Chuck Schumer is Wrong

Chuck Schumer is Wrong

Chuck Schumer is now trying to sound moderate on the issue of an Iran agreement. We just need a new plan he says. Go back to the table and get a better deal, he says. America needs a better deal, he says. Nonsense. There is no better deal. Sen. Schumer is rejecting a common sense approach to one of the most delicate diplomatic challenges of this century, and in the process abandoning the Democratic Party.

First, the deal that has been negotiated by the US and other participating nations, is not a bad deal. It substantially reduces the ability of Iran to make weapons. It provides for and establishes a significant and unprecedented inspections program that can easily inform the participating nations in the event of any breach or attempted breach by the Iranians. Any breach of the agreement by Iran will lead to re-imposition of sanctions… an action that is binding on all signers of the pact. In exchange the Iranians get relief from stringent economic sanctions and they get access to billions in Iranian assets that have been frozen in the US since 1980.

The agreement will have positive repercussions worldwide. For the USA, for better or ill, lifting the sanctions will open the market to Iranian oil and lower the cost of fuel. Gasoline is expected to drop below $2 in the USA for the first time in years. In the Iranian economy, stifled by sanctions for decades, access to world markets is expected to be dramatic.

Political implications are also significant. Iranian oil is another assault on the Saudi oil monopoly which has already been challenged by Iraq, Koch brothers’ Bracken Crude from Canada and natural gas from world-wide fracking). Thus it will further diminish the influence of Saudi Arabia in the Middle East and beyond. In Iran, the hard line Mullahs are as opposed to the deal as are Israeli hard liners and for similar reasons. The pact gives more credibility to moderate forces and creates opportunities for further cooperation between Iran and the rest of the world.

Sen. Schumer has yet to offer an alternative that will improve on the already substantial world-peace potential of this agreement. All he has are threats and fears. The tools of despots. He says we can’t trust Iran, what happens if Iran backs out? The answer to that is written in the terms of the agreement. We are back to sanctions and a continued effort at economic isolation, and every signer of the agreement is obliged to re-impose sanctions.

Sen. Schumer has forgotten one important element in the game. The USA is not the principal player in on the field. Also playing are the four permanent members of the United National Security Council (China, France, Russia, The United Kingdom), Germany and the European Union. Other affected nations that have been more or less honoring the sanctions include India and Pakistan and Japan. Some of these nations, China and Russia in particular, are unlikely to agree that more talk is useful or necessary. With or without an agreement, they may reopen trade with Iran. Once they open trade, the rest of the world is likely to follow. In short, whether or not the USA agrees to the deal, the other parties will likely go ahead without us. Some may do so without an agreement.

Senator Schumer’s claim that we need a better deal offers no deal that we can get. Especially appalling, nothing in his statements have improved on the talking points offered by the Republican Party, all of which were originally offered by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he came the USA with the specific intent to embarrass President Obama in an address to a Republican Congress particularly hostile to the President.

It is no secret that Senator Schumer’s financial base is significantly invested in right wing Israeli politics. New York is the center of AIPAC influence in the United States. Still, Chuck Schumer is a leader in the Democratic Party. But he is not the leader. Important moments in history demand that party rank and file stand behind the President. This rule applies to me and it applies to Chuck Schumer.

  • by Tim Pryor, Mendon Democratic Committee Chair

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