I have been very concerned that the President, in conjunction with the P-5 +1, will strike a bad deal with the Iranians regarding the ongoing nuclear arms negotiations. It seems to me like this has been an asymmetric dialogue. It started with the Iranians under siege with the crippling sanctions in place. They came to the table as a result of it. We then took the “boot off their necks” and gave them a new baseline of demands they wanted to leave with at minimum.
Negotiating is an art and not a science. There are rarely any full winners at the end of the day. Both sides should feel that they lost something or else the negotiations were not successful for one side, leading to severe animus and a future breaking of the deal soon after.
So, one needs to know their position at the negotiating table and prioritize those items that are simply unacceptable to give up. For the United States and their partners, they could never accept a nuclear armed Iran…ever! Yes, I said ever. The reason is logical and does not need extraordinary intellect to come to that conclusion.
The Iranians are a state sponsor or terrorism, they are gobbling up Arab land by the day, and they continue to state that their aim is to destroy the State of Israel. This alone creates a situation, where the nuclear arm’s deal with the Iranians having breakout capacity, is not mutually exclusive to the the ending of the Iranian’s bad behavior. For a good deal to occur, these concerns must be addressed as final good deal will come down to trust and motive.
I say when someone says something, believe them. Well, why should we close our eyes to the Mullahs in Iran when they are telegraphing their intentions?
The Americans and their partners should only put on the table the ability for Iran to become part of the international community of nations. If Iran has no nuclear ambitions, and they really want only nuclear power, then why won’t they reduce their centrifuges and stop their intercontinental ballistic missile program? The answer is obvious. If Iran is truthful in their motives, then the world can supply them with nuclear material to run their reactors for energy. Likewise, Iran should be allowed to enjoy free trade with the world community so that their economy starts to thrive and makes life better for their people.
I think this is the baseline for any deal. Now all you need is perseverance and strength at the table and be comfortable to walk away from the “Persian bazaar” until they realize their position. They will come back. It is a risk worth taking compared to the alternative.
However, even though I support The Israeli, Sunni Arab and GOP position regarding having no deal rather than a bad deal, the manner that the Republicans went about it on March 9th was very damaging to the office of the President. In my humble opinion, it was as close to a treasonous act as I have seen in a while.
Although people might be very concerned (and rightfully) about President Obama’s handling of the “so called” deal so far, that does not mean that we have 545 other negotiators from the Congress. Never before have I seen a more crippling and embarrassing ploy against our one leader tasked to negotiate foreign policy.
I can make the case that the GOP (those who signed the open letter to Iran) have damaged the good name of the United States they presume to represent. Optically, they make any President’s signature on a foreign policy document not worth the ink it was written on. In the future, why would any country believe our President’s word if the Congress can publicly take a bat and hit him below the knees? Could you imagine the uproar if a Republican President was treated this way by a Democratic led Congress?
At the end of the day, this is mostly about the politics of hate and dysfunction. I fault, to some extent, the President for not consulting enough with Benjamin Netanyahu and the GOP led Congress. However, no amount of the lack of stylistic negotiations should ever condone sedition by the other part of government in an area that for 200 plus years was always in the domain of the President. Let’s not be fooled that this is also the GOP’s long standing goal to deny most anything the President is looking to achieve, even at the peril of the best interest of the country.
The GOP has an important role in these negotiations. They need to stop acting like petulant children, start working with the President in private, and talk frankly with him about not being fooled by the false charm behind the Iranian’s evil inner intent.