Nuclear Politics at Brown


Secretary of State John Kerry’s international security adviser, Joseph Cirincione, was recently at Brown University to promote his boss’s work in Iran, and to attack members of the opposing party as cynical opportunists who’d risk the world’s security for a cheap political point:

The framework meets all the U.S. goals, he said. If the final agreement “is close to what the framework is, we’re in pretty good shape.” 

Politics and ideology are behind most of the opposition. Republicans do not want to give a Democratic president what some people believe “could be the most significant foreign policy achievement in over 20 years,” he said.

Nothing that I’ve read about this deal supports Cirincione’s claims, including this Mortimer Zuckerman commentary in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal.  Indeed, Cirincione’s statement that “if you do not get the agreement, you can forget about reducing the nuclear dangers in the world” strikes me as completely inverted, as does his assertion about the political opportunism.

But even a mildly critical mind should flag that “most significant foreign policy achievement in over 20 years” phrase.  If Cirincione, his boss, and his boss’s boss actually believe that an agreement would be such a huge achievement, they’ve got obvious incentive to be able to proclaim that one has been reached.  As Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner put it, the administration “appears to want a deal at any cost.”  If that’s the case, the risk isn’t just in not “reducing the nuclear dangers in the world,” but actually making them much, much worse.

It’s fair to assume both sides of the domestic debate are playing politics, to some degree or another.  That being the case, I look forward to reading about an event at Brown offering the opposing view, in an article of the same size and prominence in the Providence Journal. 

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