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Iran Negotiations -- The Final Phase

The completion last week of the framework phase of the P5+1 coalition's nuclear negotiations with Iran  presents an opportunity to take stock of where the parties are and what to expect over the next few months leading up to the deadline for the final phase of negotiations now set for June 30th.  This analysis looks forward to the extent possible and amounts to my humble attempt to focus on what we might anticipate to see in negotiations and my even more humble recommendations to those who know far more about the substance of these talks than I would ever claim to have.  Much of what I discuss below is addressed in some of my previous posts addressing these negotiations.

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IRAN NEGOTIATIONS AND THE IMPORTANCE OF A WRITTEN FRAMEWORK

The deadline for the framework agreement in the P5+1 nuclear negotiations with Iran is this coming Tuesday, March 31st.  That is when the parties are supposed to have a political agreement setting forth the parameters for negotiations on "technical" issues in the final phase of negotiations (scheduled to be completed in the early part of this coming summer).  

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Just What Did Bibi Netanyahu Say About Two States?

I had expressed my opinion in a comment thread relating to the Israeli election that the prime ministers's alleged disavowal of the two-state solution was incorrect.  I subsequently came across this editorial in today's New York Daily News supporting what I also believed and had perceived to be a lonely argument.

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Iran Negotiations and a Path Forward

I have written and commented quite a bit about my reservations about the Iran negotiations, and I just want to shift gears here and offer what I hope are taken as good faith observations and recommendations for moving forward.  I address what I believe are the three principal issues that must be resolved: (1) whether any deal negotiated is a good deal; (2) what the president should show in order to establish whether the deal is good; and (3) the role of the Congress.   Obviously, framing the issues, while helpful in my view, does not mask the complexity of that which is found beneath each of them.

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The Iran Negotiations -- Non-Binding Except When They Are?

The debate over the appropriate role for Congress in the P5+1 nuclear negotiations with Iran continues as the month-end deadline for a so-called "framework agreement" approaches.  A bipartisan group of senate co-sponsors led by Senator Corker  announced that on or shortly after March 24th they intend to begin deliberations over a bill (S. 615), which would require that any agreement t reached be submitted for review by the Senate, and which would also provide for a Senate vote on whether to approve the agreement.  The president has threatened to veto that bill and continues to insist that the advice and consent of the Congress is not required because any agreement that is negotiated will be "non-binding".  Last night, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough warned Senator Corker not to proceed with the vote, and claimed that such a vote would unduly interfere with the ongoing negotiations.  Corker has indicated that the bill will likely come to Senate floor in mid-April at the earliest. [Note this paragraph was edited to correct my erroneous description of the procedural aspects of S. 615. My apologies.]

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President Obama's Address to the Nation

Tomorrow evening This evening at 9 a.m. eastern time,  President Obama will address the nation and is expected to focus on ISIS, the threat he believes ISIS poses, and the the outlines of a strategy going forward to deal with any threat he identifies.  It is a difficult speech, both for political reasons, but more importantly because he will be speaking to a number of very different domestic and international constituencies in this one address.  Notably, many of the president's base supporters, people who have stayed with him from the beginning, have done so in large measure because they have trusted him to avoid the urge to solve the world's problems through the barrel of a gun. As to the president, whatever one thinks of him overall, I think it is fair to say that he does not look to involve the nation's military unless he determines that there really are no other viable options. 

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Tough Choices -- Facing Genocide in the Levant

There has been more debate among dagbloggers discussing ISIS, Syria, Iraq -- the Middle East -- than there has been in the Congress over the past couple of weeks.  It is election season and folks are back home raising money and kissing babies.  

The president is on the job still but today, with commendable candor, stated that the United States did not yet have a strategy for dealing with ISIS.  Commendable yes, but not entirely reassuring when you hear it from the commander in chief.  That is not the point of this piece.

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Testing

Testing

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The War to End all Wars -- Lessons Learned, Lessons Pondered

One hundred years ago to the day, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, was shot and killed along with his wife Sophie, while touring the city of Sarajevo.  The assassin was a 19 year-old Serbian nationalist, and of course this was the spark that precipitated the First World War.  Austria responded with a series of demands that Serbia could not comply with, Germany stood by Austria, Russia by Serbia, and France by Russia (the latter alliance prompted by France's humiliation in a war against Germany back in 1870).  

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Please Forgive Me, But Please Respect Me Going Forward

I want to thank the Michaels for their patience and kind words after I lost it last week, and particularly I would like to thank Michael M. for our private correspondence today on the issue of dog whistles and anti-semitism.  He is a gentleman and I am honored to participate on his blog.  

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