December 31, 2018

"Trump's Top 10 Achievements of 2018."

At Real Clear Politics.
1. Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court...

2. Confronting China... America now embraces its strong bargaining position and demands reciprocity in trade and an end to rampant industrial theft and piracy.

3. Middle-Class Wages Rise – Incomes in general soared in 2018...

4. U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Deal...

5. Ending the Iran Nuclear Deal...

6. Moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem...

7. Smashing the ISIS Caliphate and Exiting Syria...

8 Increasing Minority Jobs...

9. Holding the Line with Migrant Caravans...

10. Record American Oil Production – In 2018, the U.S. surpassed Russia and Saudi Arabia to become the world’s largest producer of crude oil....

81 comments:

rehajm said...

The corporate tax reduction. It's had and will have a profound positive impact on humanity for years to come.

rehajm said...

He's flushed from the bushes many phonies and crackpots that were once respected as serious people.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Shining a light on the media bias

Wilbur said...

If only we had some noble rats to finally expose how bad Trump is. Because certainly nobody else seems to want to.

Thanks for nothing, Peggy Noonan.

Rob said...

It’s a pretty good list. Skis w/ Judge, Tom, PJ, Bernie, Squi to celebrate!

Tank said...

Moving the Overton window on immigration and media bias.

sykes.1 said...

I would say that ending JPCOA was a bad mistake in that it was an affront to our allies Britain, France and Germany and substantially freed Iran from any restrictions on their nuclear programs.

As to the destruction of ISIS, that was accomplished by Russia and Iran with little or no help from the US.

johnhenry100 said...

Sounds like a pretty good start.

John Henry

Gahrie said...

As to the destruction of ISIS, that was accomplished by Russia and Iran with little or no help from the US.

You misread the talking points...Obama is supposed to get credit for destroying ISIS, not Russia....Russia are the bad guys again....

Unknown said...

Leaving the fake Paris climate treaty should be on the list.

AllenS said...

11. Trump was able to get Russia and Iran to destroy ISIS without American forces being killed and American money being spent to do it.

[Winning]

Bay Area Guy said...

Good list. I would add:

1. Not getting us into foreign war/entanglements, particularly in the Middle East
2. Strong efforts to reduce Federal Regulations.
3. Not just Judge Kavanaugh, but a battery of good federal judges, with many more (119 vacancies) to come.
4. Stronger enforcement of the borders.

gilbar said...

don't forget: having a first lady that is SO HOT, she could be a Supermodel (IS a supermodel)
this is a carry over from 2017, but she's still there

Gahrie said...

Leaving the fake Paris climate treaty should be on the list.

Especially since we are the only ones who have met the Kyoto targets.

mccullough said...

On the cultural front, Trump got Lebron James to self identify as anti-Semitic.

Dave Begley said...

Name 10 good things Barack did for the American people in his 8 years.

Dave Begley said...

I've got Obama's number one achievement: Nominating Robert F. Rossiter, Jr. as a federal judge for the District of Nebraska.

LarsPorsena said...

Blogger Dave Begley said...
I've got Obama's number one achievement: Nominating Robert F. Rossiter, Jr. as a federal judge for the District of Nebraska.

12/31/18, 7:21 AM

-----------------------

Cash for Clunkers way better.

etbass said...

A singular achievement was preventing Hilary Rodham Clinton from taking the reins of our government.

On another note, I could accept more readily the criticism of Trump's behavior and pronouncements by many on this blog if they would only acknowledge the very significant achievements enumerated here.

MikeR said...

11. Rolling back some of the worst excesses of the regulatory regime.
It's really continually fascinating to me that liberals see this as a time of disaster.

traditionalguy said...

The 2018 warm up has been significant.But we are eagerly awaiting the two biggest transformations. First ending of the world power elite's Paedophile based rule over government leaders, and second, the ending the European elite's power over the economy of the USA by using a private Reserve Bank, and issuing in place of that system a gold backed US Treasury Dollar as world reserve currency.

Browndog said...

11. Restoring a sense of pride in America. It should be No.1....attitude being everything.

rwnutjob said...

But, but, but...Stormy!

Molly said...

(eaglebeak)

11. Being funny. On purpose.

The Gipper Lives said...

It is an impressive list of accomplishments--all of which eluded the Elite Failure Class. It is sad that the Professional Conservative(tm) Pearl Clutchers impeded so much other progress that could have been made. By which I mean Ryan, McConnell, McCain, etc. Maybe someday they'll actually put Country First like the lip service they give.

johnhenry100 said...

