A best-case scenario for the Iran deal
I had the opportunity of meeting some of Cecil County’s finest due to a car accident I was in. I am so thankful that I am only very sore, which would have been much worse had I not have had my seatbelt buckled.
My sincere gratitude goes to the ambulance team, the EMTs, Officer Boomer, the ER team at Union Hospital, and the witness who was willing to stay and speak with the officer and called for help.
I thank you all for your kindness and assistance! I will never forget your efforts. God bless you all!
LOS ANGELES — President Donald Trump plans to demand this week that the international agreement limiting Iran’s nuclear programs be revised to make it stronger. He’ll claim that Iran isn’t complying with the 2015 pact, which he has called “the worst deal ever negotiated.” His language will be Trumpian and tough, intended to show that he’s keeping his campaign promise to “rip the deal up.” But Trump isn’t ripping it up. Instead, he’s climbing down — slowly, awkwardly, reluctantly — from a position that made no sense.
In formal terms, Trump is refusing to “certify” that Iran is complying with the nuclear deal, which requires Tehran to reduce its holdings of enriched uranium and allow international inspectors into its facilities.
But Iran is, in fact, complying with the agreement, as even U.S. officials acknowledge. The main U.S. complaint is that Iran has violated the “spirit” of the deal by engaging in non-nuclear activities, including missile research, which the agreement doesn’t cover.
Even more awkwardly, Trump’s closest aides want the deal to remain in force. Last week, Defense Secretary James Mattis told a Senate hearing that it’s in the national interest to keep the agreement alive.
The reason is simple: Whatever its flaws, the deal has stopped Iran from building a nuclear weapon for at least 10 years.
If the United States walks away from the agreement, Iran’s supreme leader would be free to restart uranium enrichment — and most other countries would blame Trump, not Iran.
Trump aides have therefore quietly asked Congress not to reimpose nuclear sanctions on Iran. And instead of dismantling the deal, Mattis and other advisors have given Trump an alternative: Try to fix it.
They’ve listed changes they’d like to see, including more intrusive inspections and longer “sunset” provisions. (The current deal lifts the ceiling on low-enriched uranium and allows almost unrestricted enrichment beginning in 2030.)
They also want new limits on Iran’s ballistic missile effort and international action against pro-Iranian forces in Iraq, Syria and other countries.
Trump aides have floated the idea of demanding a formal “renegotiation” of the 2015 deal, in keeping with language Trump occasionally used during the campaign. But renegotiation isn’t going to happen. All the other countries in the agreement — including U.S. allies Britain, France and Germany — have said it’s not feasible.
Instead, French President Emmanuel Macron has offered what some officials call a “third way”: new negotiations to extend the nuclear deal’s sunset provisions and impose new limits on Iran’s missile development, plus joint Western action against pro-Iranian proxy forces in the Middle East.
Those are ideas with broad support in Europe as well as Washington.
Trump and his aides are actually right when they say the 2015 pact should be strengthened. Even the Obama administration officials who negotiated the deal acknowledge that it didn’t settle every U.S. concern.
Here’s a best-case scenario: After Trump announces his decision, Congress, instead of demanding new sanctions, endorses negotiations to improve the deal, perhaps with additional sanctions authority to give the president more leverage. Trump appoints a tough, high-powered special envoy to pursue negotiations; someone like Dennis Ross, who worked on the Middle East for Presidents George H.W. Bush and Clinton.
Once talks are under way, President Trump can announce that he’s accomplished the moral equivalent of renegotiation, and declare at least partial victory.
That would put the U.S. confrontation with Iran in a category with other Trump foreign policy positions that turned out to contain more bluster than action: his threats to walk away from U.S. obligations to NATO, for example, and his promise to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement (which, in Trump’s mind, is another “worst deal ever negotiated”).
There are plenty of ways that benign outcome could be derailed.
Republicans in Congress could bow to pressure from hard-liners and impose new nuclear sanctions (although that looks unlikely; even Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, a noted hawk, has agreed to hold off).
