Law­mak­ers in the US should re­al­ize the world wants peace

The China Post - - COMMENTARY -

This past week United States Pres­i­dent Barack Obama de­liv­ered a key speech on the nu­clear deal be­tween Iran and six world pow­ers — in ex­actly the same spot where for­mer pres­i­dent John F. Kennedy gave a speech in 1963 on nu­clear diplo­macy.

Obama went af­ter crit­ics of the deal, point­ing out that some were the very same peo­ple who played on public fear and thumped the drum­beat of war that pushed the U.S. into bat­tle with Iraq over a decade ago.

Need­less to say, the con­se­quences of that war are be­ing played out to­day in the Mid­dle East and it doesn’t look good.

“Let’s not mince words: The choice we face is ul­ti­mately be­tween diplo­macy and some form of war — maybe not to­mor­row, maybe not three months from now, but soon,” said Obama in the speech. “How can we in good con­science jus­tify war be­fore we’ve tested a diplo­matic agree­ment that achieves our ob­jec­tives?”

Obama wasn’t just ad­dress­ing his crit­ics, he was also di­rect­ing his mes­sage to­wards the U.S. op­po­si­tion Repub­li­can Party, who are ex­pected to vote as a block to shoot down the deal, and to­ward mem­bers of the pres­i­dent’s own Demo­cratic Party who have yet to de­cide.

But, as Obama pointed out, the con­tent of the deal speaks for it­self, and for this very rea­son, it is worth be­ing given a chance.

Yet pol­i­tics will be pol­i­tics and “knee-jerk par­ti­san­ship that has be­come an all too fa­mil­iar rhetoric, ren­ders ev­ery de­ci­sion to be a dis­as­ter, a sur­ren­der.”

In this re­spect, there is com­mon ground be­tween the hard­lin­ers in Iran who chant “death to Amer­ica” and the Repub­li­cans in the U.S.

Lead­ing Repub­li­can Party of­fi­cials were re­sent­ful of the tone that Obama em­ployed in the speech, be­cause they be­lieve their con­cerns over this deal should not be dis­missed in such a man­ner.

How­ever, given the im­por­tance of this deal, and the shame­ful rhetoric from his crit­ics that un­fairly at­tack the agree­ment, Obama had no choice but to be frank and stern.

Obama won the Demo­cratic nom­i­na­tion in 2008 partly be­cause did not back the war in Iraq. And like ev­ery other Amer­i­can pres­i­dent who has been re­elected, he wants to spend his sec­ond term achiev­ing re­sults.

Right or Wrong?

How­ever, this is not to sug­gest that Obama is do­ing the right thing for the wrong rea­sons, pro­vided his moves to leave a good legacy don’t un­der­mine his ef­forts to do the right thing.

Ac­tivists, lob­by­ists and diplo­mats have been run­ning over Washington in re­cent weeks plead­ing to Amer­i­can law­mak­ers to re­ject or sup­port the deal. Ads have been taken out and there is talk of a US$25 mil­lion pack­age to at­tack the ac­cord.

Most of the World Backs the

Deal

While U. S. law­mak­ers go through some soul- search­ing, they should also try and think be­yond their con­stituen­cies. Most of the world — with the ex­cep­tion of Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu’s Is­rael — backs this deal.

Cer­tainly there are other is­sues that the U.S. and the rest of the world will have to deal with as far as main­tain­ing bi­lat­eral ties with Iran is con­cerned.

Apart from Is­rael, the rest of the Arab world — with the ex­cep­tion of Syria — is also con­cerned about Iran’s growth in the re­gion.

Then there are the hu­man­rights is­sues as well as the case of Hezbol­lah, which con­tin­ues to be a threat to Is­rael, not to men­tion Is­lamic State, which has been gain­ing ground in just about ev­ery sense of the word.

Though this nu­clear deal with Iran does not ad­dress all these is­sues as it is meant to, it could open the door to closer co­op­er­a­tion be­tween world pow­ers and Tehran on these very sub­jects. This is an ed­i­to­rial pub­lished by The Na­tion on Aug. 9.

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