Hysterical Analogies

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Mike Schilling

Mike has been a software engineer far longer than he would like to admit. He has strong opinions on baseball, software, science fiction, comedy, contract bridge, and European history, any of which he's willing to share with almost no prompting whatsoever.

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  1. Avatar Notme
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    says:

    What makes these analogies hysterical except for the fact that you say so? Would it be too much trouble to provide your reasoning or some factual basis for your statement?Report

  2. Avatar Kolohe
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    says:

    The BoSox trading Babe Ruth to the Yankees?

    btw, it would be nice to have a bailey discussion on the actual merits or demerits of the deal, rather than a motte discussion on what certain peoples’ rhetoric about the deal is.Report

  3. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    says:

    Here is what today’s pundits don’t realize about Munich. Munich was incredibly popular at the time. Chamberlain was considered the man of the hour and not a despised figure. Churchill was on the outs until 1940.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
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      says:

      You’d think that this deal would be more popular.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        Well there isn’t a firm deal yet.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        @jaybird

        It isn’t about the deal per se but more about the problem of these damn analogy. Why are our pundits of such limited imagination that everything gets compared to Munich?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        For what it’s worth, I remember protestors holding signs that said “PEACE IN OUR TIME” during the buildup to Iraq in 2003.

        In the face of such protests, it is difficult to not have Munich flit across your brain for a second.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird
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        2003: when the Chamberlains were right.

        (2015: when pretty much everyone admits the Chamberlains were right, but swears that in 2003 it was for the wrong reasons.)Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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        Hey, I’m not saying that the people invoking Chamberlain were wrong.

        I am, however, saying that if you don’t want people to think about Chamberlain, there’s a relatively short list of things that you want to avoid doing.

        (Anyway, current theory ’round here is that Israel is going to make the nuclear deal OBE.)Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        Saying that it’s stupid to invoke Chamberlain isn’t saying you don’t want them to. (Anyway, why should we think that those protesters were raising th analogy rather than challenging it?)

        If people thought that Chamberlain being wrong in ’38 was salient in ’03, clearly the people invoking Chamberlain were doing so in order to confront that analogy and have the argument – to challenge the idea that it’s an all-purpose a gums not for war against bad guys with the idea that most history is particular to its time and place, etc.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        @michael-drew

        I am just largely perplexed about why every pundit thinks every war is closer to WWII (a great and noble fight against evil*) as opposed to Vietnam (a horrible quagmire) or WWI (a very deadly and stupid mistake).

        *Our pundits are ignoring that many Americans did not want to enter WWII and there were large numbers of Nazi-sympathizers in the U.S. during the 1930s. Lots of people were swayed by Hitler during the 1930s and thought he was doing right for Germany and could be a model for the world. This includes people who would end up as strong allies during WWII.Report

      • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        If we’re applying Munich analogies to the situation in 2003, isn’t the US Hitler? I mean, we were the ones threatening war, so a replay of Munich would be Iraq offering to give up control or Iraqi Kurdistan or something to stave off the threatened invasion.Report

  4. Avatar Mo
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    says:

    Here’s a good overview from Kaplan. What is nice is that he laid out what he thought a good deal should look like before this deal was announced, so you can compare and contrast. Kaplan seems to be very high on the framework.Report

  5. Avatar Mo
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    says:

    Comment in moderation, probably because of double linksReport

  6. Avatar North
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    says:

    Well the best list of deets I was able to find is here:
    http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/02/world/iran-nuclear-deal-parameters/

    Looking over it I think it looks pretty decent. How Iran is supposed to sneak their way to a bomb with all this going on is beyond me. I haven’t had the fortitude to sift through the right wing pro-forma denunciations yet to see if there are any substantive objections. I’d welcome someone else doing it for me.

    If Obama et all can pull it off and Iran actually agrees to all of this it’ll be quite productive. Also I’d expect it’d be really hard on the price of oil if the Iranian sanctions are suspended. There’s a lot of crude sitting aorund in Tehran and they want to sell it whatever the price is. Also getting the sanctions lifted would be a big boost to the moderate faction in Iran and could set the stage to getting a more mellow Supreme leader put into place before the agreement expires. I’m no actuary but I don’t see the current one lasting another decade.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to North
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      says:

      I agree that there is a lot of crude in Tehran that the Iranian people would love to sell. I’m not sure if there is a global market for uncouth clergy and politicians though. Most countries have more than they need domestically.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to LeeEsq
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        By Middle eastern standards (a low bar I know) Iran’s politicians seem pretty capable; they have a functioning semi-democrat government which is pretty good for the region.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to LeeEsq
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        Semi-democratic is stretching it. I guess its close enough but Iran’s constitution gives the theocratic part of the government many veto points over the democratic part of the government. The theocrats get to vet who runs for office and make sure that all laws conform to Islamic law. The Supreme Leaders has powers that are best described as monarchal in scope. The clerics have their own police to.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to LeeEsq
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        I’m clearly aware of Iran’s systemic limitations Lee but by Middle East standards they have a pretty good caliber of politicians. They have opposition parties and a functioning democratic wing of their government. If one wanted to imagine a democratic Iran they would look not enormously different from how they look now; just with a lot of theocratic organs lops off or neutered.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to LeeEsq
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        Iran’s government is complicated. On the one hand, there is a democratic apparatus in place, but the Supreme Leader and the Assembly of Experts have a permanent veto over everything the government does. You can’t even run for office unless you’ve been vetted.

