Dem Sen. Bob Menendez rips the Iran deal: “Hope” is not a national security strategy

posted at 8:01 pm on August 18, 2015 by Allahpundit

Via the Free Beacon, enjoy five minutes of the most hawkish Democrat in Congress living up to his billing. Unlike Chuck Schumer, Menendez doesn’t need to play nice in voicing his criticism of the deal. He’s not the incoming minority leader with a caucus to manage, for one thing, and thanks to the federal corruption charges filed against him this spring, he doesn’t have any relationship with Obama that he fears jeopardizing. The guy came to state his piece, and he didn’t hold back. This line is particularly cutting, as it goes right to the heart of the legacy Obama’s trying to build for himself:

The unstated narrative of the Iran deal is that President Obama is making good on the vision of candidate Obama, who saw early that the Iraq war was a bad idea while the rest of the country was rushing towards it. Getting Iran to denuclearize (for 10 years or so) and hopefully reach detente with the west will show the hawks out there that diplomacy can achieve more than eight years of war could. It’s essentially a bet right next door to Iraq made by doves that they, not hawks, know the true path to national security. Menendez’s line about doing the easy thing tears at the guts of that theory by equating Obama with the Iraq hawks he disdains. They took the politically easy route in 2003, says Menendez, and now the White House is doing the same thing by misleading a war-weary country into believing that this deal will stop Iran’s drive to a bomb when, in reality, it enables it. Quote: “The agreement that has been reached failed to achieve the one thing it set out to achieve—it failed to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state at a time of its choosing. In fact, it authorizes and supports the very road map Iran will need to arrive at its target.” Just so. The entire strategy, as Menendez says, boils down to hope, specifically the hope that Iran will reform politically before the deal lapses in 10 years and they resume uranium enrichment with much more advanced centrifuges, putting them on the doorstep of having a bomb. Hope, he notes drily, isn’t a national security strategy. I wonder if Captain Hopenchange felt an extra sting from that line.

Menendez isn’t the only senator announcing his opposition to the Iran deal today. Let’s see if you can guess who wrote this:

We have more leverage than we will ever have, but under this deal that leverage will flip in approximately nine months, when most major sanctions are relieved. Iran will further deepen its regional strength.

Unfortunately, the agreement ties our hands in countering Iran’s efforts. If we try to push back, Iran will threaten to speed up its nuclear development since it already will have a windfall of money, a rapidly growing economy and alliances built with our partners, who will feast on the mercantile benefits of doing business with Iran.

The idea that a future president will somehow have the same options available as today, when Iran is poor and isolated, is fanciful…

This deal … leaves the United States vulnerable to a resurgent Iran wealthier and more able to work its will in the Middle East.

Yes, as hard as it is to believe, that’s none other than Bob Corker in an op-ed for the Washington Post. There’s no one in Congress more responsible for destroying the GOP’s leverage over this deal than he is, negotiating an atrocious deal with the White House that effectively allows Obama to implement the agreement if just 34 senators approve. And he made that deal, believe it or not, before the terms of the final agreement between the U.S. and Iran had been reached, which reassured Obama that even a bad bargain with lots of concessions had little chance of being blocked by Congress. This guy deserves to be primaried for what he did, but good luck knocking off Republican senators in a primary anymore. Especially over a matter of foreign policy.


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Comments

With a rep like Coker, who needs enemies?

31giddyup on August 18, 2015 at 8:05 PM

Coker = Corker

31giddyup on August 18, 2015 at 8:07 PM

It may or may not have your name on it Mr. Menendez, but it will have the names of 70% of American Jews names on it.

VorDaj on August 18, 2015 at 8:08 PM

This guy deserves to be primaried for what he did, but good luck knocking off Republican senators in a primary anymore.

Like Eric Cantor? It can be done…

bazil9 on August 18, 2015 at 8:08 PM

But”Hope” will get you elected, it seems.

And we did get “Change” for the worse.

Funny how no one in the MSM ever asked for clarification on those points….

ProfShadow on August 18, 2015 at 8:09 PM

Dem Sen. Bob Menendez rips the Iran deal: “Hope” is not a national security strategy

But “Change” is! Let’s just give “Change” a Chance, Senator.

And, BTW, why do you hate black men, especially those in positions of power, like President Obama?

/Tlaloc

ShainS on August 18, 2015 at 8:10 PM

Iran get the nukes.
Bams gets his billion dollars for his library… it’s all good.///

31giddyup on August 18, 2015 at 8:10 PM

Iran get the nukes.
Bams gets his billion dollars for his library… it’s all good.///

