The Iran agreement does not offer an indefinite respite. When its restrictions on Iran's capacity to enrich lapse, concern could revive. This long-term problem cannot be solved through coercion or the use of force. It can only be solved by influencing Iran's nuclear decision-making and creating incentives for nuclear prudence.
What U.S. policymakers have been clear about for decades — both Democrats and Republicans alike — is that there are few greater threats to our global security than a nuclear-armed Iran. That is why the U.S. and our international partners spent nearly two years working out the best possible diplomatic solution to eliminate that threat.
The most tragic consequence of Congress killing the deal would be that it would eliminate the prospect for greater U.S.-Iran cooperation in the region on areas of mutual concern. It would lock in continued enmity between the United States and Iran, serving only to exacerbate tension and conflict across the Middle East. To go down this path when such a mutually advantageous alternative exists would truly be a blunder of historic proportions.
Most Americans struggle to recognize or understand their country's permanent security state, in which elected politicians seem to run the show, but the CIA and the Pentagon often take the lead -- a state that inherently gravitates toward military, rather than diplomatic, solutions to foreign-policy challenges. Viewed through the lens of history, the main job of U.S. presidents is to be mature and wise enough to stand up to the permanent war machine.
It is interesting to speculate how the partisan lines would divide had this same agreement been concluded during the George W. Bush years. Based on the history of the Cold War years, there would have been considerable support from the Democratic side and not the solid partisan resistance from Republicans now committed to blinkered opposition to anything achieved by the Obama Administration. This agreement to limit Iranian nuclear ambitions does not and could not solve all the complex problems represented by Iran in the Middle East any more than nuclear arms agreements with the Soviets solved all the problems they represented in the world. No plausible and persuasive argument has yet been offered as to why we and our allies would be better off without this agreement. Until it is offered, this agreement profoundly requires Congressional approval.