Why Netanyahu’s Congress Speech will Fail: Iran Can’t be Stopped, only Monitored

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) –

The conspiracy hatched by Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to undermine President Obama’s negotiations with Iran over its civilian nuclear weapons program has a false premise that dooms it.

Many Republicans, and Netanyahu, believe that Obama is negotiating a bad deal with Iran that will allow Tehran to run a nuclear enrichment program that would always have the potential to be weaponized at any time the Iranian leadership chose to go in that direction.

Their premise is that instead of negotiating with Iran and putting various limitations on its enrichment program, the US instead could close down Iranian enrichment altogether.

That premise is completely and absolutely unrealistic.

The problem with centrifuge-based enrichment of uranium is that it is open=ended. You could use the centrifuges, as Iran says it is doing, to produce fuel for reactors at 5 percent levels of enrichment. But you could theoretically ramp up centrifuges to enrich uranium to the 95 percent typically needed for a nuclear warhead.

George W. Bush completely rejected Iran’s civilian nuclear enrichment program and refused to talk to Iran, instead menacing it by ordering US aircraft carriers into the Persian Gulf. Every other week in 2007, veteran investigative reporter Sy Hersh wrote a story about an imminent US attack on Iran, based on what he was told by administration insiders, probably especially the Cheney network. But all of Bush’s bluster had no effect on Iran, which went on constructing centrifuges and expanding its knowledge of how to close the fuel cycle.

An Ostrich foreign policy can’t work here.

Nor could Iran’s enrichment program simply be bombed. Enough Iranian scientists and engineers know how to revive it that a bombing raid would only set it back a year or two.

A few years ago a US general testified that the only way to stop Iran’s enrichment program would be to do to it what the US had done to Iraq, i.e. to invade it, overthrow its government and roll up the enrichment program.

But note well that Iraq was a huge disaster for the US military. Iran is two or three times as populous and geographically much vaster– the equivalent of France, Spain and Germany. With the relatively small US military that now exists, a successful occupation of Iran is, to say the least, implausible. Moreover, the US is already deeply in debt and an Iran war would very likely be such a great drain on its economy over time as to endanger the soundness of its economy.

So, Iran can’t be bombed into submission. And, an invasion and occupation of that country is not a rational proposition.

Iran is going to be there, it is going to be a middle income country, and it is going to have a civilian nuclear enrichment program. I argued a year and a half ago that the US and the West could live with such a program if the inspection regime was sufficiently rigorous. No country under active UN inspection has ever developed a nuclear weapon.

The Netanyahu/Boehner belief that there is a military alternative to the Obama-Rouhani negotiations is simply incorrect. The deal Obama has laid out, and to which Iran seems willing to acquiesce, is that best we can do.

As for Netanyahu, he is a little unhinged on this issue and it is time to stop consulting him. We should all remember that he was a big cheerleader for the Iraq War., and presented false intelligence to the US Congress about Iranian enrichment, which was later discovered to have been contradicted by the assessments of Mossaad, Israeli intelligence.

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38 Responses

  1. You know, of course, that the Israelis pride themselves on being nothing if not cynical, flinty-eyed realists and peerless America manipulators. So, whatever other games and odds they will be playing with the forthcoming Congressional Show, you have to consider their longer game.

    In the immediate term there is the sheer theatre as the Likud plays to their local base in the run-up to elections. But, it is also apparent how this show can serve to strengthen and even extend their power in the US. You can argue they’re overplaying their hand, and at some point soon their abuse of this one-sided relationship will become too blatant and just collapse, but for now I’d take the other side.

    Looking at the history, I’d suggest they’re also playing events for what they are worth in terms of simple $. You can see where if some sort of “disaster” occurs and an agreement is reached with Iran, they will be in an excellent position to shake down the US for untold (more) billions.

    In all these matters we have to recognize the longer-game being played, where they rely so exclusively on being able to shape US policy/actions. Iran moving to get out of its box can easily be undone in the next administration (where they may well own the President as well as the congress). Until then their position can be shored up, and stands to be capitalized on in a variety of other ways.

  2. I read recently that the last time Iran invaded another country was 1738. If this is correct, I would say that compared with the US and Israel, Iran stands out as a non-belligerent nation.

