Stephen Hayes reports from Ames, Iowa:
Speaking to reporters here Saturday after an appearance at the Family Leader Summit, Walker said the next president will need to be prepared to take aggressive action against Iran, “very possibly” including military strikes, on the day he or she is inaugurated, and said he would not be comfortable with a commander in chief who is unwilling to act aggressively on day one of a new presidency. In his announcement speech at the beginning of the week, Walker had promised to ‘terminate’ the Iran deal on day one of his presidency, and Bush, at a town hall four days later, said ending the deal on the first day of a new administration was unrealistic and suggested that promises to do so, while politically appealing, reflected a lack of seriousness
Walker advisers suggested Bush was softening his opposition to the deal, claims that the Bush campaign denied. “They are purposefully misrepresenting his view,” says one Bush adviser. And Bush, in a statement to THE WEEKLY STANDARD Sunday night, called the agreement a “terrible deal” and said if elected president he “would begin immediately to responsibly get us out of this deal.”
Walker has the better rhetoric here, but does Bush perhaps have the better method? Their end goals seem to be the same — laying rest to Obama’s capitulation to Iran. If so, then the question is how best to go about doing that.
In Bush’s favor, the sanctions regime will be gone or nearly so by the time the next President is sworn into office. Either man could tear up the existing deal on January 20, 2017, but neither man could magically summon the sanctions back into place. Assuming restoring sanction is possible, Bush’s slow-motion approach is really the only way to go — gently prodding our allies and our adversaries back into a commonsense containment policy.
But c’mon, who are we kidding?
Neither Russia nor China — UN veto powers, the both of them — would allow an incoming US President such a big diplomatic win on Day One. Ever the mercantilist power, France would hardly be likely to follow Bush’s diplomatic lead and let Chinese and Russian firms score all the big Iranian oil contracts. Britain would likely follow along in hopes of helping restore the Special Relationship, and surely Germany would be good to go, too.
But any sanctions regime which doesn’t include Russia with all her resources and China with all her cash is no sanctions regime at all.
The best bet then might the return of Cowboy Diplomacy, a clean break from eight years of the Obama Doctrine of retreat, surrender, and snubbing our friends and enabling our rivals.
If Reaganesque leadership and reviving the Western coalition means the creation of a Beijing-Moscow-Tehran Axis… well, isn’t Cowboy Diplomacy just a rational response to an Axis which in reality has already coalesced?
And it’s difficult to see how Bush’s go-it-slow maneuvers will resonate with GOP voters disgusted by Obama’s sellout to Iran. Bush’s position might even be read by some as a slow-motion entrenchment of Obama’s deal — which surely won’t win him any trust on other issues, such as a repeal-and-replace of ♡bamaCare!!!.
Walker on the other hand seems to determined to — what’s that word again? — oh yes, win. If that means hoots and hollers from Moscow and Beijing and disdain from All the Right People, so be it.
Bush might have been raised in Texas, but Walker is clearly the cowboy of the two.