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Big splash in the news today following the Wall Street Journal report Obama Wrote Secret Letter to Iran’s Khamenei About Fighting Islamic State.
Obama's exact letter has not been published (yet), but the subject matter includes shared interests in combating ISIS coupled with hope of progress on nuclear talks.
The Journal reports "cooperation on Islamic State was largely contingent on Iran reaching a comprehensive agreement with global powers on the future of Tehran’s nuclear program by a Nov. 24 diplomatic deadline" according to correspondents briefed on the letter.
As with Russia more recently, the sanctions against Iran did not work, and will never work. Sanctions in general don't work, period.
The Republican response is as one might expect. Worse yet, Senators Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) and Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) introduced bipartisan legislation to intensify sanctions.
“The best way to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon is to quickly pass the bipartisan Menendez-Kirk legislation—not to give the Iranians more time to build a bomb,” Mr. Kirk said Wednesday.
Good Idea to Open Dialog with Iran?
Was Obama's letter to Iran a good idea? Of course it was. Dialog is generally a good idea. Obama's letter opening up discussions with Iran is one of the few things he has done right.
Of course, this dialog comes on the heels of unwise sanctions, so all it does is get us back to where we should have been years ago.
In the meantime though, the odds of success have improved dramatically.
The Journal reports "U.S.-Iran relations have thawed considerably over the past year, following the election of President Hasan Rouhani. He and Mr. Obama shared a 15-minute phone call in September 2013, and Messrs. Kerry and Zarif have regularly held direct talks on the nuclear diplomacy and regional issues."
Instead of viewing dialog as an opportunity, Republican and Democrat economic illiterates attacked Obama.
The result was foolish bipartisan cooperation culminating in Menendez-Kirk legislation.
Lovely. Rest assured whenever Democrats and Republicans in Congress act fast on anything, the result can never be good.
Race is On
The race to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory is on. Can Obama secure a deal with Iran before November 24? Will the deadline be extended?
Will the above questions be moot thanks to unusual bipartisan cooperation?
Behind all the hyperbole, one has to wonder if Obama has a hidden agenda.
If sanctions on Iran lift, the price of crude will likely sink further. In turn, that would hurt Russia pretty badly.
For further discussion, please see Ruble Slide Continues; Russia Forced to Abandon Currency Intervention as Reserves Dwindle.
Right for Wrong Reason?
Obama and McCain have been somewhat united on sanctions on Russia, with McCain accusing Obama of not doing nearly enough.
So even if Obama is doing the right thing, I have to wonder if he is doing the right thing for all of the right reasons.
Regardless, the right thing is the right thing, and for that, Obama sees bipartisan legislation in the opposite direction.
Such is the extremely sorry state of US foreign policy.
History Lesson on Sanction Criminality
Many will disagree with my thoughts on dialog with Iran and sanctions. They are wrong.
One of the best posts I have ever seen on the idiocy of sanctions was a guest post on ZeroHedge, whose origin is the Tanosborn Online article Sanctions: Diplomatic Weapons of Mass Criminality.
I highly encourage everyone to click on and read link in entirety.
Here are a few snips:
Obama finds himself looking at Russia in much the same way as FDR did looking at Japan in 1941. In July 1941 the US imposed an oil embargo on Japan, demanding that it get out of China, de facto curbing any hegemonic aspirations or influence that nation might have or hope to have in Asia. The economic reality forced by the American sanctions on Japan left the Land of the Rising Sun with just two options in the summer-fall of 1941: surrender its aspirations or resort to war.Sanction Idiocy
Seventy-three years later, America once again inflicts economic sanctions on another nation, Russia; a nation solely trying to defend its borders, perhaps also exercising the natural desire to influence, help create economic synergy in the Eurasian geopolitical region. Those aspirations of self-preservation and economic success should be judged at face value, and not antagonistically, as the US is now doing with extreme, venomous propaganda.
Sanctions are just another form of warfare, where the weapons can inflict destruction and pain, and be just as explosive.
One thing we can be sure of in modern times: sanctions will prove to yield long term ill will, in many cases providing multiplying seeds of vengeance and terrorism which we may not confront now but our children and their children certainly will. America has for decades plowed and seeded hostility with sanctions in fertile grounds where terrorism will thrive and come back to haunt us. And, foolishly, the US continues this idiotic practice.
America does not need a Sanctioner-in-Chief enacting foolish edicts from the White House, but a leader in international cooperation, a leader that will safeguard this nation’s safety and legitimate interests, but also respect other nations… and their legitimate interests.
As of right now, the US has de facto declared war in Russia… and, unless Obama lifts the sanctions now in-place, the economic fate in Russia will soon likely determine that nation’s willingness to bet all its nuclear chips and call America’s bet at the political international poker table.
If you think I am wrong about sanctions, please read the article again and again until you comprehend. It provides a much needed history lesson on the idiocy of economic sanctions.
One more point: Events today have nothing in common with Hitler's "Final Solution" including a master race and extermination of Jews, so spare me the comparisons about Chamberlain ceding territory for peace.
Events today are a direct result of US meddling in Ukraine internal affairs with the usual bad consequences.
I strive to change opinions of others who see things differently, and Sanctions: Diplomatic Weapons of Mass Criminality is one of the best written arguments against sanctions I have ever seen.
Want more on the idiocy of sanctions? I can oblige: Mish Sanction Articles.
By the way, I had written everything above that snip and everything that follows before I read the article. My position on sanctions has not changed one bit as my previous articles show.
Question of Degree
Without a doubt, Obama is a warmonger. He is just not as big of a warmonger as Republican Senators McCain and Kirk, or Democrats Hillary Clinton and Senator Robert Menendez.
Unfortunately, the mid-term elections do not bode well for peace. Nor do prospects of Hillary winning the 2016 Democratic nomination.
Hillary is every bit as bad as McCain. Political aspirations demand that position. They are a pair of like minds, made in hell, differing only on some social agendas.
As I said, Prepare for War: Obama Asks Congress for ISIS War Authorization; Republican Hawks Have War Plan Prepared; Clinton-McCain?!
Mike "Mish" Shedlock