Signing in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles



Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Matthew 5:9


No Deal Reached In Nuclear Talks With Iran

November 10, 2013 8:00 AM




Skepticism from the French delegation prevented the U.S. and five other major powers to agree on a temporary freeze of Iran's nuclear program.


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This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. For the past three days, six world powers have been in intense discussions with Iran to curb that country's nuclear program. Those talks ended early this morning without an agreement. Nuclear negotiators in Geneva were joined by a handful of leading diplomats for the talks. Even U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry flew in to try to close the deal. In the end, objections by France were blamed for the snag, but officials say they'll be back at it on November 20th. NPR's Peter Kenyon has more.

PETER KENYON, BYLINE: The speculation had been that if anyone would crack the unity of the so-called P5+1, the five permanent U.N. Security Council members plus Germany, it would be Russia. But in the end it was France that stood in the way of success this week. Diplomats said France raised a number of questions about whether enough was being demanded of Iran to halt its nuclear progress. Foreign minister Laurent Fabius was quoted as saying it was important not to play a fool's game. After one last meeting that ran well past midnight failed to bring an accord, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif took the high road, saying differences within the P5+1 are to be expected and that this round was not a disappointment.

MOHAMMAD JAVAD ZARIF: Actually, I think we had a very good three days, very productive three days, and it's something that we can build on and move forward.

KENYON: The intensity of the talks may have reflected the desire on the part of Kerry and the other ministers to salvage a deal with Iran, but it also underscored the pressure both sides are under to show results quickly before hardliners can mobilize to make things even more difficult. Kerry asked critics of this nuclear diplomacy to consider the alternative.

SECRETARY JOHN KERRY: Each day that you don't have an agreement, Iran will continue to enrich, Iran will continue its program. What we were looking to do here and will do, I believe, is freeze that program in place.

KENYON: Kerry says he believes an agreement can be reached in the coming weeks. Negotiators will return for more talks here in less than ten days. Peter Kenyon, NPR News, Geneva.

Copyright © 2013 NPR.



Israel Joins Debate Over Nuclear Talks With Iran


November 12, 2013 4:00 AM



When weekend talks fell apart, no one appeared as relieved as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Linda Wertheimer talks to Jeffrey Goldberg of Bloomberg View and The Atlantic about Israel's opposition to the ongoing negotiations over Iran's nuclear program.

 Copyright © 2013 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.



Iran was able to strike a deal on its nuclear program yesterday, though not the one many people hoped for. Tehran will allow broader U.N. inspections of its nuclear sites, which the Iranians say exists for peaceful purposes. Talks are hold until next week on the major issues: Western efforts to ensure Iran's nuclear program is peaceful and Iran's desire for sanctions relief. When those talks fell apart over the weekend, no one appeared as relieved as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Jeffrey Goldberg of Bloomberg View and The Atlantic says Netanyahu's opposition is out of real fear that the Obama administration will make a deal that will not work for Israel.

JEFFREY GOLDBERG: I'm a little bit surprised at the ferocity of Netanyahu's response. I think he also senses Obama's domestic political weakness and believes that if he pushes this very hard, the Republicans in Congress will push hard against the president and against any sort of deal, so I think he's also exploiting a moment. But they don't get along. They don't trust each other, and this is now a return to the natural state of affairs between the two of them.

WERTHEIMER: Netanyahu has, on occasion, just gone straight past the president and to the Congress. He has many friends whose politics matches his own in the United States Congress. If the president wants to make some sort of deal with Iran, does he absolutely have to have Netanyahu in order to get it past the American Congress?

GOLDBERG: I think it's complicated because A) I don't think the president understood where France was on this. Maybe that's the byproduct of not having the NSA listen to European leaders anymore. I don't know. B) He also has tremendous Arab opposition. But Netanyahu is a formidable foe and he definitely needs to neutralize Netanyahu's opposition if he's going to move this through Congress.

