Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Did Republican senators do anything wrong by writing a letter to Iran’s leaders?

Map of the Middle East

Map of the Middle East

Stephen Hayes is the foreign policy expert for the Weekly Standard and he has some facts that undermine the left-wing media narrative.

He appeared on the Special Report panel, and thanks to Newsbusters, you can see the video of it on their web site, and read the transcript.

Hayes also had a longer form article posted at The Weekly Standard:

In a tweet this morning, NBC News senior political editor Mark Murray writes: “With GOP Senators’ Iran Move, Politics Goes Beyond the Water’s Edge.” 47 Republican Senators sent to the Supreme Leader of Iran reminding him that Congress is not bound by deals that Congress does not approve. The article Murray links to describes this as “stunning” and “unprecedented” and implies that the letter constitutes a breach of protocol so significant that it ends the long tradition of bipartisan foreign policy.

This is utterly preposterous.

The only way to reach such a conclusion is to ignore efforts by Democrats to undermine George W. Bush.

In September 2002, David Bonior, the second-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives, flew to Baghdad in an attempt to undermine George W. Bush’s case for war in Iraq on a trip paid for by Saddam Hussein’s regime. Bonior, accompanied by Representatives Jim McDermott and Mike Thompson, actively propagandized for the Iraqi regime. McDermott, asked whether he found it acceptable to be used by the Iraqi regime, said he hoped the trip would end the suffering of children. “We don’t mind being used,” he said.

In 2004, the Democratic Party offered its full embrace of Michael Moore’s fantastical conspiracy theory,Fahrenheit 9/11. Minority Leader Tom Daschle, DNC chairman Terry MacAullife and assorted Democratic heavyweights flocked to a special screening of the film in Washington, DC, where they offered unreserved praise.

In 2007, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi traveled to Damascus, Syria, in an open attempt to undercut White House efforts to isolate Syrian dictator Bashar Assad. Pelosi amplified Assad’s claims that he was ready for peace talks with Israel and wanted Syria to rejoin the international community.

The letter from Senate Republicans provides a stark contrast from these efforts. It is a straightforward, fact-based description of the U.S. constitutional system and the role Congress plays in international agreements and treaties.

It takes a selective reading of that history to conclude that this letter, as opposed to previous efforts by congressional Democrats, means the end of bipartisan foreign policy.

I think it’s wonderful that Republicans are doing everything possible to try to put the brakes on the Obama administration’s efforts to lift sanctions on Iran so that they can proceed to develop nuclear weapons at a faster pace. As you know, the Obama administration was accused by former U.N. ambassador John Bolton of leaking details of a planned strike on Iranian nuclear assets by Israel. So we know exactly where their allegiance lies, here. (This article says it was actually Hillary Clinton who did the leaking that scratched the strike plan) This is not a mystery – we need to judge the Obama administration by their actions.

I had to post on this because one of my co-workers asked me to respond to this story, as well as tell him the Republican alternative to Obamacare (he is not into health care policy that’s to the right of center). Here’s the alternative to Obamacare, you. (That’s Wall Street Journal, Newsmax overview of the plan here) Those are recent articles, but you can find the official policy explained in detail on Paul Ryan’s Congressional web site.

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58 Democrats boycott Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress on Iran

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke before the U.S. Congress on Tuesday, and below you can find a round-up of reactions.

Here’s The Daily Signal summarizing why Netanyahi opposes the deal:

Netanyahu made the case before Congress that the White House’s efforts to negotiate a deal with Iran have about as much in common with the Camp David Accords as an SNL skit has with a State of the Union Address. The administration’s proposal is anything but a realistic plan for peace.

A real peace plan would demonstrate that all sides were committed to not adding more nuclear weapons powers to the Middle East. The deal as it stands does the opposite—it preserves the nuclear option for Iran—and as result will prompt other regional powers to hedge their bets and prepare to go nuclear as well rather than live in Tehran’s nuclear shadow.

The proposed multi-year moratorium doesn’t end concerns that Iran will build a bomb and put nuclear warheads on long-range missiles. Rather, under the agreement, Tehran can walk up to the edge of becoming a declared armed-nuclear state with a robust missile force and sit there. That hardly sets the condition for sure peace in our time.

