Posted by: sweeneyblog | November 25, 2013

Think Foreign Policy Doesn’t Matter for Whatcom County?

After five years of tough negotiation, diplomacy has prevailed in the Iran/American conflict. News spread quickly of the details of the agreement, but the basic tenants are simple: Iran curbs its nuclear ambitions, and in return, we lift some of the economic sanctions that have devastated their economy.

Foreign policy is always a tricky subject in social circles. Domestic issues, like the Affordable Care Act, marijuana legalization or marriage equality, usually can be discussed without a deep knowledge of the subject. Did the health care reforms save you money? How do you feel about locking people up for smoking a joint or denying them a marriage license because they love the “wrong” person? These issues can be debated for hours, however, when you get to foreign policy, suddenly the conversation evaporates faster than my paycheck at a Doctor Who festival.

Are Americans disinterested in foreign affairs? I don’t think so, but thanks to the limited time spent on world history and geography in our schools (thanks standardized testing!), many citizens do not have the base of knowledge to put modern events in context. Moreover, it can be difficult to see the impact on their day to day lives. So let me help, here is the impact on Whatcom County:

More soldiers are coming home. Preceding this agreement, there was a huge military buildup around Iran. Take a look at this map that shows all the military bases surrounding that country.

Military Bases Surround Iran

Military Bases Surround Iran

Each of those outposts is staffed by thousands of soldiers. Washington State has over 65,000 active duty personnel, many of them from right here in Whatcom County. As of 2012, 23,000 military personnel from Washington state are overseas. I’m willing to wager that a portion of them are in the bases surrounding Iran and are breathing a big sigh of relief. With reduced tensions, many of them will be able to return to their families here at home and devote their talents and energies to improving Whatcom County.

Obviously there are many reasons to be relieved that diplomacy, rather than violence, was used to resolve this problem. But I always think about Whatcom County families who will be reunited this holiday season because of some tough negotiation on the part of the Obama administration. That’s something we can all be thankful for, even if we don’t quite know how to talk about it.



  1. So bring it home! …but don’t hold your breath for any peace dividends. Those seem more elusive to Americans than even single payer health care systems. These are a couple of the ‘sanctions’ we live under daily.

  2. This does NOTHING to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions, it encourages them to speed up the process of weaponizing their nuclear capability.

    • Could you please explain how this is so?

      • It gives credibility to the Iranian government when none is justified.

        It releases $7 billion in frozen assets that can be used to fund more centrifuges.

        It is a short-term agreement that can be reversed (though probably not as long as we have a pseudo-Muslim President) so the Iranians will make haw while the sun shines.

      • Who is our pseudo-Muslim president?

      • Riley,

        There was no way to reply to your reply but you should be able to figure out by the process of elimination who our pseudo-Muslim president is.

        Chose one:

        Barack Obama

        Barack Hussein Obama

        Barack H. Obama

        B. H. Obama

        B. Hussein Obama

        B. Obama

        H. Obama


        Break a leg and get back to me with your choice.

  3. Wayne, this agreement has taken unneeded attention away from the piece of Corporate Welfare called the Affordable Care Act,. Iran has repeatedly stated that it has no ambitions for nuclear weaponry–just nuclear energy. Our crack intelligence agencies know this. Do you think they have not been listening in?The lessening of sanctions will lessen the resentment that an otherwise sympathetic and loving Iranian public feels towards our great Nation. Do you not trust their leaders? Do you not trust our former war hero and current Secretary of State do cut us the best possible deal?? Let us all give Thanks on Thursday for this one small step towards Peace On Earth.

    • Did you believe Hitler? Do you believe Iran? Why? Why do they need nuclear power when they are one of the largest owners of oil reserves in the world?

      Iran has stated on numerous occasions that they will not rest until Israel is destroyed. It happened again this week. Do you condone the destruction of a sovereign state?

      The same “crack intelligence agencies” that advised Colin Powell on Iraq?

      The Iranian public have little say at this point. Some Iranians may be loving but what of its leaders? Did you support Iran’s Green Revolution?

      John F. Kerry is NO war hero, he is a fraud married to a rich woman. Why wasn’t Israel (who has the most to lose) kept out of the deal?

      I will give thanks on Thanksgiving for sure and Happy Holidays to you sir.

      • I don’t believe Iran or the United States or I should say the leaders of the two countries. And, most of all I no longer believe the leaders of Israel. And the groups I trust least in each country are the intelligence agencies. Since they are beholden to those who profit from war, I don’t see them lying about Iran (to avoid war) as they did about Iraq (to wage war).

      • Do you still believe Obama?

    • This deal with Iran is fascinating in that it appears to not really be a deal at all.

