Saturday, August 8, 2015

Schumer's Iran Stance

I considered that maybe Chuck Schumer was taking the position against the Iran deal for political purposes and James Fallows is of that opinion as well. I was confident that Schumer's years in the Senate had given him the ability to count votes.

How can a powerful Democrat’s opposition be a good sign? Because it suggests that Schumer has already calculated that the administration can do without his vote.

Congress would have to override the veto, which requires a two-thirds majority in both chambers—and this is what the Democrats, even in their diminished numbers, should still be able to blockwith some votes to spare.

Schumer doesn’t put it this way, but obviously he is hoping that one of those spare votes will be his. His life will be easier in many ways—in minimizing hassle during his upcoming reelection run in New York, and thus maximizing his efforts to help other Democratic candidates so that he has a chance of becoming Senate majority rather than minority leader—if he doesn’t have to spend time explaining away a vote for the deal to his conservative and AIPAC-aligned constituents. If the deal goes through despite Schumer’s opposition, people who support the deal won’t care, and those who oppose it can blame evil Barack rather than valiant Chuck.

Gotta love realpolitik!

More Fallows on Iran in his coverage of the president's defense of the plan. 

The real-world context for Obama’s certainty on these points is his knowledge that in the rest of the world, this agreement is not controversial at all.

Imagine that.

There is practically no other big strategic point on which the U.S., Russia, and China all agree—but they held together on this deal. (“I was surprised that Russia was able to compartmentalize the Iran issue, in light of the severe tensions that we have over Ukraine,” Obama said.) The French, Germans, and British stayed together too, even though they don’t always see eye-to-eye with America on nuclear issues. High-stakes measures don’t often get through the UN Security Council on a 15-0 vote; this deal did.

And the loyal opposition?

The fact that there is a robust debate in Congress is good,” he said in our session. “The fact that the debate sometimes seems unanchored to facts is not so good. ... [We need] to return to some semblance of bipartisanship and soberness when we approach these problems.” (I finished this post while watching the Fox News GOP debate, which gave “semblance of bipartisanship and soberness” new meaning.)

Obama's beliefs on the results of the deal.

Iran is the latest expression of a deep, ancient, powerful culture that’s different than ours. And we don’t know how it’s going to play itself out. But as I said before, it’s not necessary for us to be optimistic in order for us to assess the value of this deal. If you believe that Tehran will not change, and the latest version of the current supreme leader is in charge 10, 15 years from now … you’d still want this deal. In fact, you want this deal even more.

The fantasy, the naiveté, the optimism, is to think that we reject this deal and somehow it all solves itself with a couple of missile strikes—that is not sound foreign policy.

There's too much to pick and choose from so just go read it all and anything else that Fallows has written on Iran or anything else. 

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