The invitation to President Netanyahu and the open letter to the Iranian Supreme Leader are explained by Les Gelb as a group of legislators who hate President Obama more than they love America. Traitors, screams a tabloid, Tehran Tom becomes a label in search of glue. Unpreceded behavior; except that it’s not!
Steve Hayes, as have others, identifies four instances in recent history where equivalent, if not worse, transgressions were made from the other side of the political divide. The only consistent themes are hypocrisy, intellectual dishonesty or a terminal failure of memory. In light of what has come before, Cotton’s letter seems benign, absent the secrecy of some previous attempts at ad hoc diplomacy.
The likelihood is that a significant number of legislators, both sides of the aisle, are justifiably afraid of a weak deal with Iran. Moderate Democrats cannot be looking forward to carrying water for a deal that stands the potential of being an albatross in 20 months, come election time. This deal, assuming it comes in on time, could be a very heavy lame duck for Democrats to carry around. Republicans and Democrats alike fear what we know of the deal but perhaps for different reasons; politics or national secutiry?
What we know of the history is over a decade of perpetual “negotiations”; Iranian dissembling, lies and secret facilities as the Iranian supported terror network expanded geometrically. What we know of the deal: ten year window, no significant restrictions on enrichment, no restrictions on missile technology and the arrogance of a preemptive declaration of victory by Tehran.
Some in the Senate who know Secretary Kerry well and those who have followed him worry that Kerry may be more interested in his Nobel Peace Prize nomination than unrepentant defense of U.S. and Middle Eastern security. Kerry’s record on issues of national defense are a justifiable cause for concern as he consistently opposed most of what are now “go to” aspects of military preparedness and capabilities.
With due respect for Mr. Gelb, the motivation for Netanyahu’s speech and Tom Cotton’s letter is not hate for Obama, the motivation is fear for American, Israeli and Middle Eastern security. Iran with a bomb facilitated by the United States is the nightmare scenario. The motivation is provided by a President who insists on going it alone absent advice and consent; that refuses to move outside a small cadre of advisors who have demonstrated a proclivity for domestic politics over national security and maintain questionable experience on the world stage.
The President appears to be in search of a legacy accomplishment; he should understand that legacies come in two flavors and are not judged by the politics of the moment but by the harsh eye of history. Churchill spent a decade in the political wilderness, derided as a fear monger, out of touch with the subtleties of the times; crying wolf over an ascendant Germany and the absence of a commitment to British defense. Now, we cry out, we look for the “next Churchill”! What are we looking for? Strength, vision and the capacity to motivate a sense of unity, to rise above self- interested banality in the national interest.
We wish for that which is absent.