You think you know that Obama sold out America’s interests in cutting this deal with Tehran, but you really don’t know the half of it.
Serious question: Is this a bigger affront to Congress’s authority than that executive mega-amnesty in November was? Normally I’d say that nothing could top the latter, but read this and tell me.
[Josh Earnest] predicted the international economic sanctions would collapse and Iran would get the economic benefits it has sought anyway — and noted that even if American sanctions stay in place Iran has far more at stake economically with sanctions from other countries around the world.
“The problem is Iran is going to get all that money and the United States doesn’t get anything for it,” he said, predicting Iran would get sanctions relief from the international community even if they don’t reduce their stockpile, centrifuges or all-but-dismantle their plutonium-producing reactor.
A vote to kill the deal is a “vote to allow Iran to get off scot-free and to get all the sanctions relief.”
Three points. One: Why wasn’t the agreement written so that it takes effect only if it’s ratified through proper channels by the legislatures of all the participating countries? The P5+1 is supposed to be a coalition. They negotiated a joint agreement with Iran. What Earnest is suggesting now, purely for the sake of intimidating Obama’s critics in Congress, is that the United States won’t object if its partners go their own way and lift sanctions on Iran even if the deal is blocked in Washington. In other words, rather than defending Congress’s right to approve the deal and putting pressure on the Europeans not to act without us, Obama’s defending the Europeans’ right to cut the U.S. loose and lift sanctions unilaterally in order to put pressure on his countrymen in the legislature. Two: Even if our European partners went their own way, why wouldn’t they insist that Iran keep up its end of the agreement in return for European sanctions relief? The United States isn’t the only country that benefits from Iran denuclearizing. If it were, we would have made a deal with them unilaterally from the start, not as part of the P5+1. Lifting the sanctions in exchange for nothing would be sheer madness. Three: If Earnest believes the rest of the coalition is so hellbent on lifting sanctions that Congress’s recalcitrance will tank everything, why would he trust the coalition to reimpose “snapback sanctions” if/when Iran is caught cheating on the deal later? What he’s saying here, essentially, is that the economic pressure on Europe and Russia to start trading with Iran again is so intense that Congress can either get with this program or get out of the way. If that’s true then it’s ludicrous to think the Russians or Europeans will ever agree to reimpose sanctions in the future. Iran would have to cheat in an unrealistically flagrant way to force their hands. Whether he realizes it or not, Earnest is telling you here that the punitive parts of the deal are a farce.
This is, in other words, Obama’s latest attempt to tell Congress that his agenda will move whether they like it or not, except this time he’s willing to make sure an enemy power benefits lavishly if Congress tries to defy him.
But wait, it gets worse. America’s legislature may not have a say over whether deal is implemented, but Iran’s legislature does.
On Thursday, Foreign Policy reporters revealed that United Nations Ambassador Susan Power began circulating on Monday a legally binding UN Security Council resolution that would cement the nuclear accord’s sanctions relief to which they agreed in exchange for supposedly giving up a nuclear weapon development program. The resolution would also force signatory states to take no actions that would “undermine” the accord. The terms of the nuclear deal were, however, only supposedly reached on Tuesday…
“The decision to take the deal to the Security Council before the U.S. Congress has concluded its own deliberations on the agreement places lawmakers in the uncomfortable position of potentially breaching a binding resolution by voting down the deal,” read the Foreign Policy report. “The strategy has infuriated some Republican lawmakers, who see the administration making an end run around Congress.”
They should be. According to reporting, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Bob Corker attempted to storm into a closed-door meeting between Vice President Joe Biden and the committee’s Democrats when he learned of the White House’s attempt to undermine the legislature’s authority. A Fox News producer described Corker as “livid.” But this is hardly surprising. The text of the nuclear deal itself made it clear that the only legislative body that would be afforded any deference in this process was Iran’s.
It turns out, notes Noah Rothman, that the agreement acknowledges that Iran’s parliament must ratify the Additional Protocol of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty authorizing nuke inspections within 90 days after the UN Security Council approves the deal. But it doesn’t say anything about the U.S. Congress, which has the right under federal law signed by Obama himself to vote on this deal and block it if it can muster 67 votes of disapproval in the Senate. Which, of course, is by design: By cutting Congress out of the agreement and running to the UN, Obama has heaped even more pressure on congressional Democrats not to defy him on this by making them guilty of breaching international law if they do. He’s crushed Congress at every turn — first in refusing to submit this deal to the Senate as a treaty, as the Constitution requires, then in negotiating that horrible deal with Bob Corker that would let the Senate effectively ratify the deal with just 34 votes, and now by ignoring Congress’s authority in the text of the final agreement itself and moving quickly to get this passed in the Security Council before Congress has even considered it. In a saner world, where the American public gave a wet fart about ridiculous power grabs by the executive, the House would be threatening him credibly with impeachment at this point. Instead they’re gearing up for another performance of failure theater, where the Senate pretends to try really hard to stop Obama and almost musters the votes needed to do so, but falls just a bit short. The whole thing is a simulacrum of democracy, designed to put Shiite fanatics on track to build a nuclear weapon in 10 years because rapprochement with Iran will look really cool on Obama’s and Kerry’s CVs.
What a fiasco. Click the image to watch.