Bruce Majors: Don’t Trust Obama on Iran

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From Bruce Majors, who ran as a Libertarian for Mayor of Washington DC writes:

After seven years of seeing Obama in action, why would anyone, including libertarians, give Obama the benefit of the doubt about anything, including the Iran deal?

The Iran deal, the details of which few of its defenders actually discuss, and which the Obama regime didn’t want to let anyone see until after it was all signed, sealed, and delivered, has three substantive aspects: 1) Giving the Iranian regime and other Iranian entities over $100 billion is assets that have been frozen in foreign financial institutions, 2) ending economic sanctions against Iran, and 3) creating a program for inspecting Iranian nuclear industries to ensure they are not being used for weapons production.

(It also has some troubling procedural elements, namely a President trying to unconstitutionally ratify a treaty with other countries without the participation of Congress, by calling it something other than a treaty.)

Read the entire article at Brietbart here…

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Caryn Ann Harlos is a paralegal residing in Castle Rock, Colorado and presently serving as the Region 1 Representative on the Libertarian National Committee and is a candidate for LNC Secretary at the 2018 Libertarian Party Convention. Articles posted should NOT be considered the opinions of the LNC nor always those of Caryn Ann Harlos personally. Caryn Ann's goal is to provide information on items of interest and (sometimes) controversy about the Libertarian Party and minor parties in general not to necessarily endorse the contents.

48 thoughts on “Bruce Majors: Don’t Trust Obama on Iran

  1. Thomas L. Knapp

    “(It also has some troubling procedural elements, namely a President trying to unconstitutionally ratify a treaty with other countries without the participation of Congress, by calling it something other than a treaty.)”

    I find that troubling as well, especially since he already has an airtight case that the US Senate ratified this deal in 1945. 1945 was when the US Senate ratified the UN Charter. That Charter requires all signatory states to conform to Chapter 7 resolutions of the UN Security Council. The Iran deal has been passed as a Chapter 7 resolution by the UN Security Council. QED, the US is bound by constitutionally ratified treaty to conform to it.

  2. Caryn Ann Harlos Post author

    PS: I posted this as it was a good discussion piece, not that I agree with it:)

  3. Jill Pyeatt

    Mr. Majors is concerned that the deal will do this: “1) Giving the Iranian regime and other Iranian entities over $100 billion is assets that have been frozen in foreign financial institutions.”

    What gave us the authority to do this (freeze the assets) , and is it libertarian to continue the freeze?

  4. Jim Polichak from Long Island

    The fact that it is a Chapter 7 resolution means that the rest of the world is satisfied that this is a reasonable compromise and that the United States would be the odd man out should we reject this deal.
    Another problem is that compared to the Iranian we are just children. Their civilization is at least ten times as old as ours. They can easily wait another 100 to join the nuclear club.
    That being said, the Middle East is going through a very fluid political period. No one knows what kind of government Iran might have in 15 years. The people seem to love America and Americans and in time they might be able to overthrow the Ayatollahs as the Ayatollahs overthrew the Shah.

  5. Andy Craig

    The negotiations and agreement took place under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which has been duly ratified by the Senate. Not just the UN Charter, though that too. Congress also passed a law granting its approval to this particular deal, conditional on that approval not being revoked during the time window after the final agreement is finalized.

    And of course, as others have already noted, we aren’t “giving” Iran $100bil. It’s their $100bil, that was stolen from them. You don’t have to like the Islamic Republic (who does?) to recognize that they are unquestionably the state successor to the Shah’s Iran and thus the legitimate owner of Iranian state assets from before the Revolution. If that was ever really in doubt, it certainly isn’t today.

    The rest of the argument- Iran is extra-special scary, we have to defend Israel, etc.- might appeal to neoconservatives, but I see little reason to think they would appeal to libertarian non-interventionists. I was ready to be convinced by a libertarian argument against the deal, but I don’t see one here.

    He is right about one thing, though. The options aren’t the deal or war, he just misidentifies what the third option is. Which would be lifting sanctions on Iran and not caring if they want to waste their money on an obsolete weapon of war that will never be used, and will only drain their resources away from more useful things.

