Sep 09, 2015

A Munich-Sized Mistake

Mr. Speaker:

In 48 hours, the House will vote on a resolution to stop the Iran Nuclear Treaty.   I know the President chooses not to call it a treaty, but it IS a treaty in everything but name, with international ramifications as great as any treaty Congress has ever considered.  Because treaties have profound implications to the life of this nation, the Constitution requires they be ratified by a 2/3 vote of the Senate.  Yet in this post-constitutional era of Obama’s America, it now requires 2/3 of both houses to reject it. 

Every Republican in both houses has taken a stand against it.  So rejection or ratification now rests solely on whether enough Democrats are willing to place country ahead of party on a matter of the gravest consequence to world peace.

I don’t think anyone can dispute the immediate effects of this treaty:

  • $150 billion in frozen assets will be released to a regime whose leaders daily reiterate their intention to wage war on Israel and the United States.  These funds will be available to finance Iran’s military and terrorist activities and nuclear ambitions. 
  • Although the agreement purports to halt production of fissile material, it gives Iran the legal right to continue its research and development of advanced centrifuges – the only purpose of which is to produce nuclear weapons.
  • It gives them legal access to traffic in conventional arms in five years and ICBM technology in eight years – something that Obama’s own chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said should be done “under no circumstances” -- just a week before the treaty was announced.

Does anyone deny that the nation most immediately imperiled by a nuclear Iran – our ally, Israel – is united in its opposition to this treaty?  Israeli political parties are among the most fractured and disputatious in the world, and yet they stand united on this issue.

Does anyone deny that the Iranian regime is notorious for not honoring its treaty obligations?  Indeed, Iran signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and has violated it ever since -- which is why we are now debating this treaty.   Verification, therefore, must be the central focus of any treaty with this regime – yet under its very terms, spot inspections can be delayed for weeks or even months if the regime objects.   More recently, we have learned that under secret side-agreements the administration had no intention of sharing, inspections of the most important nuclear sites are to be conducted by the Iranians themselves.  This provision alone guarantees that history will ridicule this treaty as the pinnacle of naivety.

So I ask my Democratic colleagues, why?  Why would anyone who values peace support this treaty?

The only answer I hear is that it reduces the chance of war in the next few years, or in Neville Chamberlain’s words, guarantees “peace in our time”.   

Does anyone really believe this?  This treaty gives Israel the Hobson’s choice of launching a pre-emptive strike or ramping up its own nuclear program.  The Saudis and Egyptians have already made clear this agreement gives them no alternative than to initiate their own nuclear programs.  And it catastrophically undermines the Iranian democratic opposition at just the time the regime was faltering from within. 

Ironically, Mr. Obama tacitly concedes the destabilizing effect of this treaty by following it up with pledges for vastly increasing military aid to Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.  If he really believed this treaty stabilizes the region, why would it need a new infusion of arms? 

I appeal to my Democratic colleagues to consider the ramifications of this vote.  The constitutional concerns are huge – this sets a dangerous precedent that essentially rescinds the Treaty Clause of the Constitution – a precedent they might live to regret under Republican administrations.

But a far more immediate danger is the chain of events this treaty could set off in the Middle East and quickly spread throughout the world.   This treaty bolsters the Iranian regime from within, infuses it with $150 billion with which to finance its nuclear ambitions, gives it the legal right and guaranteed timetable to pursue nuclear war and cannot be verified through inspections.  Iran has made crystal clear its intent to destroy Israel and the United States – a threat reiterated yesterday in no uncertain terms by its supreme leader.

History reviles the well-intentioned politicians responsible for the Munich Agreement of 1938 and has condemned their memory to eternal scorn and shame.  History could well look back upon this treaty as the triggering act that led to an unimaginable conflagration. 

Tom McClintock
Tom`s Blog