​Iran - The Trump Administration Faces its Apocalypse Now

Someday there will be peace on Earth and goodwill between all humankind. We know this because Earth-bound utopias have worked hard to prove that you can have a paradise on Earth. Usually a worker’s paradise. For example, Stalin’s Soviet Union’s forced starvation of millions of Ukrainians. Or Pol Pot’s crazed agricultural reform in Kampuchea that created the horrifying killing fields back in the 70’s and 80’s.

So please judge not the officials in North Korea who torture, murder and starve their own people. They are ensuring that the eschaton is immanent, dwelling inside the souls of the new man. Like in Iran where their own eschaton (or final stage of history - presumably one in which the Earth is Shiite and Teheran its undisputed capital) requires torture and murder and engaging violently in neighboring countries to ensure that violence and chaos produce a Shiite Crescent across the region. Because their end, their final stage of history, is nigh.

If your view of mankind, however, is more skeptical and tempered by the countless wars and cruelty that history - especially recent history - offers, then:

You. Don't. Fricking. Immanentize. The Eschaton.

To liberally quote William F. Buckley who coined the fabulous word play based on Eric Voegelin's mid-20th century political work: The New Science of Politics. In other words, any paradise is a matter of divinity and not of our own making. We are better served by being reasonable, realistic and prudent. Stevie Wonder and Pentatonix singing That's the Way of the World at the Grammies was divine. Or close to it. Giving back billions to Iran to spend on weapons and subterfuge in the name of an impossible-to-verify compliance scheme, less so. Spending billions and having thousands of American lives lost in the ongoing attempt to create a stable, democratic state in Afghanistan's never-ending war, less so.

So President Trump will withdraw America from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JPOCA), also known as the Iran Deal. A transition period of possibly 3 to 6 months will start this Saturday, May 12. The exact details of how to reimpose the sanctions and how America's now-former or sort-of-still partners - The UK, France, Germany, Russia, and China, as well as the EU - will react remain to be worked out in the former case, and remain to be seen in the latter.

Why was this deal so important to the Obama administration? Why was Ben Rhodes charged with constructing a narrative in the media to ensure public support by any means necessary for a deal that Congress didn't ratify? Did Obama really believe it was the only reasonable way forward? Did he feel he was destined to play that role? And so he banked his administration's foreign policy on that outcome, which has now been rescinded?

The Middle East has been a destroyer of dreams: dreams of building Western-style democracies in the middle of a war on terrorism; dreams of peaceful Israeli-Palestinian coexistence; dreams of bringing Iran into the fold of the so-called civilized world through complex treaties which would somehow result in both peace and prosperity for Iran and it's citizens. Thereby showing the true way for both its people and its leaders who would, along with Americans and Europeans and the rest of the World, turn gratefully to Obama and Kerry and Rhodes and Rice et al and say:

You were right!

Sorry. You tried to immanentize the eschaton. You went for the poisoned chalice shimmering like an oasis in the harsh reality of Middle Eastern history, culture, and politics. And you failed, like so many others including those in Bush 43's administration who thought nation building was far easier than it has turned out to be. But here's the thing. Obama and the military and intel community understand that they have failed. They will snipe and fight about their legacy and try to discredit Trump's policies and blame Israel too of course. But they know and they understand.

The question is: do Iran and Korea know and understand their failures? Truly understand that it is totalitarianism or radical Shiite theocracy that is the problem. Not the particulars of a possible peace deal between North Korea and South Korea. Not the particulars of the JCPOA. Are they aware of the heart of darkness at the core of their regimes?

So yes, maybe Trump's administration is facing it's own Apocalypse Now, with John Bolton as the Martin Sheen character heading up the river to the gates of hell. And with colonel Kurtz's role shared by Khamenei and Kim jong-un. The difference is, Trump and Bolton are making it clear they have a path to salvation or at least to a workable peace, to a real and sustainable deal. Far from heading up crap creek without a paddle they're being reasonable, realistic and prudent.

And that is conservative, as much as many would hate to admit so.

Posted by Keeley at May 9, 2018 12:29 PM
Comments
Comment #426782

It is important to keep cool and maintain a longer term perspective on the withdrawal of the US from the Iran nuclear non-proliferation agreement.

