Iran’s supreme leader recently said “Death to America” and meanwhile his country is gaining power in Iraq, Yemen and Syria, still sponsors terrorists, is working on a ballistic missile program and has made clear Israel is a goner if Iran is ever in a position to make that happen.
Supposedly on behalf of America, President Barack Obama is negotiating a nuclear weapons deal that could put it in that position. The deal would allow Iran to keep centrifuges and other means of making a bomb when other restrictions were eased in 10 years, as now appears to be part of the plan.
The supreme leader’s words do not seem to bug Obama much … if at all. What does rile him up is 47 Republican senators sending Iran a letter stating that, without congressional approval, the nuke deal could easily be tossed out a White House window by the next president.
I myself think the letter was an ill-advised, klutzy political maneuver, but for mentally regressive progressives to describe it as somehow treasonous and unprecedented is absurd.
None other than Secretary of State John Kerry has himself publicly, clearly and plainly said, “We are not negotiating a legally binding plan.” And although he has roundly condemned the Republican letter as a protocol breaker, he himself as a U.S. senator actually did far more to transgress understandings about executive diplomacy prerogatives when he traveled to Nicaragua for a chat with communist honcho Daniel Ortega in the 1980s. His purpose was to undercut Reagan administration efforts to support rebels.
An issue far bigger than the Senate letter to any halfway thoughtful bystander has been Obama’s chronic I-am-the-king unilateralism in refusing to treat America as America, Congress as a co-equal branch of government and a truly major deal as a treaty that would be legally binding even as it would also require the advice and consent of the Senate. He’s more inclined to just sign papers with Iran and the other six countries that lately have been given less say in negotiating and to go to the United Nations for an adulatory nod of agreement.
Something he is not going to be able to walk away from, though, is a letter from the House of Representatives signed by Democrats as well as Republicans — 367 of the 435 members — and sent to him instead of to Iran. It worries about Iran having a “pathway to a bomb” and correctly observes that no congressionally approved sanction against Iran can be dropped without congressional approval.
Obama also has a problem with the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency. Its director general, Yukiya Amano, recently emphasized on a PBS NewsHour that Iran has not identified sites where it did previous work on nuclear weapons. The agency wants to inspect the entire nuclear infrastructure and it also wants something else Iran hasn’t agreed to — inspections without a lot of advance notice. If Iran does not say yes to the world knowing what it is really up to, any agreement is meaningless.
And you know something? If Iran did not fully intend to build a bomb, it would give ground on such issues in a minute. It would have a ton to gain economically, and nothing to lose but the future capacity to initiate nuclear holocaust and the bullying power that comes with it.
I think the American public recognizes as much. You cannot fool 71 percent of the people all of the time, and that’s the percentage a poll reveals as skeptical of what Obama is negotiating. Since he is not running for office again, he may not worry about this, but you can bet many members of Congress and presidential prospects are paying attention. My hope is they will realize that electoral advantage and the right thing coincide and will find an honest way to defeat this deal unless it gets much better than so far advertised.