At the beginning of this year, Professor Jacobson wrote an article claiming that “the most dangerous years of the Obama presidency are upon us.” If the latest reports about the President’s next solo move in the area of foreign policy are trustworthy, then no truer article was ever written about the Obama Administration.
We’ve already seen President Obama take it upon himself to threaten executive action on issues like immigration and the elusive closing of U.S. detainment facilities at Guantanamo Bay. We know he wields his executive authority like a sword, and we also know he’s more likely than not to start apologizing on behalf of the American people the moment we turn him loose on foreign delegations.
If President Obama stays true to form, discussions about the continuation of Iran’s nuclear program are about to get very, very tense.
From the New York Times:
No one knows if the Obama administration will manage in the next five weeks to strike what many in the White House consider the most important foreign policy deal of his presidency: an accord with Iran that would forestall its ability to make a nuclear weapon. But the White House has made one significant decision: If agreement is reached, President Obama will do everything in his power to avoid letting Congress vote on it.
Even while negotiators argue over the number of centrifuges Iran would be allowed to spin and where inspectors could roam, the Iranians have signaled that they would accept, at least temporarily, a “suspension” of the stringent sanctions that have drastically cut their oil revenues and terminated their banking relationships with the West, according to American and Iranian officials. The Treasury Department, in a detailed study it declined to make public, has concluded Mr. Obama has the authority to suspend the vast majority of those sanctions without seeking a vote by Congress, officials say.
But Mr. Obama cannot permanently terminate those sanctions. Only Congress can take that step. And even if Democrats held on to the Senate next month, Mr. Obama’s advisers have concluded they would probably lose such a vote.
“We wouldn’t seek congressional legislation in any comprehensive agreement for years,” one senior official said.
If we were dealing with any other country, the situation would be infuriating because time and again, the President has threatened to bypass Congress on issues that the American people have a right to speak on; but we’re dealing with Iran, so the situation has escalated from infuriating to terrifying.
Negotiations with Iran involve a thousand different moving parts; making the decision to allow one branch of one government to make decisions on behalf of the entire world about how far Iran should be able to go with its nuclear program is unconscionable. The Wall Street Journal has put together a fantastic video detailing all of Obama’s options, making it incredibly obvious why lawmakers—and the public—should push back on his plan to bypass Congress:
Does he kick the can down the road? Congress would revolt. Make permanent the shaky agreement we have now? If we do that, we both fail to eliminate the prospect of a rogue nuclear program, and alienate our Israeli allies. Try to cooperate and pretend the problem doesn’t exist? That sounds like a familiar refrain, and I’m 100% sure it’s what has allowed ISIS to threaten genocide in the Middle East.
As it stands with so many other issues, we do not have the time to fiddle around with a more palatable policy toward Iran. If the President walks down this path alone, Congress will be faced with the impossible decision of accepting the decisionmaking prowess of a freshman Senator, or undermining the credibility (what credibility he has left) of their Commander in Chief.
This isn’t politics; it’s life and death. But you can be certain that whatever decision Obama makes, it will be motivated by his desire to please all the wrong people.DONATE
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