        The other complicating factor is that there are a number of organizations that operate effectively as shadow governments. The Revolutionary Guards and the Basij, for instance, have influences that run throughout Iranian society and control a significant portion of Iran’s economic and commercial enterprises.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to LeeEsq
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        Iran might actually more of a culturally liberal place without the theocratic elemetns. One job of the Assembly of Experts is to vet candidates for office. You can guess what type of candidate does not get on the list a lot. Without the Assembly of Experts, more liberal candidates could at least run and maybe even get elected. A democratic Iran isn’t going to be a continental European state but would still be a lot more liberal in therms of cultural and societal policies. Women would have more freedom of what to wear at least.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to LeeEsq
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        Supreme Leader and the Assembly of Experts have a permanent veto over everything the government does.

        Kind of like what happened here to the Voting Rights Act.Report

    • Avatar morat20 in reply to North
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      says:

      How Iran is supposed to sneak their way to a bomb with all this going on is beyond me.
      They’re not. That’s not the basis of conservative objections, which are (roughly) twofold:

      1) Obama proposed it. Ergo, it must be wrong. (Sadly, this is probably the biggest driver).
      2) It doesn’t involve bombing Iran into dust, and as noted by the WWII appeasement analogies, there’s a pretty firm belief that all enemies can and will take over the world unless bombed back to the stone age. Negotiations, treaties, agreements — none of these are definitive enough

      Iran is labeled under “eternal enemy of all that is American and good” and thus the only solution is bombs, bombs, bombs, bombs, bombs until freedom rings. No deal can ever match the certainty of bombing a country into capitulation. .Report

  7. Avatar LeeEsq
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    We all know that a certain class of people would compare Obama to Chamberlain, Iran to Nazi Germany, and any agreement to Munich.Report

  8. Avatar greginak
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    Ok. This looks like a very strong deal. We get inspections, they reduce the amount of nuke fuel, close on facility and limit the quality of the fuel they produce. Everything that is listed in all the brief summaries is good stuff and exactly what we want. There isn’t much of anything else we could reasonable have wanted. The Iranians get the sanctions lifted slowly ( although the exact speed still needs to be hammered out). This is a solid win for us.

    Not only is this a good agreement it starts us on the process of better long term relations with Iran which is very much in our interests. Iran is a regional power in a region we have interests in. We also have some common interests like pushing back ISIS. Having almost no diplomatic relations with them limits our influence and puts a big road block in the way for us to get our interests taken care of.

    Our allies ( mostly Israel and Saudi A) don’t like because it is in their own interests to keep Iran isolated. Not our interests, but theirs. SA, besides funding plenty of violent fundies, is on the opposing side of the Islamic religious and cultural divide. SA is fighting their own long standing conflict against Persia and Shia Islam. Neither of those are our issues and we shouldn’t be fighting those battles for them. Israel wants a neutered Iran which A) isn’t possible without us fighting a war to crush and occupy them and B) isn’t in our interests. Better relations with Iran gives us more leverage against the Saudis since that makes us less dependent on SA for oil and influence. SA is not a democracy, hell they are probably less democratic then Iran and has funded plenty of people who take up arms against us. Let SA sweat over us becoming friendly with Iran.

    For all the talk about religious fanatics in Iran, of which their are plenty, there is also a history of moderate and westernized ( in some ways) populace. Iranians in private life are often much less doctrinaire then the official public stance. Iranians are not monolithically against the west, there are plenty who want things the west has. A good deal, which this looks like, bolsters the reformers in Iran since they will get the sweet warm glow that comes from the drawing down of sanctions. That is good for us if the reformers get stronger while their hard liners fail.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to greginak
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      And if Iran REALLY wanted to destroy Israel, they’d have done so already. They’re fully capable.

      Yemen is giving me a bit of pause, as Iran seems to be going full-proxywar with the Sauds, which is troublesome…Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Kim
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        “And if Iran REALLY wanted to destroy Israel, they’d have done so already. They’re fully capable.”