  6. Caryn Ann Harlos Post author

    Andy,

    ==The rest of the argument- Iran is extra-special scary, we have to defend Israel, etc.- might appeal to neoconservatives, but I see little reason to think they would appeal to libertarian non-interventionists. I was ready to be convinced by a libertarian argument against the deal, but I don’t see one here.

    He is right about one thing, though. The options aren’t the deal or war, he just misidentifies what the third option is. Which would be lifting sanctions on Iran and not caring if they want to waste their money on an obsolete weapon of war that will never be used, and will only drain their resources away from more useful things.==

    Bingo.

  7. George Phillies

    The Iranians like several other countries do have a use for nuclear weapons, namely it makes it unlikely they will be invaded. The late dictator of Libya gave up this possible use to his ultimate misfortune. The South Africans thought it was useful. India, Pakistan and Israel are in similar boats.

    And with respect to the Islamic Republic, whose formal position is that atomic weapons are an abomination, Iranians would appear to be better off than people in any of their immediate land bordering neighbors.

  8. Marc Allan Feldman

    I do not support, nor do I oppose the Iran deal.
    I do not want to pick sides in a very long conflict between forces whose irrational hatred of each other and lust for power put the entire world at risk.
    Of course, I am talking about Democrats and Republicans.

  9. Thomas L. Knapp

    Mr. Feldman,

    You claim to be running for president of the United States.

    If elected president, do you intend to abide by the Iran deal, or don’t you? And why or why not?

    It’s one thing to not support or oppose something like this as a private citizen. It’s quite another to ask for a job that entails abiding by it or not abiding by it while dodging the question of which you’ll do by claiming to neither support nor oppose it and throwing out a one-liner.

  10. David Terry

    From Bruce Majors, who ran as a Libertarian for Mayor of Washington DC writes:
    “After seven years of seeing Obama in action, why would anyone, including libertarians, give Obama the benefit of the doubt about anything, including the Iran deal?”

    So WHO would you give the “benefit of the doubt” to…..Trump? Hillary? Bush I thru Bush IV?
    Netan-yahoo? Putin? Give us a break, Sgt Majors!!!!

    Mayor of Washington, DC? Isn’t that just one step above the guy who carries your bag in from the cab at Dulles International Airport?

    Caryn Ann Harlos;
    “I was ready to be convinced by a libertarian argument against the deal, but I don’t see one here.”

    You CAN’T see what ISN’T THERE!

    Thomas L. Knapp;
    “(It also has some troubling procedural elements, namely a President trying to unconstitutionally ratify a treaty with other countries without the participation of
    Congress by calling it something other than a treaty.)”

    L. O. L. !

    Do you mean like the refusal of Congress to ratify the Treaty of Versailles; leading invariably
    to the creation of the Third Reich and the inevitable conflagration that was World War II !

    Is ANYONE on this list familiar with the History of the Twentieth Century?

  11. Thomas L. Knapp

    Mr. Terry,

    You seem to be attributing a quote to me that is actually from Mr. Majors’s post and that I was quoting and responding to.

    As I pointed out in my response, the “Iran nuclear agreement,” as a Chapter 7 resolution of the UN Security Council, is automatically US law pursuant to the US Senate’s ratification of the UN Charter in 1945.

  12. Bruce Majors (@BruceMajors4DC)

    Why would letting a state have $150 billion in assets be libertarian? Why would you conflate Iranian people who might have a claim on these assets (for example dissidents and refugees) with the Iranian government?

    Sadly, I think many libertarians have reading comprehension and distinction grasping problems almost as bad as those of conservatives and liberals.

  13. Andy Craig

    “Why would letting a state have $150 billion in assets be libertarian?”

    As opposed to the state that currently has it, with even less claim on it? The Libertarian platform (yes I know not authoritative, but in this case representative) says that “The principle of non-initiation of force should guide the relationships between governments.” That’s what happened here- the U.S. seized Iranian assets because the U.S. disapproved of a regime chance in Iran that ousted a U.S. ally (I’ll grant the hostage-taking as a complication, but that was settled in Jan 1981). There’s no caveat there for excluding governments which are themselves not NAP-compliant, which of course would be all of them, or which came to power in recent violent revolutions.

    “Why would you conflate Iranian people who might have a claim on these assets (for example dissidents and refugees) with the Iranian government?”

