nuclear weapons

Rand Paul nixes new Iran sanctions during negotations

Just a few weeks ago, it looked like Congress was going to overwhelmingly pass new Iran sanctions while the Obama administration was still negotiating with the prospective nuclear nation over their enrichment program. That hit a brick wall this week as Senator Rand Paul became the first Republican to denounce the idea:

I’ve been for sanctions. I have voted for sanctions in the past, to try to get the Iranians to negotiate. I think while they’re negotiating, and if we can see that they’re negotiating in good faith, I don’t think it’s a good idea to pass sanctions while we’re in the midst of negotiations.

Now it looks like there may not even be a vote on new sanctions until this summer. Even under a Democrat-led Senate, it’s an entirely new thing for this kind of dithering and delay on Iran issues. However, coming less than a year after the failed Syria military intervention idea, it’s becoming clearer that the American people and even their representatives may be weary of perpetual global police action at our expense.

Herman Cain doesn’t know anything about Cuba

Herman Cain didn’t know that China was a nuclear power. He doesn’t know what is going on in Libya. He didn’t know what the Palestinian right-of-return was. He said it’s not practical to attack Iran because “it’s very mountainous.” And he recently said “I’m not supposed to know anything about foreign policy,” which is probably a good position to take given that he doesn’t know anything about foreign affairs. More evidence of that comes from his “foreign policy” on Cuba:

Cain, who last week stumbled over questions about what he would do in Libya, seemed to know little about Cuba. His campaign kept reporters at bay, and when asked about the Cuban Adjustment Act and the so-called wet-foot, dry-foot policy, Cain seemed stumped.The policy allows Cuban immigrants who have made it to US soil to stay.

“Wet foot, dry foot policy?” Cain asked. His press handlers interrupted as Cain diverted his course and ducked back into the building. Later, when he emerged, he was asked again by another reporter. Cain wouldn’t answer.

Podcast: Afghanistan War, Huckabee-Maurice Clemmons, Bernanke Re-Nomination, Iran News & More, Guest: Stephen Gordon

Note: Brad Warbiany from The Liberty Papers was originally penciled in as a guest for the podcast, but some technical difficulties required a re-recording of the show.  He was missed on the final product, but we plan to have him on again in the very near future.

Jason and Brett were joined by Stephen Gordon, principal with Forward Focus Media for the re-record, as well as the original.

Together, they discuss:

Senate may weigh more sanctions against Iran, despite nuclear deal

The deal brokered between six major countries, including the United States, and Iran to slow the country’s nuclear program in exchange for loosened sanctions has been met with a cool reception in Washington from members of both parties.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) acknowledged on Monday that stronger sanctions against Iran may be considered when the chamber reconvenes early next month, though, they could be vetoed by President Obama:

Reid called the pact negotiated between six world powers and Iran an “important first step,” but expressed uncertainty whether it would be good enough.

“When we come back, we’ll take a look at this to see if we need stronger sanctions,” he said in an interview on “The Diane Rehm Show.”
“If we need to do stronger sanctions, I’m sure we will do that,” he said. “We’ll move forward appropriately.”

Reid acknowledged President Obama could veto stronger sanctions passed by Congress if he believed they ran counter to his foreign policy agenda.

Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), the third-ranking Senate Democratic leader, criticized the deal at a press conference in New York Sunday.

“It was strong sanctions, not the goodness of the hearts of the Iranian leaders, that brought Iran to the table. And any reduction relieves the pressure of sanction and gives them the hope that they will be able to obtain a nuclear weapon,” he said.

Schumer said the “disproportionality” of the agreement would increase the likelihood of Congress passing additional sanctions in December.

Deal reached to slow Iran’s nuclear program

Obama's Iran statement

News broke late Saturday evening that a historic deal had been reached between Iran and six countries — including the United States, Russia, and China — that would limit the Islamic republic from developing nuclear weapons.

The “historic” deal would require the regime in Teheran to destroy its 20 percent uranium and freeze the 3.5 percent stock the country has currently produced for its nuclear energy program.

The Washington Post explains that 20 percent uranium is “needed for research reactors that produce isotopes for cancer treatment and other applications, such as agricultural to enhance fertilizers.” The paper notes that this level of enrichment is “only several steps away from being boosted to weapons-grade levels at more than 90 percent.”

In return, there would be no further sanctions against Iran for at least six months, provided that the regime allows daily inspections and follows through on the destruction of the higher levels of enriched uranium.

“These are substantial limitations which will help prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon. Simply put, they cut off Iran’s most likely paths to a bomb,” said President Barack Obama in a televised statement late Saturday evening. “Meanwhile, this first step will create time and space over the next six months for more negotiations to fully address our comprehensive concerns about the Iranian program. And because of this agreement, Iran cannot use negotiations as cover to advance its program.”

Lindsey Graham pushes for another war in the Middle East

Lindsey Graham

The United States just averted what would have been an unnecessary war against Syria, largely due to public opposition. But Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is already beating the drum again, this time calling for war against Iran.

