The reactions to the deal between the P5+1 nations and Iran have been predictable. The most vociferous opponents have been the Republican party who have dutifully brought out the Munich appeasement analogy that seems to be now the standard trope for any foreign policy deal negotiated by the Obama administration. Then of course Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke out in apocalyptic terms, calling the deal a ‘historic mistake’, and this is usually the precursor to him extorting even more aid from the US in order to keep him quiet until he next feels the need for more aid. This was even predicted on July 14, 2015 by the satirical site The Onion.
Following Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s heated objections to the nuclear deal struck between the United States and Iran, American officials announced Tuesday that they were calming the upset head of government by treating him to a nice, big shipment of ballistic missiles. “Bibi always gets a little cranky when he sees us talking to Iran, but a few dozen short-range surface-to-surface missiles usually cheer him right up,” said State Department spokesperson Daniel Goldman, adding that the shipment of MGM-140 ATACMS missiles should be enough to settle the sullen Israeli leader down at least for the deal’s crucial early implementation stages. “Of course, we try not to spoil him by giving him a whole new tactical ballistics delivery system every single time he throws a fit, but our guy’s pretty good at getting his way. At least we’ll have a couple months of peace and quiet around here.” Goldman went on to say that the U.S. was saving its shipment of missile defense system components in case Netanyahu got worked up during Israel-Palestine peace negotiations later this year.
There are already reports that Defense Secretary Ashton Carter made promises of a huge arms shipment on his current visit to Israel, though it will be officially denied for the present and not announced until some time has passed, to avoid revealing the obvious shakedown of the US by Israel that takes place over and over again.
The Israel lobby has swung into action in the US and Philip Weiss rounds up their reactions. But they are facing a tougher sell this time around because the US public is generally in favor of the deal despite some reservations and some of the leaders of the lobby in the Congress such as New York senator Chuck Schumer are wavering. Even California senator Diane Feinstein criticized the negativity of the Israeli reaction, saying:
Well, I’ve been very disappointed in Israel’s position, candidly. I don’t think they have given this agreement even a chance. They have been opposed to any agreement for a long, long time. Secondly, if Israel were to attack Iran, Iran would respond. The Middle East today is the most troubled it’s been in my lifetime, and I have followed this closely. And so the survival of the state of Israel as a Jewish democratic state depends on all of us supporting an Israel that wants to solve problems, not make more problems.
Another unhappy camper is Saudi Arabia because they want to be a major military power in the region and are determined to prevent Iran from gaining more influence and become a rival. So we are likely to see Carter offering some bribes to them too in the form of heavy weaponry, because whatever happens in the world the US solution is to distribute more weapons. It has the benefit of also keeping the massive US arms industry well fed and happy.
It is also amusing how the critics of the deal warn that Iran cannot be trusted to keep their end of the deal and may secretly renege on its agreements. These critics conveniently overlook that fact that the US is hardly the model of trustworthiness in its international dealings and in fact the person often referred to as Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamanei has explicitly warned that some of the P5+1 nations are not to be trusted, mirroring the criticisms of Iran made here. He did not name the nations but given the ugly role that the US and UK have played in undermining democracy in Iran, it is not hard to guess whom he is referring to.
Critics also claim that easing the sanctions on Iran will enable that country to meddle in the affairs on other nations in the region by providing more support to those groups that that are involved in fighting in the region. This is rich given that the US is the nation that is meddling so much, invading and bombing country after country.
But applying logic and principles consistently in international affairs has never been a strong point of establishment discourse in the US where the rule is to first identify your enemy and then paint them as having evil motives and yourself as having good ones.