Joe Biden Is Killing the Iran Nuclear Deal
Joe Biden, Obama’s former vice president and by all appearances a stalwart JCPOA supporter. In a CNN op-ed during last year’s presidential campaign, Biden lambasted Trump for his Iran policy, which Biden termed a “dangerous failure.” He promised to “offer Tehran a credible path back to diplomacy” that included a return to the JCPOA. For anyone frustrated by the Trump administration’s efforts to forestall diplomacy with Iran, these remarks were welcome. In hindsight, though, it seems the seeds of our current stalemate were already apparent. In that same CNN piece, Biden wrote that “if Iran returns to strict compliance with the nuclear deal, the United States would rejoin the agreement as a starting point for follow-on negotiations. With our allies, we will work to strengthen and extend the nuclear deal’s provisions, while also addressing other issues of concern.” In other words, it did matter who went first, and Biden would also insist on immediate negotiations to expand the JCPOA. The problem with Biden’s position — as laid out in the CNN piece and as pursued by his administration thus far — is that it fails completely to understand Iran’s position. It was the United States that unilaterally violated the JCPOA in 2018. Every subsequent breach by Iran has been a response to the United States’ decision — and has even arguably been permitted under the JCPOA’s terms. To insist that the United States will only rejoin the JCPOA “if Iran returns to strict compliance” is to demand that Iran not only appease the party that destroyed the agreement in the first place, but that it trust the United States to revive the agreement when it has shown that it cannot be trusted.
Vaccine nationalism: A capitalist disorder
As the COVID-19 pandemic drags into its second year, it continues to expose and intensify the contradictions of world capitalism. The madness of vaccine nationalism clearly demonstrates that a system based on private property, and the division of the world into antagonistic nation-states, is not equipped to deal with a viral threat that has no respect for borders, profit margins, or narrow nationalist interests. By hoarding and squabbling over vaccines in a race to immunise their own populations first, the richest countries are risking countless lives and costing their economies trillions of dollars. Meanwhile, the virus continues to circulate and mutate in poorer countries, risking the emergence of new, more transmissible, and deadlier strains.
'Til Kingdom Come: How Christian evangelicals fuel chaos in Palestine
In the Evangelical Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem, Reverend Munther Isaac sits on a bench alongside Pastor Boyd Bingham IV, a Christian Evangelical pastor from a small American town, to discuss Christian Evangelicals and their role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "Evangelicals have contributed very negatively to this conflict because they are obsessed with prophecy," Isaac, a Palestinian Christian, tells Bingham, a hardline Christian Zionist from the Binghamtown Baptist Church in Middlesboro, Kentucky. "See, what I don't get about many American evangelicals: in their scenario, Jews will either be converted to Christianity one day, those who won't sadly will be massacred - that is the prophetic understanding. Somehow, this is perceived as a theology that supports the Jewish people. "To me, that is a twisted logic: the idea that God is bringing the Jews back to their land. But what is often missing is the Palestinian presence; it is as if you speak of an empty land. We have been at the receiving end of a theology that actually told us we don't belong here, that even told us we are second-class citizens in our homeland," Isaac adds, as Bingham looks on. Their conversation is one of a series of remarkably incisive scenes in'Til Kingdom Come, a new documentary about the poorly understood and often underplayed bond between the Israeli right-wing and American Christian evangelicals. Directed by Maya Zinshtein, an Emmy-award-winning Israeli filmmaker, the documentary is an eyewitness journey into the fanatical world of the Christian Zionist movement in the United States as it unfolded feverishly during the Donald Trump presidency.