Geneva in 2013 like Munich in 1938 — come on!

Comparing the US/Iran nuclear agreement in Geneva with Munich in 1938!

“If you hear echoes of the 1930s in the capitulation at Geneva, it’s because the West is being led by the same sort of men, minus the umbrellas,” writes the Wall Street Journal editorial writer Bret Stephens.

What planet does he live on? Alas, his comments are another example of the low, and sad, level of the Republican comments after the US plus the European Union, Russia, and China came to an agreement over the weekend with the Iranians. In fact, as Dana Milbank writes today in the Washington Post, the GOP has opposed the Iran deal, “sight unseen.”  As always, I could add, when it comes to the President and the Republicans, and Andrew Sullivan on his blog The Dish writes that it very much looks like “sabotage.”

Sullivan is shocked that “some Americans take the side of a foreign country and not their own,” such as when John Bolton, former UN Ambassador under George W. Bush urged Israel in an article in The Weekly Standard to launch a war against Iran “in order to scupper his own country’s core negotiations with Iran.” This is attempted active sabotage through a foreign country,” writes Sullivan, who adds that this even pertains to members of the President’s own party and cites New York Senator Chuck Schumer, “vowing to destroy the foreign policy of a president of his own party.”

Sullivan despairs and how can one not despair? So it is important to point out what some wise commentators have to say about the Iran deal, like New York Times’ Roger Cohen:

“Let us be clear. This is the best deal that could be had. Nothing, not even sustained Israeli bombardment, can reverse the nuclear know-how Iran possesses. The objective must be to ring-fence the acquired capability so its use can only be peaceful.”

And Trita Parsi, author and president of the National Iranian American Council, writes on Reuters that the deal is about much more than Iran nuclear program.

“A successful nuclear deal can become the first step in a long and arduous – but necessary – journey to break the institutionalized enmity between the United States and Iran.”

That’s what’s really important.


What is America to do in Libya?

Washington and the entire foreign policy/military establishment are wrestling with the question of what America should do in the ongoing revolution in Libya to help the revolutionaries overthrow Colonel Gaddafi and prevent a possible protracted civil war and a humanitarian disaster.

The present debate can be seen as an expression of frustration that there is really not very much that can be done – if America does not want to start a another war in the Middle East, of course.

U.S. warships have been ordered into the Mediterranean Sea and the newspapers and broadcast media are filled daily by reports of refugee flows into Tunisia and Egypt and the evacuation from the ports of Tripoli. Humanitarian assistance is the only thing, so far, that the Obama administration has been able to promise with certainty.  

About all other possible actions and scenarios, the debate is intense. It is here that the introduction of a “no-fly zone” over Libya has become something of the flavor of the day. But no one in the Administration, and least of all Defense Secretary Gates and the military leaders, seems to show any enthusiasm for this idea.

We must be clear about this, said Gates and the generals somberly this week, that measures to close the Libyan airspace begin with acts of war – air strikes against Libya’s air and missile bases. Do we really want another war in the Middle East, they seemed to ask.

So it’s necessary that we count to ten, slowly, before we start another war, writes Doyle McManus of the Los Angeles Times today about this debate and on the fallout of previous “no-fly zones” — in Iraq, Bosnia and Kosovo.