Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Victory in Vienna

The historic agreement signed by the P5+1 and the government of Iran marks a turning point in America’s relations with the world. It reverses the momentum of nearly fifteen years of constant warfare and puts us on a path to peace.

In terms of our relations in the Middle East, the agreement means the United States government has finally decided to pursue an independent foreign policy: Washington is no longer taking its marching orders from Tel Aviv. The Vienna accord is, in effect, our declaration of independence – and it came not a moment too soon.

As the Obama administration packs up shop in Washington, and the reform regime of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani weathers attacks from Iranian hardliners, the window of opportunity was beginning to close: this was the last chance for peace in the Middle East.

The more than one hundred pages of the agreement outline an accord rich in technical complexity – which none of its critics have had time or inclination to examine. That hasn’t stopped them from denouncing it as a “bad deal,” and a “sell out,” echoing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu almost word for word. Practically frothing at the mouth, presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) said the deal is “akin to declaring war on Israel.”

Graham is right that war has been declared, but he has the aggressor all wrong: it is Israel that has declared war on the United States. This conflict has been ongoing for many months: we have seen it played out in the headlines, from Joe Biden’s ambush in Jerusalem to Bibi’s and John Boehner’s ambush of the President in going behind the White House’s back to arrange the Prime Minister’s speech to a joint session of Congress. Now, finally, an American President has said “Enough!” – and fired back. From all indications, he’s scored a direct hit.

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