Led by freshman Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), 47 Republicans used the letter to inform Iran’s leaders that such an agreement would be “nothing more than an executive agreement between President Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei.” They said the “next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time.”
Conspicuously absent among signatories to the letter is Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, who says he’s working to build a veto-proof majority for his legislation restricting President Barack Obama’s negotiating options with Iran and ensuring congressional approval before any deal is struck. He hinted that the Cotton letter wouldn’t help advance the cause.
“I knew it was going to be only Republicans on [the letter]. I just don’t view that as where I need to be today,” Corker told Politico. “My goal is to get 67 or more people on something that will affect the outcome.”
Corker needs 13 Democrats to reach a veto-proof 67 votes, and the letter hasn’t earned him any favors. Senate Democrats are rallying to Obama’s side and attacking the Republicans for what they describe as an extraordinary act of openly undercutting a president during sensitive foreign policy negotiations.
The gambit is earning attention well outside traditional foreign policy circles. As of Tuesday morning, the hashtag #47Traitors was the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter in the United States.
Cotton is unfazed by the criticism. He stood by his letter in appearances Monday on CNN and Tuesday on MSNBC, saying that he wants Iran to dismantle its nuclear program “forever” — not for the 10 or 15 years that reportedly make up the duration of the deal that the Obama administration is closing in on.
“The point we’re making to Iran’s leaders, who, if you talk to many of the Iran experts, will say don’t understand our Constitution, is that if Congress doesn’t approve a deal, Congress won’t accept a deal,” Cotton said on MSNBC. “Now or in the future.”
Is there a state that faces a specific existential threat right now? Yes again. That state is South Korea.
South Korea has no nuclear weapons of its own, though the U.S. has extended its “nuclear umbrella.” Its immediate neighbor, North Korea, does have nukes, which it tested and developed while the U.S. was distracted in Iraq. North Korea’s leaders are peculiar, to put it mildly, and have repeatedly promised / threatened to destroy South Korea in a “sea of fire” in rhetoric as blood-curdling as any anti-Israel rant from Iran. South Korea’s population center is practically on the border with the North, rather than several time zones away as with Iran relative to Israel.
It would be better for everyone except North Korea if it had no nukes, but the South Korean president was not invited to address Congress during the GW Bush years to demand tougher action against North Korea.
Is Israel’s situation comparable to that on the Korean peninsula—or, to use the more familiar parallel, to that of European Jews menaced by Hitler in 1938? It most emphatically is not, if you pay any attention to the underlying facts.
The most obvious difference is that Israel is the incumbent (if unacknowledged) nuclear power in the region, with the universally understood ability to annihilate any attacker in a retaliatory raid. The only similarity between this power balance and the predicament of European Jewry in 1938 is the anti-Semitism. In 1938 the Jews of Germany, Poland, France, and Russia were a stateless minority with no military force of their own to protect them and no foreign power (including the U.S.) willing to step in. In 2015 Israel is a powerful independent state, more heavily armed than any adversary.
Think of this parallel: The full-tilt U.S. slave economy of the 1850s and the police-shooting abuses of 2015 have in common racist anti-black prejudice, but they are not the same situations. One was resolved only by cataclysmic war. The other is very serious but not the prelude to north-versus-south combat. The Iranian rhetoric of 2015 and the Nazi death machine of the Reich have in common anti-Semitic hate-mongering. But the differences between them are far more obvious than the similarities.
Mr Hawking and most religious leaders would agree. Why does poverty beget violence? Connect the dots from that stone age club, to bronze weapons, to steel, then explosives, then guns, and now nuclear weapons with global reach. Strategic arms deals can only reduce a part of this. Gun control can only have an effect in those limited circumstances.
Resolve our aggression, our willingness to harm one another and every weapon including the bare fist becomes far less dangerous. Gun control? sure. Nation to nation peace deals ? Excellent. Reduce poverty, another step forward. But as we do all those things, we have to come back to our primitive nature and overcome it.
Aggression is the human race’s biggest failing and it “threatens to destroy us all”, Stephen Hawking has said, urging people to be more empathetic.
Professor Hawking spoke at the Science Museum while giving a tour to Californian Adaeze Uyanwah, who beat 10,000 international entrants to win a special trip to London, in which he is shown the sights by celebrity guides. “The human failing I would most like to correct is aggression,” the astrophysicist said. “It may have had survival advantage in caveman days, to get more food, territory or a partner with whom to reproduce, but now it threatens to destroy us all.”
The human quality the scientist would most like to magnify was empathy. “It brings us together in a peaceful loving state.”
Duck and cover!
30 October 1961: Major Andre E. Durnovtsev, aircraft commander of a specially modified Tupolev Tu-95V “Bear A” bomber, dropped a RDS-220 three-stage radiation implosion bomb, weighing 27,000 kilograms, from an altitude of 10,500 meters (34,449 feet) over the Mityushikha Bay test range on Novaya Zemlya. The bomb, variously known as “Big Ivan” or “Tsar Bomba” was retarded by parachute to allow the Bear to escape the blast effects. At 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) above the surface, the bomb detonated.
Major Durnovtsev’s Tu-95 was approximately 45 kilometers (28 miles) away at the time of the explosion. At the same time, a secret United States Air Force KC-135A instrumentation aircraft, Speedlight, had flown closer to gather data about the air burst. It was close enough that its special antiradiation paint was scorched. After the data was analyzed by the Foreign Weapons Evaluation Panel (the “Bethe Panel”) the RDS-220 yield was estimated at 57 megatons. This was the largest nuclear weapon detonation in history. It was also the “cleanest”, with 97% of the energy yield produced by fusion. Relative to its size, very little fallout was produced.