His big fear, Obama's big fear, is that Congress is going to layer on new sanctions while this process is taking place. The White House fears that the Iranians will then say, a-ha, you guys aren't really interested in compromise, so we're just going to go back to building our nuclear program. Obviously the Israelis and the Arabs and maybe the French at this point believe that the Iranians are at the table because of sanctions, so putting more sanctions on the Iranians only motivates them more to make a compromise.

WERTHEIMER: Now, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel in a conversation with you suggested that the pressure from Israel is what has brought Iran to the table, that Israel and the United States appear to be, from what he said, working a sort of good-cop bad-cop thing on this.

GOLDBERG: The interesting thing there is that they didn't plan it that way because I don't think Obama and Netanyahu really trust each other enough to say, okay, you play this role and I'll play that role. But, in fact, over the past couple of years it's been very, very useful for President Obama to be able to point at Netanyahu and say, hey, look, everyone, if you don't go with sanctions the way I want, this guy's a little bit crazy and he might do something.

But at a certain point, you know, he doesn't want Netanyahu to play the bad cop. He wants him to just stop talking for a little bit, and that's where Netanyahu goes off the script that he never agreed to play in the first place.

WERTHEIMER: Do you think that bottom line it's possible to do a deal without Israel's support?

GOLDBERG: Yes. I think one of the reasons Netanyahu is making so much noise at this moment is that he understands that he's actually impotent, that Obama has succeeded in putting him in a box. Netanyahu has threatened for years to use military action unilaterally against Iran's nuclear facilities if Iran breached(ph) a certain point.

If Iran, of course, is sitting in Geneva with the United States and with the other European powers and having productive conversations, Israel can't really attack. It would turn itself into a pariah state if it upended these negotiations by attacking these facilities. Netanyahu knows he's in a box. That's why he's frustrated. That's why he's yelling so much.

WERTHEIMER: Jeffrey Goldberg is a columnist for Bloomberg View and he is a national correspondent to The Atlantic. Thank you very much for coming in.

GOLDBERG: Thank you.

Copyright © 2013 NPR



The Treaty of Versailles (French: Traité de Versailles) was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Central Powers on the German side of World War I were dealt with in separate treaties.[6] Although the armistice, signed on 11 November 1918, ended the actual fighting, it took six months of negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference to conclude the peace treaty. The treaty was registered by the Secretariat of the League of Nations on 21 October 1919, and was printed in The League of Nations Treaty Series.

Of the many provisions in the treaty, one of the most important and controversial required "Germany [to] accept the responsibility of Germany and her allies for causing all the loss and damage" during the war (the other members of the Central Powers signed treaties containing similar articles). This article, Article 231, later became known as the War Guilt clause. The treaty forced Germany to disarm, make substantial territorial concessions, and pay reparations to certain countries that had formed the Entente powers. It liberated numerous nationalities in Central Europe from oppressive German rule. In 1921 the total cost of these reparations was assessed at 132 billion Marks (then $31.4 billion or £6.6 billion, roughly equivalent to US $442 billion or UK £284 billion in 2013). At the time economists, notably John Maynard Keynes predicted that the treaty was too harsh—a "Carthaginian peace", and said the figure was excessive and counterproductive.

French aims

As the only major allied power sharing a land border with Germany, France was chiefly concerned with weakening Germany as much as possible. The French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau described France's position best by telling Wilson: “America is far away, protected by the ocean. Not even Napoleon himself could touch England. You are both sheltered; we are not.” [28] Clemenceau wished to bring the French border to the Rhine or to create a buffer state in Rhineland but this demand was not met by the treaty. Instead France obtained the demilitarization of the Rhineland, a mandate over the Saar and promises of Anglo-American support in case of a new German aggression, but the United States did not ratify the treaty.[29]

Keynes argued:

So far as possible, therefore, it was the policy of France to set the clock back and undo what, since 1870, the progress of Germany had accomplished. By loss of territory and other measures her population was to be curtailed; but chiefly the economic system, upon which she depended for her new strength, the vast fabric built upon iron, coal, and transport must be destroyed. If France could seize, even in part, what Germany was compelled to drop, the inequality of strength between the two rivals for European hegemony might be remedied for generations.[30]

France, which suffered much damage and the heaviest human losses among allies, was adamant on the payment of reparations. The failure of the Weimar Republic to pay reparations led to the Occupation of the Ruhr by French and Belgian forces.