Other countries could balk. Trump is deeply unpopular in Europe. Even Russia’s Vladimir Putin may not be in the mood to help an American president who has turned out to be an unreliable friend.
Any negotiations to extend the deal will be multinational, and they’ll require compromise _ two words that rarely apply to Trump’s blusterbased diplomacy.
The president will grow impatient. He’ll still have to report to Congress every 90 days. He’ll still have the authority to reimpose sanctions any time he wants. (He doesn’t need Congress’ approval for that, even now.)
But the administration’s internal debates have brought Trump to an unexpected and unwanted conclusion, that ending the nuclear agreement is not in the national interest.
He won’t admit it. He’ll continue to denounce the deal. But he’s not walking away from it — and that gives nuclear diplomacy with Iran another chance to survive.
Doyle McManus is a columnist for the Los Angeles Times.
WASHINGTON — The Trump tax plan is currently under investigation and, some keen analysts are finding, could do more to revitalize the economy, lift up the poor and middle class, and simplify outrageous complexities than anything seen in a long, long time. That’s simply intolerable by the standards of many in D.C. and must stop now, we’re told.
The Democrats, for instance, don’t like it because the well-off will profit, too, as in lowering corporate taxes from the developed world’s highest. The thing is, the average Joe and Jane mostly pay those taxes with fewer jobs, lower wages, higher prices and lower economic growth rates.
That last item is huge because, as Trump adviser Stephen Moore has observed, we desperately need something better than the miserable, cough, cough, limp-along 1.6 percent growth rate in President Barack Obama’s last year in office. But this year, with good news possibly just around the corner, corporations have been thinking big again. Their profits are up, stocks are up and the growth rate hit 3.1 percent in the second quarter.
We’ve also got high consumer confidence and lower unemployment. Of course, as has been said by others noting all of this, the happier days may not be just a consequence of President Donald Trump’s tax ideas, regulatory rollbacks and unleashing of our energy resources. But it truly is the case that we are talking about making our corporations more competitive internationally, likelier to stay home, foreigners likelier to invest more dollars here and the whole nation profiting.
It will also be the case under the plan, by the way, that money made overseas will be coming back (maybe as much as $2.5 trillion) without the kinds of taxes that keep it abroad, and that feeds the economy to everyone’s benefit even if some say a lot of that money just goes to shareholders. Those shareholders invest and spend, which benefits one and all, and the lion’s share would be going to pension funds known to serve many people without mansions in Beverly Hills.
There’s a whole lot more here, of course, such as vastly simplifying individual and family income taxes, getting to just three basic rates, expanding child tax credits and getting rid of deductions for state and local taxes. Some love those deductions and don’t want to see them go, but step back and consider how it works. The states that tax the most get the most deductions, it has been observed. That means lower-tax states are in effect subsidizing higher-tax states whose representatives in Congress love that system and in some cases are willing to sacrifice the rest of us to maintain it.
Lots of loopholes of various kinds will go away as we get higher standard deductions and what that means is the lobbyists are coming, the lobbyists are coming. They would much rather have special interests conquering the overall public interest, even if it means keeping tax-form confusion intact. The business of figuring out what exemptions you have and do not have and all the rest ends up costing a lot of money, $165 billion a year, it is said, and it would be oh, so nice to skip some of that pain.
The plan lacks lots of details because that was left up to Congress, not such a bad idea if the members do their job, and it is not a horror to me that some Republicans are questioning the possible added budget deficit here. They should think it through and take care through compromises if necessary while not forgetting what a truly well-constructed plan can do.
As former U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm and Michael Solon of US Policy Metrics have written in the Wall Street Journal, the combined tax cuts of President Ronald Reagan increased federal revenue by 19 percent during his time in office while blessing the later years of his tenure with 4.6 percent growth. A percentage point less than that could do wonders this time around.
Jay Ambrose is an columnist for Tribune News Service. Readers may email him at email@example.com.
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