Saturday, 4 April 2015

Why should reason prevail?

How does Obama get cooperation from the nutcase GOP Congress on an Iran deal that it has a priori denounced and promised to scuttle? The agreement hammered out after marathon negotiating in Switzerland is clearly in our national interest and will stave off further useless war-making in the Middle East. So what? Why would that matter to the ideological zealots who have convinced themselves that Obama is the antichrist, eager to toss poor, helpless Israel to the Iranian wolves?

Perhaps the sober heads who allegedly still roam the hallways of power in Washington will prevail and get this deal past those hankering for yet more war, preferably including Armageddon and the Rapture. (They leave out the conversion of the Jews and God’s wrath against those who refuse. But I digress.) The commentariat seems to think eventual Republican acquiescence to the deal is a likely outcome.

But unless I am missing something, the agreement to weaken Iran’s ability to break Israel’s nuclear monopoly stands an excellent chance of being sabotaged. The wacko wing trashed it before they knew what it said; it is no stretch to assume that they won’t like the fine print, either. Nonetheless, Obama seems to think that there is a group of sensible people hiding out in the shadows of the Republican clown tent. He’s governed since 2009 on that assumption and consistently behaves as though he has X-ray vision that enables him to see something in the unremittingly hostile and often bizarre behavior of his adversaries that the rest of us don’t.

The Iran agreement doesn’t really need congressional approval—it needs Benjamin Netanyahu’s, as he amply demonstrated in his recent visit to dictate U.S. foreign policy to us. But while Netanyahu immediately declared that he has no intention of giving it, Obama continues to appeal to something called reason. He refuses to contemplate the possibility that he presides over a society that is demented.

“If Congress kills this deal,” said the prez, “not based on expert analysis, and without offering any reasonable alternative, then it’s the United States that will be blamed for the failure of diplomacy.” Show me where the Republican leadership or Fox News has indicated that it cares about that?

“Do you really think that this verifiable deal,” Obama continued, “if fully implemented, backed the world’s major powers, is a worse option than the risk of another war in the Middle East?” Worse for whom? If I’m an arms manufacturer in a red district slobbering over the possibility of another cool billion in sales once new hostilities are launched, the question answers itself. Obama’s rhetoric presumes that his enemies are thinking about the nation’s wellbeing rather than their immediate profits. Where’s the evidence for that?

Obama is reaping the outcome of his constant pandering to the people who wish he were dead. He swept into office with a huge mandate and a crushing congressional majority and briefly wielded enormous power to ignore the wackos and mobilize support for a more reasonable domestic and foreign policy, to stop the looting by the financier class and face down the warmongers who had just delivered us the Iraq debacle.

Instead he sat down determined to be BFFs with the people we had just repudiated and who openly vowed to annihilate him. He first empowered the banker class by letting them off the hook for the financial debacle instead of prosecuting their myriad, easily provable frauds. Then he buckled to the militarists and the snoopocracy while cracking down on reporters who dared to uncover their crimes.

They rewarded his friendly gestures by boycotting the weak-tea program he had designed to please them. Meanwhile, his inability or unwillingness to satisfy the needs of his own base led to mass indifference to the fate of his Democrats, who promptly sank out of sight in 2010 and again in 2014. GOP obstructionism has been wildly successful—why stop now?

Obama still acts as though he is living in some sort of Wilsonian age where bipartisan agreement in the national interest will prevail. Nothing we have seen this year, or in the decade to date, provides a scrap of evidence that that is the case. He has weakened the forces that might have stood up for this reasonable solution to yet another zone of tension in an increasingly violent and appalling world. I wish him luck, not that he cares about my opinion.

After the disgrace of the failed Iraq conquest and despite the voters’ eagerness for attention to domestic ills, the war camp is back in charge. The rhetoric coming out of Congress is so furious and the Israeli poison so profound throughout our governing classes that Obama needs something more than being right to counteract it. He has to go over the nutballs’ heads and appeal to the people’s desire for peace and prosperity. But Obama has never done that in the past and isn’t likely to start now. He governs through the elites and refuses to believe that a very substantial portion of it prefers to damage the country than allow him to record a success.