by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
While others focus on the merits or demerits of President Trump’s decision to exit the nuclear deal with Iran, Charles Cooke of National Review Online revisits the flawed process that produced the deal.
[T]hose who are worried about the effect this will have on America’s “standing” in the world should be extremely angry with President Obama today. Ben Rhodes, who admitted to lying to credulous journalists in his attempt to get the deal through, is scared that the reversal will be “devastating to U.S. credibility globally.” “Why,” he asks, “would anyone trust an international agreement that the U.S. negotiates?”
The answer to this, traditionally, is “because the deal was ratified by the Senate.”
This deal, however, was not ratified by the Senate. Instead, Rhodes’s boss deliberately bypassed our constitutional structure and struck the agreement unilaterally, the operating theory being that if the president called it something other than a “treaty” then it would become something other than a treaty. Which, of course, it . . . did. In my view, circumventing the Senate in this way was a gross violation of the American system of government and a disgraceful exercise in linguistic gamesmanship. But one doesn’t have to agree with that to accept that, because Obama took this approach, he ended up with a non-treaty. And non-treaties lack the imprimatur and broad-based acceptance that treaties, by design, tend to enjoy. If the president wanted his arrangement to be more permanent, he should have gone to the Senate.