In this clip, CNN’s Fareed Zakaria interviews President Obama about the right-wing’s resistance to the Iranian nuclear deal. The President, with all the sophistication and clear-headed analysis that he is famous for, breaks down just why we cannot let this deal fail; that our nation has invested too much and will lose too much of our international influence should it be torpedoed by Republican war-hawks in Congress:
If Congress were to reject this deal, then that central goal would be harder to achieve. And the international unity that we’ve brought about over the last several years would fray, not just with respect to sanctions, but with respect to the world’s attitude about U.S. leadership and how they gauge who’s at fault in this dispute between the United States and Iran.
And, you know, as I said yesterday, the issue here – and I’ve said this to members of Congress – is not simply the deal itself. It’s certainly not just an issue for my presidency. The issue, as you well know, Fareed, because you travel around the world a lot, is does the rest of the world take seriously the United States’ ability to craft international agendas, to reach international agreements, to deliver on them in ways that garner the respect and the adherence from other countries?
And that’s continually tested. And what Congress needs to understand is, is that we are the most powerful country on Earth. But our power does not simply come from the fact that we’ve got the biggest military. Our power derives from the fact that since World War II, we have put together international institutions that have served our interests but have also served the interests of the world.
And as much as people may complain about the United States, they still recognize that we have been able to operate on the basis of principles and values and build human institutions that function effectively and fairly around the world. And if we stop doing that, then our power will be diminished, no matter how big our military budget is. And it will become a much more dangerous world. That’s why I don’t intend to lose on this.
Amid all the hyperbole coming from the mouths of paranoid Israeli ultranationalists and Republican belligerents in our own government, there are these simple facts that the President has laid out for us. Failing on this deal is not an option. The world will never take us seriously again. Which may be no problem for the Republicans, who don’t seem to take anything seriously at all or have any regard for the ramifications of their actions, but respectable and rational members of our society know that is no way to run a superpower.
Watch it here:
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.