    • Karim Khan Zand of the Shiraz statelet took Basra in 1775 or so as I remember. Aside from the Herat campaign of early 1850s, which Iranians maintain was just to reassert themselves in a long-held area of Khurasan, that was the last time.

  3. If Netanyahu feels he can intervene in our elections why can’t we intervene in Israel’s? Surely indicating to Israelis we would deal better with someone else would be appropriate?

    • … why can’t we intervene in Israel’s?

      Because AIPAC wouldn’t allow it. Congress doesn’t have the option to reason why, just to donate dollars and military equipment to Israel.

    • Actually, if American Jews are eligible to vote in Israeli elections (dual citizenship), the US could make a BIG difference. There are about the same number of Jews in the US as there are in Israel.

  4. I agree with this article. I would also like to add, big deal if Iran does get a bomb. I have said before, how the world since 1945 has lived with nations having nuclear bomb capabilities. Israel will need to just live with it. The one nuclear nation who scares me the most is Israel.

    • Mr Tedesky I share your worries , wont extend on them because it is of common knowledge. But I´d like to put into your consideration the fact that Argentina is one of those capable of building a bomb, and after the murder of Public Prosecutor Mr Nisman , investigator of the two explosions which leveled the Jewish embassy and the AMIA ( a mutual service organization ) and that have gone unpunished for some twenty years is rather of public knowledge in the country , that at the behest of Venezuela´s Chavez Mrs Kirchner government drew some kind of nuclear cooperation with Iran . Explaining this with more detail would take too much space , and I believe you able of finding it out by yourself

  5. It’s going to be hard for Bibi to whip up a frenzy against Iran….for not building a nuclear weapon. He is the Israeli Chicken Little who has little regard for American or Muslim lives.

  6. Iran Analytic

    . A nuclear framework agreement prior to #Netanyahu speech in Congress (March 3) can further undermine the speech. #Iran

  7. Bibi really is the embodiment of the old saying “With friends like these…”

  8. Everyone who pays attention knows that there is no Iranian nuclear weapons program. It ended in 2003 when the big lie of the Iraq WMD program was exposed. It may very well have been started defensively back then by Iranian military without authorization from the politicians and the Supreme leader and fear of internal repercussions against those responsible for that old program may be the reason there are still attempts to hide that program from discovery.

    Every intelligence agency in the world says there is no current Iranian nuclear weapons program , including the US and the Israeli Mossad. Netanyahu and Likud desperately need an “existential threat” to deflect world attention from their colonization program and mistreatment of Palestinians and to distract Israelis from the rank corruption of the Israeli establishment and dramatic economic disparity in Israel. Craven US and European politicians go along with this Myth of an Iranian threat for their own reasons , mainly political survival and fundraising.

    Netnayahu and the Republicans have clearly overreached here and the fallout should be significant. I am greatly and pleasantly surprised that, for once, Obama seems to have the wisdom and courage to do the right thing on a major issue. Let us hope he doesn’t back down and engage in his usual premature capitulation to the right wingers.

  9. The title of this post is the best, most accurate summation of this issue I have ever seen. Wish you could make into posters and plater the halls of Congress! The real tragedy is that Israel wasn’t stopped and can’t be monitored!

  10. Netanyahu’s roll call in Congress will give us a chance to determine whose side our representative and senators are on – America’s or Netanyahu’s.

  11. Isn’t disrespecting and insulting the President and Commander-on-Chief of our Republic by serving a foreign power an act of treason? Boehner is a disgraceful traitor to America and a slavish lapdog to foreign interests.

  12. Netanyahu is not just a “little unhinged” about Iranian nukes. He’s a mental case with a messiah complex who believes it’s his destiny to become the savior of Israel by going to war with Iran.

    Netanyahu also believes Iran can’t be stopped from developing nuclear weapons unless it is invaded, regime changed and their enrichment program rolled up. Netanyahu and his allies in Congress will not stop or even listen to reason.

  13. There is a very good reason Israel has not attacked Iran – Israel will FAIL miserably.

    Iran is currently producing and deploying a clone of the Russian S-400 long range anti-aircraft system. Iran and China got tired of Russian restrictions on S-300 purchases, so they revere-engineered the system and vastly improved it. The Iranian and Chinese versions are now equivalent to the S-400 and very deadly, even for so-called “stealth” aircraft and cruise missiles.

