplomacy with Iran

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

The military-industrial complex that President Dwight D. Eisienhower warned Americans against in Eisenhower's Farewell Address to the Nation, needs an enemy — real or imagined — to justify the trillions of dollars spent on national security and defense.

The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) prepares an annual series of reports on international defense spending, The Military Balance 2013 (subscriber-only). In its press release, Military Balance 2013 Press Statement | IISS, the IISS notes that while "the Pentagon was already implementing cuts of $487 billion over ten years, and as a result of sequestration will now need to make additional reductions of $600bn over ten years," . . . "It needs to be remembered, however, that the defense budget of the United States still equals that of the next 14 nations combined (Bar Chart) and the United States still intends to remain engaged globally."

Then there is the establishment media, led by the Washington Post, which is home to Neocons who believe in a Pax Americana empire through military superiority and global domination. The establishment media serves to create the narratives for crises and conflicts and enemies of the United States to maintain taxpayer funding to the military-industrial complex, as well as U.S. interventions abroad. War and the threats of war are big business, and has made a lot of people extremely wealthy.

The military-industrial complex and the establishment media have a vested financial interest in maintaining wars and the threats of wars. If peace were to break out, they could no longer justify the trillions of dollars spent on national security and defense ans marketing war.

Which brings me to the breakthrough deal brokered by Secretary of State John Kerry and our allies with Iran late Saturday. After 34 years of a "cold war" between the U.S. and Iran, this rapprochement of diplomatic relations was long overdue. Iran, six world powers reach historic deal on nuclear program.

Neocons are not limited to the U.S. Israeili president Benjamin Netanyahu, when he was prime minister back in 1996, was advised by American Neocons Richard Perle, Douglas Feith and David Wurmser. A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm. These Neocons were instrumental in leading the U.S. into an unnecessary and illegal war with Iraq in pursuit of the Bush Doctrine, "including the controversial policy of preventive war, which held that the United States should depose foreign regimes that represented a potential or perceived threat to the security of the United States, even if that threat was not immediate; a policy of spreading democracy around the world, especially in the Middle East, as a strategy for combating terrorism; and a willingness to unilaterally pursue U.S. military interests."

It should come as no surprise then that Israeli president Netanyahu was condemning the U.S. for even engaging in negotiations with Iran over the past several weeks, and immediately denounced the deal as a “historic mistake.” Israeli premier: World ‘a much more dangerous place’.

The establishment media villagers on the Sunday morning bobblehead shows expressed "skepticism," and some members of Congress went so far as to say they would pursue stronger sanctions against Iran to undermine the deal and U.S. diplomacy with Iran. "We want our war with Iran, damnit!"

Martin Longman at the Political Animal Blog summed it up nicely. Sidelining the Warmongers:

Any agreement with Iran was going to have to allow the Iranian government to argue that they’d gotten a good deal. Likewise, any agreement was going to be opposed by Israel and Saudi Arabia, and Saudi Arabia’s satellites in the Gulf region. Any agreement with Iran was also destined to be opposed by President John McCain, Vice-President Sarah Palin, and Secretary of State Lindsey Graham. All of that was baked in the cake, and none of it has even a little bit to do with the details of the agreement.

There has been enormous pressure on the administration to join in a regional sectarian fight on the side of the Sunnis against the Shiites, most pressingly in Syria’s civil war, but the administration has wriggled out of that trap and has so far allowed diplomacy to prevail against the desires of the warmongers.

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Diplomacy may or may not work in these cases, but at least it is being pursued. War should always be a last resort, and I’m glad we have an administration that understands that.

Steve Benen adds, Beltway pounces on diplomatic breakthrough:

Just a couple of months ago, with global tensions rising on U.S. policy towards Syria, the Obama administration scored an unexpected win. Over the course of several days, the Obama administration pushed Syria into the chemical weapons convention, helped create a framework to rid Syria of its stockpiles, successfully pushed Russia into a commitment to help disarm its own ally, quickly won support from the United Nations and our allies, and did all of this without firing a shot.

Republicans and the Beltway pundits were outraged. It was, they assured the public, a “fiasco” that left the president looking “weak.” It didn’t matter that the United States had advanced its interests through peaceful means; what mattered was the political establishment had been promised missile strikes and seemed bitterly disappointed when the plans were scrapped.

It’s hard not to get a sense of deja vu.

Top lawmakers on both side of the aisle on Sunday voiced skepticism about the newly struck agreement with Iran, and vowed to keep up the pressure with sanctions.

Senior members in both chambers said that, at first glance, Iran got the better end of the deal with western powers, China and Russia – effectively exchanging looser sanctions for very little progress in impeding Tehran’s nuclear capabilities.

Some powerful lawmakers have said they’re willing to seek new sanctions now, but delay their implementation until after the six months covered by the current deal. But others weren’t even willing to go that far.

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Yesterday’s commentary offered the public a variety: Republicans who were skeptical of the international breakthrough and Democrats who were skeptical of the international breakthrough. Though Dems weren’t willing to go nearly this far, some GOP policymakers raised the prospect of sabotaging U.S. foreign policy on purpose, imposing new sanctions that would scuttle the deal.

