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A Horse Named Stranger

US Politics: CPAC - Finding new ways to bring America to Rune.

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3 minutes ago, Fury Resurrected said:

It’s my understanding that it was Biden who did a lot of the dealing on the Iran deal in the first place. He knows.

Jake Sullivan - Biden's NSA - did the heavy lifting laying the groundwork and back channeling for the deal.  Along with William Burns, Biden's nominee for CIA director (who was literally just advanced out of committee, coincidentally).

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, DMC said:

I mean, yeah, I'm not arguing that.  From the Iranian perspective I don't think there's much point to deal regardless.  My argument has simply been there's not much else Biden can do about it, and blaming the impasse on him/his administration is ridiculous.

America created this monster when they deposed Mosaddegh, and we now face the consequences of our actions. We legitimize the demonetization of America, we give the Iranian hardliners a boogie man to fearmonger with, and the hardliners seem poised to consolidate power in June. This is why the Iranian government under Rohani is posturing, The moderates and reformists want to get back into the accord, but they cannot be seen to be weak in the face of what Iranians see as continued American aggression. It is unlikely that we will be able to wrap up negotiations before June, so the Reformists need to come back to the people with some kind of win, even a small one like getting some sanctions lifted, which I think they will accept no matter what they are saying right at this moment, that shows their voters both that they are trying to reenter the accords, which were pretty popular in Iran (somewhere around 76% when it was signed), as well as they have the ability to be tough and stand up to America. I also think it would go a long way to cooling Iranian resentment towards America that has made the accords less popular (42% in January 2019). We have to give them a little breathing space and hope they win in June, or else that's probably the ball game for who knows how long.

I'm not saying that this is all Biden's fault, this is an extremely complex issue with bad actors on all sides, but we are standing at the edge of a knife right now, and if we take the wrong path, it could end in disaster.

Edited by GrimTuesday

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17 minutes ago, GrimTuesday said:

I'm not saying that this is all Biden's fault, this is an extremely complex issue with bad actors on all sides, but we are standing at the edge of a knife right now, and if we take the wrong path, it could end in disaster.

LOL, let's ease up on the heavy-handed language there Tolkien.  You're right that their delay is almost certainly due to the upcoming elections - something I think any American should understand.  And it's true that rightwing forces often gin up conflict and/or saber-rattle directly preceding elections, especially in the region (see Palestinian intransigents escalating attacks immediately prior to Israeli elections). 

But if Rouhani wanted to complete a deal before June, he most certainly could have.  Unless Khamenei blocked it, who knows.  Bottomline is the onus is not on Biden for the "moderates" within Iran to actually behave as moderates.  If they wanna wait until after the election, then that's on them.  We'll see what's what when the dust settles.

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2 minutes ago, DMC said:

LOL, let's ease up on the heavy-handed language there Tolkien.  You're right that their delay is almost certainly due to the upcoming elections - something I think any American should understand.  And it's true that rightwing forces often gin up conflict and/or saber-rattle directly preceding elections, especially in the region (see Palestinian intransigents escalating attacks immediately prior to Israeli elections). 

But if Rouhani wanted to complete a deal before June, he most certainly could have.  Unless Khamenei blocked it, who knows.  Bottomline is the onus is not on Biden for the "moderates" within Iran to actually behave as moderates.  If they wanna wait until after the election, then that's on them.  We'll see what's what when the dust settles.

Heh, I was writing that and thinking I knew it sounded familiar. In the space between when I posted that and when you responded I'd fallen into a bit of a Tolkien hole reading all the poems and songs he wrote in his various books.

It is not on Biden to make them behave in such a manner, but we can and should help those whose goals align best with ours in situations such as this. I don't think there is no way that a deal gets hammered out in such a short time if we continue with how we're going right now. The hardliners gained a lot of power in the most recent parliamentary election, and they are trying to tie Rouhani's (hehe Rohan) hands and prevent him from securing any significant political victories at the 11th hour. It is not the moderates who are the problem it's the hardliners who are trying to prevent him from . As far as I'm concerned, throwing them a bone helps them (the moderates and reformists) more than it hurts us, and if I'm wrong, I think it was worth the risk for a chance at a safer world.

