[Vision2020] Obama Responds to Trump's Iran Pull-Out

Sunil Ramalingam sunilramalingam at hotmail.com
Wed May 9 11:23:27 PDT 2018

This is the unhealthy break with tradition and precedent? Not the things that Trump has been saying for the last year and a half or longer? What he’s been doing?

That’s like complaining about the color of the lifeboats on the Titanic, and remaining silent about the more important problem that there aren’t enough lifeboats .
From: keim152 at gmail.com <keim152 at gmail.com> on behalf of Darrell Keim <keim153 at gmail.com>
Sent: Wednesday, May 9, 2018 11:00:19 AM
To: Sunil Ramalingam
Cc: Dan Carscallen; vision2020
Subject: Re: [Vision2020] Obama Responds to Trump's Iran Pull-Out

Yes, we are both talking style over substance.  Given the current state of politics in our nation, style seems to trump substance in importance.

We are also talking precedent being broken in a perhaps unhealthy way.

(pun unintentional but perhaps fitting)

On Wed, May 9, 2018 at 10:48 AM, Sunil Ramalingam <sunilramalingam at hotmail.com<mailto:sunilramalingam at hotmail.com>> wrote:
You’re both talking style over substance. I’ll give you an Obama choice I find beyond unseemly. His decision not to prosecute torturers in the Bush Administration has allowed the nomination of a war criminal for the position of head of the CIA. That’s not unseemly, that’s repulsive and disgusting.
From: vision2020-bounces at moscow.com<mailto:vision2020-bounces at moscow.com> <vision2020-bounces at moscow.com<mailto:vision2020-bounces at moscow.com>> on behalf of Dan Carscallen <areaman at moscow.com<mailto:areaman at moscow.com>>
Sent: Wednesday, May 9, 2018 10:34:42 AM
To: vision2020
Subject: Re: [Vision2020] Obama Responds to Trump's Iran Pull-Out

I’m with Darrell on this.

Doesn’t matter to me who is currently in the office, the previous guy commenting on his activities is a little unseemly.

I don’t recall anyone ever doing that.  Then again Grover Cleveland might have, since he did serve non-concurrent terms.  Of course that was just a little before my time.


On May 9, 2018, at 10:22, Darrell Keim <keim153 at gmail.com<mailto:keim153 at gmail.com>> wrote:

Without commenting on the issue at hand, I have an observation.

Can anyone recall a past president so publicly rebuking/countering his successor on a major policy change?

On Wed, May 9, 2018 at 9:12 AM, Nicholas Gier <ngier006 at gmail.com<mailto:ngier006 at gmail.com>> wrote:

Former President Barack Obama released a statement after Trump withdrew the US from the Iran nuclear deal that amounted to a point by point debunking of Trump’s falsehoods about the agreement.

The statement provided to PoliticusUSA by Obama’s office is lengthy but important:

There are few issues more important to the security of the United States than the potential spread of nuclear weapons, or the potential for even more destructive war in the Middle East. That’s why the United States negotiated the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in the first place.

The reality is clear. The JCPOA is working – that is a view shared by our European allies, independent experts, and the current U.S. Secretary of Defense. The JCPOA is in America’s interest – it has significantly rolled back Iran’s nuclear program. And the JCPOA is a model for what diplomacy can accomplish – its inspections and verification regime is precisely what the United States should be working to put in place with North Korea. Indeed, at a time when we are all rooting for diplomacy with North Korea to succeed, walking away from the JCPOA risks losing a deal that accomplishes – with Iran – the very outcome that we are pursuing with the North Koreans.

That is why today’s announcement is so misguided. Walking away from the JCPOA turns our back on America’s closest allies, and an agreement that our country’s leading diplomats, scientists, and intelligence professionals negotiated. In a democracy, there will always be changes in policies and priorities from one Administration to the next. But the consistent flouting of agreements that our country is a party to risks eroding America’s credibility, and puts us at odds with the world’s major powers.

Debates in our country should be informed by facts, especially debates that have proven to be divisive. So it’s important to review several facts about the JCPOA.

