In the category of things I never thought I’d write, this would rank up at the top of the list: Pat Buchanan made some excellent points about the Iran deal – proving the old statement about even a stopped clock being right twice a day.
But before the party commits to abrogating the Iran deal in 2017, the GOP should consider whether it would be committing suicide in 2016.
For even if Congress votes to deny Obama authority to lift U.S. sanctions on Iran, the U.S. will vote to lift sanctions in the U.N. Security Council. And Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, all parties to the deal, will also lift sanctions.
A Congressional vote to kill the Iran deal would thus leave the U.S. isolated, its government humiliated, unable to comply with the pledges its own secretary of state negotiated. Would Americans cheer the GOP for leaving the United States with egg all over its face?
And if Congress refuses to honor the agreement, but Iran complies with all its terms, who among our friends and allies would stand with an obdurate America then?
Israel would applaud, the Saudis perhaps, but who else?
And as foreign companies raced to Iran, and U.S. companies were told to stay out, what would GOP presidential candidates tell the business community?
Would the party campaign in 2016 on a pledge to get tough and impose new sanctions? “Coercive diplomacy,” The Wall Street Journal calls it.
If so, what more would they demand that Iran do? And what would they threaten Iran with, if she replied: We signed a deal. We will honor it. But we will make no new concessions under U.S. threat.
Would we bomb Iran? Would we go to war? Not only would Americans divide on any such action, the world would unite — against us.
And would a Republican president really bomb an Iran that was scrupulously honoring the terms of the John Kerry deal? What would we bomb? All the known Iran nuclear facilities will be crawling with U.N. inspectors.
Obviously Mr. Buchanan hasn’t been bitten by the same tea party bug as the rest of his party when it comes to the freak-out they feel obliged to engage on anything President Obama proposes. But there are times I still wonder if these kinds of questions find their way into the minds of 2016 Republican candidates…even if they don’t think they can voice them out loud. If not, they’re even crazier than most of us have imagined.
I only wish that one of the venues that is scheduled to host a Republican debate would consider asking Buchanan to be the moderator. Questions like this would certainly spark a fascinating exchange.