Alea iacta est… the Council has spoken, the votes have been cast and we have the results for this week’s Watcher’s Council match-up.
But before we get to that, we have some important business to take care of… like celebrating our compadre Tom White of VA Right’s birthday!
Aside from his prodigious writing talents featured on one of Virginia’s top blogs (which includes some pretty good songs and musicianship by the way, as well as his writing), Tom has many of the qualities that makes a great friend… a great sense of humor, clear insight and the rare quality of being there when you need him. He’s always there to share his IT expertise and help out someone on the Council with a techie problem and he’s someone I can always rely on to give me an honest and common sense answer whenever I’ve asked his advice. Ever since he joined our posse, I’ve always felt like I’ve known him for years; which might seem odd to some people since we’ve never met in person yet (although we’ve yakked on the phone), but that’s just how it is.
We have carrot cake today with chocolate pralines (be sure and take a hunk home for Mrs.Tom, Okay?)
To go with the cake, in honor of the Old Dominion, we have a nice couple of bottles of Williamsburg Winery’s 2011 Vintage Reserve Chardonay to share around. Yes, I’m told by reliable sources that they actually make good wine in Virginia.
For those of you who prefer grain to grape… some wondrous Virginia moonshine, made by men who despise both the revenooers and the idea of turning good corn into ethanol and go their own way. Pure heaven and dandy for the sinuses:
And I arranged for a special express delivery to get it here on time:
One of the best parts of being involved in the blogosphere isn’t the fame and huge amounts of money involved, but the great people you meet. Tom is definitely one of them. Have an absolutely wonderful birthday my friend… many more.
Okay, down those shots and let’s look at this weeks results…
Last week in Geneva, the permanent members of the UN Security Council met with the Iranians on their illegal nuclear program. We heard a number of versions of what happened, especially from our Secretary of State John Kerry, who assured us that a wonderful deal was all ready to be signed, but…
This week’s winner, Joshuapundit’s What No One’s telling You About Iran’s Big Victory In Geneva, is the real story of what actually happened in Geneva, why the French opposed the deal and why it ended up as a huge victory for Iran for reasons that are simply not being reported here in the West, probably because a lot of Americans would be shocked at what went down. Here’s a slice:
What exactly happened in Geneva?
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s tells us that the Iranians ‘walked away’ from the impending deal:
According to Mr Kerry the P5+1 group, representing the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, were united when the proposed deal was presented to the Iranian negotiating team on Saturday.
“But Iran couldn’t take it, at that particular moment they weren’t able to accept,” Mr Kerry said.
Our hope is that in the next months we can find an agreement that meets everyone’s standards.”
I thought that Secretary Kerry spoke fluent French,but somehow it seems he’s lost the ability. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius was fairly and publicly open about France’s opposition to the Iran deal, and the French refused to sign on. What France wanted was the Iranians agreeing to halt work on their Arak heavy water reactor, which can produce plutonium and has no peaceful application. The French also insisted that the Iranians ‘downblend’ their stockpile of 20% uranium to 5%, which could still be used for nuclear fuel but was much further away from weaponization. The French also wanted the Iranians to cease enrichment during the talks, as well as the inclusion of far better plans for verifying Iranian compliance.
France’s motivation for opposing the proposed deal was their country’s own self interest, nothing more.
France has always had major trade and diplomatic interests in the Arab world, and they aspire to a larger role in the region, especially since the U.S. is retreating. And France has particularly close trade and security relationships with to Sunni Arab countries in the Middle East that oppose Iranian domination and a Shi’ite nuclear power. Saudi Arabia, for example, is the Middle East’s foremost buyer of French arms. Last August, the French signed a €1 billion ($1.34 billion) defense contract with Saudi Arabia, which included overhaul work on four frigates and two refueling ships in the Saudi navy, and the French reportedly have arms sales contracts with other Sunni countries in the GCE and throughout the region.At the same time the Saudis and others are investing heavily in France’s farming, food and industrial sectors. Given France’s economy, all this represents a substantial and important financial interest for the French. And in terms of their influence, a nuclear armed Shi’ite Iran undermines France’s long standing Mediterranean Union’ project with the Arab world. This explains why the French have consistently been fairly tough on Iran in general.
