08.26.15 Maryland’s Senators Silent on Iran Deal
Here is my open letter to Senator Ben Cardin. I will be sending a similar letter to Barbara Mikulski. Maryland Democrats should be outraged that both of our senators appear to be in thrall to Likud and AIPAC. Express your views to Cardin (202-224-4524) and Mikulski (202-224-4654) or by visiting their websites. Though this should hardly matter on the substance of the issue, Cardin is Jewish and Mikulski is not. Just the same, the latter has been known to consistently take the AIPAC line on Israel.
Dear Senator Cardin:
I read in yesterday’s New York Times, that you are undecided on the nuclear deal with Iran.
Your fence-sitting is disturbing, because the logic in favor of the agreement is an absolute no-brainer: whether or not you love the details or the way Obama and Kerry negotiated, the horse has left the barn. The sanctions regime is dead, dead, dead.
If you liked the George W. Bush administration’s cowboy unilateralism, you’ll love US foreign policy after Congress kills the agreement with Iran. The US would be on its own internationally (with Israel is its sole ally). Not only will usual suspects, like Russia and China, rush to do business with Iran, but so will Europe. In fact, the rush is already on. And without any international sanctions regime, the only remaining leverage the United States (and Israel) will have will be military.
If you oppose this agreement, do you have a plan for recovering US influence and prestige afterwards? Do you relish a unilateral war that will cost enormous blood and treasure and only briefly delay Iran’s nuclear progress?
The question is not whether this negotiated agreement is perfect (by definition, no negotiated agreements are), but rather, what is the alternative? I have yet to hear a rational one from the belligerent right.
We know why the GOP is lockstep opposed to the agreement. First, there is the party’s long history of opposition to negotiations and arms control in principle (see this Times article reminding us of right-wing opposition to even Reagan’s and Eisenhower’s talks with the Soviets). And there’s the fact that anything and everything Obama does sends the GOP into paroxysms of feigned rage.
We know why Israel is opposed: it is in thrall to the racist, hegemonic regime it elected. That regime is, sadly, behaving contrary to Israel’s own interests, but is blind to this fact, as is the aggressively right-wing pro-Israel lobby in this country (led by AIPAC).
I cannot fathom why any Democrat – regardless of creed – would be in opposition. I am embarrassed that the only Democrats in stated opposition are Jewish (Schumer of NY) or count on Jewish votes (Menendez of New Jersey and Schumer).
I am a Jewish American. I use that formulation, since – in an irony of English-language construction – it is the second element of that phrase that is dominant. That is, I am American more than I am Jewish.
Are you? If you are, then your equivocation is uncalled for. You must prioritize US interests over Israel’s (notwithstanding Israel’s current inability to recognize what its true interests are).
Ben Cardin: You face a choice. Are you going to be a Democrat representing Maryland or a Likudnik representing Israel? Maryland Democrats can wait no longer for you to make up your mind and do the right thing.
©2015 Keith Berner