31giddyup on August 18, 2015 at 8:10 PM

“Vote for the Iran deal, or I’ll indict you”
– Obama

faraway on August 18, 2015 at 8:11 PM

Corker Corked the Constitution with his idiotic and very dangerous bill but lets not forget that only 1, just 1, republican senator voted against it..I want Ted Cruz to say why he voted for that..I really would like to know why he and all the other Republicans(except for the brave Tom Cotton) wanted to get rid of their treaty powers…Stupid Juan McCain said it’s because Obama wouldn’t call it a treaty..no you nitwit, you and so many other Republicans lack the spine to enforce the Constitution on this dictator in chief!!! #endrant

sadsushi on August 18, 2015 at 8:11 PM

Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the State will not be equal to the strain. Now, when your weapons are dulled, your ardor damped, your strength exhausted and your treasure spent (Iraqiscrap and Afcrapistan), other chieftains (ISIS, Iran and Boko Haram, and maybe China and Russia) will spring up to take advantage of your extremity (the American people being sick and tired of wars not remotely worth the price paid in American lives, limbs, and treasure). Then no man, however wise [and there has not been a wise man in the White House for decades], will be able to avert the consequences that must ensue. – Sun Tzu

VorDaj on August 18, 2015 at 8:12 PM

Menendez and Schumer:

Democrat Failure Theater ™

village idiot on August 18, 2015 at 8:13 PM

Bams gets his billion dollars for his library… it’s all good.///

31giddyup on August 18, 2015 at 8:10 PM

Library? haha It’s going to be a temple.

faraway on August 18, 2015 at 8:14 PM

The Collective will now eat his soul.

Star Bird on August 18, 2015 at 8:14 PM

“It would be far easier to support [#IranDeal], as it would have been to vote for the war in #Iraq at the time.”

I really feel stupid. Can someone explain what this means?

Lolo on August 18, 2015 at 8:19 PM

I still cannot fathom how Congress can blithely act as though this legislation in keeping with either the constitutional or the normal process by which Congress acts on treaties, or any other legislation for that matter.

Dusty on August 18, 2015 at 8:24 PM

I really feel stupid. Can someone explain what this means?

Lolo on August 18, 2015 at 8:19 PM

Its valley girl lingo. Don’t pay any attention to it.

VorDaj on August 18, 2015 at 8:25 PM

Corker Corked the Constitution with his idiotic and very dangerous bill but lets not forget that only 1, just 1, republican senator voted against it..I want Ted Cruz to say why he voted for that..

sadsushi on August 18, 2015 at 8:11 PM

You can find his press release here.

A portion:

“I voted no on cloture because we should have insisted on amendments to put real teeth in this bill. Ultimately, I voted yes on final passage because it may delay, slightly, President Obama’s ability to lift the Iran sanctions and it ensures we will have a Congressional debate on the merits of the Iran deal …”

I, like you, was very disappointed …

ShainS on August 18, 2015 at 8:26 PM

I still cannot fathom how Congress can blithely act as though this legislation in keeping with either the constitutional or the normal process by which Congress acts on treaties, or any other legislation for that matter.

Dusty on August 18, 2015 at 8:24 PM

The GOPe … the smallest minds and the selfishist souls and the cowardliest hearts that God makes.

VorDaj on August 18, 2015 at 8:26 PM

I still cannot fathom how Congress can blithely act as though this legislation in keeping with either the constitutional or the normal process by which Congress acts on treaties, or any other legislation for that matter.

Dusty on August 18, 2015 at 8:24 PM

Same here. I was wondering earlier today if someone could try to challenge this Act as unconstitutional.

I’m no lawyer, and I’m not sure who would have “standing” to bring such an action.

[Hey, wasn’t Boehner into pretending to file lawsuits not too long ago? /]

ShainS on August 18, 2015 at 8:30 PM

I really feel stupid. Can someone explain what this means?

[Lolo on August 18, 2015 at 8:19 PM]

You have to keep in mind that Obama said he would have opposed the Iraq vote.

That said, and including AP’s explanation, I’m still in the same boat with you.

I’d also note that if Obama’s in the boat with us, I’m guessing he’s also inoculated from any sting it might have.

Dusty on August 18, 2015 at 8:35 PM

Obama was never going to call this a treaty subject to Congressional approval. It was always a “joint memorandum of understanding”.

Once the Corker deal passed cloture, Cruz’ choices were:

a) the Corker deal (weak as water, but at least Congress got to see the deal for 60 days before a failure theater show vote)

b) no Congressional oversight mechanism

Not very good choices, but those were the choices Cruz had.

village idiot on August 18, 2015 at 8:41 PM

Although he is correct, so is a broken clock twice a day. Methinks he has ulterior motives at work here. Like hoping the court of public opinion saves his freckled white @zz from getting engaged to his future cellmate “summer teeth”…

Indiana Jim on August 18, 2015 at 8:41 PM

Lolo on August 18, 2015 at 8:19 PM

Oh, I think I’ve got it.

He’s saying it takes courage to cast his No vote for the Iran deal, just as it took courage to cast his No vote for the 2002 Iraq Resolution.

I was stumbling over the “easier . . . as” part, thinking it should be “easier than.” And I didn’t recall him being a No vote back then.

Lolo on August 18, 2015 at 8:42 PM

I don’t think the Senate will even get to 60 votes to voice disapproval of the deal and force an Obama veto. The Dems will hold firm and protect their Dear Leader.

village idiot on August 18, 2015 at 8:43 PM

There’s no one in Congress more responsible for destroying the GOP’s leverage over this deal than he is, negotiating an atrocious deal with the White House that effectively allows Obama to implement the agreement if just 34 senators approve.