France’s stance on Iran is also affected by domestic politics. Almost all of France’s Muslims – whom voted for the ruling Socialists and Hollande by a 90% margin or so – are Sunni and fear Iran’s dominance over Islam.
And while the French could hardly be said to be Israel’s best friend, France and Israel have substantial trade relations as well as a number of French nationals who hold dual French-Israeli citizenship, which added up to one more reason for the French.
So when Secretary Kerry says that the P5+1 group were united… we can only assume something got lost in translation.
The real story is the huge victory in Geneva the Iranians walked away with that no one’s reporting on.
You see, the Iranians have their own version of what went on in Geneva. As the Iranian government organ Fars reports, the Iranians consider what happened in Geneva as a huge win, and an important development. I can certainly see why.
More at the link.
In our non-Council category, the winner was the one and only Mark Steyn with The Drift Towards Depotism, submitted by Liberty’s Spirit. It’s Steyn at his best looking at certain disturbing trends in our Republic and the reality of Barack Obama’s presidency. Do read it.
Okay, okay… here are this week’s full results. Only Rhymes With Right was unable to vote this week, but was not affected by the 2/3 vote penalty:
- *First place with 3 1/3 votes! – Joshuapundit – What No One’s telling You About Iran’s Big Victory In Geneva
- Second place *t* with 2 votes – The Razor – The Siren Song of the Moderate Republican Presidential Candidate
- Second place *t* with 2 votes – Simply Jews – A topsy turvy review of A Plague: Contesting Syria, in Context by A.J. Adler
- Third place *t* with 1 1/3 votes – The Noisy Room – Obama’s Betrayal of Israel and Arming of Iran
- Third place *t* with 1 1/3 votes – Nice Deb – Gingrich Compares Obama to Clinton: “Obama Wants You To Feel His Pain”
- Third place *t* with 1 1/3 votes – Liberty’s Spirit – Newsflash: The Demise of America is Premature
- Fourth place with 1 vote – Bookworm Room – As Obamacare defines America’s economic landscape, are we going to see a new trend of Soviet-era jokes?
- Fifth place *t* with 2/3 vote – The Right Planet – It Only Works with Internet Explorer
- Fifth place *t* with 2/3 vote – GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD – Thank vSchlieffen”s Plan For Monday Off?
- Sixth place with 1/3 vote – The Political Commentator – Kristallnacht tutorial for Jews (and anyone else) with a short memory!
- *First place with 3 votes! – Mark Steyn – The Drift Towards Despotism submitted by Liberty’s Spirit
- Second place with 2 2/3 votes – Nick Cohen/The Spectator – Why Can’t We Admit We’re Scared Of Islamism? submitted by The Watcher
- Third place *t* with 1 2/3 votes – Sultan Knish – The American Iron Curtain submitted by The Noisy Room
- Third place *t* with 1 2/3 votes – The Chicago Boyz – Under The Flag submitted by The Glittering Eye
- Fourth place with 1 1/3 vote – Sultan Knish – Bad Apple President submitted by The Political Commentator
- Fifth place *t* with 2/3 votes – Michael Totten – Why the US Can’t Leave the Middle East submitted by The Razor
- Fifth place *t* with 2/3 vote – The Passing Parade – Proud and prejudiced, or was Lot’s wife the victim of a salt intensive diet? submitted by Simply Jews
- Fifth place *t* with 2/3 vote – YouTube/ Project Veritas – Obamacare Navigators Counsel Applicants to “Lie” submitted by Bookworm Room
- Fifth place *t* with 2/3 vote – House Of Marathon – Heeding The Heretics submitted by GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD
- Sixth place *t* with 1/3 vote – Matt Walsh – The positive side of Obamacare that Fox News doesn’t want you to see submitted by Nice Deb
- Sixth place *t* with 1/3 vote – Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion – Typhoon Haiyan: How you can help submitted by The Mellow Jihadi
- Sixth place *t* with 1/3 vote – Douglas Ernst – New York Times finds ‘some’ Catholics upset with Pope — slow clap for NYT submitted by The Colossus of Rhodey
See you next week! Don’t forget to tune in on Monday AM for this week’s Watcher’s Forum, as the Council and their invited special guests take apart one of the provocative issues of the day with short takes and weigh in… don’t you dare miss it. And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter… ’cause we’re cool like that!