Thursday, July 16, 2015

A agreement among "morally dubious" people and states


At Vox Max Fisher has an interview with Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. That is, he's found someone to talk with who is capable of making a substantive evaluation of the Iran nuclear deal, not just indulging in political posturing.

Lewis is pleasantly surprised at what the negotiations have produced. He gives it an "A" for moving concretely in the direction of preventing nuclear proliferation.

... there was always a deal to be had here if reasonable people could make reasonable compromises. I never really count on that, but it seems like they did it.

... I was talking to a colleague who is unhappy [with the deal], and it's kind of fascinating. He's unhappy because, he said, "We spent eight years, and the deal we got is not better than the deal we could have gotten eight years ago." And it's like, oh, no kidding. That's not an indictment of the deal, my friend, it's an indictment of eight years of fucking around.

... If you are interested in the nonproliferation piece — how to say this. As a deal, this is what deals look like. Actually, they usually don't look this good. So if you don't know that...

... When I read people saying, you know, "I can't believe we're making a deal with these morally dubious people," I understand why a regional security specialist might feel that way.

But when you work in the arms control field, they're all morally dubious people! These are people who are building nuclear weapons — there are no not-morally-dubious people involved.

I don't know whether Lewis really means the implication of what he seems to be saying. The conversation is ambiguous, possibly intentionally. Perhaps delving into what nuclear weapons really mean for human beings while working on nonproliferation breaks down comfortable imperial illusions that there any good nuclear powers.

No one should have nuclear weapons. No state should be getting its way by threatening another with annihilation. Any deal that chips away at the nuclear threat is a move in the right direction. As I pointed out above, Lewis gives this one an A.

The whole Lewis interview is absolute worth reading.

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