Meanwhile, even the shaky stalemate proposed by the agreement rests on the assumption that Tehran won’t follow North Korea’s path to breakout status by cheating on the agreement and then abrogating the deal when it no longer suits the regime.

At the same time the price for Obama’s peace comes pretty high. Tehran demands significant and immediate sanctions relief. That means more money for a corrupt regime with one of the world’s worst human records to perpetuate strangled hold over the people of Iran.

Obama’s deal also means more money for Tehran to prop-up the likes of Hezbollah, Assad, Hamas, the Houthi rebels in Yemen and murderous unaccountable Shia militias in Iraq (which are as big a threat to the future of the country as ISIS). As one of the world’s premier state-sponsors of terrorism, enabling and emboldening Iran’s efforts to reshape the region by force of arms and slaughtering innocents doesn’t make the prospects for peace in the region any brighter.

All the partisan controversy and vitriol over Netanyahu’s speech cannot obscure that the White House has no good answers to the legitimate concerns he raised.

Breitbart News summarizes how the speech was received:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a passionate, inspiring, thoughtful, and “game changing” speech before the American Congress which lasted for about 45 minutes, during which time he was applauded 43 times, often for 15 seconds at a time. His words elicited many standing ovations.

The only other foreign leader to have spoken to Congress three times was Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister. In honor of that, Speaker of the House, John Boehnerplans to present Netanyahu with a bust of Churchill.

Netanyahu received wild applause when he said: “The world should demand that Iran do three things. First, stop its aggression against its neighbors in the Middle East. Second, stop supporting terrorism around the world. And third, stop threatening to annihilate my country, Israel, the one and only Jewish state.”

Israel’s Prime Minister again received rather thunderous applause and a standing ovation when he noted that Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel was in the audience—and when he said: “My friend, standing up to Iran is not easy. Standing up to dark and murderous regimes never is. Elie, your life and work inspires to give meaning to the words, ‘never again!’ And I wish I could promise you, Elie, that the lessons of history have been learned. I can only urge the leaders of the world not to repeat the mistakes of the past.”

At this point Congress outdid itself in term of applause and a standing ovation.

PM Netanyahu was greeted with a thunderous ovation when he first arrived and again after he was introduced.

And here’s Dennis Prager, writing at Investors Business Daily, explaining why Obama refused to meet with Netanyahu:

The prime minister of Israel is at the forefront of the greatest battle against evil in our time — the battle against violent Muslims. No country other than Israel is threatened with extinction, and it is Iran and the many Islamic terror organizations that pose that threat.

It only makes sense, then, that no other country feels the need to warn the world about Iran and Islamic terror as much as Israel.

That’s why, when Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to the United Nations about the threat Iran poses to his country’s survival and about the metastasizing cancer of Islamist violence, he unfortunately stands alone.

Virtually everyone listening knows he is telling the truth. And most dislike him for it. Appeasers hate those who confront evil.

Given that this president is the least likely of any president in American history to confront evil — or even identify it — while Benjamin Netanyahu is particularly vocal and eloquent about both identifying and confronting evil, it is inevitable that the former will resent the latter.

Here is the list of 58 Democrats (House and Senate) who walked out of the speech.

And a number of top Democrats — including Vice President Joe Biden, whose job description includes the title President of the Senate — didn’t attend.

[…]At least 50 Democratic House members and eight senators who caucus with the Democrats said in recent weeks they wouldn’t attend the speech, many in protest to a move that they say is an affront to the president.

The full transcript of the speech has been posted by The Weekly Standard.

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Obama administration giving away the store in nuclear deal with Iran

Map of Iran Nuclear Facilities

Map of Iran Nuclear Facilities

(Source: BBC)

The Wall Street Journal reports.

Excerpt:

Secretary of State John Kerry told Congress this week that no one should pre-judge a nuclear deal with Iran because only the negotiators know what’s in it. But the truth is that the framework of an accord has been emerging thanks to Administration leaks to friendly journalists. The leaks suggest the U.S. has already given away so much that any deal on current terms will put Iran on the cusp of nuclear-power status.

The latest startling detail is Monday’s leak that the U.S. has conceded to Iran’s demand that an agreement would last as little as a decade, perhaps with an additional five-year phase-out. After that Iran would be allowed to build its uranium enrichment capabilities to whatever size it wants. In theory it would be forbidden from building nuclear weapons, but by then all sanctions would have long ago been lifted and Iran would have the capability to enrich on an industrial scale.