        That’s the second time you’ve said that, but it doesn’t hold up to further analysis. The Artesh can’t project power. Full stop. An air campaign can barely get there with the assets they have on the great circle, but Jordan isn’t going to give Iran overflight, and when push comes to shove, neither will Iraq. (neither will Turkey, for that matter) The IRIN can’t hardly get to the med, and can’t get there at all without everyone knowing. The guard corps, besides eating the regular forces seed corn for the last decade, currently have their hands full, along with the Qods forces, in Yemen and Syria. Even before those things kicked off, all those guys have been fighting a proxy war via Hezbollah against Israel for almost a half century, with no net decline in Israel’s power in any vector.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Kim
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        Iran can defend itself against a power like Iraq but that is far different from projecting power or invading another country. Very few countries can really invade and conquer another even when they share a border.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Kim
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        says:

        Kolohe is entirely correct. The very worst Iran can do is discomfort Israel and harry Jews world wide and even that capacity is extremely limited.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Kim
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        If Iran pulled off a terroist attack against the 92nd Street Y like they did with AIMA in Buenos Aires than even the most fantatical of the Iranian clerics knows that they basically gave the United States a pretext for war. The same is true if they try anything against the Jewish communities in the United Kingdom, France, or anywhere else in Europe.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Kim
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        Any direct Iranian assault on Israel is going to be known by Israel long in advance of when the assault actually hits. Israel will respond appropriately and thoroughly devestate the Iranians.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to greginak
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      says:

      Don’t forget that if the price of oil falls it punches Middle East extremists right in the balls. Oil smuggling and sales are a significant revenue souce for non governmental terrorist organizations and wealthy middle east oil states contribute directly and indirectly to violent organizations with their legitamite oil funds. ISIS has been absolutely gasping over the current reduction in price and if Iran’s oil supply gets poured into the tank we could see even lower prices yet.Report

    • Avatar j r in reply to greginak
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      says:

      Iranians are not monolithically against the west, there are plenty who want things the west has.

      This is an understatement. Middle-class Iranians are probably the most pro-Western group of people in the region.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to j r
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        says:

        Yeah, saying the Persian’s ain’t like the Arabs in terms of attitudes towards westernism is an understatement.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to j r
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        Before the fall of the Shah, Iran was the middle-class, consumer lifestyle capital of the Middle East.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to j r
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        Yup Iran is a many ways a natural ally of the US in terms of having a westernized populace. Far more than our “actual” ally Saudi Arabia. We should be pushing for open diplomatic relations with Iran.Report

      • Avatar Mo in reply to j r
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        @leeesq Actually, it was probably Beirut.Report

      • Avatar El Muneco in reply to j r
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        No “probably” about it. The Persian people like the American people more than those of most of our allies full stop, much less those of our allies in the region.

        They have serious reservations about our government due to post-WWII events, and understandably so. But in general that has never transferred to any special reservations about Americans.

        In fact, I still have some hope that in fifty more years’ time, we’ll have moved towards Iran as most-favored, and away from Saudi Arabia.Report

  9. Avatar LWA
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    says:

    It doesn’t even take a strong expertise in foreign policy to grasp the weakness of the main argument against the deal.
    I haven’t seen any opposition to the deal that can mount a credible counter strategy.

    As mentioned above, bombs, bombs, bombs, seems to be the single counter strategy, and based on the concept that bombs would work magically to obliterate any threat.Report

  10. Avatar Chris
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    The happiness I saw among Iranians on Twitter was touching. This is very important to them, because they want Iran to be able to join the world culturally and economically in a way that sanctions and conflict with the U.S. has prevented them from doing. I mean, there were videos of them dancing and singing.

    We’re a jaded, cynical country.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Chris
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      We’re a massive, wealthy, secure and relatively well governed country. The marginal change in ordinary people’s wellcome that this agreement represents for us is a rounding error, the same that it represents for Iran is enormous. If Americans were contemplating the same upsides that the Iranians are we’d be dancing in the street too.

      None of which is to denigrate how touching their reaction is; the Iranians could be such great additions to the global interconnected community.Report

  11. Avatar greginak
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    says:

    So it seems like we’ve now had plenty of dicussion about how this is good deal or start to a deal or framework of deal or something like that.

    Apparently at least Scott Walker and Jeb Bush have said they would dump this deal if they are elected. Screw our negotiating partners and everything else. Just ditch it.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
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      This is the important part of getting Congress on board.

      If you like Executive Power being the only thing behind a decision, you should expect that a change in the Executive will result in a change in the decision.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
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        Oh yeah i’m all for O wining and dining the R’s. However if the R’s are set against it then what do you do? Say F it, the R’s are against it, so we ain’t talking. That isn’t’ taking some middle road or kicking the can down the road. It’s letting the people opposed to negotiation make the decision without any consultation. Say you don’t want the Prez doing this kind of thing on his own, does that also mean the anti-negotiation party gets to control the process on their own. Because that is sort of where that leads.

        There have actually been many, in the thousands i think, executive agreements made for decades so this isn’t a new kind of thing. It may not be good to do it, but there is precedent.

        You can be for gridlock or want both parties to hold hands and do everything together. But that can lead to giving a minority or people opposed complete control. That seems like a problem.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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        I’m not saying it’s unprecedented. I’m not even saying that the Republicans are right to oppose the deal.

