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:
— Michael Wilner (@mawilner) August 18, 2015
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.