Sunday, January 25, 2015

Now Obama Cares About Rules

Last week, President Obama hosted British Prime Minister David Cameron. Cameron, in turn, lobbied several US Senators in an effort to persuade them not to pass any further sanctions against Iran. I have no doubt that Obama requested the lobbying effort by Cameron.

On Wednesday last, Speaker of the House John Boehner announced he had invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to a joint session of Congress. Netanyahu accepted, with the White House complaining that such invitations to foreign leaders are to be run through the White House and/or State Department. White House spokesperson Josh Earnest called it a breach of diplomatic protocol. Never mind that Cameron's lobbying was also a breach of protocol.

Boehner defended his invitation to Netanyahu, noting that Obama had "papered over" the Iranian nuclear threat. Said Obama in his State of the Union address: "Our diplomacy is at work with respect to Iran, where, for the first time in a decade, we've halted the progress of its nuclear program and reduced its stockpile of nuclear material." Obama is so interested in making a deal with Iran, that I cannot help but wonder if he believes his own falsehoods.

To recap, negotiations with Iran over their nuclear program have been ongoing for well over a decade. Initially, the Europeans (Britain, France and Germany) were taking the lead with the US consulting in the background. More recently, we have the 5+1 (US, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany), with the US taking the lead. During all this time Iran has sought one extension after the next, all the while building nuclear reactors and centrifuges that can produce weapons grade uranium. And Israel recently reported that Iran has developed yet another long range missile - capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

So let's be clear, Obama just wants a deal - any deal - so he can say he was the one that made it happen. This is no different than Obama wanting to be the one to announce a deal between Israel and the Palestinians - even if the deal threatened Israel's very existence. He just wanted to make a deal. And notice just whose side he is on in these proposed deals - the Muslim Palestinians and the Muslim Ayatollahs.

Does anyone else think it ironic that Russia is involved in these negotiations with Iran? Russia was instrumental in helping Iran develop their nuclear program, and is apparently on board with the construction of two additional nuclear reactors. (As reported in the 1/21/15 IBD.) And the German magazine Der Spiegel reported that Iran is helping Syria build an underground nuclear facility. (From the same IBD article.) Recall that Israel took out a Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007. This is the same Iran that, with their proxy in Hezbollah, recently threatened to launch a major attack on Israel.

So while Obama lies about the "progress" made with Iran, Netanyahu has spoken out against the threat of Iranian nukes at every opportunity - in Israel, at the UN, and in the US. But Obama wants his deal. Based on the "breach of protocol" noted above, Secretary of State John Kerry said this might affect his support for Israel. Meanwhile, an unnamed senior Administration official threatened Israel with this: "Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency, and that there will be a price." Is this what any of you who voted for Obama hoped for - enabling the Iranian Ayatollahs to get nukes while threatening our key ally in the Middle East, Israel?

Let me be clear, it is not just Republicans like Boehner, and Israeli leader Netanyahu, who think that Obama is either being played the fool, or allowing himself to be, by the Iranians. Obama's Deputy Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, recently testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and even admitted that Iran has been "unwilling to come clean" about their nuclear program. But it was the ranking Democrat, Senator Robert Menendez, N.J., who said to Blinken: "I have to be honest with you, the more I hear from the Administration and its quotes, the more it sounds like talking points that come straight out of Tehran."

On the other hand, I fully acknowledge that there are those on the Republican side who are offended by the breach of protocol. Peggy Noonan, former speechwriter to President Reagan, is one who is opposed to the Netanyahu invitation and visit. (See her opinion piece in the weekend edition, 1/24-1/25/15, of the WSJ.) This writer, however, comes down on the side of George Will. On Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace (who is also opposed to Netanyahu coming), Will noted that Boehner is head of a coequal branch of government, with their own foreign policy responsibilities. He pointed out that Israel lives in a dangerous neighborhood, and in 726 days when Obama is out of office, Israel will still be in a dangerous neighborhood.

As for the breach of protocol, Will noted that Netanyahu was not going to worry about showing manners to Obama, who has such bad manners himself. Recall that Obama left a meeting with Netanyahu in the White House, while he (Obama) went upstairs to the residence to have dinner with his family. And last year, another unnamed Administration official, referred to Netanyahu as a "chickenshit." Obama has been equally disdainful of Congress, so no surprise that Boehner wants to return the favor.

One last point. Article II, Section 2 of the US Constitution provides that the President "...shall have power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur..." But the White House has made it clear that they do not intend to present any Iranian deal to the Senate for their approval, demonstrating yet again Obama's disdain for the Constitutional separation of powers. Obama will simply call any such agreement something other than a "treaty."

But as noted on Wikipedia, "A treaty may also be known as an (international) agreement, protocol, covenant, convention, pact or exchange of letters, among other terms. Regardless of terminology, all these forms of agreements are, under international law, equally considered treaties and the rules are the same."

So let Obama stew over the alleged breach of protocol, while he shows his contempt for Boehner, Netanyahu and the Constitution. Interesting how selective Obama is when it comes to rules.