        I’m just saying that any tool your party uses should be expected to be used by your opposition.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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        If you’d like, you can compare to Republicans whining when Obama got all “Unitary Executive” following Dumbya’s tenure.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
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        Yes Jay i know R’s can use the tools D’s do. Thats the game, they are just playa’s and we can decide who to hate. But it does present a choice for voters; do you vote for the guys/gals who will trash a , hopefully successful, disarmament treaty and that is good for us and them or the people who are for the agreement and want better relations.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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        Oh, that’s the choice we have? People who will trash a hopefully successful treaty vs. people who hopefully make treaties hopefully successfully?

        Hopefully, the American people will choose Hope.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
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        Are you asking how voting works or just lining up a rousing BSDI!!!Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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        Greg, having defined roles for the various branches of government is not me yelling “BOTH SIDES DO IT”.

        It’s me saying “if you don’t want the other side to do it, your side kinda has to not do it.”

        If you’d like, you can compare to Republicans whining when Obama got all “Unitary Executive” following Dumbya’s tenure.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
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        I’m just pointing two different platforms or approach taken by the D’s and R’s. It up to all of us to decide which approach we think is best and , if we choose to, vote for the cartoon character or major party prez canidate we dig. Or of course Ralphy boy since both parties are just the same.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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        And your framing of those two approaches is the tension between being optimistic and hopeful versus being pessimistic and destructive?

        Well, I’d suggest against putting it that way in campaign ads but I’m sure you’ll see that as me being all concern trolly.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
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        I’m the last one who should ever being doing campaign ads for anyoe.

        My framing??? Huh. O has been all for negations and the R’s are saying Oh hell no or we’re trashing any agreement or deferring to the distinguished Senator Netanyahu R- Israel or saying we should be bombing. I’m not really framing much.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        or deferring to the distinguished Senator Netanyahu R- Israel or saying we should be bombing.

        IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWED BY

        I’m not really framing much.

        Awesome.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
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        Ooops i’ve cited by the Comment Police for insufficient neutrality. But good job finding some conflict on something where, as i remember, you are for the current negotiations and don’t like the R’s stance.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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        Greg, insufficient neutrality is only a problem if neutrality is a virtue in and of itself.

        If you’re on the side of that which is good and right and just, I’d say that neutrality is, itself, a pretty big freakin’ problem. Why would you be neutral if you could, instead, be good and right and just?Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
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        I think greg’s on the side of accuracy, actually, and correctly so. I’m not sure how neutrality (whuuu?) comes into play on this.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
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        ( takes long toke on a joint) Oh wow jay……you are blowing my mind.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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        Still, I’m not the one who introduced the concept of “neutrality”.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
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        Jaybird,

        I don’t wanna get into it with you about who said what to whom and when, but I am curious why you think “any tool your party uses should be expected to be used by your opposition”?

        Is this true of libertarians? I mean, from a Democrats pov libertarians are the opposition, yeah?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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        I imagine that if Libertarians were in power in the Executive Office, they’d use Executive Actions and say that this was outside of the scope of Congress, if they held the Congress, they’d vote for stuff and demand that The President acknowledge the Will Of The People, and if they held the Supreme Court, they’d be a court that you’d call the most activist court that ever courted because they’d be overturning stuff left and right and calling laws that you would totally think were awesome “Unconstitutional” and laws that you’d think were downright malicious “Constitutional” (though they might add “silly” or “malicious” to the list before talking about The Tenth Amendment or whatever).

        I have no doubt of this whatsoever.

        I also have little doubt that they’d be argued against as if this is the first time that anybody in the history of the country had ever issued an Executive Order, passed a law, or overturned a precedent.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
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        I have no doubt of this whatsoever.

        Really? Huh.

        Well, I guess you have a more hopeful view of politics than I do and “Hopefully, the American people will choose Hope”!Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
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        Oops, almost forgot the point of that question about “any tool your party uses should be expected to be used by your opposition”. So what you’re effectively saying is that *that* claim is not true since libertarians are an exception.

        Which is what I was shootin for. 🙂Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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        I thought I wasn’t arguing that they were an exception. I thought I was arguing that they’d use the exact same tools.

        Only for good, this time.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
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        Only for good, this time.

        Like the US Navy? “Libertarians: A global force for good.”

        But if you’re talking about all the permissible tools at gummints disposal, then of course anyone party who holds power will have access to those tools, no?

        Or were you just trying to educate greg about the way the world really works? I mean, now I’m really confused about why you thought that was an interesting thing to say. (I mean, I really thought you thought that was an interesting thing to say…)Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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        But if you’re talking about all the permissible tools at gummints disposal, then of course anyone party who holds power will have access to those tools, no?

        Yeah, a fairly banal observation. About as banal as pointing out that if you want a deal to last past a change in the executive, you’d want to get Congress involved.

        It was when the choice was between the hopeful and the destructive that I thought that the framing of the players was more interesting than discussing the banality of the game.

