February 11, 2014 | Quote
Corker and Menendez Try to Implant Spine in Administration
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, did not join a letter last week signed by 42 Republicans that pushed for a vote on the Menendez-Kirk Iran sanctions bill. I asked him Monday afternoon why not. “It had zero impact as to whether we will have a vote,” he said. “I have a chairman [Sen. Robert Menendez] interested in a shared [way forward]. He has deep concerns which are real.” Proceeding with only Republicans, he explained, “turns it into a partisan issue.” Moreover, the reasoning goes, it turns it into a losing issue in the Senate and gives the White House the argument that this is purely partisan.
That doesn’t mean Corker is satisfied — far from it. He said bluntly, “This is the biggest foreign policy issue and not to debate it on the floor is a diminishment of the Senate.” Obviously, the responsibility lies with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who is acting as the White House lackey, and thereby assuming responsibility for the result.
Those involved in pro-sanctions activity indicate discussions are ongoing for further action, which may or may not include sanctions (it must be recognized that at some point sanctions cease to be meaningful). Moreover, there is growing consensus that any external event (e.g. Iran cheating, Iran walking out, Iran insisting on keeping its illicit program) will change the dynamic in the Senate.
At that hearing, sanctions guru Mark Dubowitz explained, “I think that the legislation had as its intent, to send a credible threat to international markets that it is premature to go back into Iran, and that if Iran does not satisfy the interim conditions, if it cheats on the [interim deal], if it fires off long-range ballistic missiles, if it launches terrorist attacks against America, that all the sanctions relief would be gone and new sanctions would be imposed on Iran.” In blocking a sanctions vote, the White House and Reid give the Iranians time to recover economically while they pursue advanced research on centrifuges and continue ballistic weapons development.