Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Real Argument Against the Iran Deal // Josh Marshall

Just to make my bias clear: we have without admitting it greatly increased Iran's power by removing Saddam Hussein.  Iran - if it continues to be a non-nuclear weapon state - will improve its economy and reduce its isolation.  That has a lot of pluses - but Israel's leadership apparently prefers a weak Iran and a strong Saudi Arabia.  I'm no Mid-East expert but I find a lot more appeal in Iranian culture than Saudi.  There is a democratic modern movement that is strong.  They make good movies and educate women.  I lean toward them.  - gwc
The Real Argument
by Josh Marshall

The best argument against the nuclear deal is that it is better to keep Iran as a pariah state, with an abiding mutual hostility with the world's great power, the United States, and still enfeebled by US sanctions, even at the risk of Iran building a handful of nuclear weapons. For the way many Saudis see the world this isn't only the best argument, it's actually a decent argument. For the Israelis, it's considerably more complex. But there's some logic to it there as well. I certainly do not blame the Israelis for vastly preferring a world where Iran has zero nuclear weapons - let's not forget: THAT'S WHAT THIS DEAL DOES. 
But Israel's generals do not think Iran will launch an unprovoked first strike against Israel to bring on the end times. That's not Israel's real problem. Setting aside the abiding issue of the Palestinian conflict, Israel's real problem is that Iran subsidizes and arms proxy armies to Israel north and south. The situation with Hamas and Gaza is considerably more complex than that. But with Hezbollah it very much captures the situation. Hezbollah is a vastly more lethal force than anything Hamas has or can do in Gaza. In any case, it is obviously a complex reality. But the point is simple enough: a legitimized and wealthier Iran which does not change its behavior presents real challenges to all its neighbors.

Now, when I say this is the best argument, I'm not saying it's a good argument. I think it's shortsighted and based more on emotion than reason. But it's an argument that has a logic behind it and one that does not rely on nonsensical or tendentious claims. It's just one that few are willing to argue out loud.

With Benjamin Netanyahu, there's little reason to think he has a Plan B or a rational plan for what comes afterwards if he wins this battle. Nothing about the man would suggest he does. He's all tactics, with little thought for what comes decades, let alone years later. Everything is for the moment.

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