President Elect Donald Trump’s firm opposition to the Iran Deal and commitment to unwind it would be gravely undermined by a secretary of state who played an essential role in its passage.
Today, the Republican most complicit in President Obama’s seminal foreign policy disaster is reportedly meeting with Mr. Trump as one of the final candidates being considered for the position.
His appointment ought to be strenuously resisted by all those who seek an American interest-oriented national security and foreign policy that breaks with the failed status quo of the last 15 years in general, and who are opposed to the aiding, abetting and enabling of the genocidal jihadist Iranian regime in particular.
Recall that it was Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn. (F, 45%) who as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee perversely sacrificed the Senate’s ability to reject the president’s Iran Deal by turning its treaty ratification power on its head.
As Andrew C. McCarthy explained in National Review at the time, the Corker bill was a constitutional perversion crafted to make it appear as if Republicans opposed the president’s policy while in actuality they endorsed it. McCarthy wrote:
[T]he Constitution mandates that no international agreement can be binding unless it achieves either of two forms of congressional endorsement: a) super-majority approval by two-thirds of the Senate (i.e., 67 aye votes), or b) enactment through the normal legislative process, meaning passage by both chambers under their burdensome rules, then signature by the president.
The Corker bill is a ploy to circumvent this constitutional roadblock…
Once the [Iran] deal is submitted, Congress would have 60 days (or perhaps as few as 30 days) to act. If within that period both houses of Congress failed to enact a resolution of disapproval, the agreement would be deemed legally binding — meaning that the sanctions the Iranian regime is chafing under would be lifted.
As Corker, other Republican leaders, and the president well know, passage of a resolution of disapproval — even if assured in the House with its commanding Republican majority — could be blocked by the familiar, lockstep parliamentary maneuvering of just 40 Senate Democrats. More significantly, even if enacted in the Senate, the resolution would be vetoed by Obama…
To summarize, the Constitution puts the onus on the president to find 67 Senate votes to approve an international agreement, making it virtually impossible to ratify an ill-advised deal. The Corker bill puts the onus on Congress to muster 67 votes to block an agreement.
Under the Constitution, Obama’s Iran deal would not have a prayer. Under the Corker bill, it would sail through. [Emphasis mine]
And sail through Congress the Iran Deal did, thanks to Sen. Corker’s efforts.
Sen. Corker’s ruse is symbolic of the exact Republican Establishment chicanery that President-elect Trump’s supporters rejected.
And that he would employ such a strategy on an Iran Deal that effectively provides material support to the world’s leading state-sponsor of jihad represents the pinnacle of perfidy.
Its devastating effects have in fact extended beyond the Iran Deal, undermining the Senate’s advice and consent prerogative with respect to other international agreements.
The CTBT, which would create a legally binding prohibition on nuclear explosive tests by its signatories, was rejected by the Senate in 1999 because it lacked verification powers.
In order to bypass a Senate vote, the Obama State Department is seeking a Security Council resolution “that would provide that any U.S. nuclear test would defeat the ‘object and purpose’ of the CTBT.”
Sen. Corker reportedly challenged the State Department, claiming that it was subverting the Senate’s constitutional power over ratification of treaties, to which a National Security Council spokesman replied that President Obama was not asking for a “legally binding” resolution from the Security Council.
Mr. Corker taught Mr. Obama the lesson the president is adapting now to suit his desire to bind America to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. This time, Mr. Obama is just eliminating the Senate middleman. Mr. Corker, having made the Senate irrelevant, is now grousing about its irrelevance. In obvious retrospect, it would have been better if the Senate had done nothing rather than pass Mr. Corker’s measure.
Sen. Corker has proven himself to be unfit for the job of secretary of state because of his complicity in the Iran Deal, and broader undermining of constitutional checks and balances.
The State Department, which has been a progressive bastion for decades, requires a leader with the backbone, judgment and skill to deftly navigate a hornet’s nest of a bureaucracy likely to oppose a national interest-oriented foreign policy at every turn. It cannot fall to a member of the Republican establishment in good standing who supports the very policies the president elect most ardently opposes.
Ben Weingarten is the founder and CEO of ChangeUp Media LLC, a media consulting and publication services firm, and a contributor to Conservative Review. A graduate of Columbia University, he regularly contributes to publications such as City Journal, The Federalist, Newsmax, and PJ Media on national security and defense, economics, and politics. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.