With four more Senate Democrats announcing their support for the Iran nuclear deal yesterday, Republicans will not have the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster of their resolution disapproving the agreement. Not that objections from Congress would have made much of a difference in any course:
For all the drama leading up to this week’s debate, the other five world powers who helped negotiate the agreement — Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia — have made clear they have no desire to return to the bargaining table, and are likely to ease sanctions against Iran and put the agreement in place regardless of the view ultimately expressed by Congress.
Of course none of this stops the political posturing either in Congress (not that the lack of congressional GOP buy-in for any of Obama’s foreign policy initiatives really matters much) or from amongst the ranks of presidential contenders.
Just as Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton (well, front-runner everywhere but New Hampshire …) announced her support for the deal this morning, opponents were making plans for a rally at the Capitol later today featuring such foreign policy heavyweights as Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Sarah Palin, and Glenn Beck.
Luckily Dick Cheney has resurfaced to offer a fresh alternative to diplomacy, a new Mideast war, backed up by a master class in how not to learn from the past.
“[T]here are lessons from the past on which we can draw,” Cheney declared. He then cited Israel’s 1981 attack on Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor; the Gulf War, in which the U.S. destroyed Saddam Hussein’s nuclear program; the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which Cheney said convinced Libya to abandon its nuclear program; and Israel’s 2007 attack on a nuclear reactor in Syria. “In each of these cases,” Cheney argued, “it was either military action or the credible threat of military action that persuaded these rogue regimes to abandon their weapons programs. Iran will not be convinced to abandon its program peacefully unless it knows it will face military action if it refuses to do so.”
Of course Cheney fails to articulate how to make threats of military action — like the ones Obama has already made — any more credible without actually going to war. Nor does he manage to explain how such threats failed to stop the Iranians from advancing to the edge of nuclear capability under his watch.
Perhaps he’ll show up at the rally today to spell it all out for us slow learners.
We may never find out if those 42 Senate Democrats really support the deal now that conservative Republicans in the House have blocked a vote in that chamber. Reuters reports this afternoon:
A rebellion by conservative Republicans in the House of Representatives on Wednesday delayed the first congressional vote on the nuclear agreement with Iran and raised the possibility that lawmakers might never vote on a resolution disapproving of the pact.
The House was supposed to vote on a procedural motion to begin debate on Wednesday, but it was put off after some Republicans said they wanted to push President Barack Obama to provide more information about the deal.
The rebel Republicans, led by Representative Peter Roskam, said the Obama administration had not provided all the information about the deal required under the IranNuclear Review Act. They said it includes “secret side deals” about inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities that have not been fully revealed.
The White House dismissed that suggestion.
“If Congress does not vote, this agreement goes into effect. It’s as simple as that,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said.
For the life of me I can’t figure out what the Republican game is here.