An Awful, Awful Deal

The deal with Iran has been made, and is unlikely to be undone by Congress or public opinion or any last vestige of common sense, but it is awful. It is historically awful, catastrophically awful, worse even than Chamberlain-in-Munich awful, and so awful it would be impossible to overstate its awfulness.
The deal does not require the Iranians to disclose anything regarding their previous efforts at building nuclear weapons, allows them to keep centrifuges spinning, the Arak heavy water reactor and plutonium production plant stays open, as does the fortified underground uranium enrichment facility at Fordow, the country’s missile program also continues, along with its nuclear research and development, rather than being subject to “anywhere, anytime” inspections the regime will be given advance warnings and “consultations” and other courtesies, no procedures are outlined to deal with violations that might somehow be discovered, there is no requirement that the regime halt its support of the Hezbollah terror group or turn over the countless other terrorists under their protection who have struck everywhere from Buenos Aires to Washington, D.C., and it even frees up $150 billion dollars worth of previously frozen assets with another $50 billion of the American taxpayer’s money thrown in as a signing bonus, all of which they can now spend on missiles and other sophisticated weaponry as well as low-tech terrorism because the deal also does away with a longstanding arms embargo. In return, the apocalyptic suicide cult has promised the Great Satan that it won’t acquire any nuclear bombs for at least 10 years, and they seem quite pleased with the bargain.
That’s good enough for the president, who is staking his historical reputation on Iran’s mad mullahs at long last keeping a promise, but the Israelis and the Sunni Arabs are within closer range of those ballistic missiles and have even more at stake, and they’re not at all reassured by the deal. Perhaps that’s also because they’re more familiar than the Madrassa-educated president with such Islamic concepts as hudna, meaning a tactical retreat disguised as a peace agreement, and taqqiya, a Koranic loophole that countenances lies told in the furtherance of Islam, and they don’t have the modern left’s peculiar notion that the only religious fanaticism afoot in the world is some Baptist confectioners who don’t care to bake a gay wedding cake, and they’ve not been able to avoid noticing Iran’s decades-old bellicosity. Even if the mad mullahs conclude that armageddon can wait another 10 years they’ll be just as troublesome in the meantime, and not only does the deal do nothing about it gives them more money and international legitimacy to keep doing blowing up Jewish centers in South America and plant roadside bombs in Afghanistan and lob rockets into Israeli schoolyards and prop up equally troublesome regimes fund those fervent rallies where everyone chants “Death to America.” The administration would have us believe that we can take the Iranian regime as its word when they sign the deal, but not when they’re leading those chants. One can argue that the sanctions never stopped them, but at least such global troublemaking wasn’t being subsidized and excused.
Nothing we’ve read satisfactorily explains why the deal isn’t subject to the Constitution’s requirement of ratification by two-thirds of the Senate, a threshold it would never meet, but everything we’ve read suggests that the best Congress can do is pass a resolution of disapproval that would surely be vetoed and require two-thirds of both chambers to override, another threshold that cannot be met. Any vote that expresses disapproval of the deal will be welcome, however, no matter how futile, because the Iranian regime should at least know that the country isn’t so gullible as its president, nor as willing to assist their rise to regional hegemony. If the deal isn’t a treaty according to the legal definition that would require the Senate’s ratification it’s just a deal, and a resounding vote of disapproval would emphasize that it’s the president’s deal and not the country’s, and just maybe that will help some more clear-eyed president to someday resist rather than facilitate Iran’s insane ambitions. We hope it’s soon, and not too late, as the present policy is awful.

— Bud Norman

Putting the Corker on the Iran Deal

This deal that the Obama administration has been negotiating with the Iranians regarding their nuclear weapons is looking just awful, but there doesn’t seem to be much that anyone can do about it. The Constitution, which requires that two-thirds of the Senate ratify a treaty, doesn’t seem to offer much hope. The Corker-Menendez Bill, which will allow Congress some say in the matter if it can garner a two-thirds majority to override a veto, seems unlikely to do any better.
Still, we’re grateful to Tennessee’s Republican Sen. Bob Corker and New Jersey’s Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez for introducing the bill. It’s nice to see the legislative branch standing up for some meager portion of what once was its constitutional authority, the Iranians might feel obliged to offer a few concessions if they know that President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry aren’t the only Americans they have to deal with, and it provides an opportunity to express the general American public’s skepticism about the “framework” of a deal that’s been announced. The public skepticism is sufficiently widespread that the Corker-Mendendiez Bill passed the Senate’s foreign relations committee by a 19-0 vote and a veto-proof margin seem assured in both chambers of Congress, prompting such headlines as The New York Times’ “Obama Yields, Allowing Congress Say on Iran Nuclear Deal” and Reuters’ “In setback, Obama concedes Congress role on Iran,” and we’re always delighted to see such words as “yields,” “setback,” and “concedes” in any sentence that also includes Obama.
Corker did agree to a couple of face-saving amendments that allowed the Obama administration to claim victory even as it yielded and conceded to the setback, and permittedĀ The Washington Post’s headline writers to describe it as “Congress and White House strike on Iran legislation” and the paper’sĀ pluck reporters to explain it as a “compromise with the White House that allows President Obama to avoid possible legislative disapproval of the pact before it can be completed.” Even the very skeptical writers at Commentary were asking “Did Obama Win By Losing on Corker Deal?,” and some smart analysts were worrying that it will all wind up with enough Democrats being able to stick with the president and still assure their constituents that they tried to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons under the cockamamie deal the president struck, which seems a valid concern the way the president keeps getting away with doing as he wishes regardless of what the Constitution, Congress, or the American public think.
And yet still, we are grateful to the eponymous authors of the Corker-Menendez Bill, and to those veto-proof majorities in both chambers that supported their work. Even the White House and its allies at The Washington Post don’t have the public relations centrifuges to spin away the fact that the bi-partisan consensus of Congress represents America’s wariness of the deal that is being cooked up, and raises the hope that some restraint on executive authority is still possible, and that maybe even America won’t wind up conceding to Iran’s apocalyptic nuclear ambitions, and for now that’s about the best we can hope for.

— Bud Norman