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Common Defense Richard Falknor on 15 Jul 2015 06:54 pm

Iran Surrender — Worse Than Munich: Congress Greased The Way By Approving Corker Scheme With Huge Majorities Bigger Than Chamberlain’s in 1938

Yesterday the terms of the Iran Surrender began to surface (click here and here and here and here and here, just to start). It will be some time before we know them all.

But first, let’s look in a little detail at how both houses of the Congress emasculated themselves last May so they would have very little leverage over the final instrument of surrender.

They did this through the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015. As Daniel Horowitz declared (Conservative Review) on May 7 (click here)–

“With passage of the Corker-Cardin Democrat protection bill, it has become abundantly clear that Senate Republicans are utterly useless. 
Due to the outrageously false perception of this bill, only 6 Republicans opposed shutting off debate (Sens. Cruz, Cotton, Grassley, Lee, Moran, and Sullivan) and only Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) voted against it in the final passage.” 

The House Republican leadership simply rammed it through. Again, Daniel Horowitz explains (click here) “House Leadership Blocking Out Conservatives on #IranDeal.”

Only one senator voted against it — Tom Cotton — and, in the House, only 19 Republican members voted against it out of a total of 25 no votes.

From Maryland and Virginia, the only no votes were those of Andy Harris and Dave Brat. (See footnote***)

The Machinery of the Corker Scheme

The invaluable constitutional expert Andy McCarthy spelled out this Monday in NRO the consequences of the Corker Scheme (click here).

Here are few salients excerpts, but read all of McCarthy’s analysisafter all, this surrender is likely to be a matter of war and peace.

  • “Who are you gonna believe, your honey or your lyin’ eyes? That is the question that springs to mind upon reading the ‘dissent,’ forwarded to Rich by a friend who prefers to remain anonymous, from my weekend column on the dangerously misguided Republican response to Obama’s Iran deal.
  • “In the column, I repeated the critique of the Corker bill I’ve been making for months (see, e.g., here, here and here)
  • The legislation will help President Obama pave Iran’s way to become a nuclear-weapons power. This seems counterintuitive to those with higher expectations of Obama’s Republican opposition than I have: The bill overwhelmingly passed the GOP-controlled Congress after being proposed by Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker (R., Tenn) with co-sponsorship by the likes of Senator Ben Sasse, the freshman Nebraska Republican who drew strong conservative support (and who figured prominently in my weekend column). Yet it is simply a fact that the Corker bill reverses the Constitution’s presumption against international agreements: instead of requiring the president to convince a two-thirds supermajority of the Senate to approve the Iran deal, it requires opponents to convince a two-thirds supermajority of the full Congress to defeat the deal.”
  • “As the Times elaborates, Democrats were among the Corker bill’s biggest boosters because it ensures the deal cannot be killed unless Republicans muster 67 disapproval votes in the Senate (as well as 291 in the House). Naturally, President Obama signed the bill because it assures him of victory.”
  • “The Corker bill does not require Congress to approve the Iran deal before sanctions can be extinguished; Obama gets his way if Congress fails to disapprove the deal. These GOP ‘Iran hawks’ well know that Congress will surely fail to enact a joint resolution of disapproval. As the above-excerpted Times report points out, (a) Obama will veto it if one is passed, and (b) more than enough Democrats will stand with him to defeat any override attempt.”
  • “The dissenter would do well to remember that, in order to get the Corker bill across the finish line with White House support, Republican leadership provided Democrats with astonishing help: defeating amendments that, among other things, would have required Obama to certify that Iran had ceased supporting anti-American terrorism; would have automatically re-imposed sanctions in the absence of such a certification; would have required treating the deal as a treaty; would have required Iran to free the Americans it is holding in its prisons; and would have required Iran to accept Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. The dissenter is sorely mistaken in believing that only Democrats stand to be politically embarrassed by positions the Corker legislation has boxed them into
  •  “Iran is an enemy of the United States and its acquisition of nuclear weapons, like its promotion of terrorism, is unacceptable. This situation thus presents a duty to prevent what is unacceptable, not an opportunity to abide what is unacceptable while scoring political points. Using Congress’s constitutional powers to stop the Iran deal would be statesmanship. The Corker bill is gamesmanship.” (Highlighting Forum’s throughout.)

