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Iran deal's critics offer no credible alternative

New York Sen. Chuck Schumer recently came out in opposition to the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by John Kerry and our international partners over several years ("Cardin a key figure in debate over Iran nuclear deal," Aug. 3).

President Barack Obama has made a compelling case for the deal, pointing out that without it, Iran's activities will be entirely unconstrained. By his opposition, Senator Schumer, like his Republican friends, dismisses the president's logic and impugns his integrity without ever offering any hint of a credible alternative to the administration's proposal.

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Return to crippling sanctions? For two decades the U.S. sanctions were ineffective in bringing Iran to the negotiating table. Only when the Obama administration assembled a powerful international coalition that included China and Russia, did Iran cave in.

If the deal falls through, crippling sanctions cannot be reinstated without those countries, and they have not agreed to go along. But without their participation, Iran will have no reason to refrain from developing a bomb, and the U.S., Israel and everyone else will be much worse off.

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Get a "better deal"? If Mr. Schumer has a better deal in mind, then he needs to tell us exactly what the terms are, why none of countries allied against Iran thought of it and, especially, how it can be achieved. A deal that is unachievable is not a better deal; it is a fantasy.

Mr. Schumer has "concerns" about Iran's "nefariousness." We all have concerns, and we all know Iran is not nice; that is the reason for the deal.

Will the Iranians be secretly working to build up their capabilities? Probably, but what will we, the most powerful nation on earth, be doing during the next decade? Or Israel, or the Saudis, be doing? Sitting idly by watching Iran catch up? Or developing newer, more powerful and creative ways of countering the threats?

How about isolation? Can we prevent the Iranians from getting the bomb by isolating them? We isolated North Korea; they built a bomb anyway.

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Are Mr. Schumer and his friends in favor of another Mideast war? The same folks urged us to go to war with Iraq, which they promised would be a quick and clean little conflict ending with Iraqi citizens greeting us as liberators.

That didn't happen, so the Schumer forces need to explain why this one will go better. War is not inevitable, as the president said, and we should resist thinking that it is; many people thought the Cold War would end in hot war, and it didn't.

Maybe Mr. Schumer and the Republicans do not have any better ideas at all? Maybe his opposition is just typical of how America works? As Donald Trump explained during the first Republican presidential debate: Rich donors give money to politicians in return for favors. Is Mr. Schumer perhaps returning a favor?

Maryland Sens. Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin have not said whether they will support the Iran deal. Hopefully, they will behave more responsibly than Mr. Schumer. Either propose a specific, genuine, viable alternative to the current deal, or get behind the president and approve it.

Bradley Alger, Baltimore

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