Why is ending the Korean War not on the list?

Not ended yet but President Trump has made more progress in one year than everyone else made 65.

I'd give a lot of credit to Jimmy Carter too.

Not President Jimmy Carter, the USS Jimmy Carter.

Seen here flying the jolly roger signifying the return from a successful COMBAT mission in the pacific.

Just before the Norks became sweetness and light. Relatively speaking.

John Henry

Tommy Duncan said...

Ann is taunting Chuck this morning. Great way to start the week!

Ralph L said...

Remember, this list is supposed to be for 2018 only.

johnhenry100 said...

Forgot the link.

https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/weapons/news/a28209/navy-spy-sub-jolly-roger-uss-jimmy-carter/

John Henry

Kevin said...

11. Getting Elizabeth Warren to take a DNA test.

Henry said...

9. Holding the Line with Migrant Caravans...

U.S. Souther Border Interdictions closely tracked FY 2016 and first two months of FY 2017. But Trump certainly talked the talk.

pacwest said...

"U.S. Souther Border Interdictions closely tracked FY 2016 and first two months of FY 2017."

Seems like the only thing that will make a difference is a wall of some sort!

gadfly said...

Such BS! So Trumpy is out there working in the "man camps" of the Mar-A-Lago oil fields.

Phil 3:14 said...

It’s like watching a decent football game, not my favorite team, but still worth watching. Just have to turn off the sound; horrible play by play and analyst

tim in vermont said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tim in vermont said...

1:19 — Answer to my question: "Billionaires and big corporations."

That would be Soros, Bezos, Zuck, whoever that guy Jack is that runs Twitter, and Alphabet? I’s right behind you Granny! Oh, not those billionaires, the other ones that are not backing you!

At least Trump is not trying to shut down oil fields, so we will take what we can get. If Hillary was president, Keystone XL would be dead. Fracking would be shut down, coal extraction would come to an end, and the US would not be the dominant world energy power.

But wait... that would play right into the hands of petro-state strongman, Putin, who gave Hillary 150 million that we know of....

Just curious gadfly, would it be better to have an anti-energy Democrat in power?

tim in vermont said...

But Trump certainly talked the talk.

Well, it turns out that the power of the executive rests with assorted Federal Judges. So I guess that throwing up one’s hands is the way to go!

Rusty said...

Aw, Gadfly. Butt hurt a little? Why can't you give credit where credit is due? Don't you want americans to be prosperous and safe?

Howard said...

If it's all true, than good for US. He should take 2020 in landslide like a boss

Chuck said...

Tommy Duncan said...
Ann is taunting Chuck this morning. Great way to start the week!


I strongly agree with #1. Kavanaugh and Gorsuch (and another?) will be the singular positive outcome of the Trump presidency.

Almost everything else on the list, and some things not on the list, evidence what is phony about the Trump Administration.

NAFTA was a good deal to begin with; and the latest tweaking and modernization were also good. Everything else that Trump has said about NAFTA 1.0 and now NAFTA 2.0 is garbage.

The aluminum and steel tariffs have been problematic bordering on disastrous.

I am happy with more oil production especially when the Saudis and OPEC are deliberately reducing production to prop up world prices. But my car doesn’t care where the gasoline comes from, and neither does the spot price of crude.

We have a new tax bill, but there wasn’t enough reform for my tastes and Trump better have an answer for the deficits his tax cuts will produce. Trump hasn’t given us an answer on that.

And as for China’s theft of international IP, the one and only way to enforce better compliance is with a broad international coalition the Germans and the Brits and the Australians and the Koreans have issues with China just as we do. The best thing we could do is to strengthen those alliances. Trump isn’t doing that.

Not on the list of Trump achievements:
~ The Obamacare “replacement.”
~ The Wall that Mexico will pay for.
~ The North Korean disarmament agreement.

narciso said...

Blame McCain flake and Corker murkowski, 2) the same add Graham 3) tbd

narciso said...

The integrated Huawei systems (perhaps thanks to directors like downer) zte has two networks into Africa and the middle east.

PM said...

Phil 3:14 "It’s like watching a decent football game, not my favorite team, but still worth watching. Just have to turn off the sound; horrible play by play and analyst."

xlntly put, with the addition of the opposing team whining and complaining to the refs.

