Monday, September 14, 2015

missed opportunity on the Iran nuclear deal

I believe the Iran nuclear deal has strong security benefits for the United States and Israel, so I'm glad Democrats thwarted opponents in Congress. I'm troubled by how nasty the fight got, however, and the damage it did to the notion that we should strive for a unifying, bipartisan foreign policy.

Two articles today suggest there might have been a different path. Jamelle Bouie argues that Obama's greatest ally in the Iran fight was congressional Republicans, precisely because they were so stridently partisan.
When the administration announced the deal in mid-July, it was an open question whether Democrats would sign on. First, there was public opinion. No, Americans might not want another war, but that’s not the same as supporting an agreement with Iran, especially one that lifts sanctions. What’s more, Americans had concerns about Israel—would this open an important ally to danger from an economically emboldened Iran? Sensitive to both concerns, many elected Democrats were wary of the deal, and some—like New York Sen. Chuck Schumer—eventually came out against it.

Republicans could have capitalized on the division, running against the deal while offering an alternative and showing—in word and deed—that this was about the policy, not the president.
And Jeffrey Goldberg makes the case that Prime Minister Netanyahu could have avoided a humiliating defeat if he had recognized that Israel has other security concerns besides Iran and prioritized working with America on those rather than exacerbating a partisan fight.

“Israel faces more than one threat to its existence.” In other words, even if you believe that the Iran nuclear agreement is treyf beyond treyf, why wouldn’t you make hay out of the fact that the first African American U.S. president, a liberal icon, not only believes that the cause of Israel is just, but states this openly and unapologetically at a time when many on the international left are working obsessively to delegitimize the Jewish state?
... I believe that Barack Obama represented for Israel, in perhaps its most crucial existential fight, not a threat but an opportunityan opportunity that was blown, I believe, by an Israeli prime minister too paranoid, too tactically minded, and too out of touch with current American Jewish political reality to see this opportunity when it presented itself.

No comments:

Post a Comment