Tag Archives: Iran Nuclear Agreement

Progressives: The Real World vs. Neverland, by David C. Stolinsky

Faith, hope, and pixie dust is not much of a political philosophy. From David C. Stolinsky at gatestoneinstitute.org:

  • Many of these children in adult bodies were told, and actually believed, that better health care for everyone, including an unlimited number of illegal immigrants, would be attainable at a low cost, if only the government were to run it.
  • Many children in adult bodies also seem not to know that Socialism failed in the Soviet Union, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Romania, Albania, Bulgaria, China, North Korea, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and Cuba, and is now failing in Venezuela. The irrational wish is evidently stronger than rational arithmetic.
  • These victims of arrested emotional development seem to confuse good motives with good results. They want better health care for a greater number of people at a lesser cost; so they fantasize that they can achieve it without denying care to those who are too old, too sick or too expensive to receive it. They kind-heartedly want a “more equal distribution of wealth”; so they fantasize that they can maneuver it without penalizing and discouraging the productive members of society, while rewarding and encouraging the unproductive ones.

“Not to know what happened before you were born is to remain forever a child,” Cicero astutely observed. For many self-described progressives today, however, this seems not to be a drawback. On the contrary, like adolescents — insisting that they are grown-ups when their parents get in the way of their fun, but then running home for all their basic needs and creature comforts — such people seem to give no thought to the past and equally little to the future.

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Why Trump Cancelled the Iran Deal, by Eric Zuesse

Trump is aligning with Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, and Israel to maintain US economic and financial preeminence, which means opposing Iran at every juncture. From Eric Zuesse at strategic-culture.org:

The following is entirely from open online sources that I have been finding to be trustworthy on these matters in the past. These sources will be linked-to here; none of this information is secret, even though some details in my resulting analysis of it will be entirely new.

It explains how and why the bottom-line difference between Donald Trump and Barack Obama, regarding US national security policies, turns out to be their different respective estimations of the biggest danger threatening the maintenance of the US dollar as the world’s leading or reserve currency. This has been the overriding foreign-policy concern for both Presidents.

Obama placed as being the top threat to the dollar, a breakaway of the EU (America’s largest market both for exports and for imports) from alliance with the United States. He was internationally a Europhile. Trump, however, places as being the top threat to the dollar, a breakaway of Saudi Arabia and of the other Gulf Arab oil monarchies from the U.S. Trump is internationally a Sunni-phile: specifically a protector of fundamentalist Sunni monarchs — but especially of the Sauds themselves — and they hate Shia and especially the main Shia nation, Iran.

Here’s how that change, to Saudi Arabia as being America’s main ally, has happened — actually it’s a culmination of decades. Trump is merely the latest part of that process of change. Here is from the US State Department’s official historian, regarding this history:

By the 1960s, a surplus of US dollars caused by foreign aid, military spending, and foreign investment threatened this system [the FDR-established 1944 Bretton Woods gold-based US dollar as the world’s reserve currency], as the United States did not have enough gold to cover the volume of dollars in worldwide circulation at the rate of $35 per ounce; as a result, the dollar was overvalued. Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson adopted a series of measures to support the dollar and sustain Bretton Woods: foreign investment disincentives; restrictions on foreign lending; efforts to stem the official outflow of dollars; international monetary reform; and cooperation with other countries. Nothing worked. Meanwhile, traders in foreign exchange markets, believing that the dollar’s overvaluation would one day compel the US government to devalue it, proved increasingly inclined to sell dollars. This resulted in periodic runs on the dollar.

To continue reading: Why Trump Cancelled the Iran Deal

 

Trump Confounds the Pundits, by Philip M. Giraldi

As Philip M. Giraldi sees it, Trump’s progression on diplomacy is two steps forward, one back. The agreement he eventually gets from North Korea may look a lot like the agreement he repudiated with Iran. From Giraldi at strategic-culture.org:

What will come out of this week’s summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un of North Korea remains to be seen, and one must hope for the best, but the bullets are already beginning to fly in the US media with The New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof declaring impulsively somewhat implausibly that Trump gave away the store by canceling military training exercises with South Korea and in legitimizing Jong-un’s rule by meeting with him without getting anything substantive in return.

Lost in the flood of news coming out of Singapore are Trump’s positive comments delivered at the earlier G-7 meeting in Canada, which may have opened the door to a possible meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and a return of Moscow to a reconfigured G-8. One hopes that China will soon also make it into the ultimate insiders’ club, which will have to be renamed G-9.

