Goldblog and the Dish – in some strange solstice convergence – are on (roughly) the same page again with respect to Iraq. Jeffrey fisks Elliott Abrams’ deranged piece in Politico called “The Man Who Broke The Middle East.” As an insight into the hermetically sealed neocon mindset, Abrams is always worth reading. As an insight into, you know, reality, not so much. Anyway, a great fisk, Goldblog! Money quote:
In reference to a “contained” Iran, I would only note that Iran in 2009 was moving steadily toward nuclearization, and nothing that the Bush administration, in which Elliott served, had done seemed to be slowing Iran down. Flash forward to today—the Obama administration (with huge help from Congress) implemented a set of sanctions so punishing that it forced Iran into negotiations. (Obama, it should be said, did a very good job bringing allies on board with this program.) Iran’s nuclear program is currently frozen. The Bush administration never managed to freeze Iran’s nuclear apparatus in place. I’m not optimistic about the prospects for success in these negotiations (neither is Obama), but the president should get credit for leading a campaign that gave a negotiated solution to the nuclear question a fighting chance.
Think of the careful and global coalition Obama assembled to isolate Iran on the nuclear question – Russia, France, Britain, the US, China all on the same page, leading to a successful preliminary agreement and coming to a conclusion soon on the second (or maybe not). Now remember Walter Russell Mead’s contention that
There is also the question of whether the earnest White House types who have piled up such a disastrous record in the Middle East could negotiate their way into a used car lot, much less handle a complex negotiation involving Russia, Iran, Assad, and a bunch of other canny operators.
Blogger, please. And notice one of Mead’s more hysterical moments of criticism – when Obama decided against striking Syria in favor of Putin’s offer to coordinate the extraction of all of Syria’s WMDs. Yesterday, the final shipment left Syria’s shores. We were all told this would never happen. It just did. Now ask yourself: if Obama had bombed Assad, do you think those chemical weapons would now be secure? And if they were still in Syria, with ISIS raging nearby, we’d have a real international crisis, wouldn’t we? Dick Cheney’s nightmare – Jihadists with WMDs – would be one step closer to reality. But, thanks to Obama (and not Bush) the threat of those WMDs from Syria has evaporated, and Iran’s nukes could be next. Without invading anywhere or torturing anyone.
I’m still trying to figure out how Rebekah Brooks was acquitted today, but the shoe that really dropped was the news that Scotland Yard will soon be formerly interrogating Rupert Murdoch himself about the widespread criminality on many of his papers over a long period of time.
Today, we also witnessed America’s initiation into the loss and grief of the World Cup; wondered if NATO expansion had made Europe less secure; noted the sudden lurch downward in Obama’s approval ratings; and continued the greasy, bacterial thread on grocery bags (now with GIFs!).
Many of today’s posts were updated with your emails – read them all here. You can always leave your unfiltered comments at our Facebook page and @sullydish. 15 more readers became subscribers today. You can join them here – and get access to all the readons and Deep Dish – for a little as $1.99 month. One subscriber writes:
It’s seriousness and sanity that Dishniks like me crave and value. Not for nothing, in other words, that you call them “Mental Health Breaks.” They feel like an intrinsic part of the sanity of The Dish, not a luxury option or frill. I’m going to get your brutal, naked self-examination of your position on the Iraq War, but I also get sloths as beards (and groan-worthy reader updates about beavers).
I skip over most but not all of your religion-themed posts (as one might expect from an atheist), but I’ll stop to marvel at the ingenuity of the VFYW contestants along the way. Then you’ll write something mildly infuriating about social constructionism or whatever it is you mean by “post-modernism” and I’ll begin a tart retort in high dudgeon, only to be side-tracked by one of your insightful assessments of the sanity of Obama … or by some shameless beagle-bait (you could do more of that, actually). And so I’ll be reminded once again that my redoubtable dudgeon switch can be safely disengaged. Dishness achieved once again; we now return you to your regularly scheduled program.
Which will continue in the morning; see you then.
(Photo: Queen Elizabeth II meets cast members of the HBO TV series ‘Game of Thrones’ Lena Headey and Conleth Hill as she views some of the props including the Iron Throne on the set of Game of Thrones in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter on June 24, 2014 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. By Jonathan Porter – WPA Pool/Getty Images.)