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.


Support for nuclear power falls

Americans’ confidence in nuclear power has declined dramatically, and fewer than half of all Americans now support the construction of new nuclear power plants, according to a new poll by CBS News.

Only 43 percent of all Americans now support the construction of new nuclear power plants. That is 14 percent fewer than two years ago and 26 percent fewer than in 1977, when support for nuclear power peaked. Exactly half of those surveyed oppose new nuclear power plants, an increase of 16 percent compared with 2008, when a similar survey was conducted.

After the Three Mile Island accident in 1979 outside of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 46 percent of those surveyed supported new nuclear power plants, while only 34 percent – the lowest figure ever, supported the plants after the 1986 Chernobyl accident.

A little over half of the respondents said that the accident in Japan had not made them more fearful of a nuclear accident in America, while 44 percent said they now become more afraid. Over two thirds said that nuclear power is generally safe and nearly half said that the benefits of nuclear power outweigh the risks.

Still, 65 percent answered that they are “somewhat worried” about nuclear plant safety and on a question whether they would oppose a new nuclear power plant near their homes, 62 percent answered “yes “.  When asked if they believed that the government was prepared for an accident, only 35 percent said “yes”.

There are currently 104 nuclear power plants in America. The whole 23 of them are of the same type, General Electric Mark 1, as the damaged Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan.

Obama: no harmful radiation to reach America

President Obama turned on Thursday directly to the American people when he reassured them in a brief televised speech following the Japanese nuclear accident that  “we do not expect that harmful levels of radiation to reach the United States, whether it is the West Coast, Hawaii, Alaska or the U.S. territories in the Pacific.”.

The speech follows heightened concern in America following the increasingly serious reports about the damaged nuclear plant Fukushima Daiichi. The nuclear accident completely dominates the news in this country these days.  

Obama said that Americans do not need to take specific preventive measures and also said he had ordered a comprehensive security review of all U.S. nuclear power plants.

Of the 104 nuclear plants in the country 23 are of the same type, General Electric Mark 1, as the Japanese plant. Several of these are located near densely populated areas, such as that in Toms River, New Jersey, which lies just 60 miles from New York City.

About 20 percent of this country’s electricity comes from nuclear power.  Since the accident, the Obama Administration has not taken any drastic actions similar to what has happened in Germany and China. It still remains a supporter of nuclear power as part of creating a more environmentally friendly energy policy, which was also underlined by Obama in his speech as well as by Energy Secretary Steven Chu, when he testified in Congress on Wednesday.  We follow events in Japan very closely and we are prepared to learn from them, said Chu.

He also said that while the Japanese nuclear accident can prove to be more severe than that the one experienced in 1979 at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania. It resulted in that no new nuclear plants were built in America for 30 years.

In another appearance before Congress on Wednesday, the head of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Gregory Jaczko, said that American experts believe that the radioactive emissions at the Japanese plan are “extremely high,” but Japanese authorities have denied that this was the case.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government ordered its citizens in Japan to be much further away – more than 60 kilometers – from the Fukushima Daiichi plant, and evacuation of American citizens from Japan has started on a voluntary basis.