Given the reaction, a casual observer might start to think the West struck an awful deal that effectively gave away the store. There’s ample evidence to the contrary.

It’s true that the agreement is not a permanent, comprehensive solution, but it wasn’t intended to be – it’s a six-month deal. During that time, Iran will not only agree to stop enriching uranium beyond 5%, it will also scrap its stockpile that’s already been enriched to 20%, while halting work on a heavy-water reactor and allowing an inspections process to begin. In exchange, some sanctions will be temporarily eased, offering Iran a modest economic boost.

Fred Kaplan explained, “The Iranian nuclear deal struck Saturday night is a triumph. It contains nothing that any American, Israeli, or Arab skeptic could reasonably protest. Had George W. Bush negotiated this deal, Republicans would be hailing his diplomatic prowess, and rightly so.” (It is, in fact, a deal Bush/Cheney could have negotiated a decade ago, had the Republican administration not been in such a rush to label Iran part of an “axis of evil.”)

What’s more, let’s note that as of last week this agreement enjoyed 2-to-1 support from the American mainstream.

The Beltway complaints are predictable, but unnecessary. Diplomatic solutions need not be reflexively condemned as impractical, and peaceful resolutions need not be criticized as weak. The next steps will certainly be more difficult, and the delicate framework may yet collapse, but for now, this appears to be a deal that advances U.S. interests and puts more distance between Tehran and a nuclear-weapons program.

Finally, Mark Fitzpatrick, Director of the Non-proliferation and Disarmament Programme writes at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) today, The surprisingly good Geneva deal:

The deal reached in the early hours of the morning in Geneva on 24 November was better than I had expected, and better than would have been the case without France’s last-day intervention at the previous round two weeks earlier. I spent much of Sunday making the rounds of TV studios and fielding print-media interviews, explaining why opponents in Israel, the Gulf and US Congress should overcome their scepticism. The more I studied the deal, the more apparent it became to me that those who knock it probably did not want any agreement at all – at least not any deal that was within the realm of possibility.

The Geneva agreement is a good deal because Iran’s capabilities in every part of the nuclear programme of concern are capped, with strong verification measures. The terms require that for the next six months, no more centrifuges can be added, none of the advanced models that were previously installed can be turned on, the stockpiles of enriched uranium cannot increase, and work cannot progress on the research reactor at Arak, which is of concern because of the weapons-grade plutonium that would be produced there. Going well beyond normal verification rules, inspectors will be able to visit the key facilities on a daily basis and even have access to centrifuge production and assembly sites.

Moreover, the most worrisome part of the programme is being rolled back. Iran is suspending 20% enrichment, which is on the cusp of being weapons-usable, and neutralising the existing stockpile of 20% product, half through conversion to oxide form and half through blending down. Although the P5+1 had earlier asked for the stockpile to be exported, these measures will virtually accomplish the same purpose by eliminating the stockpile. Reversing these measures would take time.

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A final deal, which is to be negotiated within the next six months, may produce dismantlement of some facilities, such as the enrichment plant at Fordow. It is regrettable that the Geneva deal did not require decommissioning of that deeply buried facility. Persuading Iran to take this step would have required more sanctions relief than the six powers were willing to offer this time.

As it was, most of the compromises undertaken at Geneva were made by the Iranian negotiators. In addition to freezing enrichment, Iran bent to the two conditions that France insisted upon earlier this month: agreeing to halt construction of the Arak reactor and to forgo its long-standing demand for recognition of a right to enrichment. On the latter issue, the two sides employed classic diplomatic fudge by each claiming a different interpretation. Most of the fudging is taking place in Tehran, because the agreement obviously does not include the word ‘right’. What Iran can cling to is the clear indication that enrichment will continue in some degree, now and later. Allowing some level of enrichment was inevitable, even if it is not specified as a right.

The sanctions relief that Iran will receive from these concessions is real, but relatively minor: about US$7 billion. Meanwhile, Iran will continue to lose US$30bn over the next six months in lost oil sales because of the continuing bite of oil sanctions. The fear that the entire sanctions regime will now collapse because some minor elements of it have been relaxed is not grounded in reality.

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In addition to media interviews on Sunday, I offered commentary about the deal on Twitter, with an impact that surprised me. My tweets were retweeted dozens of times and one went viral with almost 200 retweets and counting.There was also a fair amount of hostile mail, naturally, but some netizens commented that although they shared Israel’s scepticism, they trusted my vote of confidence in the deal.

In my last tweet I noted my discomfort in rebutting, on three BBC programs, Israel’s exaggerated criticisms about the deal. I can understand Israel’s concerns and I usually back what Israel has to say about Iran. This time, however, Netanyahu’s government is wrong to condemn a deal that stops Iran’s nuclear capabilities. Seeking to undermine the deal would bring benefit to no party except those who prefer war.

Well said. Unfortunately the U.S. has entrenched interests with a vested financial interest in maintaining wars and the threats of wars.

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