1. It’s Tuesday, July 14, 2015.
2. It’s Bastille Day in France. You would think this is France’s biggest holiday — it’s the one everyone knows, liberté, égalité, fraternité and all that. But the freakin’ stock market is open. And it’s down today, presumably because grumpy French men and women have to work on what’s supposed to be Bastille Day.
3. Overcoming my skepticism, last night’s All-Star Game Home Run Derby was pretty riveting.
The new timed format did a lot to help. The fact that someone from the host team (Cincinnati’s Todd Frazier) won probably didn’t hurt.
Two minor changes they need to make: a) lengthen the distance to qualify for the 30-second bonus, because everybody hit at least two 425-foot shots, and b) figure out a way to lessen the advantage of the guy going second in the head-to-head. Other than the Pujols-Pedersen semifinal, the guy who went second won every time.
4. So President Obama went and struck a nuclear limitation deal with Iran. He knew it would piss off the Republicans. He knew it would piss off Benjamin Netanyahu.
But he did it anyway, because he knew what most of us know — no sane person wants a war with Iran. And that, I’m afraid, is the other option to this agreement.
The Iranians aren’t going to just capitulate if we keep ratcheting up the sanctions. And those less committed to stopping Iran than we are — Russia, China and several of the European Union members — aren’t going to hang with us forever as we seek the perfect deal.
There are morons in Congress — Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas comes first to mind — who believe we can win a war with Iran to get our way. But what is victory in this? Is it another damn invasion of a country whose leaders we don’t like? We saw how that worked in Iraq, which was a piece of cake next to what it would take to topple the Islamic Republic. We’re still cleaning up the mess (and, by the way, sort of need Iran’s help to do it, because they’re not big fans of ISIS, either).
So this agreement, with all its flaws, is the best we can do right now. It’s a testament to the patience of the president, of Secretary of State John Kerry and to the whole American team that they got it. There’s a sense that the world will be just a little safer for the next 15 years, as it becomes just a little harder for Iran to get a nuclear weapon.
And if another American president who’s only half or more as smart as Barack Obama takes office in 2017, and the Iranians reach into their Islamic roots for a way to coexist with others, there’s a chance that the deal could lead to something else.
We can only hope.