A treaty that never hits the floor for a vote never gets voted on.

Just sayin’.

BobMbx on August 18, 2015 at 8:47 PM

[Hey, wasn’t Boehner into pretending to file lawsuits not too long ago? /]

[ShainS on August 18, 2015 at 8:30 PM]

Yeah, but that was when those in DC were into principled pretending. Now the pretending in DC is into full blown whimsical.

I don’t know if it can get more absurd, but I have to remind myself that they have a lot of time on their hands to debate how they can make it so.

Dusty on August 18, 2015 at 8:50 PM

I still cannot fathom how Congress can blithely act as though this legislation in keeping with either the constitutional or the normal process by which Congress acts on treaties, or any other legislation for that matter.

It’s not written as a treaty. It’s written as a Joint Memorandum of Understanding, specifically to avoid treaty ratification issues.

To prevent Obama’s executive branch arrogance, Congress would had to punish him severely enough for each prior instance to make him decide to work with Congress and do things that true majorities can support. The failure to ever punish him has consequences.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. Iran was always going to develop an atomic bomb unless a US president made them stop (agreement or not). Obama was never going to make them stop (agreement or not). That underlying reality doesn’t hinge one iota on Congressional approval or rejection of a “deal” that Iran was never going to honor in any case.

village idiot on August 18, 2015 at 8:52 PM

and thanks to the federal corruption charges filed against him this spring, he doesn’t have any relationship with Obama that he fears jeopardizing. The guy came to state his piece, and he didn’t hold back.

Uh the fact that he just got charged means he has a pretty big motivation to try and stick it to Obama. For some reason you pass this off as no conflict of interest when it is instead a rather large one.

This line is particularly cutting, as it goes right to the heart of the legacy Obama’s trying to build for himself:

YMMV but I thought that line was actually pretty incoherent unless he’s trying to take a shot at Hillary. Obama wasn’t in the senate to vote on the Iraq war in 2002, after all. What’s more trying to link the Iraq war with an Iran negotiation is more than a little tendentious.

Tlaloc on August 18, 2015 at 8:53 PM

Is Menendez going to jail….?

d1carter on August 18, 2015 at 8:58 PM

It’s not written as a treaty. It’s written as a Joint Memorandum of Understanding, specifically to avoid treaty ratification issues.

[village idiot on August 18, 2015 at 8:52 PM]

Well, I’m not sure it isn’t a treaty. Calling it a Joint Memorandum doesn’t make it one. There may have been a good argument the provisions made it a treaty, if Congress had even bothered to have Obama’s actual final product in hand when they passed this joke of bill.

More to the point, they could have just rejected it as a CEA, forcing Obama to go the sole-executive route. Correct me if I am wrong, but I think the sanctions on Iran are as a result of legislation, so if Congress refuses to go the CEA route and Obama is stuck with it being an SEA, he couldn’t lift the sanctions unless the sanctions legislation had provisions for him doing so without Congressional approval. From a SCOTUS angle, any attempt by Obama to lift sanctions on his own authority absent those provisions in the sanctions legislation could not be ignored with reference to it being a political question.

Dusty on August 18, 2015 at 9:21 PM

Bams gets his billion dollars for his library… it’s all good.///
31giddyup on August 18, 2015 at 8:10 PM

Library? haha It’s going to be a temple.
faraway on August 18, 2015 at 8:14 PM

…or one of these? http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/beautiful-mosque/

AppraisHer on August 18, 2015 at 10:26 PM

More to the point, they could have just rejected it as a CEA, forcing Obama to go the sole-executive route. Correct me if I am wrong, but I think the sanctions on Iran are as a result of legislation, so if Congress refuses to go the CEA route and Obama is stuck with it being an SEA, he couldn’t lift the sanctions unless the sanctions legislation had provisions for him doing so without Congressional approval. From a SCOTUS angle, any attempt by Obama to lift sanctions on his own authority absent those provisions in the sanctions legislation could not be ignored with reference to it being a political question.

If you have a President who wants to revoke, bypass, or undermine sanctions, sanctions aren’t worth the paper they are printed on. Obama negotiated with the other countries, on behalf of the Iranians, to lift their sanctions.

He’s just looking at Congress and saying, “So impeach me…”

village idiot on August 18, 2015 at 10:31 PM

Once the traitor Corker found out Hussein screwed him with secret side deals, he stormed from the Senate down the hallway and attempted to pound down the door where secret talks were being held.

I don’t know about you, but if that skinny, filthy twerp screwed me over in front of Congress, I’d do everything in my power to screw him back. I’d park myself at the Senate podium for as long as it took, explaining to Congress, the media and the American people that their vote was based on a blatant lie and facts that were intentionally hidden and continue to be hidden from the American people.

He’d look like less of a douche bag if he at least tried.

AppraisHer on August 18, 2015 at 10:43 PM

Dem Sen. Bob Menendez rips the Iran deal: “Hope” is not a national security strategy

It’s not a domestic strategy either.

And yet you voted for this idiot for president.

Twice.

AZCoyote on August 19, 2015 at 7:06 AM