Our national security advisors let us down in the run up to the Iraq war. Today history is repeating itself. And, if Congress does not act to reject the Iran deal with a veto-proof majority, our nation's leaders will make us less secure, threaten the lives of more Marylanders and Americans in uniform and raise the prospect of war.
Let's be clear: The proposed deal is not the only option for a diplomatic solution. A rejected deal forces the administration--and the Iranian government--back to negotiate a new agreement.
The United States has leverage. Under the proposed terms, the terrorist-sponsoring nation stands to receive $150 billion--the equivalent of $8 trillion to the U.S. economy--from the removal of sanctions. It's money the regime desperately needs. Without that infusion of cash, the Iranian government moves closer to its potential demise.
The administration has parameters from majorities in Congress as to what constitutes a resolution in America's and the world's security interest.
That agreement would include unfettered inspections and verifications, disclosure of prior weaponization efforts, sanctions relief only after proven compliance, a decades-long block of Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions and the dismantlement of its nuclear weapon infrastructure.
But the proposed deal misses each of these marks. While there are provisions for 150 inspectors to investigate a country twice the size of Texas, the procedure for inspections is unduly lengthy and effectively gives Iran veto authority sufficient to remove evidence of violations. We have no assurances as to what extent Iran must disclose its prior activities. The deal provides almost immediate sanctions relief--a signing bonus to a regime, which can't be trusted, still holds four Americans hostage and commits atrocities, such as lashings and executions of LGBT people and forced gender reassignment, every day.
Dangerously, this deal leaves Iran's extensive nuclear infrastructure almost entirely intact. Not a single centrifuge or any Iranian nuclear facility will be dismantled (however, Iran will give up most of its centrifuges). And, contrary to moderating Iran's behavior, as the administration contends its deal will do, the new framework could embolden the terrorist regime.
This outcome isn't just untenable--it's catastrophic.
If this agreement is approved, we effectively lose any hope of stopping Iran's nuclear weapons program through diplomacy. A nuclear arms race will ensue in the Middle East. More monies will flow to provide funds, arms and training to terror groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. And once Iran becomes a nuclear threshold state, we can not prevent Tehran, without force, from building a nuclear weapon when it's ready to do so.
Instead of putting our fate in our own hands, we put the trigger in the hands of Iran's clerics--making the Middle East less stable, increasing the odds of a devastating conflict and elevating our terrorist threat-level as high as it's ever been. The problem, of course, is that unlike the beheadings by ISIS, we can't see the clear and present danger in front of our eyes.
Leadership, however, is anticipating tomorrow's threats and challenges and preventing and overcoming them, even when it's politically difficult to go up against your own party. That's the duty of Maryland's--and all--Congressional officials right now, including Rep. Chris Van Hollen and Rep. Donna Edwards, seeking promotion to the U.S. Senate.
In any negotiation often you need a bad cop, to strengthen your hand for a better outcome. It's time Congress play the bad cop--and send the president and Secretary John Kerry back for the best deal.