    Iran is currently producing and deploying their own version of the Russian BUK short range anti-aircraft system (the one that is knocking aircraft out of the sky in Ukraine).

    In addition to the S-400 and Buk, Iran has numerous other anti-aircraft system which make the skies over Iran very deadly up to very high altitude for any aircraft that enter Iranian air space. One estimate I have seen is that Israel would lose over half the aircraft that attacked Iran. Given the size of Israel’s aircraft fleet, that is a significant number. Replacing the lost aircraft would take Israel many years and probably bankrupt the country.

    Then there is the practical munitions load problem. Fighter-bombers have only a small number of munitions hard points (often only two or three) and those hard points have very stringent load capacity limits (typically several hundred pounds). This means that Israel has no capacity to do any damage to Iran’s hardened nuclear production sites. Yes, Israel could bomb Iranian cities and kill lots of people (if they made it that far), but that woudl only make Iranians mad with no tangible result.

    Note that the USA aircraft woudl not do much better. Sure the USA could use B-52 aircraft for heavy lift and high altitude capacity, BUT . . . B-52 are very vulnerable to both the S-400 and BUK systems. The USA has only a small number of active B-52 and the loss of one or two would be extremely expensive. Recently the USA had to replace a destroyed B-52 from its reserve fleet – It took almost two years and many millions of dollars to do it.

    The bottom line that both the USA military and the IDF know is that it is a fools errand to attack Iran. Iran has spent the last 35 years building a very deadly defense system.

    Note that I left out the ship defense systems Iran has such as supercavitating torpedoes that give any ship in the Persian gulf that is targeted about 15 seconds to say their prayers, plus all the anti-ship missiles that are all along the seashores. PLUS there is a very high probability that Iran has at least one DF-21D anti-carrier missile with over 800 miles of range, meaning US carriers need to stay over 800 miles from Iran to avoid being sunk. The USA has no defense against the DF-21D.

    Attacking Iran is very, very costly and neither the USA nor Israel can afford the cost.

    • Then Iran could seal of the strait and oil prices would quadruple.

      One thing you wrote I would take issue with…”Replacing the lost aircraft would take Israel many years and probably bankrupt the country.”

      I would suggest to you that the burden of replacing Israeli aircraft would fall on the US taxpayers.

      • While the USA might replace some of the aircraft, the USA itself does not have all that many “spare” aircraft due to the extremely high cost of modern aircraft. Note also there is a limit to how much money Americans will spend on non-Americans and once Israel hits that emotional point, the money machine will stop overnight. This is the danger that Israelis face – sudden poverty. Whiel right now Americans have been willing to fund the “wild child,” there will be a point whre Americnas stop – count on it. Remember that over the last 200+ years, the USA has screwed over each and every “strategic partner” they have ever had and Israel will eventually suffer the same fact, only more so.

        For example, right now the republican governors are cutting every service the state provide including education to cut taxes for the wealthy. But society needs those services and eventually those republican governors are going to be severely punished. Israel has been bleeding USA wealth for decades and one of these days, they will be punished. I don’t know how quickly that will happen, but it will happen not too long from now.

        The lesson all grifters learn very quickly is don’t bleed the mark too quickly. Israelis have never learned that lesson.

        • This comment is different from most of yours. You usually keep a distance of some kind. But this makes the rise and fall of nations seem like a subjective undertaking. Israel getting punished. Israelis in poverty. ETC. History moves against people’s will or despite it. The US is a wounded empire now. It’s overstepped its bounds and countries and people have pushed back. So has Israel. But you make it sound like you and I can sit around and wait for both of them to collapse. That’s not going to happen.

        • Or, “don’t bleed a mark who’s already bleeding himself with military bases in 130 countries, and abandoning the general welfare to serve the disloyal, outsourcing corporate elite.”

        • @rtbl – I hope the USA will not totally collapse, but agree with Lincoln that if it does, it will be due to internal decay, not external aggression.

          The biggest problem Americans have is a hugely overinflated ego, which is not sustainable. The next path of the USA will be determined by what Americans do when their egos get deflated. Will they strike out in fury (something many empires have initially done) or will they gracefully accept that they are not kings of the world? If Americans can manage the deflation, the USA will do well.

