Finding another Way

There are many applications of what has been known as the Irresistible Force Paradox: What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? Well in this case the President of the United States and his minions have worked hard not only to enact the JCPOA; Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, but to fashion the agreement by the other P5 + 1 members of the Security Council and a subsequent 15 to 0 vote by the entire United Nations Security Council as an immovable reality that should not be challenged let alone overturned because the process of its passage has changed reality enough to make it simply too dangerous to mess around with.

However there are those beginning with the Prime Minister of Israel and his Opposition Leader who believe that the Deal with Iran amounts to a bad deal and that it must be rejected because it leaves nuclear facilities in Iran, nuclear capacity to wait ten years, the ability to cheat once again through a “managed access” formula for inspection of fifty or more military sites and the investigation of secret sites and hands the Islamic Republic of Iran $150 billion in sanction relief and the ability to virtually mint money through the sale of oil and gas and its other minerals.

Bob Corker the newly elected Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Ranking Member Ben Cardin has created a process that gives the Congress sixty days to review and approve or disapprove of the Deal. While the Republicans have the votes in both Houses to vote it down, they may not have the votes to override a promised Presidential veto.

The stakes are singularly high because as much as it involves the legacy of President Obama it also involves the future of the Middle East, how not only the United States but the United Nations deals with the existential threat of a nuclear armed Iran, whether the Sunni states accept the deal or begin their own nuclear development in its aftermath and whether Iran’s regional fundamentalist activity as the world’s largest exporter of terror should affect/change the nature of expectations and the terms of any agreement?

On top of this, all sides, (and there are more than two), have resorted and likely will continue to resort to name calling and worse with the President responding to attacks on his deal by calling those against it warmongers who supported the failed American invasion of Iraq, (which has hung a $trillion, (that’s right T), price tag around their heads and a cost in lives lost and lives decimated by IED’s that is nearly unfathomable, (and that doesn’t even touch the cost to Iraq and others).

It is possible, maybe even likely that the President will find a way to hold onto enough Democrats to preserve his deal. Or maybe the slow drip drip drip in information like reports on Monday of Iran using bulldozers to sanitize in Parchin military site may overwhelm all the Presidents efforts and cause his veto to be overridden. There are holes in the deal that effect its function, what happens after ten years and if, when and what actually happens when Iran is caught cheating. But the deal has been approved 15 to 0 in the Security Council before any Congressional action. And Security Council members are lining up beginning with Germany, whose Foreign Minister has already traveled to and back from Iran.

Russia wants to sell Iran missiles even as China offers a fleet of military jets and a company known as Boeing is waiting in the wings to complete its own deal to bring Iran’s commercial airline industry up to date through the sale of 400 new jets. So the ability to reject the deal and start over again while probably not resulting in war as the President warns would not go over well with an international community that is licking its chops to begin trade with a new and virtually the last international market of 81 million Iranians.

There are harsh words on the other side as well. It would not be beyond imagination that at tonight’s two Republican Presidential debates sponsored by Fox news the candidates may have something if not memorable, at the very least memorably barbed to say against the deal.

So it appears to be a WWF; World Wrestling Federation Smack-down in which both sides have done/are busy poisoning the water and making damn sure that they leave their opponents beaten and weary and maybe even outcast on the fringe of the ring. One side wins and the other loses in a battle that seems assured to limit the ability to achieve the best deal by taking all alternatives off the table and forcing an up or down vote that leaves the control on Iranian nuclear development shattered by design.

Well, that ain’t good enough! It isn’t good enough for the United States. It isn’t good enough for Israel. It isn’t good enough for the United Nations. And it isn’t even good enough for Iran. The only viable way forward is to enhance the deal. And the only way to do that is for a bipartisan coalition in the Senate and House to generate the votes to override a Presidential veto and utilize them instead to twist the Presidents arm enough to create common ground where both sides, (all sides), are working together to improve the deal enough to answer the short term and long term questions for Israel, the Saudis, Europe and the United States in the affirmative.

Nobody wants to work together. It’s been Republican versus Democrat every single day of Barack Obama’s Presidency by the mission of the other Party. But this is life and death on an international playing field and that requires the parties including Israel and the Saudis and the Americans and the Russians and the Chinese and Europe to play well enough to work to secure the future of our planet together.

About the Author
Larry Snider is President of the Interfaith Community for Middle East Peace, an NGO based in Philadelphia that brings the faiths together to learn about and from each other and to build a new constituency for Middle East Peace.
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