After the Prime Minister's Speech, a Spreading Sense of "Uh-Oh"

(American Interest) Walter Russell Mead - Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech to Congress had a measurable impact on the American debate over Iran policy. There are some very serious problems with the administration's policy that have not been thoroughly discussed and vetted in the U.S. debate. We've been warning for some time that the administration's regional policies have allowed Iran to make large gains across the region and become a much more dangerous power in ways that both reduce the value of any nuclear agreement with Iran and make a good deal less likely. Netanyahu made that case very effectively. In Congress and even in the press there is a spreading sense of "uh-oh." Congress' best bet might be for the two houses to pass concurrent resolutions (which don't need presidential signatures) that 1) Congress disapproves of any agreement with Iran which doesn't meet certain stated conditions; that 2) neither this Congress, its successors, nor future U.S. presidents will be bound by any such agreement; and that 3) both houses will not pass any enabling legislation or lift sanctions so long as no satisfactory agreement has been reached. The mere prospect that a resolution like this could pass might open up the administration's policies to the wider debate the country desperately needs. Netanyahu's speech and the reaction to it in Congress demonstrated beyond all doubt that America really does see Israel as a cherished friend and ally. For many American Christians, helping the Jews build a safe haven is a sacred religious duty. For many other Americans, what the Jews have built in Israel, despite all the problems and flaws, is a precious jewel, a beacon of liberty, and a sign of hope in a dark world. Americans are not going to change their minds about this anytime soon. And they aren't willing to ditch Israel as the price of peace with the jihadis. The writer is professor of foreign affairs and humanities at Bard College and professor of American foreign policy at Yale University. He served as senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations until 2010.

2015-03-06 00:00:00

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