Washington’s most important relationship is with Moscow, and the possibility of détente should be welcomed by everyone who wishes to avoid a nuclear holocaust. But The Times’ Paul Krugman, among others, cannot overcome his visceral dislike for Russia, citing its “invasion” of Ukraine and its relatively small economy as good reasons to block its membership in a reconstituted G-8. He also suggests that Putin has some kind of “hold over Trump,” a serious charge that he cannot substantiate except by innuendo, also claiming that Trump is some kind of Quisling “who defended Russia while attacking our closest allies.” It is odd that Krugman, a Nobel laureate in Economic Sciences, chooses to ignore the fact that Moscow punches well above its weight both economically and politically while also sitting on what is presumed to be the world’s most resource-rich region in Siberia. Also, Krugman should do a fact check on who started what in Ukraine. He might be surprised to learn that it was the United States and its proxies.

The Krugman and Kristof excursions into fantasy demonstrate clearly how media punditry in the United States is a fascinating plant that grows in darkness. It is rarely fact-based, is never held accountable, and it is nearly always ideologically driven. Talking heads sitting across the right/libertarian divide are as bad as traditional liberals like Krugman and Kristof. Justin Raimondo, for example, praises Donald Trump’s performance in insulting and rebuffing the six other nations at the recently concluded G-7 Summit because those conniving non-Americans are relying on the United States to provide their defense so they can sit around all fat and happy. He calls them “Euro-weenies.”

To continue reading: Trump Confounds the Pundits

Senate Probe Exposes Obama’s Secret Iran Deal To Sidestep US Sanctions, by Tyler Durden

The Obama administration may have lied about enforcing financial sanctions on Iran after the Iranian Nuclear Agreement, which wouldn’t be surprising. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Seemingly not satisfied with airlifting billions in US taxpayer cash on pallets to Tehran, AP reports that the Obama administration secretly sought to give Iran access to the U.S. financial system by sidestepping sanctions kept in place after the 2015 nuclear deal, despite repeatedly telling Congress and the public it had no plans to do so.

An investigation by Senate Republicans released Wednesday that exposes the Obama administration’s politically-motivated actions to secretly offer help to Iran while withholding the truth from the American taxpayers about the extent of Washington’s handouts to Tehran. As AP reports,

The report by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations revealed that under President Barack Obama, the Treasury Department issued a license in February 2016, never previously disclosed, that would have allowed Iran to convert $5.7 billion it held at a bank in Oman from Omani rials into euros by exchanging them first into U.S. dollars. If the Omani bank had allowed the exchange without such a license, it would have violated sanctions that bar Iran from transactions that touch the U.S. financial system.

While issuing the license was not illegal, AP reports that it still went above and beyond what the Obama administration was required to do under the terms of the nuclear agreement.

Under that deal, the U.S. and world powers gave Iran billions of dollars in sanctions relief in exchange for curbing its nuclear program. Last month, President Donald Trump declared the U.S. was pulling out of what he described as a “disastrous deal.”

The license issued to Bank Muscat stood in stark contrast to repeated public statements from the Obama White House, the Treasury and the State Department, all of which denied that the administration was contemplating allowing Iran access to the U.S. financial system.

To continue reading: Senate Probe Exposes Obama’s Secret Iran Deal To Sidestep US Sanctions

Who Needs Enemies? by Raúl Ilargi Meijer

Will the Europeans go along with Iran sanctions or not? From Raúl Ilargi Meijer at theautomaticearth.com:

Obviously, there are tensions between Europe and the US. Just as obviously, these tensions are blamed on, who else, Donald Trump. European Council President Donald Tusk recently said: “With friends like Trump, who needs enemies?” EU Commission chair Jean-Claude Juncker even proclaimed that “Europe must take America’s place as global leader”.

These European ‘leaders’ love the big words. They think they make them look good, strong. In reality, they are merely messenger boys for Berlin and Paris. Who have infinitely more say than Brussels. Problem is, Berlin and Paris are not united at all. Macron wants more Europe, especially in finance, but Merkel knows she can’t sell that at home.

So what are those big words worth when the whip comes down? It’s amusing to see how different people reach wholly different conclusions about that. Instructive and entertaining. First, Alex Gorka at The Strategic Culture Foundation, who likes the big words too: “..a landmark event that will go down in history as the day Europe united to openly defy the US.”and “May 17 is the day the revolt started and there is no going back. Europe has said goodbye to trans-Atlantic unity. It looks like it has had enough.

 

Brussels Rises In Revolt Against Washington: A Turning Point In US-European Relations

The May 16-17 EU-Western Balkans summit did address the problems of integration, but it was eclipsed by another issue. The meeting turned out to be a landmark event that will go down in history as the day Europe united to openly defy the US. The EU will neither review the Iran nuclear deal (JPCOA) nor join the sanctions against Tehran that have been reintroduced and even intensified by America.

Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the JPCOA was the last straw, forcing the collapse of Western unity. The Europeans found themselves up against a wall. There is no point in discussing further integration or any other matter if the EU cannot protect its own members. But now it can.

[..] As European Council President Donald Tusk put it, “With friends like Trump, who needs enemies?” According to him, the US president has “rid Europe of all illusions.” Mr. Tusk wants Europe to “stick to our guns” against new US policies. Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of the EU Commission, believes that “Europe must take America’s place as global leader” because Washington has turned its back on its allies.

To continue reading: Who Needs Enemies?

With Iran sanctions Trump made Europeans look like the fools they are, by John Laughland

It’s not hard to make the European leadership look like fools, and Trump seems to excel at it. From John Laughland at rt.com:

The attacks by European leaders against US President Donald Trump are getting sharper by the day.

On the day Trump announced that he was ripping up the Iran deal, and that the US would impose sanctions on European companies trading with that country, the French finance minister Bruno Le Maire said that European states refused to be treated like “vassals” of the US.

At Aachen on 11 May, Emmanuel Macron effectively accused the US of blackmail.  On 17 May, the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, asked, “With friends like that (i.e. Trump), who needs enemies?

The temperature only rose further when the French energy giant Total announced that it would pull out of a multi-billion dollar gas deal with Iran unless European diplomacy succeeds in obtaining a specific waiver from US sanctions. Other European behemoths including Allianz and Siemens have also announced either that they will wind down operations in Iran or that they will not start any new ones.

These statements show that Trump’s decision is a slap in the face for the EU politically, economically and – perhaps above all – ideologically. Politically, because both Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel made special trips to Washington to plead with Trump, to no avail whatever.  Moreover, the EU is itself a signatory to the Iran deal, which it regards as a major diplomatic triumph from which it draws credibility: its disavowal by Trump is a deep insult to the diplomatic status of the EU as such.

Economically, because of the gigantic contracts which European companies could lose. For years, following the nearly $9 billion fine imposed by the US on Paribas in 2015, European companies and banks have been terrified of engaging in any business activity likely to attract the ire of the Americans. Deals with Russia, for instance, are shunned. The effect of this latest decision could be like many Paribas situations at once.

To continue reading: With Iran sanctions Trump made Europeans look like the fools they are

Unwarranted Hysteria: The Iranian Threat Is Inflated and Regional War Would Be a Disaster, by Danny Sjursen

After Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, there are still people, some in the highest reaches of the US government, who think the US can “take out” Iran and its probable allies, Russia and China, no problem. From Danny Sjursen at antiwar.com:

“The declared policy of the United States should be the overthrow of the mullahs’ regime in Tehran. The behavior and the objectives of the [Iranian] regime are not going to change and, therefore, the only solution is to change the regime itself. And that’s why, before 2019, we here will celebrate in Tehran!”

~ National Security Adviser John Bolton, 2017

America’s president is being advised by unhinged warmongers. Pay attention, folks – war with Iran is what men like Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu want, and, it’s war they might just get; consequences be damned! With President Trump scuttling the Iran nuclear deal and threatening to impose new sanctions – against the advice of every major European ally – war seems like a genuine, if horrifying, possibility.

Here’s a prediction: (though forecasting is always a dangerous game) President Trump will strike some sort of deal with already nuclear North Korea, vie for a Nobel Peace Prize, and then unleash the U.S. and Israeli military on non-nuclear Iran. The results will be catastrophic.

Israel, no doubt, wants war with Iran, and just this past week blasteddozens of Iranian military sites in Syria. If Netanyahu and his far-right cabal in Tel Aviv want a disastrous, destabilizing war, then let them have it. The problem is that Bibi is counting on big brother Donald Trump and the US to back his play and join the fray. But that war, an American-Iranian conflagration, is not inevitable and ill-advised. The president, a man who ran on a platform of no new “dumb wars” – like the Iraq invasion – and ought to stick to his campaign pledge.

Here’s the bottom line: 1) Iran is neither the threat nor the monster it is billed as; and 2) The actual conduct and results of a major war with the Islamic Republic would be disastrous.

Let’s start with the purported threat of Iran. We are told that Iran is a regional ogre, bent on Mideast dominance and the creation of a new Persian Empire. It is staunchly dedicated to the absolute annihilation of the state of Israel. This all makes for excellent propaganda but is just empirically false!

To continue reading: Unwarranted Hysteria: The Iranian Threat Is Inflated and Regional War Would Be a Disaster