    If a foreign government seized a few hundred billion from the U.S. government, would you consider that acceptable since it was taken from the illegitimate U.S. government? I can see that argument, but I’m not convinced. As a non-anarchist, I don’t concede that all state-owned property is per se illegitimate, and I think the people of that nation do have a vested property interest in state assets. And I don’t think there’s any standard under which the Islamic Republic is not a legitimate government, but the People’s Republic of China or the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are.

    Regarding dissidents and refugees, many of those claims have already been paid out of frozen Iranian assets. Though of course this is less an exercise in legal judgement of claims, than it is American foreign policy and the decision to exclude Iran from the usual immunity granted to foreign sovereigns. And on what basis does the United States purport to seize and redistribute the assets of the deposed Shah of Iran, anyway? Whether it belongs to the Iranian government, or the Iranian people, or specific Iranian individuals with claims against the I.R., the one entity it most certainly does not belong to is the U.S. government.

  14. Jill Pyeatt

    Bruce said: “Sadly, I think many libertarians have reading comprehension and distinction grasping problems almost as bad as those of conservatives and liberals.”

    How are we misreading and misunderstanding things?

  15. Bruce Majors (@BruceMajors4DC)

    Andy in any and every way. I laugh at and pity libertarians babbling about how the Senate in 1947 agreed that Americans should be subject to actions taken by the UN Committee on Naval Lint and therefore an agreement negotiated with Iran is binding.

    I don’t think such a person has an IQ above room temperature or is a libertarian.

    Or one who would fart out something about one culture being older than another.

    Or think a state can morally own billions in assets.

    I’d rather discuss his dirty nappies with a toddler. Less embarassing.

  16. Andy Craig

    You’re the one who brought up constitutional procedure and alleged a violation of it, and that the U.S. government should “morally” own the assets in question. Nor did I say anything about Iranian culture being older than the U.S. (in fact I agree that’s a fairly silly argument).

    For some reason, your desire to totally jump the shark on foreign-policy brings out the ugly in you. Such childish name-calling is beneath you. Here, have a Snickers.

  17. Bruce Majors (@BruceMajors4DC)

    My reply wasn’t only to you Andy. If you read the other replies (did you?) you would see that other posters made arguments in which such claims as the Iran is an older culture than the U.S. are considered relevant premises from which to draw a conclusion. (Itself an illiterate claim, since Persian culture thousands of years ago was Zorastrian, not Moslem,)

    Perhaps that’s why I suggested libertarians have reading comprehension problems.

    And if posts like langa’s and the general spectacle of watching libertarians defend the U.S. government funding the Iranian state with $150 billion so it can in turn fund terrorists (all while claiming as George Phillies does that the $150 billion is the rightful property of the Iranian state) doesn’t warrant name calling, what would.

    I run into patches of “libertarians” often who think that if they say things like “ISIS isn’t so bad. No worse than America. After all which state has not raped little girls and beheaded gays at some point” in a grammatical paragraph and a calm voice then they are “reasonable” and should be treated respectfully. While claiming that anyone who disagrees with them is calling for bombing Iran, and occupying the Middle East.

    This may help explain why the Libertarians can’t get elected. Too many of their number aren’t just borderline Asperger’s cases, they are borderline retarded and have congenital neurological deficits, missing those parts of the brain that allow for moral intuitions.

  18. Thomas L. Knapp

    Well, as Andy points out, you’re the one who brought up constitutional procedure. I merely pointed out that, per the Constitution, the US Senate ratified a treaty in 1945 that bound it to do certain things, and that the Iran deal became one of those certain things when the UN Security Council endorsed it using a Chapter 7 resolution.

    I didn’t say that’s a GOOD thing. In fact, elsewhere, when I noted that the US’s options legally seem to be limited to either accepting the Iran deal or leaving the UN, I also noted that I thought the US should leave the UN (on general principle, not because the Iran deal is necessarily a bad thing).

    I do happen to support the Iran deal, for several reasons.

    One of those reasons is that in general, I believe the sanctions help keep the mullahs in power. As long as it’s the US keeping Iranians from buying iPads and HDTVs and bobbleheads of Major League Baseball Players, the Iranian people are going to be mad at the US and stand with the regime because that’s how people react to foreign enemies. Once the US says “hey, free trade, come and get it,” if the mullahs stand in the way of that, THEY become the enemy to be overthrown. It might be a long process, but not time like the present to start.