Earnest Prole said...

That's great, but Trump was elected on his promise to build a big, beautiful wall, and he failed despite having a Republican Congress and Senate.

J. Farmer said...

I suppose this list depends on your definition of "achievements." Trump doing what he said he would do is a reasonable definition. But of course, like any candidate, you are rarely with them 100% of the time on the issues. So, for example, while Trump mouthed foreign policy instincts that were skeptical of interventionism and endless war (things I like), he also promised to end the Iran deal (something I didn't like). I voted for him almost exclusively on the immigration issue, and from this perspective so far he has been a huge disappointment.

In any event, some thoughts on the "accomplishments"...

5. Ending the Iran Nuclear Deal...

I've made my position pretty clear on this. Trump's non-proliferation efforts vis-a-vis North Korea and Iran are 180 degrees in the wrong direction. North Korea has been rewarded and its status elevated while abrogating the NPT and developing nuclear weapons. Iran is being punished and financial pressure against its citizens exerted even while it has no nuclear weapons program and has consistently been in compliance with the terms of the most restrictive non-proliferation regime that has yet been devised.

6. Moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem...

This is certainly a strategic victory for Jerusalem but it provides no benefit to US national security or other interests. It is largely seen as a concession to Israel and is yet another example of our schizophrenic foreign policy in which we are constantly called upon to reassure and suck up to client states, the exact opposite of how the power relationship typically functions.

7. Smashing the ISIS Caliphate and Exiting Syria...

Trump correctly recognized how obviously stupid it was to try to fight both the Assad state and ISIS simultaneously. Ending the war against Assad was essential. And now that Assad (with Russian and Iranian support) has decisively maintained power against rebel factions, withdrawing US supports from the country is the right thing to do.

9. Holding the Line with Migrant Caravans...

Too little, too late. Despite rhetoric, Trump has largely been terrible on the immigration issue. It got completely rolled on the Congressional ombudsman and foolishly punted to Ryan and McConnell, when his election had largely been against that kind of GOP Inc governance. Ann Coulter, Mickey Kaus, and CIS (Mark Krikorian, Jessica Vaughn) have been Trump's most honest and consistent watchdogs on the immigration issue.

Jupiter said...

They left out Trump's signal accomplishment, the one that got him elected;

0. Hilary Clinton is not the President of the United States!

Sebastian said...

"This is certainly a strategic victory for Jerusalem but it provides no benefit to US national security or other interests"

It does. Besides telling everyone that we will treat actual friends as friends, it is an FU to the "you can't do that" anti-Israel crowd and it shows, in the immortal words of our CoC, that we are not a bunch of suckers anymore. Showing that you will do what you think is right, and that no one can stop you, and that you don't give a damn about the precious protestations of "allies," is a great benefit.

Roy Lofquist said...

And on the seventh day...

Big Mike said...

even while it has no nuclear weapons program and has consistently been in compliance with the terms of the most restrictive non-proliferation regime that has yet been devised

@Farmer, believe what you want to, but I make out at least three lies (or at any rate unverifiable assumptions) in this portion of a sentence, with a live possibility of more.

Big Mike said...

@Chuck, one would assume that any educated person understands that as long as never-Trumpers are crying "impeachment, impeachment" that the North Koreans have the option to wait Trump out and see whether he is likely to be gone in a year or two. The North Koreans will not make moves to denuclearize for real unless and until Trump is reelected.

Sam L. said...

Why, this is so HORRIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1211111111!!!!!!

Jupiter said...

J. Farmer said...
"Iran is being punished and financial pressure against its citizens exerted even while it has no nuclear weapons program and has consistently been in compliance with the terms of the most restrictive non-proliferation regime that has yet been devised."

I seldom agree with you, but I did at least think you were well-informed on the issues you get wrapped around. The Israelis hauled truckloads of documents out of Iran, showing that the Iranian nuclear program has never slowed down for one minute. They continue openly and even proudly working on ICBMs to deliver the warheads they are developing covertly. Whether the Iranian leadership is merely seeking leverage against their enemies (everyone), or intends an apocalyptic attack on Israel, Saudi Arabia, the US, or perhaps all three, is an open question. Given the increasing instability of the regime, their intentions may be irrelevant. When they have them, they will use them. Pull your head out of the sand.

Will said...

