Moses said to the people in his final charge "I put before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life...Be strong and resolute..for the Lord will not forsake you" Deut. 30 and 31. Former US National Debate Champion and Ordained Rabbi tackles issues of Public Policy, Israel, Islamic Terrorism, Antisemitism, Jewish Wisdom and the Chicago Bears
If you look at what happened today between the U.S. and Iran through the lens of domestic American politics, Barack Obama has made a very clever play here—because what might be called “the agreement of the framework of the possibility of a potential deal” gives him new leverage in his ongoing battle with the Senate to limit its ability to play a role in the most critical foreign-policy matter of the decade.
The “framework” codifies the Obama administration’s cave-ins but casts them as thrilling reductions in Iran’s capacities rather than what they are—a pie-in-the-sky effort to use inspections as the means by which the West can “manage” the speed with which Iran becomes a nuclear power.
Obama’s tone of triumph this afternoon was mixed with sharp reminders that the deal is actually not yet done—and that is entirely the point of this exercise from a domestic standpoint. the triumph signals his troops and apologists that the time has come for them to stand with him, praise the deal sheet and pretend it’s a deal, declare it historic, and generally act as though the world has been delivered from a dreadful confrontation by Obama and Kerry.
But since the deal is not yet done, it could still be derailed. And that is where Obama’s truly Machiavellian play here comes in: He may have found a way to put the Senate in a box and keep Democrats from melting away from him on Iran and voting not only for legislation he doesn’t want but also to override the veto he has promised.
The Senate has two provisions at the ready with which it could go ahead any time. One, called Kirk-Menendez, imposes new sanctions on Iran. Obama promised a veto of this bill should it pass, and after today, one ought to presume that it’s dead.
The other, Corker-Menendez, requires the administration to submit any deal to the Senate within 60 days of its signing. This is a key provision because, of course, what the Iranians want—and what they said today they got—was the lifting of all sanctions. The president, in his statement, vowed to lift the “nuclear” sanctions (there are others involving human rights) if the Iranians comply by the terms of the deal.
Existing sanctions legislation features waivers the president can arguably use to do that. But those sanctions were put into place specifically to make it incredibly painful for Iran to retain any nuclear-weapons capability—not as a means of acceding to Iran’s retention of a nuclear capability.
For this reason, and for the reason that the president is essentially negotiating an arms-control treaty with Iran, the Senate should approve any final deal. Obama disagrees and claims this is merely a nuclear-agreement, not a treaty, and therefore Congress has no role.
That’s a very nervy argument. It is not only disrespectful of the Senate but it misrepresents the nature of what’s being negotiated. And that’s why it’s an argument it appeared the president would lose—that senators would not only vote for Corker-Menendez but would override his veto of it.
Which is why the deal-that’s-not-yet-a-deal works in his favor. Talks are now to continue until the end of June. Obama can and will argue to Democrats that they owe it to him, to their base, and to their governing ideology to give him all the room he needs to get to June 30.
Of course, if the legislation does not pass by June 30 and Obama signs a final deal, the game is up; the Senate can’t retroactively insist in July he bring it to them for a vote.
Will there be a deal by June 30? Maybe, maybe not; maybe they’ll finish, maybe they won’t; maybe the Iranians will say they didn’t agree to this or that and blow up the whole thing; who knows. Probably the total collapse, after all this, would bring the Kirk-Menendez sanctions back to life. Which is why there will never be a total collapse—because these talks can simply go on….
2.Thought he could paint critics into "wanting war corner" as alternative to the deal
"The purpose of Obama declaring a victory of sorts and calling out Netanyahu today, then, was to send the following message: Critics of this framework must, by process of elimination, want war. It’s why Obama felt so confident smearing Netanyahu as being against a “peaceful” resolution. Because the narrative the administration will hammer home now is that there is only one peaceful resolution on offer.
If it was intended to prevent criticism, it didn’t work. The Times of Israel reports that Jerusalem is already reacting:
In Jerusalem, officials slammed the framework as “a capitulation to Iranian dictates.” The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, called it “a bad framework that will lead to a bad and dangerous agreement. If finalized, it would make the world “far more dangerous.”
The agreement constitutes “international legitimization of Iran’s nuclear program” whose “only purpose is to build nuclear weapons.”
That shouldn’t be surprising. Just because these are the terms the administration could get doesn’t mean it’s not a bad deal. If our allies in the region are on the same page, it also means the Saudis will be unconvinced and are likely to continue exploring their own route to nuclear capability, with the Egyptians not far behind. If Obama thinks this is a victory, it’s easy to see why our allies don’t agree."
3. Obama wanted PR. There is no deal. They didn’t announce a deal. In fact, they didn’t even announce an agreement. Rather, they revealed, according to the New York Times, a “specific and comprehensive general understanding about the next steps in limiting Tehran’s nuclear program.” There’s a lot of padding in that description for a reason: the P5+1 powers are far off from anything resembling a nuclear deal with Tehran