British aims

Further information: Heavenly Twins (Sumner and Cunliffe)

Britain had suffered little land devastation during the war and Prime Minister David Lloyd George supported reparations to a lesser extent than the French. Britain began to look on a restored Germany as an important trading partner and worried about the effect of reparations on the British economy.[31]

American aims 2013

Main article: Fourteen Points

Before the end of the war, President Woodrow Wilson put forward his Fourteen Points, which represented the liberal position at the Conference and helped shape world opinion. Wilson was concerned with rebuilding the European economy, encouraging self-determination, promoting free trade, creating appropriate mandates for former colonies, and above all, creating a powerful League of Nations that would ensure the peace. He opposed harsh treatment of Germany but was outmaneuvered by Britain and France, He brought along top intellectuals as advisors, but his refusal to include prominent Republicans in the American delegation made his efforts partisan and risked political defeat at home.[32]


Traitors All Around


Meet the GOP's Young Gun: Representative Eric Cantor


Ari Berman
Ari Berman
Ari Berman, a contributing writer for The Nation magazine and an Investigative Journalism Fellow at The Nation...

By Ari Berman

Disgraced superlobbyist Jack Abramoff used to name sandwiches at his Washington deli after his favorite politicians. The roast beef on challah was known as "the Eric Cantor." It was unveiled at a $500-a-plate fundraiser held for Cantor at Abramoff's restaurant in January 2003. The Virginia Congressman neglected to disclose the fundraiser, labeling it a "paperwork issue" and "chicken droppings." The event was hardly surprising—Cantor owes his prominence to Washington's lobbyist-industrial complex. In 2002 Abramoff ally Tom DeLay plucked Cantor, then a sophomore House member from Richmond, from obscurity and made him, at 39, the youngest member of the House Republican leadership. Now he's the second-highest-ranking Republican in the House and on a fast track to becoming speaker one day.

Cantor is a prominent advocate for repealing "Obamacare" and has asked the public to vote on which government programs they'd like to cut, pledging to "put Uncle Sam on a diet." In a post-election meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Cantor "stressed that the new Republican majority will serve as a check on the administration," according to his office. http://www.thenation.com/article/156523/meet-gops-young-guns-paul-r...


France's Sarkozy has signed deals with several Mideast nations. (Michel Euler - AP)

 Sarkozy Pushes Nuclear Energy in Mideast

By Molly Moore
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, January 20, 2008

PARIS, Jan. 19 -- For French President Nicolas Sarkozy, nuclear reactors are the bridge between the West and the Islamic world.

Currently the world's most aggressive salesman for nuclear power, Sarkozy has visited multiple Muslim states in the last six weeks -- including the globe's biggest oil producers -- to peddle French nuclear technology or make multibillion-dollar deals.

"Why should Arab countries be deprived of the energy of the future?" Sarkozy asked in an interview with al-Jazeera TV during a Middle East tour this past week. "Terrorism flourishes in the embrace of despair and backwardness. We want to help Arab countries develop, and we want to upgrade the economies of the 21st century."

Since December, Sarkozy has signed deals with or offered nuclear technical advice to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Libya, Egypt, Algeria and Morocco.

He is attempting to promote a global revival of the nuclear industry at a time of record-breaking energy prices and strong international concern over global warming. Nuclear technology does not contribute directly to global warming because it does not burn fuel or emit greenhouse gases.

Sarkozy also describes the contracts as a way to boost the French economy and burnish his country's flagging technological and diplomatic image abroad. The companies that develop and build the nuclear power plants are owned primarily by the French government.

France has long been a world leader in nuclear power, currently relying on it for 80 percent of electricity needs. But the "for sale" sign that Sarkozy has hung on French nuclear technology has alarmed critics who say nuclear proliferation could make an already volatile Middle East more dangerous.