Is Iran our friend? Not really:

That is some gamble on a regime that continues to sponsor terrorist groups around the world, prop up the Assad regime in Syria, use proxies to overthrow the Yemen government, jail U.S. reporter Jason Rezaian on trumped-up espionage charges, and this week blew up a mock U.S. aircraft carrier in naval exercises near the Strait of Hormuz.

Charles Krauthammer comments:

News leaked Monday of the “sunset clause.” President Obama had accepted the Iranian demand that any restrictions on its program be time-limited. After which, the mullahs can crank up their nuclear program at will and produce as much enriched uranium as they want.

Sanctions lifted. Restrictions gone. Nuclear development legitimized. Iran would re-enter the international community, as Obama suggested in an interview last December, as “a very successful regional power.” A few years — probably around 10 — of good behavior and Iran would be home free.

The agreement thus would provide a predictable path to an Iranian bomb. Indeed, a flourishing path, with trade resumed, oil pumping and foreign investment pouring into a restored economy.

Meanwhile, Iran’s intercontinental ballistic missile program is subject to no restrictions at all. It’s not even part of these negotiations.

Why is Iran building them? You don’t build ICBMs in order to deliver sticks of dynamite. Their only purpose is to carry nuclear warheads. Nor does Iran need an ICBM to hit Riyadh or Tel Aviv. Intercontinental missiles are for reaching, well, other continents. North America, for example.

[…]The deal now on offer to the ayatollah would confer legitimacy on the nuclearization of the most rogue of rogue regimes: radically anti-American, deeply jihadist, purveyor of terrorism from Argentina to Bulgaria, puppeteer of a Syrian regime that specializes in dropping barrel bombs on civilians.

Based on past deals, we shouldn’t be surprised by this news.

This Heritage Foundation article re-caps our negotiating blunders.

What makes these deals even worse is that they are all about constraining us, not the other guy. New START didn’t require Russia to destroy a single nuclear missile: it only reduced the size of the U.S. stockpile. The Arms Trade Treaty won’t stop the lawless and incompetent nations of the world from selling arms irresponsibly, but our lawyers will guarantee that it restrains us.

The essence of the Syrian deal was that it saved the U.S. from having to carry out Secretary of State John Kerry’s “unbelievably small” retaliatory strike on the Assad regime, which gets to remain in power. The Iran carve-up removes the lingering threat of any U.S. military action and makes Israeli action all but unthinkable, while the Iranians keep on enriching uranium and can zoom up to weapons-grade levels far faster than we can reimpose sanctions.

The administration is more afraid of having to respond to an Iranian nuclear breakout than it is of a breakout itself. The deal has bought only a six-month delay in the Iranian program, at the cost of easing UN sanctions the U.S. had carefully built up since 2006.

At the core of the accords is the belief that the U.S. is the nation that needs to be restrained. That is why they involve big concessions from us in exchange for far less from the other side. Since we are the problem, we are the ones who need to give things up to get a deal.

And what about the global warming deal with China?

We got fleeced there, too:

When the United States and China announced a surprise carbon-emissions deal, the environmental Left squealed in delight. Al Gore declared it “groundbreaking progress from the world’s largest polluter” (i.e., China), while John Kerry patted himself on the back in the New York Times, gushing about how “the world’s most consequential relationship has just produced something of great consequence in the fight against climate change.” Despite the extraordinary fanfare, there’s abundant reason for skepticism.

Though the announcement is politically expedient for both Barack Obama and Xi Jinping, China almost certainly won’t take significant steps to reduce carbon emissions.

[…]Beijing hasn’t actually agreed to much: It will try to “stop increasing” carbon emissions by 2030 — which is a slanted way of saying its emissions will continue to grow for another 16 years — and derive 20 percent of its energy from renewables by then, up from about 10 percent now. Though these goals may be codified into Chinese law, the CCP does not have a reputation for respecting the rule of law. And the United States and the international community won’t have any way of enforcing these goals. No wonder Reuters called it a “largely symbolic plan.”

