In response to Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress, and yesterday’s letter to Iranian leaders by 47 U.S. senators that a nuclear agreement with Iran might be reversed by the next president, my friend Carol Giacomo wrote in a New York Times column today “by now it should be obvious that a vocal segment of Congress is determined to do whatever it can to undermine President Obama’s attempts to negotiate an agreement that would restrict Iran’s nuclear program.”
My response: It’s about time.
Obama officials, including Obama himself, went further yesterday by making wild accusations that the Republicans senators who signed the letter were colluding with Iranian hardliners and seeking war with Iran.
Left-wing radio host Rick Ungar made this argument in a debate with me last night on Newsmax TV’s The Daily Wrap with Joe Concha. I told Ungar he was dead wrong since Republicans are trying to stop President Obama from conceding a nuclear weapons program to Iran and that a final nuclear agreement is likely to be more destabilizing than no agreement.
Giacomo repeated the Obama administration argument that Republicans can’t criticize a final nuclear deal with Iran because nothing has been agreed to yet and its actual details have not been made public.
This is a false argument since it is fair for Republicans to criticize the draft deal based on aspects of it that have been leaked by Obama officials to the press.
Obama officials can’t be allowed to disclose parts of the deal to friendly media to advance its agenda while at the same time insisting that its critics cannot discuss these leaks because they are not privy to the negotiations.
Many in the news media (including Ungar) have condemned the Senate letter to Iranian leaders as an unprecedented move that undermines the president’s constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign policy.
I agree that the letter was unprecedented, but it was in response to an unprecedented situation: a president who is pushing a dangerous nuclear agreement with a state sponsor of terror and who refuses to submit this agreement for congressional approval.
Last November, 17 national security experts signed a Center for Security Policy letter to congressional leaders calling on Congress to repudiate the nuclear talks with Iran and any agreement they might produce because the talks are fatally flawed and will legitimize Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
Carol Giacomo is right: that’s what the 47 senators were trying to do with their letter to Iranian leaders. This is not a case of members of Congress overreaching or trying to undermine the presidency. It is an example of U.S. senators stepping up to exert adult leadership over the Obama administration’s dangerously incompetent foreign policy.