Congress now has a brief period in which it could pass — then overcome a veto of — a joint resolution of disapproval of the Iran Surrender.

How likely is this with a Republican leadership that strove so hard for the Corker self-emasculation?

Andy McCarthy also reveals (click here)–

Cravenly elevating their own political interest over the national interest, many on the GOP side of the political class calculate that it is more important to avoid blame for frustrating Obama — this time, on his delusional Iran deal — than to succeed in actually frustrating Obama. But alas, that annoying Constitution is again an obstacle to shirking accountability. It does not empower the president to make binding agreements with foreign countries all on his own — on the theory that the American people should not take on enforceable international obligations or see their sovereignty compromised absent approval by the elected representatives most directly accountable to them.
Thus, the Constitution mandates that no international agreement can be binding unless it achieves either of two forms of congressional endorsement: a) super-majority approval by two-thirds of the Senate (i.e., 67 aye votes), or b) enactment through the normal legislative process, meaning passage by both chambers under their burdensome rules, then signature by the president.
 The Corker bill is a ploy to circumvent this constitutional roadblock. That is why our post-sovereign, post-constitutional president has warmed to it.” (Highlighting     Forum’s throughout.)

And maybe there is even more to it — American companies straining at the leash to export to Iran?

For Big Business always has the head chair around the Congressional Ruling Class table.

Yesterday Veronique de Rugy told us in her NRO post, “Boeing Is Going Back to Tehran — Could It Be with Ex-Im’s Help?” (click here)–

“A friend shares the following tweet, from the Tehran bureau chief of the New York Times: ‘Iran state news agency IRNA reports that Boeing wants to send a delegation to sell planes.'”

A Glance At The Munich Debate–
House of Commons, October 3-6, 1938

After Munich, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s government was sustained (click here and go to bottom of last page) by a vote of 369 to 150 — far higher opposition numbers than against the Corker Scheme.

But note Chamberlain’s tone — so different than Mr. Obama’s — on British rearmament:

“I am told that the policy which I have tried to describe is inconsistent with the continuance, and much more inconsistent with the acceleration of our present programme of arms. I am asked how I can reconcile an appeal to the country to support the continuance of this programme with the words which I used when I came back from Munich the other day and spoke of my belief that we might have peace in our time. I hope hon. Members will not be disposed to read into words used in a moment of some emotion, after a long and exhausting day, after I had driven through miles of excited, enthusiastic, cheering people–I hope they will not read into those words more than they were intended to convey. I do indeed believe that we may yet secure peace for our time, but I never meant to suggest that we should do that by disarmament, until we can induce others to disarm too.(Highlighting Forum’s.)

Make no mistake: Munich was still a disaster. Historian Martin Gilbert reports —

“For the first time in his political career — and it was nearly forty years since he had first stood for Parliament — Churchill’s optimism deserted him. Despite his appeal in Parliament for a national revival, the events of September 1938 filled him with a deep despondency….”

What is to be done now?  First, promptly and markedly improve the current GOP leadership, so that their successors do not shrink from confronting the president.  Second, use the power of the purse and the impeachment power over key Obama appointees to limit damage from the Iran Surrender. All of this will depend on whether Republicans at all levels across the US are sufficiently alarmed by this existential threat from Iran and the threat of Big Immigration.

*** When you hear Virginia GOP members — save for the courageous Dave Brat — blasting the Iran Surrender, ask them why they voted for the Corker scheme. As Brian Darling points out today in Conservative Review (click here) “Republicans will spend the next month denouncing the deal and trashing President Obama when they voted to allow the Corker-Cardin framework to govern the procedure to oppose the deal.”

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