[…]Critics of the president’s environmental policies have noted that even the most stringent emissions reductions from the First World won’t have much of an impact unless the developing world also cuts back. The environmental Left is marketing the new U.S.–China deal as a way to eliminate that objection and plow forward with the president’s hardline proposals for carbon regulations. “Now there is no longer an excuse for Congress to block action on climate change,” Senator Barbara Boxer said in today’s New York Times. “The biggest carbon polluter on our planet, China, has agreed to cut back on dangerous emissions, and now we should make sure all countries do their part because this is a threat to the people that we all represent.”

Boxer ignores the myriad other valid objections to the Obama administration’s proposed regulations, which seek to cut carbon emissions 30 percent from their 2005 levels by 2030. In reality, it’s bad policy because, despite enormous economic cost, it would yield very few environmental benefits.

And of course we have the complete surrender to Russia in the Arctic.

We are cutting deals with every bad actor on the planet that will undermine our interests at home and abroad for years to come. And why? Well, it’s because Democrats think that United States is more of a threat to world peace than a force for good, and so they think the best way to save the planet is to strengthen countries like Russia, Iran and China. I think in one way this plan will work – Democrats will feel as if they are doing something, and they will congratulate themselves on their moral superiority. But as far as actually achieving good results? It’s not going to happen.

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The Weekly Standard podcasts on Democrats’ terrorists for traitor swap

I listened to these 4 podcasts on the weekend, and I thought there was a lot in there that I had not heard in the news. The Weekly Standard is my favorite political podcast.

June 2nd:

THE WEEKLY STANDARD Podcast with senior writer Stephen F. Hayes on Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was recently traded for five Taliban prisoners from terrorist captivity.

The MP3 file is here.

June 3rd:

THE WEEKLY STANDARD Podcast with Thomas Joscelyn, Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and frequent contributor on why the Bergdahl swap is a terrible deal for American Security.

The MP3 file is here.

June 4th:

THE WEEKLY STANDARD Podcast with editor William Kristol on the Obama administration’s changing explanations of the Bergdahl prisoner swap.

The MP3 file is here.

June 6th:

THE WEEKLY STANDARD Podcast with senior writer Stephen F. Hayes on Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was recently traded for five Taliban prisoners from terrorist captivity.

The MP3 file is here.

June 9th:

The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with senior writer Stephen F. Hayes on his recent story about  how many White House statements about the Bergdahl/Taliban 5 swap have been contradicted either by facts or by testimony.

The MP3 file is here.

I recommend listening to all of them. The VA scandal was bad, because it was basically the Democrats killing off wounded soldiers. But the release of these 5 terrorist commanders goes beyond that – endangering our men and women in the military and just encouraging our enemies to kidnap more Americans and bargain with them. If you want the bad guys to stop being bad, you kill them. You don’t reward them. That just makes them act more badly.

 

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Army told soldiers who served with Bergdahl told to lie about his desertion

Left-wing Mediaite reports.

Excerpt:

In an appearance on Fox & Friends on Wednesday, retired Army Spc. Josh Fuller, a soldier who served with Sgt. Bowe Bergdahlsince 2008, said that the military informed him and other soldiers that the “narrative” they should maintain is that Bergdahl was captured by the Taliban rather than that he intentionally left his base. When asked if he believed he was told not to “tell the truth” about Bergdahl by military authorities, Fuller said that he did.

“The sentiment that everybody knew was that he walked off the base in the middle of the night, left all his gear there, and went – just walked off the post,” Fuller said. “So, we had all known that it was — that he had deserted his post, and there was never anything about him getting captured or POW until a little while later whenever it came down from the chain of command that we needed to keep quiet and not say anything.”

“We’re going with the narrative that he was captured,” Fuller said of the military’s position on Bergdahl’s alleged desertion.

“So, they basically told you not to tell the truth,” Fox host Brian Kilmeade said.

“Yes, sir,” Fuller replied.

Fuller concluded by corroborating the claims of Bergdahl’s former team leader, Sgt. Evan Buetow,who told CNN on Tuesday that the Taliban’s attacks became more directed after Bergdahl was captured.

“The ambushes we use, the certain tactics we use, the Taliban was picking up on those things,” Fuller said. “You could tell it was from somebody on the inside that had that info.”

Wow. So we gave away five Taliban commanders not just for a deserter, but for a traitor. Is this supposed to make us safer?

 

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