        Down below, I posted *MY* take on the deal itself, mind. Which, I hope, is less banal than the observation that democrats are good and republicans are bad.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        And re-reading the thread it strikes me that you actually were trying to educate greg about the way the world works (re: executive actions and all), but about an action you admit your party (if it attained power) would use as well, just like any other party who held power.

        Hmmm.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
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        Yeah the every side can use the tools of gov argument is fine. I agree R’s can use tools that D’s do. Like yeah. Some tools are just fine to use though even if we/i/you don’t like a particular action. That’s just the majesty of democracy in action.

        Two things: 1 at some point we are talking about whether policy A is a good idea, not about the meta who-ha of everybody always thinks their side is good and just and wants to use the tools of gov for their good and just ends. That is fine as far as it goes, it just doesn’t go that far. I’ve stated why i think this deal is likely a good deal and i’m for supporting pols who are for it and already complained to my senators when they were luke warm on it a while ago. Meta only goes so far.

        2 Oh carp, what was 2 again, the wife interrupted me. Oh, R’s don’t have to threaten to tear up the deal if its made or sword rattle endlessly. They are big kids also, if they war monger then it is fair to criticize them for it.

        3 ( because any list of 2 things can use a third point) A question i have is how much power to you give to a minority ( like with the ACA) or people who against a policy? It seems like the pres still should have the ability to try to push policies even without complete support of both sides of the congress. Our system wasn’t actually set up to need complete buy in from both parties in both houses before anything can be done. Nor should it becaue that is almost never going to happen.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Jaybird
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        @jaybird

        I’m lost.

        What are you saying is being done now (and being complained about) that is only something another party did in the past and nothing’s g more? And what was that thing from the past?

        And what, again, is your answer to Greg’s point that everyone agrees it would be great to get Congress on board, but given the difficulty of concluding any kind of framework at all, much less one that a majority of the current congress would vote(!) for, moving ahead to the extent of, but not beyond, the president’s authority is necessary for governance? Especially when the warning that commitments made by this president aren’t binding on the next aren’t even being denied?

        Is moving ahead in this way the thing that you’re saying is nothing more than something that’s been done on the past (and been complained about)? What’s that thing from the past again?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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        What are you saying is being done now (and being complained about) that is only something another party did in the past and nothing’s g more? And what was that thing from the past?

        You know how Obama is doing end runs around Congress? Like, in his state of the union this year where he mentioned several times about how he’d love to work with Congress but he’d do stuff on his own if necessary?

        Compare to what you see when you google “Bush Unitary Executive”.

        And what, again, is your answer to Greg’s point that everyone agrees it would be great to get Congress on board, but given the difficulty of concluding any kind of framework at all, much less one that a majority of the current congress would vote(!) for, moving ahead to the extent of, but not beyond, the president’s authority is necessary for governance?

        Well, I suppose my answer would be to explore how important co-equal branches of government are. If we agree that we don’t want separated powers and want the president to do stuff with or without Congress if we all agree that it’s stuff that he should do, then we should be hope that the stuff that the president does is so self-evidently awesome that everyone continues to agree that it’s stuff he should do.

        Especially when the warning that commitments made by this president aren’t binding on the next aren’t even being denied?

        If we can imagine the Republicans not screwing this coming nomination process up beyond all recognition (a stretch, I’ll grant), it shouldn’t be *THAT* difficult to imagine a situation where Republican President gets in office and says “I’ll undo the Obama Executive stuff!”

        It’s somewhat easy for me to imagine a situation where many people will deny that commitments made by this president aren’t binding on the next.

        Perhaps none of us will. Sure.

        Is moving ahead in this way the thing that you’re saying is nothing more than something that’s been done on the past (and been complained about)? What’s that thing from the past again?

        Bush’s interpretation of the Constitution that led him (and Cheney) to the Strong Unitary Executive Theory.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        I think if you look at history you’ll find that concluding executive international agreements short of treaties like this is a presidential power that enjoyed general acceptance apart from and long before (but certainly apart from, even if eventually also incidental to) the theory of the Unitary Executive.

        Also, in general, the idea that the president has power to act in a variety of ways is both consistent with separated powers and coequal branches, and not dependent on the theory of the unitary executive. Also, beyond that, you’d be surprised at how much stuff the president has standing statutory authority to do that’s been granted to him by Congress, allowing a further set of potential actions none of which won’t be specifically authorized because they have been generally authorized subject to the president’s discretion.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        …And you misunderstand me on binding the next president. I’m saying that no one is even denying that this agreement won’t be binding on the next president. It won’t be, except that it might be politically to a small extent. But generally, it won’t be, and no one is really saying it will be.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        Democrats have to be careful because whatever questionable stuff they pull, the Republicans will do too. In the past!Report

  12. Avatar Francis
    Ignored
    says:

    Minor aside: My father was one of the principal negotiators for the US banks following the 1979 capture of the US embassy workers and Carter’s order to the banks to freeze all assets of the Shah / Iranian government. Along with all the other negotiators (principally and incredibly well lead by the now deceased Warren Christopher) he was personally called a Great Satan by Khomeini.

