Saturday, April 04, 2015

Nor Will They Admit To Wanting To Bomb, Bomb Iran

A general framework for a nuclear deal with Iran has been struck, and opinions vary, as expected; and they vary as expected. One exception might be Anthony Cordesman, a former national security aide to John McCain, who says

It should be the subject of objective analysis of the agreement, our intelligence and future capabilities to detect Iran's actions, the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) capabilities to verify, and enforcement provisions if Iran should cheat. No perfect agreement was ever possible and it is hard to believe a better option was negotiable. In fact, it may be a real victory for all sides: A better future for Iran, and greater security for the United States, its Arab partners, Israel, and all its other allies.

Still, the response from Repub politicians ran the gamut from ridiculous to irresponsible, or from irresponsible to ridiculous. Spanning both descriptions would be the comment of Scott Walker, CEO of the Koch Brothers' Midwest subsidiary.  On March 26, prior to the agreement

In an interview on Hugh Hewitt's radio show, the host asked Walker whether he would “disown” any agreement between the U.S. and Iran that allows for uranium enrichment if he wins the presidency in 2016.

“Absolutely,” Walker said. “On Day 1.”

Ted Cruz has made much the same boast, a safe one for folks entering a GOP presidential primary, and Steve M, with tongue barely in cheek, remarks

But the candidates could top this if they wanted to. Remember, for instance, that the new president will be sworn in on January 20, 2017, but the new Congress will convene on January 3. Couldn't a candidate outdo Walker and Cruz by saying that, if Congress passes a declaration of war against Iran between January 3 and January 20, not only will he (or she) abrogate the deal, he (she) will also sign that declaration of war right there on the podium, immediately after taking the oath of office?

More reasonable the likes of Cruz and Walker is Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, who as chairperson of the Foreign Relations Committee argues "If a final agreement is reached, the American people, through their elected representatives, must have the opportunity to weigh in to ensure the deal truly can eliminate the threat of Iran’s nuclear program and hold the regime accountable.”  Not waiting to determine whether the deal is a good one, Corker's colleague from Arkansas, freshman Tom Cotton, wants to “work with [his] colleagues in the Senate to protect America from this very dangerous proposal."

Though a right-wing site, The Daily Signal has helpfully noted that presidents have executive authority to cut deals with foreign nations- and increasingly have done so.  It helpfully points out that from 1839 to 1889, 52.5% of international agreements were executive agreements. From 1889 to 1939, the corresponding figure was 63.6% and from 1939 to 1989, 94.3%.

As the table (from the same site) below indicates, the last eight presidents have been quite fond of executive agreements. And least so has been Barack Obama, the most Saint Ronnie.

So here is a proposition to Tom Cotton, who in capturing the Republican id well, probably has a bright future in his party; and to Cruz, Walker, and every other GOP presidential aspirant, none of whom will suggest support for the resolution the US and European nations have come to with Iran. Demonstrate a little consistency and courage: advocate legislation which would require the current president and all subsequent presidents to submit to the U.S. Senate approval of all international agreements, as currently applies to treaties. (Or to be really slick, they could demand Senate approval if the other party were on the State Department's list of State Sponsors of Terrorism, of which Iran is one of only four.)

It will be a sub-zero day in Miami before any of them steps up and does that.  But it would be refreshing if one of them did, or even if a reporter were to ask the hopefuls, muscles bulging and testosterone soaring (even you, Carly Fiorina) if they would support such fundamental change. Then when no one agrees, the mainstream media once again can neglect to note that opposing a Democratic president because he or she is a Democrat is nothing less than Republican gospel.

                                    HAPPY EASTER            HAPPY PASSOVER

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