Here's a pretty good article regard the electoral factor that I came across while looking into it

https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/iransource/irans-hardliners-think-biden-might-hurt-their-june-presidential-election-strategy/

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, DMC said:

If his dealings with Iran became such a boondoggle they will be.  Ask Carter.

I think the Republicans could make this a bigger issue than some others here think, but come on, unless the Iranians somehow end up with a big bunch of American hostages again, I don't think the general public is going to care anywhere near as much about policy toward Iran as they did in 1980. Especially the now large number of voters who weren't even born yet in 1980. 

Quote

Carter didn't lose because Iran took hostages, he lost because Operation Eagle Claw was a failed and aborted mission that made him look weak and incompetent.  Which is just how Biden would look if he lifted sanctions only to have to reimpose them again because Tehran didn't budge.

Do you have any polling data to support that statement about Carter? Plus if the Iranians didn't have the hostages, there wouldn't have been any Operation Eagle Claw, and people wouldn't have cared as much about that looking incompetent. Again, I don't think this would be a non-issue, but it seems wild to think it could be as important for Biden as it was for Carter. 

P.S. The ABC News program Nightline was created specifically to report on the Iran hostage crisis and soon prominently displayed just how many days the hostages had been held. Walter Cronkite also ended his evening newscast every day with that number. What are you expecting to happen that would make Americans focus on Iran to that extent in 2024? It seems really unlikely it could possibly be as prominent in voters' consciousness then as it was in 1980. 

Edited by Ormond

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6 hours ago, GrimTuesday said:

It is not on Biden to make them behave in such a manner, but we can and should help those whose goals align best with ours in situations such as this. I don't think there is no way that a deal gets hammered out in such a short time if we continue with how we're going right now.

I definitely don't disagree with this in principle - and I'm sure most everybody in the Biden administration feels the same way.  But it still takes two to tango, and right now Tehran is sending the exact opposite signals that they're even willing to talk.  If Rouhani/moderates are so intent on reaching an agreement, they need to find a way to demonstrate that is desire is legitimate and (perhaps more importantly) feasible.  Otherwise it's not realistic to expect the Biden administration to take such a political risk, it's obviously not their job to rectify domestic Iranian politics.

Anyway, this discussion has gone far from your original objection that Biden's done a shitty job at trying to reengage Iran.  My main qualm was with that.

29 minutes ago, Ormond said:

Especially the now large number of voters who weren't even born yet in 1980. 

First of all, I don't know why this matters.  I wasn't using the comparison to suggest voters would somehow link it to the hostage crisis - the best part of the comparison was the "failed/aborted mission" fit.  Anyway, I know it's en vogue right now to say foreign policy doesn't matter electorally, but this is a clear case of recency bias.  Foreign policy doesn't matter recently because there haven't been many major foreign policy crises/conflicts in quite some time. 

Foreign policy failures destroy presidencies, and particularly Democratic presidencies since Wilson.  It'd be foolish to think this went away.  And even with Dubya, while he had a rather extraordinary reverse-Midas touch for..pretty much his entire second term, Iraq played a significant roll in not only decimating his presidency but nearly killing his entire party (or, rather, setting the stage for its demonic resurrection).

Another recent example, as Bird alluded to, is Hillary.  The GOP dragged that out for four years, McCarthy even admitted on live television the only reason they were doing it was to hurt her chances in 2016, and it still was a main factor in the hardened opposition against her (both directly and indirectly - without Benghazi we don't get the emails).  This would be on a bigger scale, with the president, plus, ya know, actually be a real failure instead of a made up controversy.  And hell, the Iran deal itself cost Obama a huge amount of political capital as well as frequent headaches for the administration and even intraparty battles - and he actually succeeded!