First, the JCPOA was not just an agreement between my Administration and the Iranian government. After years of building an international coalition that could impose crippling sanctions on Iran, we reached the JCPOA together with the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the European Union, Russia, China, and Iran. It is a multilateral arms control deal, unanimously endorsed by a United Nations Security Council Resolution.

Second, the JCPOA has worked in rolling back Iran’s nuclear program. For decades, Iran had steadily advanced its nuclear program, approaching the point where they could rapidly produce enough fissile material to build a bomb. The JCPOA put a lid on that breakout capacity. Since the JCPOA was implemented, Iran has destroyed the core of a reactor that could have produced weapons-grade plutonium; removed two-thirds of its centrifuges (over 13,000) and placed them under international monitoring; and eliminated 97 percent of its stockpile of enriched uranium – the raw materials necessary for a bomb. So by any measure, the JCPOA has imposed strict limitations on Iran’s nuclear program and achieved real results.

Third, the JCPOA does not rely on trust – it is rooted in the most far-reaching inspections and verification regime ever negotiated in an arms control deal. Iran’s nuclear facilities are strictly monitored. International monitors also have access to Iran’s entire nuclear supply chain, so that we can catch them if they cheat. Without the JCPOA, this monitoring and inspections regime would go away.

Fourth, Iran is complying with the JCPOA. That was not simply the view of my Administration. The United States intelligence community has continued to find that Iran is meeting its responsibilities under the deal, and has reported as much to Congress. So have our closest allies, and the international agency responsible for verifying Iranian compliance – the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Fifth, the JCPOA does not expire. The prohibition on Iran ever obtaining a nuclear weapon is permanent. Some of the most important and intrusive inspections codified by the JCPOA are permanent. Even as some of the provisions in the JCPOA do become less strict with time, this won’t happen until ten, fifteen, twenty, or twenty-five years into the deal, so there is little reason to put those restrictions at risk today.

Finally, the JCPOA was never intended to solve all of our problems with Iran. We were clear-eyed that Iran engages in destabilizing behavior – including support for terrorism, and threats toward Israel and its neighbors. But that’s precisely why it was so important that we prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Every aspect of Iranian behavior that is troubling is far more dangerous if their nuclear program is unconstrained. Our ability to confront Iran’s destabilizing behavior – and to sustain a unity of purpose with our allies – is strengthened with the JCPOA, and weakened without it.

Because of these facts, I believe that the decision to put the JCPOA at risk without any Iranian violation of the deal is a serious mistake. Without the JCPOA, the United States could eventually be left with a losing choice between a nuclear-armed Iran or another war in the Middle East. We all know the dangers of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon. It could embolden an already dangerous regime; threaten our friends with destruction; pose unacceptable dangers to America’s own security; and trigger an arms race in the world’s most dangerous region. If the constraints on Iran’s nuclear program under the JCPOA are lost, we could be hastening the day when we are faced with the choice between living with that threat, or going to war to prevent it.

In a dangerous world, America must be able to rely in part on strong, principled diplomacy to secure our country. We have been safer in the years since we achieved the JCPOA, thanks in part to the work of our diplomats, many members of Congress, and our allies. Going forward, I hope that Americans continue to speak out in support of the kind of strong, principled, fact-based, and unifying leadership that can best secure our country and uphold our responsibilities around the globe.

Obama made a critical point

Much of Trump’s argument for killing the Iran deal was based on the false premise that the deal was a failure if it didn’t address all of the problems with Iran’s behavior, but the nuclear deal was never meant to do that. By design, it dealt with Iran’s nuclear program. Republicans have used this rhetorical device on the issue of health care, for example, as well. It is a false argument that seeks to turn something successful into a failure.

It is rare for a former president to come out with such a strong statement against an action taken by a current president. All evidence and even members of Trump’s own administration say that the deal was working.

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A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.

-Greek proverb

“Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use one’s understanding without guidance from another. This immaturity is self- imposed when its cause lies not in lack of understanding, but in lack of resolve and courage to use it without guidance from another. Sapere Aude! ‘Have courage to use your own understand-ing!—that is the motto of enlightenment.

--Immanuel Kant

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