Bah Humbug! Don't all you suicide vest-wearing terrorists know that these are all Obama accomplishments?

Just ask Obama!

"That was me. You're welcome people"

Known Unknown said...

"Republican Congress"

Counting on Paul Ryan to get anything done is stupid, just like Paul Ryan.

Khesanh 0802 said...

I agree with Jupiter that J. Farmer usually seems to be pretty well versed on his points, but I too can not get over his willing blindness to what is actually going on in Iran vs. what may be wishfully written on a worthless piece of paper. He probably still believes in the viability of the Ribbentrop- Molotov pact as well.

J. Farmer said...

@Sebastian:

Besides telling everyone that we will treat actual friends as friends, it is an FU to the "you can't do that" anti-Israel crowd and it shows, in the immortal words of our CoC, that we are not a bunch of suckers anymore.

First, I will simply repeat the cliche that nations do not have "friends," actual or otherwise. They have interests. Also, Israel is not a treaty ally of the US and has never committed troops to any US-led military operation. In this sense, we have much closer relationships with several nations over Israel.


It has been official US policy, under every administration since Nixon, that the final status of East Jerusalem is to be left to negotiations. This is why the US and every US ally has maintained their embassies in Tel Aviv. It has nothing to do with being "anti-Israel," unless it your belief that every nation on the planet (including all East Asian nations with no cultural axes to grind) are motivated by some irrational anti-Israel hatred. In the same time that the US has maintained its embassy in Tel Aviv, we have been extremely supportive and generous with the Israelis. Is it your position that Israel has not been properly supported by the US in the last 50 years?

J. Farmer said...

@Big Mike:

@Farmer, believe what you want to, but I make out at least three lies (or at any rate unverifiable assumptions) in this portion of a sentence, with a live possibility of more.

If you are going to call me a liar, at least have the guts to say what it is you are accusing me of lying of. By all means please tell me what i got wrong and why it is wrong.

J. Farmer said...

Jupiter:

The Israelis hauled truckloads of documents out of Iran, showing that the Iranian nuclear program has never slowed down for one minute.

The Iranian documents that Israel retried from a derelict, unsecured warehouse in Tehran do not show "that the Iranian program has never slowed down for one minute." It is pretty rich that you will criticize me about not being "well-informed," while you making outlandish claims about documents whose contents you nothing about. Based on Netanyahu's own admissions during his press conference, the documentations outline the Iranian nuclear program that was shut down in 2003. Nothing new was revealed in these documents, and this information was adjudicated during the JCPOA negotiations.

Whether the Iranian leadership is merely seeking leverage against their enemies (everyone), or intends an apocalyptic attack on Israel, Saudi Arabia, the US, or perhaps all three, is an open question.

The notion that "everyone" is their "enemies" is yet again confirmation that you have a picture of the regime that is a total caricature and at odds with actual realty. Iran maintains normal diplomatic and economic relationships with most nations on the planet, including with countries like Russia, China, Japan, South Korea, Germany, and France.

It is also not an "open question" of whether the Iranians plan an "apocalyptic attack." The Iranian regime is not suicidal and is driven, like all regimes, by a desire for self-preservation. Iran is already contained by normal military deterrence, so it is simply fatuous to say that they would not be contained by nuclear deterrence.

Pull your head out of the sand.

Ditto.

J. Farmer said...

@Khesanh 0802:

I agree with Jupiter that J. Farmer usually seems to be pretty well versed on his points, but I too can not get over his willing blindness to what is actually going on in Iran vs. what may be wishfully written on a worthless piece of paper. He probably still believes in the viability of the Ribbentrop- Molotov pact as well.

When you say "written on a worthless piece of paper," your own revealing your own ignorance of what the JCPOA actually entails. You act as if it totally relies on us trusting the Iranians. The actual reality is that the JCPOA involves a highly intrusive inspection regimes. This includes international inspectors working onsite at Iranian nuclear facilities. This includes a complete monitoring and control of the entire nuclear fuel cycle. This includes continuous monitoring of reactors. This includes maintaining enriched materials at specified limits and under international inspection inspection and electronic seal. This includes 24/7 video surveillance at Iran's enrichment facilities.

If you want to criticize the JCPOA, please specify why you think it will not work. You can read the Arms Control Association's FAQ on the Iran deal here. It should be instructive that those most vociferously opposed to the Iran deal are also the most willfully ignorant of what it actually involves.

bagoh20 said...