    Another of those reasons is that France, Germany, Russia and China were determined to reach a deal and were going to do so (and get it accepted at the UN) whether the US played ball or not. So the US’s choice was to either make nice with Iran like everyone else, or be the only asshole in the room and lose out on all that trade, etc.

    A third reason is that Iran is and will continue to be a regional power and the region will be more stable if Iran is economically healthier and less besieged.

    And a final reason is that the whole claim of need for a “deal” was bullshit created by the US in the first place, given the complete absence of any credible evidence that Iran had a nuclear weapons program to negotiate away. And if the US is going to start bullshit like this, it’s only fitting that when the bullshit the US started comes to a dribbling end, there’s a cost attached. If there isn’t, the US won’t learn nothin’.

  19. Robert Capozzi

    bm: Too many of their number aren’t just borderline Asperger’s cases, they are borderline retarded and have congenital neurological deficits, missing those parts of the brain that allow for moral intuitions.

    me: Ouch. This seems a bit severe, even to me.

    I attribute the tone-deafness less to physical maladies and more to a rigid, deontological absolutism that misses other, significant ways of assessing political (and other) matters. Politics is not Newtonian physics.

  20. Bruce Majors (@BruceMajors4DC)

    Perhaps Robert. But when people meander through life representing libertarianism and arguing for the moral equivalency of genocidal regimes and interventionist Western regimes – a well enough known libertarian in another forum yesterday told me the U.S. is no better than Iran because even if Iran had shot and killed Neda in 2009 for marching in a protest, the U.S. was holding – and feeding – accused terrorists at Guantanamo right now – it may be that a slap upside the head is the only way to de-coddle them and get them to stop thinking their shadow play in the cave is intelligent discussion.

  21. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bruce,

    Ah, I see. I was thick-headed and didn’t really get it until you pulled out the “moral equivalency” dog-whistle. So this is all about the offense of failing to give Likud its usual veto on US foreign policy, then?

  22. Robert Capozzi

    bm: it may be that a slap upside the head is the only way to de-coddle them and get them to stop thinking their shadow play in the cave is intelligent discussion.

    me: LOL. Perhaps!

  23. Starchild

    I believe this issue could be examined with more clarity on both sides if people would stop referring to “Iran” and “the United States” when what is actually meant are the governments or regimes claiming jurisdiction over the areas of the earth’s surface commonly known by those names.

    I don’t necessarily agree with Bruce’s conclusions, but I do agree with him on two points:

    (1) The Iranian regime is seeking to develop nuclear weapons (denying this, it seems to me, requires a rather high amount of naivete); and
    (2) Its possession of such weapons would be a bad thing (noting also for the record that the U.S. government’s possession of such weapons is possibly an even worse thing, because it has a much larger arsenal than the Ayatollahs are likely to acquire in the foreseeable future and more capability to do bad things with it)

    I also agree with two important points being made by those who disagree with Bruce:

    (1) Broad-based economic sanctions do more harm than good, and should be ended; and
    (2) The U.S. government trying to force regime change in Iran by military means is likely to do more harm than good

    Of course this leaves lots of questions unanswered. I suspect that foremost among those questions, in the minds of many reading this, will be, “So what should the U.S. government do with regard to the Ayatollahs’ nuclear program?”

    But although that may seem like a very normal and proper question to ask, on a more fundamental level it is actually a very strange question for libertarians to ask, because we are not the U.S. government!

    From a libertarian perspective, there are clearly many things that the U.S. government should do. In the broadest terms, it should stop oppressing people and stealing from people and violating their rights, and it should hold its own personnel who do these things accountable. Of course the Iranian regime should also stop doing these things, as should other regimes and governments in the world. Any such actions would clearly and unequivocally reduce the amount of aggression in the world.

    The same cannot be said for this nuclear deal. Whether you approve of it or not, it must be admitted that the situation is so complex, and there are so many variables, that it could play out in any number of ways. It could prevent war between the U.S. government and Iranian regime; it could lead to war between the Israeli government and Iranian regime. It could weaken the Iranian regime’s grip on power as an end to sanctions exposes Iranians to more Western cultural influences; it could strengthen the Iranian regime’s grip on power with a big infusion of cash that allows it to effectively buy the populace’s loyalty. Et cetera.