Bottomline, it would be quite foolish to assume just because we have a mountain of other problems to deal with, foreign policy crises no longer possess political and electoral salience.  And make no mistake, such a failure on the global stage would be a foreign policy crisis.  Moreover, do not underestimate how fragile the electorate still can be on Dems being "weak" on defense.  Such a diplomatic quagmire would would bring this back with a vengeance.

51 minutes ago, Ormond said:

Do you have any polling data to support that statement about Carter?

It's virtually impossible to build any data-oriented case for this (or much of anything from over 30 years ago) due to the dearth of polling.  Looking at gallup's tracker, his approval bumped up 4 points a week after the operation, then went down to the low thirties for pretty much all of Summer 1980.  Regardless, it undeniably lost him elite support - particularly on the left.  He thought it was the reason he lost, anyway.  

Most contemporary and historical accounts point to it as the primary factor in some fashion, albeit often described as "the straw that broke the camel's back."  One of my old advisors literally wrote the book on the crisis, and not only does he emphasize it, but that was the consensus among everyone he interviewed.  He had some great stories about Brzezinski's incredibly hilarious self-importance.

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Report: 2020 was the worst year for democracy in recent history
New data suggests a worldwide “democratic recession” deepened in 2020, with notable declines in the US and India.

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/22309075/freedom-house-2021-report-freedom-in-the-world

Quote

 

The health of American democracy is in rapid decline, India is no longer a free country, and at most 20 percent of the world’s population lives in a liberal democracy.

These are a few of the sobering conclusions in the 2021 Freedom in the World report, an annual quantitative measurement of the state of democracy globally. The latest findings, released today, show a nearly unprecedented decline in the health of democracy in countries around the world — one of the biggest “we’ve ever recorded,” according to Freedom House President Michael Abramowtiz.

There are a number of reasons why the world became more undemocratic in 2020.

The declines in the world’s two largest democracies, the United States and India, can be traced to the influence of the far-right ethno-nationalist political movements that held power in those nations. The pandemic enabled authoritarian-inclined leaders in places such as Hungary and the Philippines to seize more power for themselves. China used its rising clout to undermine freedoms both inside its borders and out.

This global weakening of democracy isn’t new: According to Freedom House data, each of the past 15 years has seen some kind of decline. But 2020 is the single worst year in that entire “democratic recession,” as the organization terms it.

 

 

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Biden strikes stimulus deal with Senate Democrats

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Biden signed off on moderate Democrats' demand to phase out the checks more quickly, the aide said. The bill's $1,400 payments will now phase out completely at $80,000 per year for individuals and $160,000 for joint filers; the phase-outs will start at $75,000 and $150,000 respectively. But the bill will retain $400 in extra weekly unemployment payments through August rather than cut them to $300, as suggested by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).

Not thrilled about the phase out but whatever just get it passed and send it back to the House.

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1 minute ago, DMC said:

Biden strikes stimulus deal with Senate Democrats

Not thrilled about the phase out but whatever just get it passed and send it back to the House.

At least the phase out still begins at the same point as in the House bill, so everyone who would be getting the full payment is still getting the full payment. Not great, but not the worst thing. And the UI payments are not being touched.

If that's the only price being extracted by the Senate,* besides the minimum wage stuff, its not a high one.

 

*also funding for the Seaway International Bridge and the Silicon Valley Railroad were axed by the parliamentarian

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1 hour ago, DMC said:

I definitely don't disagree with this in principle - and I'm sure most everybody in the Biden administration feels the same way.  But it still takes two to tango, and right now Tehran is sending the exact opposite signals that they're even willing to talk.  If Rouhani/moderates are so intent on reaching an agreement, they need to find a way to demonstrate that is desire is legitimate and (perhaps more importantly) feasible.  Otherwise it's not realistic to expect the Biden administration to take such a political risk, it's obviously not their job to rectify domestic Iranian politics.

Anyway, this discussion has gone far from your original objection that Biden's done a shitty job at trying to reengage Iran.  My main qualm was with that.