Also admitted a record number of LEGAL immigrants both years so far. Funny it never gets mentioned.

Yea, sure, but I bet they were all rich white men.

bagoh20 said...

" You act as if it totally relies on us trusting the Iranians."

But of course it does. Even if it starts out legit, they should be expected to cheat as they always have, since there is never really any significant price to pay for doing so, especially when you consider how important nuclear weapons are and will be to them. The reasonable thing for them to do is cheat. They know they will get away with it. Are the Chinese or Europeans gonna force them to comply if they decide to cheat?

Birkel said...

J Farmer types a lot of words to explain that Iran is alright and America should pretend that Hez b'Allah has a say about where Israel's capital should be. Pretending that if we do things to appease would-be mass murderers they will change their policy of wholesale murder of Jews is dumb AF.

What Iranians expats write about Iranian behavior is illuminating.

None of the ones I read are apologists for the mullahs.

Birkel said...

Type as many words as you like.
I won't revisit this thread.

J. Farmer said...

@bagoh20:

But of course it does. Even if it starts out legit, they should be expected to cheat as they always have, since there is never really any significant price to pay for doing so, especially when you consider how important nuclear weapons are and will be to them. The reasonable thing for them to do is cheat. They know they will get away with it. Are the Chinese or Europeans gonna force them to comply if they decide to cheat?

First, nothing you wrote from the second sentence on supports your first sentence. Even if they are "expected to cheat," the JCPOA provides a significantly greater capacity to detect and punish such behavior. The JCPOA has specific provisions (e.g. control of dual-use procurement, capacity to inspect undeclared sites, etc.) to protect against a covert program. Also, the notion that "there is never really any significant price to pay for doing so," is not accurate. Iran has frequently been under international economic sanction over its nuclear program. The Iranians have not had a nuclear weapons program for 15 years. IF the Iranians are as undeterred in developing a nuclear weapon capacity as you claim, why would they have haulted their program for a decade and a half? The most probable scenario, based on the current evidence, is that the Iranians certainly desire a latent capacity (but such capacity is a byproduct of any domestic nuclear program). Iran has a right to a domestic nuclear program under the NPT.

J. Farmer said...

@Birkel:

J Farmer types a lot of words to explain that Iran is alright and America should pretend that Hez b'Allah has a say about where Israel's capital should be.

I have obviously said neither of those things. I have said nothing about Iran as a country. I have said that they have been in compliance with the JCPOA. If anyone would like to contradict that, feel free. As for Israel's capital, the international consensus since 1967 has been that the final status of East Jerusalem is to be determined by negotiations between the parties. This was when Iran was a US client state and Hezbollah did not exist.

Pretending that if we do things to appease would-be mass murderers they will change their policy of wholesale murder of Jews is dumb AF.

Placing limits on levels of enrichment, procurement of dual-use technology from abroad, and having foreign inspectors on your territory maintaining constant surveillance of your activities is not appeasing you.

Ken B said...

If 7, smashing ISIS, is true it’s the big one, by far. If it’s false the Syria pull out is a disaster. I hope it’s true.

narciso said...

actually it doesn't have any such inspection regime, those who have examined this matter have ascertained this, but you probably thought Israel pulling out of Lebanon, would lead to peace and prosperity, the record has been clear after 18 years

narciso said...

well there is a tricky wicket, Islamic state operates in idlib, which is already Turkish controlled territory, some of the anti Kurdish insurgents who moved into manbij were part of that 500 million funding of the likes favored by bob corker,

Gahrie said...

J.Farmer is the guy who in 1938 would be telling us that Hitler was only trying to unite the Germans and the US has no strategic interest in what is going on in Europe.

Khesanh 0802 said...

@J Farmer I have read quite frequently that one of the biggest inspection problems is that inspections can't be made at military facilities. Link. If so that leaves a big hole in the inspection regime. This doesn't sound good either. I will say once again that I don't trust the Iranians to adhere to any agreement. What say you about the testing of missiles. Is that similar to Russia's end run around the INF: change the range by a few miles so your medium range missile isn't a "medium range missile" anymore? Most importantly: do you really believe that a 10 year delay in nuke development - if it really happened - would be a major benefit to Iran's potential targets?

The JCPOA (don't tell me its not a treaty)would never have passed the Senate so voiding it is overdue.

