Monday, November 25, 2013

Peace - A Great Reason For Thanks

We'd originally planned today to discuss the 'War on Thanksgiving' - the effort by retailers all over America to not even wait until the day after Thanksgiving to open. Sadly, that effort is really just another front in the war on working Americans that international corporations have been waging for years. Another major reason to be thankful came up over the weekend, though, and we can't help but address it first this week.

Don't worry - like the workers themselves, who are effectively chained to their jobs, the 'War on Thanksgiving' isn't going anywhere, and we'll tackle that issue tomorrow.

The event that happened over the weekend, though, deserves notice here, both because of the unusual nature of the event, and the reasons for thanks it may give to people not just in America but around the world.

The event we're talking about is the agreement by Iran and six major world powers, including the United States, to freeze key parts of Iran's nuclear program, in exchange for the temporary release of economic sanctions on issues like food and medicine.

Work on the agreement apparently had been going on for months, behind the scenes, with Secretary of State John Kerry taking the lead. Already, as details began to be released over the weekend, business markets worldwide began reacting positively to the details.

The details, in short, include as much as $7 billion in economic sanctions relief over the next six months, including the six nations un-freezing $4.2 billion in Iranian oil assets. The agreement will also allow humanitarian relief, including food, medicine, and medical supplies to flow more freely into and out of Iran again - a major reason President Rouhani of Iran was elected by his people earlier this year.

In exchange for the temporary lifting of sanctions, Iran's nuclear programs are being heavily restricted, and put under outside watch and oversight by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the IAEA.

As expected, the typical opponents to a peace agreement of this kind made their feelings known over the weekend. As Evan McMorris-Santoro of Buzzfeed reported, some Republicans ridiculously attacked the deal before details were even released Saturday night. Unsurprisingly, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - who depends on Iran as a boogieman for much of his political power - said the deal is a "historic mistake." Of course, neither the U.S. Congressional naysayers or Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is correct.

As President Obama noted correctly Saturday night in his public comment on the accord, this deal is "an important first step" in both preventing Iran from making nuclear weapons and in U.S.-Iranian diplomatic relations. It's only a first step, though. Some of the toughest diplomatic work lies ahead in the next six months.

That said, there are two critically important actions many people already seem to have overlooked in this story. Iran and the United States are talking publicly, diplomatically, for the first time in decades. Further, through diplomacy - not by sending military troops -  President Obama and his administration have lessened the potential for nuclear armed conflict coming from Iran.

We understand the skepticism that many have about this agreement, but we think now especially is a time when Americans should be looking at the positive, and not the negative. Neither U.S.-Irainan diplomatic relations or a lowering of potential nuclear clonflict are small accomplishments. Both will make for a more peaceful world.

If those aren't some very good reasons for thanks, we're not sure what is.