First, the rest of the participants- Germany, the UK, France, Russia, and China- will continue the agreement with Iran, and Iran will continue to work with them and abide by it. They will do so because it is in the economic self-interest of everyone to do so.

The US will be frozen out.

Germany, the UK, France, Russia, China, and Iran will rely on their intelligence services assessment of US domestic politics in order to make their long term decisions.

They will assess that Trump has less than a year in office before resigning or being impeached.

There is a good chance the next administration will bring the US back into the agreement. The interim caretaker administration, presumably led by Pence, will be crippled, regardless of the outcome of the midterms.

There are three long term consequences. The first is that our allies and adversaries will have to conclude the US is an unreliable negotiating partner. The second is the economic problem caused by the higher oil (and gasoline) prices. Oil is now @ $70 bbl, quite a bit higher than when Obama left office. This will contribute to commodity fueled inflation, which we are already seeing. That, in turn, will be another factor encouraging the Fed to be more aggressive in raising interest rates. By the way, that is very similar to the chain of events that led to the Great Recession- $100 oil ($4 at the gas pump), commodity fueled inflation, rising interest rates, a decline in housing prices after a bubble, and the collapse of an inadequately regulated financial sector.

Hopefully we as a country will get our act together before that plays out. There is a stock market bubble, but the bigger danger is the debt bomb. An economic downturn AFTER a huge tax cut will ADD to the trillion dollar deficits that have been baked into the cake, and raising taxes or cutting spending during a recession will make it worse.

The third is that, even after Trump is forced out of office, the deplorables that voted for him will still make up a significant part of the American electorate. They brought us Bush, the Iraq War, and the Great Recession. They brought us Trump. What will they do for an encore?

Posted by: phx8 at May 9, 2018 1:31 PM
Comment #426783

“The UK, France, Germany, Russia, and China, as well as the EU” all know that the US is an unreliable ally, with governments frequently run by incompetent idiots and liars who don’t even have our own country’s best interest at heart, are incapable of strategic thought, and can be easily manipulated. If they want us as an ally, they know they need to bribe our government officials.

Pence is in an unenviable position. When he gets the presidency, it will be of little use, except he’ll get a nice pension when he’s done and back on tobacco road. He’s trying to play to Dumpty’s racist misogynist base now. If he thinks he’ll be able to dump them later, he’s mistaken. Besides that, the corruption is baked into the system now, thanks to the SCOTUS. His party’s hope for a permanent minority rule through mass incarceration and new jim crow laws will disappear under the weight of the numbers.

In the meanwhile, China and Russia are setting up their spheres of influence in the middle east, Russia in the north and China coming in from Pakistan and Djibouti. The EU is being eaten away from the east. The US has it’s oil allies, but how long will that last, Stephen?

Posted by: ohrealy at May 9, 2018 2:03 PM
Comment #426785

Pence is such a freakin’ weirdo. It is hard to tell how this will shake out for him. He has the traditional skills of a traditional politician; however, it looks like the Russian oligarchs were putting money into the Republican National Committee, and the FBI is investigating the Russian oligarch Alexander Torshin and Russian efforts to fund Trump & the Republicans through the NRA, so the traditional skills might not help Pence. The infrastructure for GOP corruption will be damaged.

Will it matter?

A lot of the Trump base consists of Evangelical Christians. They will approve of virtually any moral depravity with their leaders, as long as that person is not a Democrat or member of a minority, so no amount of treason or debauchery will drive them away; still, they would be a lot more enthusiastic about someone like Pence. You’d think all those examples of Pence fawning over Trump would hurt the VP, but we’re talking about a religious group that spit on the Sermon on the Mount and worship the rich and the greedy.

Ya saved?
Then you’re forgiven.
Now, go get that p*rn star!

Pence headed the Trump transition team. How much did he see? How much did he hear? Will anyone believe him?

Posted by: phx8 at May 9, 2018 3:47 PM
Comment #426787

In comparison to Dumpty, Pence is clean, in the sense of not being a crook. His “religious” views are weird, but you could say the same thing about any right winger. The biggest problem is the lifetime association with the stink tanks, and what that would mean for the court system. As POTUS, Congress might feel comfortable going into recess, and Pence could decide to appoint everyone that the Heritage Foundation wants to all the open seats.