“I believe the Iranians are trying to develop a nuclear weapon, not build a nuclear power plant,” Graham, who supported military strikes against Syria, told Mike Huckabee last weekend on Fox News.

“Look, how we’ve handled the chemical weapons threat in Syria. If we duplicate that with the Iranians, they’re going to march toward a nuclear weapon and dare Israel to attack them,” said Graham. “So in the next six months, our friends in Israel are going to have to take the Iranians on unless the United States can send a clear signal to Iran unlike we’ve sent to Syria.

Graham, who is facing three Republican primary challengers in his bid for re-election next year, said that he plans to put together a bipartisan coalition that will support the use of force to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

“I’m going to get a bipartisan coalition together. We’re going to put together a use of force resolution, allowing our country to use military force as a last resort to stop the Iranian nuclear program to make sure they get a clear signal that all this debacle called Syria doesn’t mean we’re confused about Iran,” explained Graham. “We may be confused as a nation on what to do with the chemical weapons in Syria, but we’re not confused as a nation as to what to do with the nuclear program in Iran.”

October surprise?: U.S. to negotiate with Iran over nuclear program

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

With President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney set to square off in a debate on foreign policy tomorrow evening, The New York Times reports that the administration may begin negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program:

The United States and Iran have agreed in principle for the first time to one-on-one negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, according to Obama administration officials, setting the stage for what could be a last-ditch diplomatic effort to avert a military strike on Iran.
News of the agreement — a result of intense, secret exchanges between American and Iranian officials that date almost to the beginning of President Obama’s term — comes at a critical moment in the presidential contest, just two weeks before Election Day and the weekend before the final debate, which is to focus on national security and foreign policy.

It has the potential to help Mr. Obama make the case that he is nearing a diplomatic breakthrough in the decade-long effort by the world’s major powers to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, but it could pose a risk if Iran is seen as using the prospect of the direct talks to buy time.

Iran and America’s Nuclear Hypocrisy

Despite the heavy news coverage of the Republican primary race—known in these circles as “The Farce Seen ‘Round The World”—came news of Obama’s stance on Iran, and his statements to Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu of Israel in a meeting over the past week. From ABC News:

Amid rising concerns about the prospect of the Iranian government making a nuclear weapon, President Obama today assured Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that “the United States will always have Israel’s back when it comes to Israel’s security.”

In contrast to the tense Oval Office meeting of last May, when the president and prime minister were more focused on the stalled Israel-Palestinian peace process Obama and Netanyahu today sounded united, though behind the scenes they are working through some contentious issues on how to best discourage Iran from continuing with any plans to manufacture a nuclear weapon.

Echoing remarks he delivered Sunday to the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Obama argued that diplomacy is the best way to resolve the issue but that all options, including military action, are on the table.

“We will continue to tighten pressure when it comes to sanctions, I reserve all options. And my policy here is not going to be one of containment. My policy is prevention of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons,” Obama said. “When I say all options are at the table, I mean it.”

Herman Cain is a joke and should drop out of the race

More information keeps coming out from Herman Cain’s recent interview with the editorial board of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and at this point, the fact that he was ever considered to be a frontrunner in the race for the GOP nomination for president should be an embarrassment.

“I’m not supposed to know anything about foreign policy. Just thought I’d throw that out,” he said, a dig at his critics.

He defended his view that presidents and presidential candidates don’t need to be immersed in the fine print of world affairs – they simply need to be leaders who can surround themselves with the right people and sift through their advice.

“I’m not supposed to know anything about foreign policy. Just thought I’d throw that out,” he said, a dig at his critics.

“I want to talk to commanders on the ground. Because you run for president (people say) you need to have the answer. No, you don’t! No, you don’t! That’s not good decision-making,” said Cain.

And his reasoning for not attacking Iran? According to Cain, it’s not a practical idea because the country is “very mountainous.” By that reasoning, we shouldn’t have bombed Afghanistan either since al-Qaeda was hiding in Tora Bora. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe we should engage Iran either, but not because of its topography.

If you’re going to run for the nation’s highest office, you damn well better have some idea about foreign policy. This isn’t the type of job that that allows for a learning curve, the current occupant of the White House is evidence of that.

Lack of knowledge on policy, not scandal, should bring Cain’s demise

The recent allegations against him have certainly received a substantial amount of attention from the media, Herman Cain continues to largely get a pass on the lack of knowledge about the issues that the next president will face.

The latest example was a question on Medicare during his “debate” with Newt Gingrich on Saturday night. As you can see below, Cain hesitates for a few seconds, repeats part of the question as he looks to the sky and then defers to Gingrich:

The crowd laughs, but this isn’t very funny. Cain managed to explain away a lack of knowledge on the issues with his charm and very targeted rhetoric. We’ve documented Cain’s shortfalls on policy here before, including he most recent gaffe — the odd comment about China trying to develop nuclear weapons; though it has been overlooked due to obvious reasons.

The mulligans will eventually run out, but Republicans better hope it comes during the primary and not the general election when substance, not a cult of personality, matters much more.

The views and opinions expressed by individual authors are not necessarily those of other authors, advertisers, developers or editors at United Liberty.