First of all, I don't know why this matters.  I wasn't using the comparison to suggest voters would somehow link it to the hostage crisis - the best part of the comparison was the "failed/aborted mission" fit.  Anyway, I know it's en vogue right now to say foreign policy doesn't matter electorally, but this is a clear case of recency bias.  Foreign policy doesn't matter recently because there haven't been many major foreign policy crises/conflicts in quite some time. 

Foreign policy failures destroy presidencies, and particularly Democratic presidencies since Wilson.  It'd be foolish to think this went away.  And even with Dubya, while he had a rather extraordinary reverse-Midas touch for..pretty much his entire second term, Iraq played a significant roll in not only decimating his presidency but nearly killing his entire party (or, rather, setting the stage for its demonic resurrection).

Another recent example, as Bird alluded to, is Hillary.  The GOP dragged that out for four years, McCarthy even admitted on live television the only reason they were doing it was to hurt her chances in 2016, and it still was a main factor in the hardened opposition against her (both directly and indirectly - without Benghazi we don't get the emails).  This would be on a bigger scale, with the president, plus, ya know, actually be a real failure instead of a made up controversy.  And hell, the Iran deal itself cost Obama a huge amount of political capital as well as frequent headaches for the administration and even intraparty battles - and he actually succeeded!

Bottomline, it would be quite foolish to assume just because we have a mountain of other problems to deal with, foreign policy crises no longer possess political and electoral salience.  And make no mistake, such a failure on the global stage would be a foreign policy crisis.  Moreover, do not underestimate how fragile the electorate still can be on Dems being "weak" on defense.  Such a diplomatic quagmire would would bring this back with a vengeance.

It's virtually impossible to build any data-oriented case for this (or much of anything from over 30 years ago) due to the dearth of polling.  Looking at gallup's tracker, his approval bumped up 4 points a week after the operation, then went down to the low thirties for pretty much all of Summer 1980.  Regardless, it undeniably lost him elite support - particularly on the left.  He thought it was the reason he lost, anyway.  

Most contemporary and historical accounts point to it as the primary factor in some fashion, albeit often described as "the straw that broke the camel's back."  One of my old advisors literally wrote the book on the crisis, and not only does he emphasize it, but that was the consensus among everyone he interviewed.  He had some great stories about Brzezinski's incredibly hilarious self-importance.

Again, I am not saying this could not be a negative for Biden. I am not saying that foreign policy has NO salience. But the idea that it could be AS big a negative for him as it was for Carter seems ludicrous to me as someone old enough to remember the Iran hostage crisis.  Again, is it realistic that any flub by Biden on policy toward Iran could lead to a crisis that would literally be on the news every night? Could there realistically be any "failure" he would have in policy toward Iran that would be perceived as negatively as failing to retrieve the hostages was in 1980? Of course if the operation had succeeded, Carter would have been a hero and probably wouldn't have lost the election. But that wouldn't have occurred if there wasn't a hostage crisis in the first place, so blaming his defeat on that operation's failure seems to me sort of like saying the Civil War was not caused by slavery but by the attack of Fort Sumter. 

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, Fez said:

*also funding for the Seaway International Bridge and the Silicon Valley Railroad were axed by the parliamentarian

Wait what?

Were these real proposals?

Sounds like something more appropriate in a infrastructure bill.

Edited by DireWolfSpirit

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1 minute ago, DireWolfSpirit said:

Wait what?

Were these real proposals?

Sounds like something more appropriate in a infrastructure bill.

They were talking points for every Republican who showed up on tv. “Pelosi’s railroad” and “Schumer’s bridge” were trotted on as the reason why the package should be halved, because only 9% of the bill was for Covid and the rest was for bridges and railroads.

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4 minutes ago, Ormond said:

But the idea that it could be AS big a negative for him as it was for Carter seems ludicrous to me as someone old enough to remember the Iran hostage crisis.  Again, is it realistic that any flub by Biden on policy toward Iran could lead to a crisis that would literally be on the news every night? Could there realistically be any "failure" he would have in policy toward Iran that would be perceived as negatively as failing to retrieve the hostages was in 1980?