    It is way past time for Iran to join the community of nations. It has a young educated population and a proud history. We deal every day with far worse, not to mention that the US essentially engages in the same behavior. (like being on the same side in Iraq)Report

    • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Francis
      Ignored
      says:

      Having been “personally called a Great Satan…” by Khomeini himself… I wonder if it felt as glorious at the time as it reads now.Report

      • Avatar Francis in reply to CK MacLeod
        Ignored
        says:

        Things were pretty tense at the time. The hostage-takers and the Iranian negotiators were from different factions. So the US team was continuously worried (that’s one word for it) that the hostages would be executed en masse or one-by-one in order to affect the negotiations. Not a lot of attorneys who specialized in international commercial banking get to feel that the lives of 52 hostages are personally in their hands.

        In retrospect it’s pretty awesome, which is why I posted my anecdote.Report

    • Avatar Mo in reply to Francis
      Ignored
      says:

      Well, let’s see now, time was you send a boy off to war. Shooting a man fix ’em right up. But there’s not even any wars no more, thank you very much Warren Christopher.Report

  13. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Well, here are my thoughts on The Deal.

    They mostly have to do with the whole “what happened the last time we had a deal?” question alongside the “what’s the worst that could happen?” question with a sprinkling of “what if one of the two sides isn’t totally trustworthy?” on the side.

    So I started trying to google what happened in 1995 that caused President Clinton to invoke the (then it was called) Iran and Libya Sanctions Act. All I’ve been able to find is that Clinton said that a State of Emergency exists between us and Iran but I’m not finding the “why” there (or in Wikipedia, for that matter).

    I’m sure he had a good reason.

    Anyway, let’s assume that he didn’t. That there was no reason for increasing tensions between our two countries and he just did it as a stunt to distract the country from something or other.

    If this is the case, loosening sanctions is, of course, the right and moral thing to do. (Hell, I’m not a fan of sanctions in the first place.) This is probably something we should have done back in 1996.

    But what’s the worst that could happen?

    Well, Iran could get The Bomb and then use it. (Now, I’m not saying that this is *LIKELY*. Just that it’s the worst thing that could happen.) Who would they use it against?

    Who can say? But the big two options are Israel and The US (and probably in that order). How bad would that be? Probably pretty bad. So, I guess, the question is “how likely is it that they’d use The Bomb if they actually got it?”

    My answer to that is that it seems unlikely that they would. Surely the people in charge of the country aren’t crazy, they’re self-interested and they have agendas that are not our agendas, but surely their agendas are the agendas of rational people that would include “stayin’ alive” at the top of their list. The only thing to worry about is the worry that some of them believe in something akin to “the end of days” and hope to hasten it by starting a big war that would have the end of days finally arrive. There might be a handful of those guys in the region, sure, but Iran seems to be opposed to those nutcases. This is probably not something to worry about.

    Which is good, because my assumption is that this deal will result with Iran actually getting The Bomb.

    Which, seriously, is what I’d try to do if I were them. Look at Iraq. Look at Egypt. Look at Libya. Look at Syria.

    Surely the people in charge of the country aren’t crazy, they’re self-interested and they have agendas that are not our agendas, but surely their agendas are the agendas of rational people that would include “stayin’ alive” at the top of their list. This entails getting The Bomb.

    So how trustworthy are the two sides?

    I’m pretty sure we can’t trust the Americans. I don’t know about the Iranians.

    Fingers crossed, I guess.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      There’s a question I didn’t really explore, I guess.

      What if Clinton really did have a good reason that my googling just didn’t have the skill to find? Like, what if there was a reason that most of us here (except the crazies, of course) would have agreed with?

      Then my question is whether the sanctions ought to have been lifted by now and at what point? If not 1995, it pretty much would have had to be in the next 5 1/2 years because I’m pretty sure that most of us agree that it was a non-starter a little after September 2001 for a good while.

      So when would it have been a good time to think about lifting them? 2009 was when Obama took office. 2009 was also when the Green Revolution kicked off (remember when we all changed our facebook pictures for 15 minutes?) and then again in 2010, 2011, and 2012.

      The new guy is in power now. Is that sufficient reason to suspect that the sanctions should be lifted now, assuming of course, they were put in for a good reason oh-those-many years ago?Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        According to this the sanctions were mostly Congress’ idea (and specifically Alfonse D’Amato’s) that the Administration eventually went along with. Probably a month or so before his coronation in the Democratic national convention as his party’s nominee (and even back then, the ‘official’ kick off of general election campaigning)

        ” I’m pretty sure that most of us agree that it was a non-starter a little after September 2001 for a good while.”

        We lifted sanctions on Gaddafi (implemented by the same legislation) after 9/11 (in 2006) because he played ball. Though I’m drawing a blank on how that worked out for him.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        Though I’m drawing a blank on how that worked out for him.

