- - Monday, July 20, 2015


President Obama got the endorsement of his Iranian “deal” Monday that probably means the most to him, a unanimous vote by the United Nations Security Council. Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N, and Gholamali Khoshroo, the Iranian ambassador the U.N., fell over each other to get up to say what a terrific occasion the day was.

The Iranian ambassador said Iran would be “resolute” in living up to everything it signed up for, which, given Mr. Obama’s eagerness to surrender American interests at every juncture, is more than it deserves. Miss Power said the United States would be “vigilant” in making sure the Iranians do live up to it. No one expects that either ambassador actually meant it.

Mr. Obama’s determination to go to the United Nations, which has nothing to say about whatever treaties the United States makes with anyone, was intended to rub the Republicans’ faces in humility. He knew the Security Council, which includes Russia and China as well as the European rubber stamps, would be delighted to say yes. Everyone can’t wait to start doing business with Iran, which will use the billions of dollars now released with the lifting of sanctions to buy arms to make further trouble everywhere.

The tragedy is not only the fact of Mr. Obama’s craven behavior, but that the Congress has neither the will nor the spine to do anything about it. The president’s insult added to injury is deliberate.

Congress, which by the most specific terms of the Constitution, has the authority to approve all treaties negotiated by the president, has voted to take a 60-day “look” at the “deal.” The White House insists that the Iran deal is an “executive agreement” and not a treaty, and cites unpersuasive precedents to support its case. But just because Mr. Obama says it’s not a treaty doesn’t mean it’s not a treaty. The fact is that it is “a formally concluded and ratified agreement between countries” for which the Constitution specifically requires Senate confirmation. No one argues that it is anything less than crucial to the conduct of American policy in the most volatile part of the world.

Many in the Congress see the agreement for what it is and does, to permit Iran to become “a threshold nuclear state,” capable of producing weapons of mass destruction, and requiring the United States to trust in Iranian promises to behave honorably. The president argues that there was no alternative to his bad deal — a deal he “sweetened” even when it wasn’t necessary — except military intervention, and he was elected on a promise to take the United States out of wars in the Middle East, not to initiate new ones.

Perhaps. But this was precisely what should be argued and debated after presenting his “deal” to the representatives of the American people. Nothing should inflame Americans more than the president’s attempt to short-circuit Congress and invite foreign nibbling at American sovereignty. Nothing would further undermine among Americans any shred of remaining credibility of the United Nations. Congress can redress this gratuitous insult if it can summon the courage and the outrage.

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