Remember the old gambler's saying about "if you can't tell who the sucker at the table is, it's you"? To me that perfectly describes the entire Iran no-nuke fantasy. I am very glad that Trump has a better handle on the true nature of the Iranians than you do.

Khesanh 0802 said...

@J farmer Doesn't the parallel between the JCPOA and the Molotov-Ribbentrop deal trouble you at all. "We promise not to attack you until we're ready!"

Jupiter said...

Blogger J. Farmer said...

"If you want to criticize the JCPOA, please specify why you think it will not work."

Maybe you should tell us why you think it is such a good idea. If the Mullahs are a bunch of kissy-bears like you assure us they are, surely we don't need some coercive regime of "inspections" to get along with them. We can just cozy up to them like the Russians, French, Germans, Chinese, Japanese and South Koreans do. Send them a nice card at Christmas. Maybe they'll send one back. That's probably what they need those ICBMs for.

Jay Elink said...


Farmer: The Iranians have not had a nuclear weapons program for 15 years. IF the Iranians are as undeterred in developing a nuclear weapon capacity as you claim, why would they have haulted their program for a decade and a half?

********************************
Oh yeah?

https://fas.org/sgp/crs/nuke/RL34544.pdf

Iran’s Nuclear Program: Status
Paul K. Kerr
Analyst in Nonproliferation
Updated September 19, 2018

"Obtaining fissile material is widely regarded as the most difficult task in building nuclear weapons. As of January 2014, Iran had produced an amount of LEU containing up to 5%
uranium-235 which, if further enriched, could theoretically have produced enough HEU for as
many as eight nuclear weapons. Iran had also produced LEU containing nearly 20% uranium235; the total amount of this LEU would, if it had been in the form of uranium hexafluoride and
further enriched, have been sufficient for a nuclear weapon. After the Joint Plan of Action, which Tehran concluded with China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States (collectively known as the “P5+1”), went into effect in January 2014, Iran either converted much of its LEU containing nearly 20% uranium-235 for use as fuel in a research reactor located in Tehran, or prepared it for that purpose. Iran has diluted the rest of that stockpile so that itcontained no more than 5% uranium-235.

Although Iran claims that its nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes, the program has generated considerable concern that Tehran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program. The U.N. Security Council responded to Iran’s refusal to suspend work on its uranium enrichment program by adopting several resolutions that imposed sanctions on Tehran.

Despite evidence that sanctions and other forms of pressure have slowed the program, Iran continued to enrich uranium, installadditional centrifuges, and conduct research on new types of centrifuges. Tehran has also worked on a heavy-water reactor, which was a proliferation concern because its spent fuel would have contained plutonium—the other type of fissile material used in nuclear weapons.

Jupiter said...

Suspicions about Iran's intentions have also been increased by Iran's refusal to cooperate with the IAEA. In early February 2008, the IAEA presented member states, including Iran, with specific evidence that Iran had pursued work related to nuclear weapons. In its May 2008 report, the Agency listed eighteen documents supporting these allegations. Iran has called the documents "forged" or "fabricated," and refuses to help the Agency investigate their validity by providing access to individuals, records and sites.

J. Farmer said...

@Gahrie:

J.Farmer is the guy who in 1938 would be telling us that Hitler was only trying to unite the Germans and the US has no strategic interest in what is going on in Europe.

Wow. Comparing a current foreign policy challenge with the specific circumstances of 1930s great power rivalry. How utterly original. Ask yourself why your argument is always so dependent on a war that ended nearly 75 years ago. Germany was a major power and posed a significant threat to the current order. Iran poses no comparable threat, and its ambitions and security concerns are not the issues that involved Germany in the 1930s.

J. Farmer said...

@Khesanh 0802:

@J Farmer I have read quite frequently that one of the biggest inspection problems is that inspections can't be made at military facilities. Link. If so that leaves a big hole in the inspection regime. This doesn't sound good either. I will say once again that I don't trust the Iranians to adhere to any agreement.

The so called "anytime, anywhere" provision is the most cited criticism by the anti-JCPOA crowd. Given that it is often their strongest argument against the JCPOA, it's worth realizing that the argument is meaningless. Under the JCPOA, foreign inspectors have the right to inspect undeclared facilities, and even if Iran took steps to block such inspection, the maximum they could delay is 24 days. This is not sufficient time to hide a nuclear program. Samples taken at the site would reveal evidence of nuclear activity.