        That’s my argument for why we can’t trust the Americans.

        While there is a part of me that thrills at the thought of him bleeding out (“SIC SEMPER TYRANNIS, MOTHERMOTHER!”), I also know that, well, that’s a trick that only works once and you’ve screwed yourself for trust for interactions for the foreseeable future.

        And we used that trick on a jabroni like him.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      “my assumption is that this deal will result with Iran actually getting The Bomb.”

      Why would we make it if this were a good assumption?

      To a degree this is an issue of language. “Assumption that this will result with” at first blush might be read to mean, “think likely this will make more likely than status quo.” But it doesn’t mean that. what it means is only that, if we’re going to assume, then the better assumption is what’s described, rather than something else. That’s reasonable if, under this deal, that outcome is 65% likely. It being 65% likely under this deal is consistent with it being 85% likely without it (for example; not asserting those numbers).

      Deciding what we think of this deal is almost entirely about understanding the status quo and likely alternative courses of events flowing from it – barring this deal. I rally am not picking up on what people are saying is fairly likely to happen outside of this deal that is preferable to what is likely to happen after it.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Michael Drew
        Ignored
        says:

        Why would we make it if this were a good assumption?

        Israel has one. Why shouldn’t Iran?

        Are you one of those people who thinks that Iran would use it if they had it?

        One of the reasons we might make this deal is a realpolitik that knows that a standoff with two countries playing MAD is better than Israeli military hegemony in the region. Or “assumes”, if “knows” doesn’t fit for you.

        My assumption is that, assuming Hillary, we will hear that Iran has successfully tested a nuclear device before, oh, 2020.

        This is not me saying “IT’S BAD! OBAMA SHOULDN’T MAKE THIS DEAL!”
        This is not me saying “OBAMA KNOWS THAT THIS WILL HAPPEN!”

        This is merely me saying “I suspect that if this deal goes through, we will hear that Iran has successfully tested a nuclear device before 2020. Assuming Hillary.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew
        Ignored
        says:

        Fair point; I kind of answered my question. We’d make it because it might lower the likelihood even while remaining a good assumption (not saying it is, just saying if it is).

        Which is a point I notice you don’t address. You keeping saying what you think are livelihoods under the deal. You’re not saying whether they’re greater livelihoods unde it than outside it, nor why they would be.

        But, to be clear, the way you’re looking at this is to think that probably we’re doing this deal (“we” being Obama & Hillary, so Democrats) to enable Iran to get the bomb, for our own geopolitical reasons. That would imply that you think this deal will *increase* the likelihood of Iran getting the bomb compared to livelihoods in courses of events without this deal, and that Obama and Hillary think this is the case, even if they don’t know it is.

        Is this the view you tend toward?Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew
        Ignored
        says:

        All actual livelihoods are likelyhoods (now that they exist).Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew
        Ignored
        says:

        …More elegantly: do you think it is also a good assumption that Iran will get/test the bomb without this deal?

        …But hell, why take chances, right?Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to Michael Drew
        Ignored
        says:

        If Iran wants the bomb, they’ll get the bomb, baring a full military blockade. The only variable is time.

        Frankly, I’d rather see that they get it as a counterpoint to the Israelis, who I think will grow increasingly hard line and conservative. The demographics suggest that. Having the bomb in the hands of religious extremists seems not so smart. In both hands, slightly better.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Michael Drew
        Ignored
        says:

        do you think it is also a good assumption that Iran will get/test the bomb without this deal?

        I think Iran’s getting The Bomb is a matter of when, not if.

        That said, I think that this deal will get us closer to when rather than pushing when further away.

        That said, I tend to think that The Bomb is something that you enjoy coveting a hell of a lot more than you enjoy having (let alone stuff like care and feeding). They’ll soon wish they didn’t get it. But that’s another discussion.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Michael Drew
        Ignored
        says:

        Jay, could you unpack this for me? You seem to be asserting that closing the deal on these parameters makes it both
        A: more likely Iran will get the bomb and
        B: likely Iran will get the bomb sooner than if there is no deal.

        Could you explain how this works in your mind? Keep in mind that our current alternatives are current status quos with sanctions collapsing (most likely if the US or Israel is viewed having scuttled the deal), currnet status quos with sanctions holding up (likely only of Iran walks away which, right now they seem to be playing ball) or invasion (God(ess?) help us all).

        I just don’t see how this deal, with Iran saying they won’t get the bomb for at least a decade, shutting down their centrifuges and diluting their currently enriched supplies of Uranium could possibly make them more likely to get the bomb sooner than any alternatives short of war. Even if sanctions hold up you can be sure they’ll keep those bloody centrifuges spinning.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Michael Drew
        Ignored
        says:

        Part of my assumption is that both sides are lying and that both sides know that the other is lying and that both sides don’t really care because what is “really” wanted is stability in the region and Iran getting The Bomb will bring more stability than Iran continuing to try to get The Bomb.