"The countries where France is planning to build new plants are mostly nondemocratic regimes or dictatorships," said St¿phane Lhomme, spokesman for Exit Nuclear Network, a French-based umbrella group of anti-nuclear associations. "The main concern is not that an Islamic country ends up with the atomic bomb; the main risk is the possibility of making dirty bombs with nuclear material."

U.A.E. Foreign Affairs Minister Sheik Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan responded to similar criticism this past week after the emirates signed a deal with France to build two third-generation nuclear reactors.

"The U.A.E. is conducting wide consultations to create a responsible framework for the evaluation and possible implementation of a peaceful nuclear program, ensuring compliance with the highest standards of nonproliferation, safety and security," he said.

France's agreement to sell nuclear technology to Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi has proved the most controversial of the deals. "The risk of proliferation goes up with every country that uses nuclear energy," Gernot Erler, Germany's energy minister, said after news of the arrangement with Libya.

Sarkozy has countered that the Libyan leader's decision in 2003 to halt his country's weapons programs and terrorist activity deserved to be rewarded and that the agreement could be an inducement to rogue countries to follow suit.

The nuclear pacts with Arab countries are part of Sarkozy's pet project to create an informal Mediterranean cooperation council. But he said he is willing to "help any country which wants to acquire civilian nuclear power."

Already he is pursuing two of the hottest nuclear markets in the world -- China and India. Late last year, France inked a multibillion-dollar deal to build two reactors in southern China, and Sarkozy is hoping to sign a nuclear energy accord with India during a visit this month. Argentina, Chile, Vietnam and Indonesia also are reportedly discussing the possibility of buying French-designed reactors.

But it is his agreements with the Middle East that have drawn the most attention. "This is the first time an intergovernmental nuclear accord of this importance has been signed in the Gulf, and it is a very big development," said Anne Lauvergeon, who heads France's nuclear giant, Areva. The company will help build the two reactors in Abu Dhabi, the wealthiest of the seven emirates.

She said the contracts will be worth billions of dollars but declined to cite a specific amount.

Sarkozy's sales trip came just after the Gulf Cooperation Council, a political and economic alliance of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E., announced that it planned to have a joint nuclear program operational by 2025.

With oil prices hitting record levels -- bouncing up to $100 a barrel last month before settling at the current $90 level -- many of the wealthy Arab oil exporters are enjoying unprecedented economic development. That is straining power grids and stretching capacities for desalinated water in many of the desert Gulf states.

Those rapidly expanding energy demands, coupled with warnings that oil reserves could be depleted in four to five decades, have prompted the oil-rich states to consider nuclear power alternatives.

"Forty years from now there will be no oil left, and in 100 years, no more gas," Sarkozy told reporters on the trip, adding that he believes nuclear power will be the replacement. "It is the energy of the future."

But some analysts say that nuclear development is likely to heighten military tensions and drive a regional arms race. Already the advanced state of Iran's civilian energy programs have generated allegations by the United States, France and others that Iran aspires to develop nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies.

"If you tell Arab nations they are not allowed civilian nuclear power because they are Arab, you give an extraordinary bonus to Iran, which has made that its whole argument," Sarkozy said on the recent Middle Eastern trip.  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/19/AR2... Researcher Corinne Gavard contributed to this report.

 Saudis Plan Major Investment In Nuclear Technology

November 10, 2013 8:00 AM



Saudi Arabia intend to build 16 nuclear power plants over the next twenty years. Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin talks to Thomas Lippman of the Middle East Institute about the Saudi's nuclear ambitions and what they mean for nuclear nonproliferation efforts.




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Comment by mary gravitt on November 21, 2013 at 4:13pm

The Treaty of Versailles led to the rise of Hitler and WWII.  Some historians like to believe that Germany could have paid is reparations, but it was our Great Depression that put an end to that rewriting of history.  Treating a so-called enemy too mean always results in tragedy.  And listening to a friend that only has his interest in mind when trying to make a life or death choice regarding the safety of the United States can also result in dismissing a troublesome ally.

Iran still remembers 1953, even if the US Congress and the President does not.  We blew it then.  Will we blow it again?

Comment by Kathy Knechtges on November 22, 2013 at 10:45am

I am so tired of these endless little wars, and near wars.


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