The Arms Control Association has a detailed discussion of the JCPOA's mechanism and how they address the concerns of critics of the agreement. You can read it here.

Doesn't the parallel between the JCPOA and the Molotov-Ribbentrop deal trouble you at all. "We promise not to attack you until we're ready!"

They do not trouble me at all because I see no meaningful parallels. The Nazi-Soviet pact was born out of a completely different strategic scenario and addressed far different concerns than what the JCPOA addresses. Under the JCPOA, the US is still free to sanction Iran for all sorts of non-nuclear issues (e.g. missile development).

J. Farmer said...

@Jay Elink:

********************************
Oh yeah?

https://fas.org/sgp/crs/nuke/RL34544.pdf


First, the Federation of American Scientists are among the most responsible and the most hawkish on the Iranian nuclear deal. And yet, even what you have quoted does not contradict what I have said. In fact, it supports its. From your own source: "After the Joint Plan of Action, which Tehran concluded with China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States (collectively known as the “P5+1”), went into effect in January 2014, Iran either converted much of its LEU containing nearly 20% uranium-235 for use as fuel in a research reactor located in Tehran, or prepared it for that purpose. Iran has diluted the rest of that stockpile so that it contained no more than 5% uranium-235."

Your source concludes with the following statement: "Despite evidence that sanctions and other forms of pressure have slowed the program, Iran continued to enrich uranium, installadditional centrifuges, and conduct research on new types of centrifuges. Tehran has also worked on a heavy-water reactor, which was a proliferation concern because its spent fuel would have contained plutonium—the other type of fissile material used in nuclear weapons."

Iran is permitted to enrich uraniaum and install centrifuges. Its centrifuges are under continuous IAEA monitoring. When one is replaced in a reactor and a new one is required, approval from a foreign inspector is required, and the removal of the centrifuge is logged.

If the JCPOA breaks down Iran leaves it, it will be free to expel those foreign inspectors and remove the electronic seals from its centrifuges. It would continue to have the capacity to enrich uranium. How is this a better strategic position for the US?

Rusty said...

"The Zippe-type centrifuge is difficult to build successfully and requires carefully machined parts. However, compared to other enrichment methods, it is much cheaper and more energy-efficient, and can be used in relative secrecy. This makes it ideal for covert nuclear-weapons programs and possibly increases the risk of nuclear proliferation. Centrifuge cascades also have much less material held in the machine at any time, unlike gaseous diffusion plants."

From Wikki.
Where there is no incentive to obey rules, rules won't be obeyed.

Jupiter said...

J. Farmer said...

"Ask yourself why your argument is always so dependent on a war that ended nearly 75 years ago. Germany was a major power and posed a significant threat to the current order. Iran poses no comparable threat, and its ambitions and security concerns are not the issues that involved Germany in the 1930s."

As you are well aware, any organization with nuclear weapons poses a major threat to any civilized nation, and the threat is increased by ICBMs. The possibility of EMP attack makes even a single missile-mounted warhead an existential threat, more serious than Germany or Japan ever posed to the United States. You have not answered my question; If the "ambitions and security concerns" of the Iranian regime are as benign as you assure us they are, why is there need of a pact to restrain them?

J. Farmer said...

@Jupiter:

You have not answered my question; If the "ambitions and security concerns" of the Iranian regime are as benign as you assure us they are, why is there need of a pact to restrain them?

I have not said that they are "benign." I have said that Iran is a relatively weak power that does not have the capacity to significantly challenge US security interests. A nuclear Iran would be unwelcome but not unmanageable. We should take steps to constrain Iran's nuclear program, the JCPOA is the best opportunity to do that. It effectively blocks Iran's pathway to a weapon.

The assumption buried in your argument is that the Iranian leadership is suicidal and irrational and once in possession of a bomb would launch an attack against its adversaries and be completely undeterrable by fear of a nuclear counterstrike. I think this assumption is dead wrong, and there has been no behavior on the part of Iranian leadership to suggest that they are either irrational or suicidal. If anything, history has suggested that they are most prominently concerned with self-preservation.

Rusty said...

"The assumption buried in your argument is that the Iranian leadership is suicidal and irrational and once in possession of a bomb would launch an attack against its adversaries and be completely undeterrable by fear of a nuclear counterstrike. "

And the assumption buried in yours is that they aren't. Their rational is that of religeous zelots. They don't care if their countrymen die. They are assured a place in paradise.