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July 28, 2015

AoSHQ Interview: Noah Pollak On The Iran Nuke Deal

(Bumped back up top after breaking Planned Parenthood story)

Noah Pollak (@noahpollak) is the Executive Director of The Emergency Committee for Israel and a contributor to The Weekly Standard and The Washington Free Beacon.

We spoke yesterday afternoon about the Iran nuclear deal.

Here's the full interview.

Topics covered include:

Some of the most egregious provisions of the deal. We couldn't get to them all because I wanted to keep this under 30 minutes and an extensive accounting of the deal would take hours.

Why Obama was so desperate for a deal (legacy and/or remaking the Mideast more to his liking).

Implications for the future of the Mideast (spoiler: there are many and none are good from a US perspective). In short, Obama ran on an anti-nuclear proliferation platform and will in the end be responsible for a major escalation in the spread of nuclear weapons.

The Corker-Cardin charade and the fecklessness of Democrats on the matter. Watch Democrats like Schumer to vote against the deal but to uphold Obama's veto.

And finally, because I forgot to do it earlier, the idiocy of so-called "snap back" sanctions. It'll never happen because too many countries will have too much pride on the line and there's too much money to be made.

The timing of this discussion is fortuitous because Secretaries Kerry, Moniz, and Lew are back on Capital Hill today testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Committee about the deal.

In related news, John Yoo, the former DoJ lawyer most well known for authoring the legal justification for the "enhanced interrogation" regime during the George W. Bush administration, argues that the Iran deal isn't a treaty for purposes of Senate ratification but the GOP still played its hand poorly.

But critics of the Iran deal should save their strength when it comes to the Constitution. Last spring, Republicans in Congress created a process to review the agreement by majority vote. If Congress disapproves the deal, President Obama can still veto the resolution. In other words, two-thirds of the House and Senate will have to agree to stop the Iran deal — a bizarre inversion of the Treaty Clause.

Congressional Republicans may have scored a political victory by putting every Senate Democrat on the record on the Iran deal, but they have also inadvertently bolstered the deal’s legality. In foreign affairs, as the Supreme Court has observed, the president acts at the height of his constitutional powers when backed up by Congress. In Youngstown Sheet & Tube v. Sawyer, which blocked President Truman’s seizure of the nation’s steel mills during the Korean War, Justice Robert Jackson famously observed: “When the President acts pursuant to an express or implied authorization of Congress, his authority is at its maximum, for it includes all that he possesses in his own right plus all that Congress can delegate.” While only a concurrence (and one I tend to disagree with as a misreading of the separation of powers), Jackson’s approach has found its way into the justices’ majority opinions in recent foreign-affairs cases.

In providing a legal basis for the Iran deal, congressional Republicans have only themselves to blame. Nevertheless, conservatives are weighing legal challenges in court. This would be a waste of valuable resources.

Read his whole argument, it's worth the time.

I agree that the Iran deal falls outside the purview of the Ratification Clause but on other grounds. Yoo is far too much of an Executive supremacist for my liking but that doesn't change the facts that all Presidents have tremendous leeway in foreign affairs. Absent some sort of internal restraint (which the Constitution's "checks and balances" was designed to limit the need for) or the political will in the legislature to provoke a showdown, there's not much this or an Congress can do.

Iran and Obama will get their deal. He will ride off into the sunset in a less than a year and a half and then the real work of dealing with this fateful agreement will begin.

Added just because of course it was....



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posted by DrewM. at 10:58 AM

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