Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Arkansas Sheik

Well Mr. Smith's doppelganger has managed to replace the worst thing Congress has done in the last 100 years, which in my humble opinion was to reject Wilson's League of Nations. And I guess we can't say for sure whether Tom Cotton, so proud of his every thought and action that he can't manage to see past his own glare, really did upstage Henry Cabot Lodge quite yet. It took fifteen years or so for the absence of the United States in the first world body of nations to yield the sparks that set the whole world ablaze. The talks are still on. Possibly the Iranians, who are far more educated and sophisticated about these matters than Mr. Cotton and his 46 buddies (our two NC Senators are of course on the list, natch), will realize that getting a diplomatic solution to a very sticky problem with no good end game is worth ignoring the spitballs from the peanut gallery of know nothings that now passes for our senior deliberative body, and one whole half of the Legislative Branch.

I've never seen anything worse than this appalling letter, written as though the people who we're negotiating with were Mongolians living in tents. The whole Iranian government has graduate degrees from western universities, many in the United States. Iran is Persia. Persia is one of the places, like Greece and Egypt, where our civilization was born three thousand years ago. We were the ones in tents when the Persians were battling Alexander the Great. We hadn't heard about it. We were hunting firewood to cook a sheep the wolves had killed.

If you want to see what a diplomat looks like, take a gander at Mr. Obama, who could somehow manage a civilized quip in the face of the news that the Senate had tossed the biggest spanner they could find into the spokes of a delicate negotiation which is the last best hope of keeping the Israelis from nuking Teheran, or some such. There has, as Mr. Cotton seems to never have noticed, already been a clear and recent test of the "military solution." Mr. Cotton's party's last President launched a war of convenience against a middle eastern country which had nothing to do with a gigantic act of vandalism against the United States. Iraq at that time was already wounded from the previous encounter with the United States. After we "won" that adventure in short order--"Mission Accomplished, amirite"--we systematically managed the total destruction of a delicately constructed union of sects and tribes which to put a point on it, all hated each other as much as Serbs hate Albanians. When our last troops rolled back into Kuwait we had generously prepared the ground for this group of barbarians called ISIL. Today we are actually collaborating with Iranian troops and commanders in Iraq in an effort to stop ISIL's marauding. This, together with the current negotiations, is a good and hopeful sign of sanity amidst much that is utterly insane.

As Chris Hayes said the other night to Michael Steele, experts say that air strikes against Iran's enrichment facilities would set them back five years. This current negotiation is aiming at a ten-year respite. A lot can happen in ten years. It was a typically Republican response for Mr. Steele to say, "well, that's the new math." Hayes was right when he said nope, that's just math. Ten is still twice five. Duh.

But a military attack on Iran will not be just about such simple measures. The logic of nuclear weapons is this: if you have them, the world will take you seriously. This is why Iran wants nuclear weapons. They are tired of being pushed around by yahoos who don't respect them or their history. Iran is Persia. There are certainly those in Iran who see the down-side of joining the so-called nuclear club. They are at present in the government. They are at present seriously negotiating with our State Department professionals. They are or were close to a diplomatic agreement which may forestall untold death and carnage.

Yet the glib, arrogant Arkansas Sheik, only elected to the Senate a couple of months ago, can with aplomb toss a bomb into this. Mr. Cotton has no respect for anyone or anything. He is blinded by his own light. And his whole party, pretty much, joins him in this terrible adventure with other people's lives and fortunes. Somebody said this week--I think it was Col. Wilkerson, who's kept his head on straight through all the Republican adventures--we need to bring back the draft so everyone's kid will be vulnerable to military adventurism. Maybe so. It didn't save the 58,000 kids on the Vietnam Wall though.

I don't know if there is an answer. When Germany and Japan embarked on their big world adventures, as filled with arrogance and power as Mr. Cotton and his co-signers seem to be, it took consequences so terrible that we can't today imagine them to stop the destruction. Why do we, in our mythic exceptionalism, think we're immune to hubris? The New York Daily News was undiplomatic, but right on.

As usual and expected, the diplomats didn't want to say such inflamatory things. One hopes that the Obama Administration at least sees the truth. This is the Legislative Branch we have. God save us.

You might find this of interest as well:

There is no doubt that under every rock in the Republican garden lie the bones of the Old South and the racism that forms the historical underpinning of our so-called exceptionalism. When the Southern Strategy was hatched, the Republican Party became the party of racism. It was already pretty much the party of big business and isolationism.


Update: Mr. Kerry's appearance yesterday before the Corker committee was mindblowing. Rand Paul told him they'd sent the letter because they wanted to send a message to Mr. Obama. Corker said he hadn't signed the letter himself, so please shut up, Mr. Kerry. The fundamental ignorance of this Republican Senatorial majority is breathtaking. They are wrong on the facts, and willing to hold their breaths until they pass out. Upon revival they will surely claim that the President tried to kill them. It's The Stupids Die.

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