Tsar Bomba fireball over Novaya Zemlya, 30 October 1961. The fireball has reached a diameter of 5 miles (8 kilometers).
All buildings in the town of Severny, 55 kilometers (34.2 miles) from Ground Zero, were destroyed. Wooden buildings as far as 200 kilometers (124 miles) were destroyed or heavily damaged. A visible shock wave in the air was seen at a distance of 700 kilometers (435 miles). The shock wave from the explosion traveled around the world three times.
The RDS-220 was 8 meters (26.25 feet) long, with a diameter of 2.1 meters (6.89 feet). It weighed 27,000 kilograms (59,525 pounds).
More: Boneyard Safari
Poignant images captured in the aftermath of the Nagasaki bombing are to be sold at auction in New York this week.
The collection of 24 newly discovered photographs taken by Japanese military photographer Yosuke Yamahata depicts the devastation wrought by the atomic bomb at the end of the Second World War.
Yamahata was on an assignment near Nagasaki when the bomb dropped on 9 August 1945. Upon hearing the news he took a train to the city along with the writer Jun Higashi and the painter Eiji Yamada, arriving at 3am the following day.
Given the rising tensions in the China sea and that region, I hope the powers involved learn to reduce the risk of war. Find a solution to share resources and accommodate trade and economies.
Bachmann: Iran Nuclear Facilities ‘Must Be Bombed’, Geneva Deal Obama’s ‘Biggest Cudgel’ to Prevent Israel Self-Defense
Bachmann (R-Mars) remains a member of the House Intelligence Committee. She apparently assumes that the committee’s mandate is to stamp out intelligence and prevent its spread.
House Intelligence Committee member Michelle Bachmann said that Iran’s nuclear facilities “must be bombed.”
In a speech at a Zionist Organization of America gala on Sunday night, Bachmann said that the Geneva deal reached between Iran and world powers at the weekend will severely limit Israel’s ability to operate freely in the interests of its self defense.
Bachmann said, “It may be incumbent upon the Prime Minister to make a decision he has no desire to make, and that would be to bomb facilities, that must be bombed, in Iran.”
The former presidential candidate framed the deal as a deliberate effort to harm Israel’s security interests.
She said, “That decision that was made by the P5+1 in Geneva had more to do with Israel than it had to do with Iran.”
“Because, you see, the decision that was made could be the biggest cudgel that our president, and that the nations of the world, could use to prevent Israel, the Jewish state of Israel, from defending not only herself, but her right to exist.”
Bachmann went on to paint a picture of a systemic effort on the part of the Obama Administration and others to undermine Israel’s ability to defend itself.
Hannity: Obama’s Comments on Deal With Iran “Sound Eerily Similar” to Chamberlain’s Deal With Hitler
The following are the words of Michelle Bachmann, whom Mark Levin (among others) refers to as a “true conservative”).
FOR SOME UNKNOWN REASON THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION WANTS THE LAST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD THAT SHOULD HAVE A NUCLEAR BOMB TO GET ONE, Bachmann said. CALL YOUR MEMBER OF CONGRESS, TELL THEM ‘I WANT YOU TO STOP PRESIDENT OBAMA FROM GIVING THE ABILITY
TO HAVE A NUCLEAR BOMB TO IRAN AND THAT’S THE BOTTOM LINE OF WHAT’S HAPPENING HERE IT IS TREASONOUS AND I THINK THAT’S WHY YOU HEAR MORE AND MORE PEOPLE CALLING FOR THE IMPEACHMENT OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, she continued.
Bachmann also seemed to suggest that North Korea developed nuclear capabilities under Obama even though its first nuclear test was in 2006: WHY DO THEY WANT TO ALLOW IRAN TO OBTAIN A NUCLEAR WEAPON JUST LIKE THEY DID WITH NORTH KOREA? THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION AND WENDY SHERMAN IN PARTICULAR WILL HAVE TO ANSWER THAT I CAN’T I DON’T UNDERSTAND THEM I DON’T UNDERSTAND THE THOUGHTS AND INTENTIONS OF THEIR HEART
Nothing — not even Syria’s arsenal of chemical weapons — is a source of such deep concern for the West and Israel as Iran’s nuclear facilities, such as Natanz, Isfahan and Fordo. The installation at Fordo, not far from the holy city of Qom, is viewed as a particularly grave threat.
Researchers working underground there are using 696 centrifuges to enrich uranium to 20 percent. Afterwards, it only takes a relatively small step to create the material required to build nuclear bombs. Fordo, which didn’t go into operation until late 2011, is reportedly the most modern plant in the Iranian nuclear program which — despite all denials from Tehran — the world believes is designed to give the Islamic Republic the ultimate weapon. What’s more, Fordo is believed to be virtually indestructible. Even bunker-buster bombs would hardly be powerful enough to disable the facility — the enrichment cascades lie 70 meters (230 feet) under the surface.
But the long-smoldering nuclear dispute with Tehran may be about to take a sensational turn. SPIEGEL has learned from intelligence sources that Iran’s new president, Hassan Rohani, is reportedly prepared to decommission the Fordo enrichment plant and allow international inspectors to monitor the removal of the centrifuges. In return, he could demand that the United States and Europe rescind their sanctions against the Islamic Republic, lift the ban on Iranian oil exports and allow the country’s central bank to do international business again.
Rohani reportedly intends to announce the details of the offer, perhaps already during his speech before the United Nations General Assembly at the end of the month. His foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, will meet Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s top diplomat, in New York next Sunday and give her a rough outline of the deal. If he were to make such wide-ranging concessions, President Rohani would initiate a negotiating process that could conceivably even lead to a resumption of bilateral diplomatic relations with Washington.