Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Supreme Leader of the Republican-controlled United States Congress, can't quite get his brain around the idea that the United States may actually normalize relations with a country in the Middle East, the Islamic Republic of Iran, without his permission.
From Netanyahu's point of view, how is he supposed to get an invitation to address another Joint Session of Congress, or win another election in Israel, if he can't credibly raise the spectre of Iran as an “existential threat” to Israel as he's done since 1992?
Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran, can't quite imagine keeping a theological grip on his youthful, exuberant, and restless population if peace breaks out between the United States and Iran. From the Ayatollah's point of view, how is he going to keep his people going to prayers five times a day after they've seen Lady Gaga, the Kardashians, and Louis CK?
As of this writing, there is no deal between the US (plus UK, France, Germany, China, and Russia) and Iran. The fact that the parties are still talking is a sign that there's enough goodwill amongst them to keep the process going. It's entirely possible it may go on for a while longer … and then some.
Indeed, the more I look at the entire Iran Deal roadshow from Lausanne, Switzerland to Vienna, Austria … the more I become convinced it may not matter that much what happens.
Why so? Consider the following possibilities:
1. A deal is agreed to and approved by Congress. That's the best result, and least likely to happen. The Republicans in Congress are so joined at the hip with their Supreme Leader Netanyahu and there is just too much love there for anything good to come of it.
2. A deal is agreed to and disapproved by the Congress. The President vetoes their Resolution of Disapproval and, thanks to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, his veto is sustained, and the agreement goes into effect. This is a great result. The country will get the benefit of a knock-down, drag-out brawl over who controls foreign policy in the United States, the Prime Minister of Israel or the President of the United States.
3. No deal is agreed to. No problem. The Congress has nothing to review. That's one thing they do well … nothing.
The President, however, is free to act. As Commander in Chief of our armed forces and Chief Executive Officer of United States Foreign Policy, he is free to signal Iran that he is willing to take immediate steps to normalize relations between our two countries.
The President is not proposing that we enter into a Treaty with Iran, or exchange Ambassadors. If he was to do either of those things, the Senate, under the Constitution, would have the power of Ratification or Confirmation.
Short of those formal actions, the President has wide-ranging power under the Constitution to protect the country at home and abroad and execute such agreements he feels necessary to fulfill that responsibility.
In the absence of any agreement, he should signal Iran that he is willing to make common purpose with them in the fight to defeat ISIL. The American public clearly wants a more aggressive posture against ISIL, but they don't want our soldiers doing the fighting.
Fine. Let's give our country what it wants. Let's keep our soldiers at home and assist Iran in taking the fight to ISIL. They've already proved that they're willing and able to do so. Then, let's give Iran some relief on sanctions imposed by Executive Order and a little help at the UN.
Let the Republicans in Congress yell foul.
They've got an approval rating with the American people that's fluctuated between nine and 18 percent for the last year and a half. How's that ceding control to Netanyahu working out for you?
Let's get ready to rumble!
I will post again on Wednesday, August 5, 2015 (or before, if the news flow dictates) and, for the time being, I will try to post on the first Wednesday of each month.
Comments are welcome at tomc[at]wednesdayswars[dot]com. Comments will be addressed in subsequent posts.