          In some ways human emotions are tied very directly to how nations rise and fall. The many failings of humans over the last 10000 years are very well documented, yet we humans still make all the same ridiculous mistakes. BTW – I find it ironic that some of the best documentation of human failings due to emotions are found in “religious” texts that humans pretend to revere, yet mostly ignore.

          As for Israel, the Israelis appear to be both extremely egotistical and very delusional, a very bad combination. Israel has very limited resources and will eventually lose the blank check from the USA. When Israel no longer has a sugar daddy, its debt will increase overnight impoverishing the nation. As for Israel being punished, there are many examples throughout history where nations have acted emotionally instead of rationally (the end of WW1 is a fine example which we tried to avoid at the end of WW2).

          I do not think we can separate human emotion, egos and basic behavior from the flow of history. Humans mostly act irrationally.

    • If the United States were to bomb Iran (or any other country with powerful air defenses) wouldn’t it be using B-2 stealth bombers rather than B-52s?

      Israel doesn’t have stealth bombers of course, but it could resort to its Jericho ballistic missiles.

      • B2 bombers are not as “stealthy” as everyone assumes. In fact the Russians, Chinese and very probably the Iranians can “see” them fairly well. Then there is the problem that the B2 non-nuclear bomb load is not all that large. I think the B52 is the only bomber with the lift capacity for a MOAB, which is the only thing that might do a little damage to the Iranian nuclear sites (but not destroy them).

        Israel does not have any non-nuclear Jericho missiles, so they would be triggering their own annihilation.

        The bottom line neither the USA nor Israel has the non-nuclear firepower to do anything more than make Iranians very angry and if either the USA or Israel uses nukes, all bets are off and most of us will have the fun choice of:

        – dying of radiation poisoning (nuclear blast debris reaches the US west coast about 5 – 7 days after the blast in Iran making all the food grown in the US west and quickly the Midwest inedible).

        – dying of starvation (what will you eat?)

        – dying by freezing in nuclear winter.

        All “fun” choices.

  14. So air attack is a loser. What about a land attack?

    That is even more of a loser. Per the US Army Counter insurgency manual

    link to fas.org

    most invasion and hold operations require a minimum of 1 US soldier for every 20 people that the USA wants to “influence.” If the local population is armed and dangerous, that ratio changes to 1:10. I suspect that the US military would find that Iranians would be armed, dangerous and extremely angry.

    If we assume that only 50% of the Iranian population (over 75 million) is military capable (old enough but not too old, etc.) and crunch the numbers, that means it woudl take a MINIMUM of 1.5 MILLION US soldiers to take and hold Iran for a year and the casualty rate would be very high. Of course, the cost of the adventure woudl be in the trillions of dollars.

    Per CJ Chiver, there are over 100 million AK-47 (or equivalent) weapons available today with thousands more being made each and every day, so Iranians would have plenty of weapons and ammo to make the short lives of the American invaders very terrible.

    So the USA can not attack by air, attack by sea or attack by land without paying an extremely high cost. What can the USA do?

    Quite simply – reach a reasonable agreement with Iran.

    It appears that Bibi is extremely frustrated that he is an impotent leader of a small powerless nation and is hoping that he can incite some stupid person to pick the fight he can’t. The USA woudl do well to tell Bibi to just shut up and go sit in the corner like the bad boy he is.

    • It appears that Bibi is extremely frustrated that he is an impotent leader of a small powerless nation and is hoping that he can incite some stupid person to pick the fight he can’t.

      Bibi by himself may be an empty suit, but as a front man for the big-money, pro-Israel (legal) bribery machine he can count on many Congressional sycophants to perform like trained seals when he does his circus master act. So what does it say that that “powerless nation” is often the tail that wags the American dog and may prove to be the one to expose our national Achilles heel.

      • Yes, the congress critters are bought and paid for, BUT . . . they still need to get elected and over time, as the US demographics shift due to conservatives and Israeli supporters dying off (2000/week currently), Israel will lose support. I suspect that like many other issues, there will be a sharp break point where the shift will appear to happen overnight and will surprise and shock Israelis. Once the break point is reached, there will be no going back. Bibi is just ensuring that break point occurs sooner than later.