I'm not sure why you're so hung up on the hostage crisis in general, that wasn't my point at all.  Hell, for much of the time the hostage crisis helped Carter's popularity with the rally round the flag effect.  A lot, in fact - for about four months it boosted his approval 20%.  

My point is that foreign policy failures kill presidencies, again especially Democratic presidencies, more so than anything other than recessions.  I used that comparison, again, due to the aborted/failed mission similarity, but also because it would be an entirely self-inflicted wound - there's no responsibility attribution to share or diffuse.  

If you don't think such a failure would be that salient, fair enough, but I think you're wrong and am pretty confident in saying so.  If Biden lifted sanctions just to talk informally to Iran, got nothing out of it, and then had to reimpose the sanctions, it would clearly be a salient foreign policy failure.  He'd look like an idiot to virtually everybody, it would be a national and global embarrassment.  And especially considering Biden's soft support pretty much across the spectrum, it's easy to imagine most everyone abandoning him.  I mean, who would be sympathetic?  The left, which otherwise loathes him?

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Speaking of which, I wonder what a new infrastructure bill might include? The country has some serious needs that are going to need to be addressed in the first half of Biden's term, one would think.

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Posted (edited)

Even Pod Save The World are not really happy with Biden's Saudi Arabia policy... Also some thoughts on Iran, Syria etc.

 

Edited by Mindwalker

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It is indeed time for a reevaluation of America's relationship with Saudi Arabia.  The power SA weilded in the 70s and 80s as the leading oil country is rapidly waning.  In many respects, the Biden administration should welcome higher oil prices to accelerate a shift away from fossil fuels. 

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1 hour ago, DireWolfSpirit said:

Wait what?

Were these real proposals?

Sounds like something more appropriate in a infrastructure bill.

Little (relatively speaking) things like that end up every bill. There's a bunch of random pet projects for Kentucky that McConnell gets into most big bills.

The issue wasn't that they were infrastructure related, there's other funding like that still in the bill. For instance, there's funding to prevent the DC metro system from basically going bankrupt due to ridership dropping over 90% during COVID. The issue with the rail funding was that it was going to a pilot project, making it ineligible under Byrd rules; I'm not sure if that's also the problem with the bridge funding. But the bridge thing was $1.5 million, aka 0.008% of the bill.

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, Maithanet said:

It is indeed time for a reevaluation of America's relationship with Saudi Arabia.  The power SA weilded in the 70s and 80s as the leading oil country is rapidly waning.  In many respects, the Biden administration should welcome higher oil prices to accelerate a shift away from fossil fuels. 

The relationship is more important than ever. Over the last several generations trillions of our dollar reserves have floated towards their economy. Now that that less of our dollars are being transferred there, it's important for us to see that wealth reinvested here. It would be a squandered opportunity to do otherwise as the Saudis are also seeking to diversify out of 100% reliance on a petrol existence.

Eta: In other words we want to see that wealth we've sent their way, repatriated into our economy.

Edited by DireWolfSpirit

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Something not really talked about in the relationship with SA and Iran is that Biden's admin is opening up negotiations with the Houthi in Yemen.

You know, the actual problem that's occurring right now. That's another thumb in the eye of SA and a potential boon to Iran, but folks seem too pent up on wanting to hang MBS for crimes or give Iranian diplomats blowjobs to actually notice diplomacy that could make a real change happen.

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Bipartisan senators introduce bill to strip Biden of war powers

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The bill would repeal the 1991 and 2002 authorizations that cleared the way for a prolonged military conflict in Iraq, culminating in calls from Democrats and Republicans alike to end the so-called “forever wars” in the region.

“Last week’s airstrikes in Syria show that the executive branch, regardless of party, will continue to stretch its war powers,” Kaine said. “Congress has a responsibility to not only vote to authorize new military action, but to repeal old authorizations that are no longer necessary.”

While I'm perfectly fine with last week's strikes, as an institutionalist I am obviously all for this.  Of course, as an institutionalist I'm also extremely cynical about Congress actually sustaining an effort to wrest war powers back from the executive, but hey at least it's something.

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