Posted by: ohrealy at May 9, 2018 4:33 PM
Comment #426789

“…US is an unreliable negotiating partner.”

It is great fun to read this nonsense about the United States. Doesn’t our Pal phx8 understand that the Iranian “Deal” was simply an understanding by Obama. He didn’t have any senate approval, nor did he try for it. He knew this “deal” would never be approved by the senate.

Obama approved, President Trump disproved. It is that simple.

phx8 would have us believe he is some kind of expert on this “deal”. If so, can he please tell us from where the $150 billion payment to Iran, in cash, came from? It was not approved by congress. We want facts phx8…not the usual bullshit.

On the economic front, Phx8 is spreading his usual incorrect reading on jobs, spending, debt and GDP. He has been wrong ever since the election. His Nobel Prize winning guru was wrong as well.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 9, 2018 4:55 PM
Comment #426791

Presidents have negotiated literally hundreds of agreements without Senate approval. It is extraordinary for the US to back out of one, especially when all the other signatories, including Iran, were abiding by the agreement.

Political control of the Senate has changed many times over the years. Again, for the US to back out of an agreement made by a previous president when everyone was abiding by it is extraordinary.

The $150 billion belonged to the Iranians. It was frozen in various international institutions so that it could not be transferred back to Iran. Almost none of it was in the US.

How do you like those prices at the gas pump?

https://www.factcheck.org/2016/07/trumps-fanciful-iran-negotiation/

Posted by: phx8 at May 9, 2018 5:57 PM
Comment #426792

Schumer didn’t like the deal as with other Democrats, but now they are opposed to what Trump did because of their dislike of Trump and that is it plain and simple phx8. Just like at the Senate hearing today with Haspel, Democrats let Brennan go because it was an Obama appointment and he was #4 at the CIA. Haspel was way down the totem pole at the time. It’s Trump hatred plain and simple, phx8.

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at May 9, 2018 6:08 PM
Comment #426793

“Presidents have negotiated literally hundreds of agreements without Senate approval.”

That’s correct phx8…and none of them were binding on the United States of America. Presidential agreements are only good as long as they remain in office.

“The $150 billion belonged to the Iranians.”

I asked for proof phx8, not opinion. How was all this money changed into cash and put aboard an American plane for delivery to Iran?

Gas Prices, as with any commodity, reflect supply and demand. These prices for oil are great for Texas and other oil producing states.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 9, 2018 6:23 PM
Comment #426795

Hurrah for President Trump in his successful demand for the release of three Americans held by North Korea.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 9, 2018 6:32 PM
Comment #426796

KAP,
The difference between Brennan and Haspel is the president. Obama was a moral man strongly opposed to torture. Trump has repeatedly advocated torture and said terrible things like this:

“The other thing with the terrorists is you have to take out their families, when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families.”

“Torture works. Ok, folks?” You know, I have these guys – ‘Torture doesn’t work!’ – believe me, it works. And waterboarding is your minor form. Some people say it’s not actually torture. Let’s assume it is. But they asked me the question, ‘What do you think of waterboarding?’ Absolutely fine. But we should go much stronger than waterboarding.”

That means Haspel has to have her own strong moral compass because, based on Trump’s past statements, there is a very real chance she could receive an unlawful order from Trump, an order to commit a war crime. When put to the test in the past, Haspel failed.

“That’s correct phx8…and none of them were binding on the United States of America. Presidential agreements are only good as long as they remain in office.”

Wrong. There are literally hundreds of such agreements, and they are NOT renewed with each new administration. Why would you even think that?

“How was all this money changed into cash and put aboard an American plane for delivery to Iran?”

You are confusing the $150 billion in Iranian assets with the $1.5 billion in cash. The $150 billion was never converted to cash. Obviously you did not read the link. The $1.5 billion in cash was interest on Iranian cash the US has held since the 1970’s.

Posted by: phx8 at May 9, 2018 7:06 PM
Comment #426797

The right wingers are confused because they’ve only been listening to what liars tell them for many many many years. Now the biggest liar of them all is the POS and they can’t get enough of him. It’s a dream come true for the gullible deplorables. He’s not only Putin’s puppet, but Netanyahu’s too. Maybe he’ll go for a hat trick and become Xi’s puppet as well, if jared hasn’t already arranged for that.