    So let’s first acknowledge that the question “What should the U.S. government do with regard to the Ayatollahs’ nuclear program?” is coming from a nationalist perspective that implicitly identifies “us” with the U.S. government, and acts as though the decisions confronting it are decisions confronting us, when they are not.

    Second, let’s acknowledge that like most other such policy questions, it is a distraction from other questions that matter more because they have clearer answers and greater moral urgency. Debating the Iran nuclear treaty is like arguing over whether or not the armed robber and bully who’s been mugging people and terrorizing the neighborhood should help out his domestic abuser father with a loan in the hopes that getting back on friendly terms and putting a bit of money in the old man’s pocket will make him less likely to beat up mom and send her to the hospital again.

    Is it wrong for libertarians to discuss such peripheral issues, and have opinions on them? No, even though doing so may further distract people from the most morally pressing matters. Various solutions are rarely of equal merit, and getting a marginally better one adopted over a marginally worse one does some good in the world. But when there is no clear matter of principle at stake — and I would argue there is not, in this matter; it seems to me that the Non-Aggression Principle doesn’t offer clear guidance on what moral considerations are owed toward an illegitimate entity like a State (any State) which is fundamentally based on, and systematically commits, aggression — I would suggest this question as a litmus test to apply to any proposed course of action:

    Is this likely to reduce or increase the net amount of aggression in the world, and how does it measure on that basis compared with other likely alternative courses of action?

  24. Thomas L. Knapp

    “The Iranian regime is seeking to develop nuclear weapons (denying this, it seems to me, requires a rather high amount of naivete)”

    Well, let’s see:

    * While the IAEA has, in the past, complained of the Iranian government not meeting all of its inspection obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, it has never suggested that it has found any evidence that the Iranian government has an active nuclear weapons development program.

    * The CIA reports that it can find no evidence of any nuclear weapons development activity post-2003.

    * The Mossad reports the same thing.

    * The “Supreme Leader” of Iran, whose every pronouncement about e.g. destroying Israel we are told must be taken absolutely seriously because he’s a religious fanatic who would never lie about such things, issued a fatwa in 2005 declaring that the development, possession and use of nuclear weapons is a sin against Islam and that his regime will never do it. If we’re supposed to believe everything else he says, why aren’t we supposed to believe that?

    I suppose it’s POSSIBLE that the Iranian regime is seeking to develop nuclear weapons. But the evidence for the proposition so far is zero, zilch, nada, nothing, bupkes, squat. At this point, it is just a scary story that the leader of an actual rogue nuclear state has been throwing around for purposes of exercising a veto on US foreign policy — claiming Iran is within six months of having the bomb — for 22 years now.

  25. Starchild

    Tom – There may not (yet) be any smoking gun — I’ll take your word on that for the present, as I haven’t really researched the matter — but all the circumstantial evidence points to an attempt to build nukes. Why on earth would Iran’s rulers sacrifice so much to maintain strict national control over a peaceful nuclear energy program that the oil-rich country doesn’t need when it has so many more economically pressing issues?

    The motive is clearly there as well, as has been widely noted by people of various political stripes — regimes with nuclear weapons are more secure against extra-national military interventions.

    I certainly don’t believe “everything else” Iran’s Supreme Leader says (and he actually wasn’t the one who supposedly made the infamous remark about wiping out Israel; that was president Ahmadinejad, and he was misquoted), but I don’t put much faith in his anti-nuclear fatwa either.

  26. Thomas L. Knapp

    “all the circumstantial evidence points to an attempt to build nukes. Why on earth would Iran’s rulers sacrifice so much to maintain strict national control over a peaceful nuclear energy program that the oil-rich country doesn’t need when it has so many more economically pressing issues”

    I guess you’re right, if by “all of the circumstantial evidence” you mean “not a shred of the circumstantial evidence.”

    What, precisely, do you mean by Iran’s rulers “sacrificing?” The US and Israeli governments claimed that Iran’s government had a nuclear weapons program, imposed sanctions, and got the UN to impose sanctions. Iran’s government insisted that it didn’t have a nuclear program. Then it immediately started offering to make concessions above and beyond its obligations under NPT to get the sanctions lifted. Every time the Iranian government agreed to whatever the US “negotiators” demanded, the US government added new demands.

