Don't Lose Hope

Terrorism, mass shootings, closing our borders and hearts to refugees -- the past few weeks have been hard. But we can't give up. Maybe it seems like there is not much possibility of turning things around, but there is zero chance of turning things around if we lose hope.

We can all make a difference. We must make a difference. This recently discovered true story shows the difference one person can make: Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds' men were captured by the Nazis in World War II. When the Germans ordered the Jews to identify themselves, Edmonds turned to the rest of the POWs and said, "We are not doing that, we are all falling out." The German commander said they cannot all be Jews, to which Edmonds replied, "We are all Jews here." The German officer then withdrew and 200 Jewish lives were saved.

Revisit Calvin and Hobbes. You'll feel better if you read  "these 15 times Calvin and Hobbes embraced the spirit of adventure, reminding us that a life filled with passion, big dreams, and even bigger adventures truly is a life well-lived." Thanks to my friend Sarah Arkin for sharing this article.

Respectful disagreement is more important than unanimityMatt Nosanchuck explains why.

The IAEA issued its report on possible military dimensions of Iran's nuclear program. There were no surprises in the International Atomic Energy Agency's report. Iran lied about its past activities. Robert Einhorn explains that "While a truthful confession would be valuable, it is not necessary for a sound agreement. More important than hearing Iran's version of the past is having confidence that nuclear weapons will not be pursued in the future."

The IAEA report confirmed the administration's assessment that until 2003, Iran had a formal nuclear weapons program, and that some activities occurred between 2003 and 2009. This is why a diplomatic solution is so important. We now have unprecedented access and transparency into Iran's nuclear program. We have 24/7 access to all known sites, and we can inspect any site within 24 days (the IAEA had to wait 10 years to get to Parchin).

Hillary Clinton was right when she said in September that if the U.S. were to reject this agreement:

Iran would be poised to get nearly everything it wants without giving up a thing. No restrictions on their nuclear program. No real warning if Tehran suddenly rushes towards a bomb. And the international sanctions regime would fall apart, so no more economic consequences for Iran either.

Those of us who have been out there on the diplomatic front lines know that diplomacy is not the pursuit of perfection, it's the balancing of risk. And, on balance, the far riskier course right now would be to walk away. Great powers can't just jump agreements and expect the rest of the world to go along with us. We need to be reasonable and consistent and we need to keep our word, especially when we're trying to lead a coalition. That's how we'll make this and future deals work.

Republican presidential candidates continue to turn off Jewish voters. All of the GOP candidates hold views that most Jewish voters strongly disagree with. The day after the mass shooting in California, the Republican presidential candidates were utterly unapologetic about their opposition to new gun control laws

On Thursday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) voted against an amendment that would have prevented people on the terrorism watch list from purchasing firearms. So did the other Republican senators running for president. We need to place the sanctity of life above the sanctity of misguided interpretations of the Second Amendment.

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