By Ron Radosh and Allis Radosh
There were a few surprises at Monday night’s AIPAC meeting. Throughout the previous two days, AIPAC spokesmen regularly championed the bi-partisan nature of Congress’s resolve to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, but by the end of the evening the differences in their approach and resolve were apparent, and so were the sympathies of the more than 13,000 attendees.
First up was Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. He laid out the many ways in which Iran has acted as a dangerous and terrorist rogue state, and noted that while the Obama administration may share the common goal of stopping Iran from going nuclear, they had not come close to achieving success.It was the failure of Obama’s diplomacy from the beginning of his term that had forced Congress to act and would do so again.
The reason, McConnell said, was that the administration’s policy contained a “critical flaw.” At first, the Obama team tried to negotiate with Iran by extending an open hand in friendship, but two different offers and deadlines to meet with their leaders in September and December of 2009 came and went with no results. Iran just continued to work on getting their bomb. As Congress grew impatient, it initiated a sanctions policy which the president opposed, eventually reluctantly signing it.Congress then handed the president an additional tool “he did not seek or ask for,” that of sanctions against the banks doing business with Iran.
But now, according to McConnell, the president’s current error is to rely too heavily on sanctions alone. To say “all options are on the table,” McConnell said, might be a good talking point, but it is not a policy. Threats alone, he noted, “have lost their intended purpose.” A red line only works if the definition of that line is clearly spelled out and what the painful consequences will be if crossed. In light of the president’s reluctance to do it, McConnell laid out his plan:
If at any time the intelligence community presents the Congress with an assessment that Iran has begun to enrich uranium to weapons-grade levels, or has taken a decision to develop a nuclear weapon — consistent with protecting classified sources and methods — I will consult with the President and joint congressional leadership and introduce before the Senate an authorization for the use of military force. This authorization, if enacted, will ensure the nation and the world that our leaders are united in confronting Iran, and will undermine the perception that the U.S. is wounded or retreating from global responsibilities.