    This went on for several years until the other governments that wanted the sanctions lifted so that their countries could engage in profitable commerce dragged the US government, kicking and screaming, back to the table on the threat “if we can’t all make a deal with Iran together, we’ll make our own deals and the US can go fuck itself.” At which point Obama, who, whatever else he is, is not a fucking idiot, realized that what was at stake was the US government’s claim, since World War Two, to be the “leader of the free world.” It could “lead” in the deal or it could sit on the sidelines and pout some more while the world moved on without it.

    Those “economically pressing issues” are precisely WHY the Iranian government insists on keeping its nuclear power program. It’s in exactly the same situation as Saudi Arabia, which has launched an initiative to build 16 nuclear reactors and the largest solar array in the world over the next 20 years.

    Both countries’ regimes depend on petroleum sales to finance their government operations. Both regimes, being oil-rich, have traditionally heavily subsidized both gasoline and home electricity generated by oil-fired plants, for their citizens. Withdrawing those subsidies would be politically difficult and might even bring about revolutions, but they want that oil available for export or to be held in reserve for future export to keep themselves in power, not being burned for the subsidies. So they are trying to replace their reliance on oil for electricity generation with nuclear power.

    Is that a silly approach? Yes, it is. But it’s predictable that instead of saying “hey, maybe we should free the market, auction off the oil rights to the private sector, wean our subjects of the subsidies and abolish our own rulership,” they’d come up with bizarre plans to preserve their own power.

  27. George Phillies

    One might critique the use of state socialist planning, but there is an extremely strong rationale for a nuclear power program: Oil in the long run turned into petrochemicals, plastic goods, pharmaceuticals,… is far more valuable than oil burned to make electricity. Therefore large nuclear and solar power programs are highly rational steps from a financial statement. Instead of ‘auction off’, giving people back the mineral rights to the land they own might be viewed as more libertarian.

  28. George Phillies

    The Iranian regime is seeking to develop nuclear weapons (denying this, it seems to me, requires a rather high amount of naivete)”

    To the contrary, based on the evidence, believing that the Iranians have a nuclear weapons program suggests that you have fallen for the propaganda of various far right fascist warmongers.

  29. langa

    …if posts like langa’s…[don’t] warrant name calling, what would.

    WTF? I have made exactly one post on this thread, which neither agreed nor disagreed with anything you’ve said in your article, or in the comments. It merely expressed amusement at Andy’s “Snickers” quip. And that warrants name calling? Who pissed in your corn flakes?

    [For the record, I do disagree with your position on the Iran deal, for many of the reasons Knapp has given, but I also don’t feel it’s worth arguing about, for the reason that Starchild gave, namely, that libertarians can do a lot more productive things than banging the table for (or against) a deal that, on balance, won’t significantly change the amount of aggression in the world, one way or the other.]

  30. Robert Capozzi

    gp, provocative stance. Is it your sense that this propaganda has also worked in tricking all the other nations involved in negotiating this arms deal? For ex., were the Europeans involved in the Iran arms deal all also swayed by far right fascist warmongers?

    tk, re: the 05 fatwa, I’m curious how this is working in Pakistan? Have they been disarming?

  31. langa

    As a Libertarian, I believe that Bruce’s private life and breakfast choices are his own business.

    Do I dare to risk the wrath of Bruce by typing “LOL” again?

    Oh, what the hell…

    LOL. 🙂

  32. Thomas L. Knapp

    “tk, re: the 05 fatwa, I’m curious how this is working in Pakistan? Have they been disarming?”

    Not that I know of. I suppose they might if Pakistan ever becomes part of Iran.

  33. Robert Capozzi

    tk, you used the term “sin against Islam.” If the Pope in Rome says something is a “sin,” people — especially Catholics — in other places take that to heart, in my observation.

    Pakistan is predominantly Islamic and a neighbor to Iran.

    So, connecting the dots for you more explicitly, if one Islamic nation’s leader says that nukes are sins, it would not be surprising to me that a neighboring Islamic nation might hold similar views.

    Apparently not, though. It’s been 10 years since the fatwa, but Pakistan remains in the “club.”

  34. Robert Capozzi

    tk, I neglected to add that the Supreme Leader of Iran is “the head of state and highest ranking political and religious authority in the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

    The part about him being a “religious authority” is what I was referring to, just to be even more precise.