Iran might end up becoming a bone of contention between russia and china. China is moving in to the vacuum being left by Dumpty’s idiocy, and making some inroads in Saudi Arabia. They all know how third rate russia is and will remain.

Posted by: ohrealy at May 9, 2018 7:31 PM
Comment #426798

Bernie Sanders Iran Nuclear Deal Response:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32WheBYnXEI

Posted by: ohrealy at May 9, 2018 7:41 PM
Comment #426800

Phx8 Brennan was at the CIA during the Bush years when enhanced interrogation was legal so don’t give me that sorry a$$ BULLS××T. Haspel was way down the totem pole at that time. Obama may have been opposed to torture but moral I doubt. Like I said you and the rest of the liberal/progressive democrats just don’t like Trump and are opposed to anything he does.

Posted by: Richard Kapitan at May 9, 2018 7:45 PM
Comment #426801

By Dumpty’s standard for the Obama years, unemployment is increasing, 95,745,000 now, or over 37%, from

https://community.hannity.com/t/record-number-not-in-workforce/556

Posted by: ohrealy at May 9, 2018 8:18 PM
Comment #426802

The key factor in that number if ohrealy read it was that “BABY BOOMERS” are retiring.

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at May 9, 2018 8:27 PM
Comment #426803

Also in that BS report other factors are Students not looking for work and a parent taking care of their children.

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at May 9, 2018 9:02 PM
Comment #426804

Michael Cohen established a shell corporation, Essential Consulting LLC, to pay Stormy Daniels. He then used the shell to take in $4.4 million in a matter of months, including the following:

AT&T $600,000
Novartis $1.2 million
Korean Aerospace Industries $150,000
Russian Viktor Vekselberg through Columbus Nova- $500,000

The companies have acknowledged making the payments. They gave various implausible reasons yesterday, and then changed their stories today. Cohen was selling access to the president, plain and simple. And that is the LEAST ugly explanation. Looked at in the most charitable light, Cohen violated laws for failing to register as a lobbyist, and as an agent of foreign government.

So… What did Cohen do with all that money, besides pay off a p*rn star for Donald Trump?

Either Cohen will do the rest of his life in prison, or he will flip and give up Trump.

Posted by: phx8 at May 9, 2018 9:45 PM
Comment #426805

Phx8 I suggest you get the whole story. Stormy’s lawyer is being investigated on how he got Cohen’s private banking records and there is talk that he got the wrong Cohen’s records. So phx8 don’t get to excited this might also blow up in your face.

Posted by: Richard Kapitan at May 9, 2018 9:55 PM
Comment #426806

KAP,
Yes, the lawyer is being investigated by the Treasury Department for his source of information. Apparently there was a $20,000 error on the record the lawyer used. The rest of the $4.4 million is accurate, and the entities I mentioned- AT&T, KAI, Novartis, and Columbus Nova- have already admitted making payments to Cohen.

Feel free to get excited!

So… where did the money go?

It’s plenty bad all ready, but how much worse will it get?

I think the Mueller investigation will submit its report on Trump to Congress in the next few months- late summer/early fall. Once Trump is impeached or resigns, the indictments will fly. I expect to see Kushner, Trump Jr., Roger Stone, and others indicted. Maybe Ivanka, too. No point in indicting the major crooks and traitors until Trump is unable to grant pardons.

Posted by: phx8 at May 9, 2018 10:33 PM
Comment #426808

Phx8 your track record is lower then congress’ approval record. I put your comments comparable to Pelosi and Waters and their gaffs.

Posted by: Richard Kapitan at May 9, 2018 11:09 PM
Comment #426809

Phx8, AT&T and Novartis have already talked to Mueller. If Mueller thought anything about collusion with these so called payments he would have never referred the case to the Southern District of N.Y. The rest of your conspiracy theory is also probably nothing. I suggest you do a little more research before you you get all excited. Also Mueller has had a bad last week seeing how 2 judges gave him a rough time with his cases.

Posted by: Richard Kapitan at May 10, 2018 12:44 AM
Comment #426814

It was a shitty deal, made by a desperate president, and an incompetent secretary of state. Good riddance.

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Comment #427115

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Comment #427192

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