Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Pew poll finds only 38% approve of nuclear deal with Iran

A new Pew poll finds that only 38% approve of President Obama's nuclear deal with Iran.

"More Americans disapprove than approve of the deal struck last week by the U.S., Iran and five other nations to limit Iran’s nuclear program: Among the 79% of Americans who have heard about the agreement, just 38% approve, while 48% disapprove (14% do not offer an opinion).

"There is widespread skepticism about aspects of the agreement, particularly the Iranian leadership’s commitment to the terms of the deal: Most of those familiar with the agreement say they have not too much (35%) or no confidence at all (38%) that Iran’s leaders will uphold their side of the agreement. And while there is greater confidence in the U.S. and international agencies’ ability to monitor Iran’s compliance, 54% are not too (33%) or not at all (21%) confident, while a smaller share (45%) express at least a fair amount of confidence in their ability.

"Views about the agreement’s effect on U.S.-Iranian relations also are split: Though a plurality (42%) of those who have heard about the deal say there will be little change, about as many think relations between the two nations will worsen (28%) as think they will improve (25%) as a result of the agreement," the Pew poll states.

I have to wonder what Obama thinks he achieved. Khamenei remains as combative as ever and he will now have $100 to $150 billion to buy a new arsenal of conventional weapons to beef up the wars he has been holding with Sunnis to the north of Arabia in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, and to the south in Yemen.

It seems to me that while the so-called negotiations were going on, Iran's position continuously improved and now represents a new direct threat to all Arabs in the Arabian Peninsula. Indeed, arguably Obama handed Arabia to Khamenei in a silver platter.

The State Department itself has designated Iran as a "sponsor of terrorism." Saudi Arabia is populated mainly by extremist Wahhabis, whose leaders in the House of Wahhab are longtime partners of the House of Saud. Don't forget that 15 of the 9/11 19 terrorists were Saudis.

What makes the Iran nuclear deal so dangerous is that all it does is to eventually place nuclear weapons in the hands of fanatics, and in the short term more conventional weapons.

Let’s get some perspective on what it means to be a religion of peace. Jesus was a man of peace; occasionally someone under his influence has shown their uglier human side and strayed, but that in no way changed the fact that Christianity was founded as a religion of peace to save man from himself. Mohammad was the complete opposite, a man driven by conquest.

I think our problem dealing with radical Islam is that we look at it just as a religion. At one level it is that, but radical Islam is also a political movement. The real problems arise when Muslims and we mix the two. Let's start with the fact that the prophet Muhammad was also a warrior and conqueror. Already in his lifetime he led a conflict with Mecca that culminated in its conquest and later that of the whole of Arabia.

This was a man that most definitely mixed religion with the politics of conquest, or if you prefer, forceful proselytizing, including that he might have created and used religion to control better those that he led.

If you read history you know that Muhammad’s followers set out to conquer methodically the lands around them; then parts of Europe, notably Al-Andalus consisting of most of Spain and Portugal; and they even knocked at the doors of Rome. Later, with the fall of Constantinople in 1453, the Roman Empire of the East became the Islamic Ottoman Empire that at one point reached from Algiers and Budapest in the West and North, to Baghdad and major parts of Arabia including Mecca and Medina in the East.

This mixing of the politics of conquest with religion as the instrument to hold the conquered lands together, is in very sharp contrast with the Christian attitude, that started with Jesus himself, of "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's."

Christianity and radical Islam are thus not really comparable, other than technically as sets of rules to govern human behavior. One is a religion of peace and salvation, the other of subjugation.

It has been the policy of the West since the breakup of the Ottoman Empire after the first World War to maintain the larger peace in that region, an objective that became paramount with the discovery of massive oil reserves on which the West and even Asia came to depend so heavily. First the Brits and French took on the job and then the United States.

Towards the end of last century the Iranians began racing to get a nuclear weapon because the Arabs were attacking them from both flanks, Saddam from the West and the Saudis from Afghanistan. Thus the placement of large NATO forces all around the periphery of Iran. Bush was successful in having Iran discontinue its nuclear program until the Democrats made clear that there would not be continuity in U.S. policy if they came into power.

The U.S. was not alone. Because it was about protecting the longer term supply of oil, not just NATO but the Asians provided troops, equipment or help of some sort. Israel had always been a beacon of what democracy has to offer. Obama threw out that policy and instead turned to relying on one of sweet talking the parties.

If you ask me I'd say Obama and his administration have no clue of the internal dynamics of that region.

The mistake some make in judging events is confusing short term events with longer term dynamics. What Obama has done is, for better or for worse, I think worse given the history of that region, allow a major shift in the longer term balance of power, and thus a massive disruption in the dynamics of the region.

Indeed Obama poured gas on the fire. Obama's arguments of the last few days just distract from the one thing that is now a certainty, and that is that he allowed a change in the dynamic and balance of forces that had existed and that had helped maintain the larger peace.

Let's remember that there have been very serious divisions between the Persians and the Arabs for thousands of years, and that these are now very much aggravated by a deep religious divide between Sunnis and Shias. The prospect that the region will now go nuclear is almost terrifying to countenance.

Worse, with the lifting of the conventional arms embargo Obama is allowing the ongoing wars to escalate, and he is further allowing that escalation to culminate with nuclear weapons, if not now then in a few short years.

If the agreement is as great as Obama says it is, then why didn't he say in his speech Tuesday morning that he would embark on a campaign to show the people why it's good, but instead he immediately raised the veto warning?

People should realize that Iran got far more than a nuclear deal that favors them. The negotiations were supposed to be strictly about nuclear weapons yet at the last minute the Iranians brought up conventional weapons and the U.S. turned over the whole kitchen to them. They can now buy anything they want.

The lifting of sanctions was also supposed to cover just the nuclear area yet the Iranians insisted so much, again at the last minute, that all sanctions are being lifted, including those on the Quds force of the Revolutionary Guards, you know, the ones that concoct terrorist acts throughout the world, are fighting on Assad's side, and provide missiles to Hezbollah and Hamas for use against Israel.

The Iranians were very clever negotiators. They kept giving Obama a taste of very near "victory"--meaning a deal, any deal--and then at the last minute when Kerry and Obama were exhausted and hungry for any deal, they sprung the conventional weapons and sanctions trap and they bit.

Let the sun shine on the truth. There would not be so many people opposed if it were really the great agreement Obama says it is, but then Obama doesn't have a particularly good reputation for telling the truth.

We are pretty much where we started. Iran will continue its nuclear quest. Obama was true to form: he got a deal, any deal, just not the one that would have stopped Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

The Obama administration looked like amateurs negotiating against pros. And as if that weren't bad enough, Obama chose to tie his hands behind his back to boot (any type of military enforcement is off the table as well as Iran's terrorist aims).

Obama and Kerry couldn't even negotiate the release of the several American hostages the Iranians are holding as a sign of good faith!

Today there is a new Middle East, one where a nuclear arms race is about to get underway. For nearly one hundred years the West helped keep the area relatively peaceful, first with British and French help, and then after WWII with that of the United States.

Obama changed all of that. We've been watching revolutions and more recently wars in many places, and that is just the beginning. With nuclear powers in the region the real show will soon begin.

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