  35. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    Iran is a Shiite “Islamic Republic.” Pakistan is somewhere in the neighborhood of 80% Sunni, and while it formally styles itself an “Islamic Republic” as well, it tends to disintegrate into military rule that pushes nationalism and maintains a shaky, on-and-off detente with Sunni Islamists. The religious opinions of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Public of Iran enjoy about as much authority there as the Pope’s religious opinions enjoy at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention.

  36. Robert Capozzi

    tk, yes, I realize there’s a schism in Islam. However, most of the things that Catholics consider sins, Baptists do as well, as I understand those theologies.

    Could be that the Sunni/Shiite schism is much, much wider than the Catholic/Protestant one when it comes to religious doctrine.

    And I wonder what the implications are in the Shiite Islamic mind that they neighbor a deeply sinful (in the SL’s eyes) country, Pakistan.

    I’d note that religions have a knack for rationalizing apparently hypocritical stances. And changing the rules. I vaguely recall it being sinful to eat meat on Fridays! Significantly, Christians have been known to kill — I’d even say murder– despite a top “shalt not.” They attempt to justify these killings, but I’m not persuaded. You?

  37. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    I’m not an expert on Islam, but my impression is that it is far more splintered even than Christendom, and that fatwas really only apply as far as the power of their promulgators does.

    The mullahs who rule Iran happened to find themselves the beneficiaries of a popular revolution and made hay with that, but their “Supreme Leader’s” writ really runs only as far as the writ of the state he actually leads.

    That said, there’s no particular reason to believe that said “Supreme Leader” doesn’t mean what he says when he makes a pronouncement based on religious principle. That’s exactly the characteristic that most of Iran’s critics find scary — that some crazy religious guy is running the show and might suddenly decide the twelfth mahdi is here and it’s time to roll out the apocalypse or whatever. It’s only on “the nuclear issue” that all of a sudden he’s playing some kind of deep, deceptive game and we shouldn’t believe he believes what he says he believes.

  38. Marc Allan Feldman

    Thomas L. Knapp writes:
    “Mr. Feldman,
    You claim to be running for president of the United States.
    If elected president, do you intend to abide by the Iran deal, or don’t you? And why or why not?
    It’s one thing to not support or oppose something like this as a private citizen. It’s quite another to ask for a job that entails abiding by it or not abiding by it while dodging the question of which you’ll do by claiming to neither support nor oppose it and throwing out a one-liner.”

    1. I am a licensed MD, a former faculty member of Johns Hopkins (like my colleague Dr. Ben Carson. I would prefer to addressed as “Dr. Feldman” or Marc, if you want to be friendly.
    2. I am running for the the Libertarian nomination for President. I am registered with the FEC and I lead an active political community (Votes Not For Sale). My unique campaign strategy and plans for my Presidential administration reflect my LIbertarian principles and set me clearly apart from other candidates.
    3. You claim to be a news analyst. I chose to offer my view on this forum and expressed an opinion quite different from other views here, that I neither support nor do I oppose the Iran agreement. I do not agree with the benefits that the proponents claim, nor do I agree with the extent of the risks claimed by the opponents. I raised the issue, for the first time in this thread, that this is not primarily an issue of foreign policy, but one of domestic partisan politics.
    4. It’s one thing to support or oppose something like this as a private citizen. It’s quite another to ask for a job that entails analyzing the news while questioning the legitimacy of an active Libertarian candidate who expresses an opinion different from your own.
    5. It should be very clear from my statement that at this time I have no intention to either abide by or not abide by this Iran agreement, but that my decision would be based on the best interests of the American people, and not partisan politics.

  39. Thomas L. Knapp

    Dr. Feldman,

    Sorry for flubbing your title/honorific. It wasn’t intentional. For the record, I only occasionally prefer to be referred to as the Reverend Dr. Knapp.

    Yes, I claim to be a “news analyst.” But it’s not like I hold that title in special esteem.

    I wouldn’t say that I disagree with your opinion of the “Iran deal,” if for no other reason than that so far, I haven’t been able to figure out what that opinion on that issue, or any other issue, is. I do agree that your campaign is unique. It’s the first presidential campaign I’ve ever come across that has no issues page on its web site.

  40. Pingback: Libertarians and the Iran Deal | The Insomniac Libertarian

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