  15. Bibi’s speech is going to accomplish exactly what it is meant to accomplish. I don’t know if congress will give him 29 or more standing ovations, as they did in 2011. But congress will definitely give a loud, raucous stamp of approval to Bibi. Bibi knows how to give masterful speeches, and a good time will be had by all. The media will go wild too.
    Bibi will get reelected, which is what his whole show is really all about. Iran? Oh that is just a smoke screen. Did Bush care about Bin Laden? Bush cared that Bin Laden gave Bush another 4 years as president! Iran is good for Bibi too.

  16. The speech may “fail” but I will be very surprised if the fawning relationship with Israel changes…and the real end game is not “stopping” Iran but bombing it. The neocons running Washington may very well suceed in that – regardless of the facts, just as they are trying to instigate World War III with Putin over Ukraine, regardless of the facts. Sadly, even many of those who say they will not attend the speech are swearing eternal allegiance to Israel and claiming that they are only motivated by fear that our wonderful alliance will be harmed.

    • I don’t get why the neocons would want to antagonize Russia (or any other non-Islamic power, for that matter).

      • Perhaps they are helping their friends in Big Ag: “Corporate interests behind Ukraine putsch: Behind the U.S.-backed coup that ousted the democratically elected president of Ukraine are the economic interests of giant corporations – from Cargill to Chevron – which see the country as a potential “gold mine” of profits from agricultural and energy exploitation,” reports JP Sottile. – link to consortiumnews.com

  17. Bibi’s motive is less stopping Iranian enrichment than it is vindicating himself before history. He understands that, in the long run, Iran will be a nuclear power. It is precisely that inevitability that is driving his actions. If he goes to any length to try to prevent/delay that day, and someday Iran does threaten Israel with a bomb, Bibi’s farsightedness will outshine whatever political collateral damage his heavy-handedness may cause now. If that day doesn’t come for a long time, he will take the credit. There’s no downside for him here, if you take history into account.

  18. “But note well that Iraq was a huge disaster for the US military”.

    Not so … the intention was always to get rid of Saddam AND leave Iraq in complete chaos …. read “clean break”.

  19. So what happens if Bibi succeeds in screwing up the negotiations?

    – Iran will go back to enriching uranium and possibly get a nuclear weapon (Since the Saudis have purchased at least one from AQ Khan, Israel has hundreds, and the USA has thousands, Iran may as well have at least one)

    – The USA and Israel will probably not attack Iran because both the US military and IDF are extremely worried just how bad their losses would be because they KNOW there is no possibility of “victory,” even if the politicians can’t seem to understand that. From what I have read, there have been at least three game simulations of war with Iran and in all three, the USA and Israel suffered massive defeat. The generals are well aware of the tremendous downsides to war with Iran. Note that Obama also appears to understand that war with Iran will be terrible, which is why he is trying to get the best deal he can before the rest of the world get tired of the war rhetoric form the USA and Israel.

    – The USA direct sanctions imposed over 35 years ago will continue and they will continue to be totally worthless because of the ancient tradition of smuggling and money laundering. Since the USA has no direct trade with Iran, there are no further direct sanctions possible.

    – Most of the third-party sanctions will simply disappear. Third-party sanctions only work when third-parties are willing to do what the US “requests.” Once the third-parties decide to tell the USA to go “jump in a lake.” there is NOTHING the USA congress critters can do. The congress critter can threaten the third-parties, but the third-parties can counter threaten USA companies with onerous taxes and even outright business prohibitions in favor of local companies. Many countries would welcome a convenient excuse to shut down USA company operations in their countries. If for example Apple can’t legally sell their products in a country, the local population can gain wealth by buying Apple products on the global black market and smuggling them into the country. In the process, Apple gets very little profit and the locals get a lot. Then there are the trademark knock-offs and patent infringements that the “punished” country will ignore to the detriment of the USA companies. It probably will not take very long for the USA companies to start beating up the congress critters.

    – The current SWIFT banking network restriction will become meaningless very quickly. There is a lot of profit in money laundering (think about how rich Switzerland got doing this), so it will not take long for the SWIFT restrictions to be negated. Then there is the BIG problem that China wants to degrade the use of the USA dollar as the global transaction currency and the current SWIFT restrictions give China a HUGE argument in favor of a new transaction currency. To keep the USA dollar as the world transaction currency, the USA will have to remove the banking restrictions to minimize the influence of China.

