The Long, Bumpy Road to Iran

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(photo: Associated Press)

I recently completed an opinion piece on the Iran treaty but suddenly began having second thoughts about my analysis, which had focused much of the blame on President Obama. I've been angry about Obama's response to Charles Schumer and I've been frustrated by his lack of diplomacy, especially in his own party. As a Jew I have a strong attachment to Israel, but rather than be guided by emotions I've chosen to instead address the facts rather than my feelings. I'm a moderate democrat who tries to consider both sides objectively, and in this case taking history and economics into account in order to produce a fair analysis.

So instead of complaining about Dick Cheney's cowboy ego, George W. Bush's hubris, Hillary Clinton's condescending attitude, Obama's distaste for politics and Jeb Bush's lackluster responses on the Iraq war I proceeded to look at a timeline. The key question about our treaty with Iran that people keep ignoring or forgetting to ask is how we got there.

The Iraq war may be over but we are still feeling the consequences, which are screaming at us from every direction. Prior to the Iraq war there was - like it or not -- equilibrium in the Middle East and now instead there is a huge imbalance driven by growing terrorist organizations. Bush and Cheney sold us on a war that promised to expose weapons of mass destruction and protect Israel by securing the Middle East. The opposite happened.

The war in Iraq was supposed to thwart terrorism but has instead undermined our national security even further. We are in a state of uncertainty as to how to battle terrorists in an area we are responsible for destabilizing and any politician who claims they have simple solutions for these problems (yes you Donald Trump) is merely posturing and is not a serious candidate.

To further exacerbate Bush's monumental mistake with Iraq, Obama behaved ideologically rather than rationally and pulled out our troops too early, paving the way for ISIS. After three trillion dollars in military expenditures, we didn't have the money to bring back weapons so we left them in Iraq. Now ISIS possesses hundreds of American Humvees, pickup trucks, tanks and armored vehicles, along with our ammunition, so we in effect have financed them. Additionally, there are billions of dollars in cash that disappeared from Iraq under Bush's watch that is unaccounted for and to be sure, it's not in the hands of the Red Cross.

Which leads us to our deal with Iran. We have an 18 trillion dollar debt, which is growing at breakneck speed so we cannot afford nor do we want boots on the ground. All of these factors placed America in a weak negotiating position so the resultant treaty cannot be blamed on Obama. He played the hand he was dealt as best as possible considering bluffing in the negotiation was never really an option. Had we not spent nearly nine years at war in Iraq, the Middle East as we know it today would not exist nor would the need for this treaty. Our incompetent policies have indirectly empowered Iran, creating for them a new found Middle East hegemony.

All of this is behind us. The treaty cannot be abandoned or changed, so the best approach will be to accept it manage and our relationship with Iran as effectively as possible. This will require a solid, experienced leader capable of uniting our polarized nation. An extremist GOP candidate may appease a loud republican base, but they will not defeat Hillary Clinton.

During the 2012 presidential primary, leading GOP candidates changed on a weekly basis. Extremists like Bachman and Santorum briefly held center stage, until the field eventually narrowed and Romney was chosen. Republicans may hate Hillary Clinton but they must recognize that democrats still like her and will make a knee jerk vote for her over Jeb Bush (who still carries the stigma of his brother) and the other more conservative candidates.

That leaves republican voters with a group of ideologues (and Jeb Bush) set on appeasing a small but loud minority - or John Kasich. He is an experienced politician who has balanced national and state budgets and understands bipartisanship. There is nothing wrong with being a Washington insider if your intentions are good and you know how to use the system effectively. Kasich is the GOP's only salvation, the question is whether voters are smart enough to let logic drive them instead of emotion.

The first GOP debate and the resultant infighting has shown us that passion, emotion and ideology will be our political undoing. Let's ignore our petty grievances, behave like adults and do what's best for our country by picking the candidates that can serve us best.