        But I can see how someone might see that as too paranoid (or, I suppose, competent on the part of both sides) to be a reasonable conclusion to make.Report

  14. Avatar El Muneco
    Ignored
    says:

    One thing that I haven’t seen said in so many words, but which might be an important part of the calculation:

    If we have an agreement in place, and Iran violates it, and we bomb them, _we are unequivocally the Good Guys ™_. We aren’t just buckaroos going off half-cocked and trying to stir up trouble, we have the situation in hand and we’re leading a coalition to Make Things Right ™.

    Like Miles Vorkosigan before him, if Obama makes this work, all paths lead to victory – if things work out, it’s better than we would have hoped, while if they don’t, it’s better than we feared, and at least we end up as the heroes and not the villains.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to El Muneco
      Ignored
      says:

      In what quarters are you saying this evaluation will prevail, again?Report

      • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Michael Drew
        Ignored
        says:

        Maybe I’m getting too meta, but if I think that bombing country is inevitable, and I can arrange things so that there is a clear _casus belli_ on their part, when my hands are ostensibly clean, how is it not a win that I let things run their course, then more in sorrow than in anger send off the bombers, retain moral leadership of the Security Council, then pass Go and collect currency that I can later spend when it might make a difference?

        That was all one sentence – I apologize for that, but that’s how I think…Report

      • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Michael Drew
        Ignored
        says:

        Hmm, looks like the site thought that when I said “Country X” with brackets, there was an HTML tag there… There’s a “Country X” in the first (and only) sentence.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to El Muneco
      Ignored
      says:

      It was Cavilo for whom all paths led to victory. Until she ran into the guy who was even trickier than she was (not to mention even shorter.)Report

    • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to El Muneco
      Ignored
      says:

      No, you are definitely not the good guys if you start an aggressive war against Iran. The only times war is even arguably acceptable is as a defense against an attack that has been launched against either one’s own country, or against a third country which has requested assistance from you.

      Starting a war with a country on the basis that they are trying to obtain a weapon which your country already possesses in far greater volume is always going to be unjustified and hypocritical. It’s as much as saying “we have the right to defend ourselves by any means necessary, but you don’t have the right to defend yourself, and we’ll attack you if you try”.

      The methods for treaty enforcement including resuming harsh sactions against Iran if they go back on their part of the agreement. Use of military force is not acceptable.Report

  15. Avatar Gabriel Conroy
    Ignored
    says:

    The Munich analogy breaks down even when people try to apply it to Munich. The “lessons we learned” are hard to apply elsewhere, unless the lesson is “don’t give away part of Czechoslovakia to Hitler in 1938” or more generalizable, “if you don’t want to be invaded by your neighbor, don’t let said neighbor take a chunk of territory from one of its other neighbors.”

    It’s hard to know what would have happened if Chamberlain and Daladier was would have stood firm, and perhaps had invited the USSR to the conference. For that latter point, USSR involvement might have given a credible threat for an eastern front. Whether the USSR would have cooperated, I haven’t a clue, but this was almost a year before the Nazi-Soviet pact.

    Maybe the showdown would have happened over the Sudetenland instead of Poland and we would have had WWII, but with Germany at a lesser strategic advantage. Or greater advantage. Or both. I’m not a military historian and am mostly ignorant about what ways it’s more advantageous or more disadvantageous to have a lot of territory under one’s control.

    Maybe Germany would have backed down, only to sabre rattle and start some war a few years later. Or maybe the Nazis would have remained in power about as long as (or longer than) Franco did in Spain, keeping Germany a menacing, but contained dictatorship that threatened to destabilize Europe. Maybe Hitler would have been overthrown by his own generals and Germany redemocratized or at least refashioned as a Wilhelmine-like authoritarian regime with some checks against purely absolute power.

    Whatever would have happened if the UK and France had refused to bow to Hitler, that alternative “Munich” would probably not have been the example of a “good policy decision that staved off a disastrous WWII.” It would have been just another step in a process of diplomatic maneuvering, which in my opinion the real Munich conference was. It symbolized something larger about refusing to recognize the threat that Germany posed and about refusing to recognize Nazi/Fascist ideology for what it was, but by itself was only, in my opinion, one step in a larger tragedy that had already been put in motion.Report

  16. Avatar Notme
    Ignored
    says:

    All of this self congratulatory talk by the obama admin of an agreement and it doesn’t appaer that thete is one.

    http://nypost.com/2015/04/04/translated-version-of-iran-deal-doesnt-say-what-obama-claims-it-does/Report

  17. Avatar Jesse Ewiak
    Ignored
    says:

    https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/17862-new-poll-just-54-of-americans-see-israel-as-an-ally

    Interestingly, even for Rasmussen, who has an interest in pro-Republican polls, it looks like Bibi’s Wild and Crazy Trip to Congress was a bad idea – while 76% of Republican’s see Israel as an ally, only 46% of Democrat’s and 47% of independents see Israel as one.Report

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