|The only two individuals who can crush the Obama Iran deal|
The Democratic Party, on the Edge of the Abyss - Martin Peretz
Two of the most powerful members of the Democratic Party, former and current senators from New York, now hold the fate of the putative deal with Iran in their hands. Because they alone can overturn it, this means that presumptive presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and presumptive Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer carry a heavy burden that will deeply affect their personal reputations and, most probably, the trustworthiness of the Democrats in foreign policy for at least a generation.
[Iran has] managed to achieve all ... without having to pause their “Death to America” street rallies, return their American hostages, curb their aggression in the Middle East, or release their defrauded presidential candidates from house arrest.
Consider the last six years of our President’s policies. Having supported the majority Shi’ite population in Iraq and strengthened Iranian influence there, he proceeded to avoid supporting the majority Sunni population in Syria, thereby strengthening Iranian influence there too. We also declined to leave even a modest troop presence in Iraq on the fatuous premise that we would thus “end the war.” On top of all of this, and emblematic of the lack of principle in our president’s vaporous philosophy of “change,” was his willingness to allow the famous Syrian red line against the use of chemical weapons to be casually crossed.
Taken together, these decisions produced a vacuum that has led to the rise of ISIS, fueled by a combination of grievance toward the mullahs and their Syrian and Iraqi proxies as well as American incompetence and indifference. This result was not only foreseeable but was foreseen: Hillary Clinton was eager to admit in her most recent memoir that she wanted to do more for the Syrian opposition.
Two decades ago, the North Koreans challenged the administration of our last Democratic president in the same way as Iran challenges our current one. Who can forget The New York Times’s editorial judgment in 1993 that “President Clinton is adopting a sound diplomatic strategy for coaxing North Korea to give up its nuclear ambitions” by “rightly resisting pressure to get tough with Pyongyang”? This month, one day after the Ayatollah said emphatically the deal will not change his country’s attitude toward the U.S., the Times asserts that President Obama “was right to keep the focus on restraining” the Iran nuclear program, but that if the sanctions are not lifted quickly enough, the so-called Iranian “moderates” could be discredited, “boosting the hard-liners.” Cognitive dissonance seems to be the official editorial policy of the Democratic elite.
While our leaders take a holiday from history, the bad actors of the world do not take much of a vacation. American voters know this, which is likely why Obama did not disclose his detailed intentions regarding Iran in his 2012 re-election campaign.
Fortunately, America is full of talented, responsible, creative negotiators who can improve on the woefully low bar set by Obama, Biden, and Kerry in this catastrophic bargaining process. There is no reason Senator Schumer, with Secretary Clinton’s backing, cannot lead a consensus in Congress to tie a set of focused, reasonable conditions to their support for the existing deal. Since Iran was happy to trade and re-trade right up to the negotiators’ self-imposed deadline, and then extend the deadline, there is no reason Congress cannot exercise its constitutional prerogative and send the administration back to the table with some improvements.
For starters: Cancel the automatic removal of the conventional arms embargo in five years and the ballistic-missile ban in eight years and link them to a future vote in Congress, which will depend crucially on concrete Iranian behavior; release immediately all American hostages held in Iran; insist that Iran come clean immediately about prior illegal military nuclear activities; and enhance the verification procedure to ensure quick inspector access to any suspect Iranian site upon demand within a week. If those four conditions are incorporated in the deal, the U.S. Congress will then lift American sanctions.
The George W. Bush Administration’s post-invasion missteps in Iraq, and their grisly consequences, have given the Democrats a dangerous sense of their own freedom: Americans may oppose aggression without strategy, but history has shown that they also oppose idealism without strength and pragmatism without principle.
Our current president flatters himself with comparisons to Abraham Lincoln. But Lincoln knew about confronting adversarial regimes possessed of corrupt, intolerant and militant principles. Even as he worried about losing his re-election bid 151 years ago this summer to New York Democrat Gen. George B. McClellan, who advocated a quick peace with the South and an end to emancipation, he sent Gen. Philip Sheridan to destroy the economic infrastructure of the Shenandoah Valley and Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman to do the same in Georgia. Lincoln understood that there are some illegitimate regimes that demand resistance rather than compromise.