    The bottom lines are

    – The USA and/or Israel can not attack Iran

    – If there is no agreement , the USA and Israel are dead in the water because the rest of the world will tell them to shut up and go away.

    As the USA has learned over the last 50 year with Cuba, when the rest of the world decides to ignore the USA, the USA is powerless.

    The congress critters are NOT going to like the result of screwing with the POTUS because they will lose the battle.

    Iran has won – the only thing left is to negotiate the terms of agreement.

    • Wouldn’t it be funny if global free trade, so painstakingly built by FDR and Truman to replace the catastrophic tariff regime of the 1920s that spread Wall Street’s crash worldwide, and then co-opted and manipulated by Wall Street’s outsourcing and financial chicanery, were to collapse due to the sheer number of economic sanctions that helpless Great Powers are now imposing on each other?

      Think about it. The Great Depression broke up the world into 3 main trade blocs: the British & French empires + vassals, and the US hegemony, leaving Germany & Japan in catastrophic isolation. You know where that led.

      Now, the US whores out its foreign policy to the needs of Israel and Saudi Arabia, while trying to use NATO to encircle Russia, which is finding many disgruntled authoritarian regimes to ally with in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. But the latter is moving quickly to strengthen links with the rest of the BRICs, thus getting trade entry into a suddenly vibrant Africa and South America.

      No wonder the US wants more corrupt free trade pacts; we’re trying to build a firewall around a part of the world, and call that “free trade”. If Iran is promoted from observer status to full member of the SCO, that means China is ready to let the blocs form, because I assure you the trade wars will escalate. Our bloc will look like a retirement home for the senile rich.

      • It is not that technically hard to build and operate an alternative to the SWIFT network (all financial transactions these days are electronic) and replace the US Dollar with a basket of currencies. Once that happens, the US loses most of their economic power and becomes just another country.

        China wants to decrease the ability of the USA to control the world economy and the USA is currently giving China all the ammunition it needs to make that happen.

        Note that China does NOT want to take over the world. They tried that in the past and are all too aware of the massive downsides to that. China just wants a playing field that is slightly tipped in their favor.

        One of the benefits of 5000 years of history is China has tried and failed at a lot of things and has somewhat learned from their past.

        I think, over time, there will be “natural” trading blocs

        – Europe (although Germany appears to be trying to tear that apart)

        – USA and Canada

        – Mexico and Latin America – they all have the same bad cultural problems that they either are incapable or unwilling to deal with.

        – Africa – many of the same post colonial cultural problems of Latin America.

        – China, Asia & Australia – The Aussies have finally figured out they are an Asian country not a European country.

        – The Mideast except Israel – They only have two resources – oil and human brains and need to develop the humans with the oil wealth.

        – Israel – In reality, Israel provides very little the world can’t get someplace else for lower cost and usually higher quality. Israel is not self sufficient in food and energy.

        Of all the blocs, Asia, Europe and the USA will be roughly equal and if the Americans can control their egos, all the blocs can do well.

        IF (big IF) the Israelis were smart, they would give up lots of land, water, cash for compensation and apologies to the Arabs and start to get along with their neighbors. There is a very good economic fit between the intellectually rich Israel and Iran, the low cost workers of Jordan, Egypt and most of Saudi Arabia and the investment wealth of the Saudis and Iranians. If the Israelis could get over their egos and work with the Arabs and Persians, they could form a vary viable economic bloc. But emotionally, the Israelis can’t do that, so they will be the (definitely ) odd country out.

        • I think, over time, there will be “natural” trading blocs

          Sir James Goldsmith, an Anglo-French businessman, suggested something similar in the 1980s or early 1990s arranging the world in a small number of economic zones.

  20. As I am sure Mr. Cole knows, the late Lt. Gen. William Odom (former NSA director), who publicized his opinion of the folly of attacking Iraq at every opportunity, also said this about Iran and nuclear weapons: “You want nukes, have them. You live in a bad neighborhood.’ There’s no single diplomatic move that would so revolutionize our position up there.” (From a speech at Brown Univ. in 2006)

    He also felt we could have a rapprochement with Iran if we just took the diplomatic effort. That doesn’t mean everyone loves each other; but it means they aren’t at war or threatening war every day; they can have commerce and talk to each other about disagreements.

    I wish I could hear a single voice like his in the power structure today.

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