In a unanimous 19-0 vote to play a role in the Iran-P5+1 nuclear negotiations, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has guaranteed Congress will have a seat at the table. Going forward, no matter what deal the Obama administration is able to reach with negotiating partners, it’ll have to be scrutinized and approved by Congress, before sanction relief can be considered. This alone could be a deal breaker.
One has to wonder how those in Tehran and beyond are taking all this in. If the power of the presidency is being challenged in the midst of the most sensitive stages of the process, how can Iran or any other party to the talks take anything U.S. negotiators propose seriously? Although the Obama administrations fought valiantly to preserve the integrity and independence of the presidency, when it came a conflict involving Israeli interest, the White House was no match.
Actually, this successful bipartisan conspiracy to influence the outcome of any agreement between Iran and the P5+1, represents the tremendous pressure Israel can exert on U.S. foreign policy legislators when it needs to. With the likes of Marco Rubio and Robert Menendez openly lobbying in favor of inserting Israeli demands into the final agreement, one could surmise, the Obama administration, not only lost its battle to control the talks, but it may have lost its battle to control the narrative.
When or if the talks resume, it’ll be Iran, the P5+1, 535 members of Congress and Benjamin Netanyahu representing Israel at the table. Perhaps the United States can propose relocating the meetings to Washington, so Congress can literally sit and observe, offer suggestions, announce objections and make amendments to every detail discussed. Considering Congress has publicly accused the White House of being less than truthful about the fine print, why bother with Congressional briefings and just let the peanut gallery rule.
Perhaps the United States can generate some revenue by making it a pay per view event. After all, when’s the last time anybody seen Congress working together over anything. Surely, the international community will be amused watching how the United States approach foreign policy issues with boundless dysfunctionality, unapologetic corruption and uncompromising rhetoric.
Perhaps the talks could be turned into a reality show or an HBO-NetFlix special to be offered over the Internet. Once understood, the idiocy of the American political process is hard to pass up for those looking for a good laugh.
Bottom line: Now that Congress has infiltrated the process, one can only speculate how long it’ll be before the talks collapse under the weight of relentless pressure to obtain a better deal. Failing to understand, that even if Iran came to the table because of crippling economic sanctions, they did not come on their knees. In this observer’s opinion, there will be no better deal, than fine tuning the existing framework agreement.