      “The final details of a nuclear agreement signed over the weekend between Iran and Western nations will not actually go into effect until further negotiations take place at a later date, according to a senior administration official and sources on Capitol Hill.”

      If the deal happens, it will mean Saudi Arabia goes nuclear — they’ll buy Pakistani made nukes. It also means Israel will probably preemptively strike Iran solo.

      All the lefties and libertarians applauding a deal that means non-intervention by the United States will shortly be chagrined as the United States is forced to intervene. Loosening sanctions on Iran will mean they can increase oil exports. That’ll make environmentalists bad and will make Iran richer.

      In short, this deal, which turns out to not really be a deal at all, but a lot of hype to distract from the Obamacare mess, would mean Iran can keep building its bomb with minimal inspection, get more money from American and European taxpayers, and keep funding terrorists around the world.

      The West is willingly being played the fool by a player elites assume is actually rational, but is not. By the way, it is amazingly pathetic that President Obama won’t let you keep your insurance plan, but he will let the Iranians keep their enriched uranium program. Just what sort of idiot will negotiate with terrorist regimes, but not with Americans?

      At best, the Obama Administration is looking not like the second coming of Jimmy Carter, but the second coming of Lydon Johnson. At worse, it is becoming Eugene McCarthy erotic fan fiction.

      • You know, I never thought I would read the phrase “Eugene McCarthy erotic fan fiction” on my blog but there it is.

        One should always study history to grasp the context of modern events, but it bears reminding that for my generation of voters, we never saw Jimmy Carter as anything other than the nice old man who builds houses for the poor. Lynden Johnson is even more firmly ensconced into the history books.

        For my generation, our first exposure to a Democratic president was Bill Clinton, and our first exposure to a Republican was George W. Bush. One of the many reasons why my generation is trending Democratic in a big way.

      • Riley,

        You unfortunately missed Ronald Reagan.

      • I last believed Obama somewhere between his first election and the inauguration. I doubt Riley’s assertion that his generation is trending Democratic in part because of the Clinton-Bush comparison. Even that seems ancient history to an old guy like me. I think the biggest factor is the age-old “lesser of two evils” phenomena,. McConnell is such a turnoff as are most of the Republican obstructionist nutcases. Today’s youth would flock to the reasonable Republican Party that existed in the days of Ike ) Liked Ike) and even of Nixon.

      • And I figured you were a Nine Inch Nails admirer.

  4. Riley, You know I love you, but Iran deal has nothing to do with troop strength. Nothing that happens with this agreement has anything to do with troop movements unless and until there are base realignments and troop reductions. In the meantime, all troops continue to serve as they do now, under their enlistment contracts, for the remainder of their term of service, subject to re-enlistment (which many will opt for because there aren’t exactly tens of thousands of jobs waiting for them in Washington). Further, just as we still have bases all over Europe and Asia, we’ll be in the Middle East f-o-r-e-v-e-r.

  5. And one day I will figure out how to select a name to use when posting here. I wasn’t speaking for Protect Whatcom, obviously, but for myself, Terry.

    • As usual, I politely disagree. After years of the “backdoor draft”, we can finally start letting those service members whose contract has already expired finally return to their families because of the reduced tension along the borders of Iran. Yes, some will get shifted around to other oversea bases but we have hundreds of thousands of servicemen and women who have served their time and wish to return home. This will help.

      • The”backdoor draft” should be replaced by a selective draft of Progressive Dissidents.

      • And conservative dissidents as well plus the children and grandchildren of all Congress members. There would for sure be more “friendly fire” incidents, but possibly all groups could unite under the right commandant to take our government back from the special interests who have seized it.

      • I, too am a believer in the Ten Commandments.

  6. Riley, Add Deigo Garcia into this as well. B-52’s, troops, ships, etc.

    • B-52s–one of my favorite groups of all time. And, Jerry’s little brother Diego is too often overlooked.

      • LOL!

  7. I would recommend the following book for an excellent analysis on the different strategies involving Iran:

  8. With all due respect. diplomacy has not prevailed.
    Diplomacy has been tried many times before we
    got to the precipice of a totalitarian regime having the

    Maybe diplomacy will work. One can hope.
    One must be realistic too though and understand
    that the odds for diplomacy working are low and
    we may have to face a modern Hitler,
    with an atomic bomb.

    Which will be bad enough, until one understands that Iran
    having a bomb will set off a chain reaction of other
    countries procuring the bomb.

    If we allow Iran to have the bomb, this may be a turning
    point in human history.

    As the world has slowly been removing nuclear weapons from arsenals,
    Iran will place humanity on the precipice of a new round of proliferation,
    putting all of humanity at further risk.

    As I watch some of the left demand gun control, and at the same want to stand by while Iran gets the bomb, I wonder how serious they are at protecting their children.

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