Congress Foreign Policy Iran Senate

Noted Fear-Mongers Accuse Others of Fear-Mongering

IranMapIt’s not everyday that you see foreign policy hawks accuse others of “fear-mongering,” which is their forte, but today is the day.

Senator Robert Menendez (D) not only opposes the Obama administration’s deal with Iran, he also believes the administration is engaging in fear-mongering by trying to avoid a war.

“What I don’t appreciate is when I hear remarks out of the White House spokesman that … if we’re pursuing sanctions we’re marching the country off to war. I think that’s way over the top, I think that’s fear-mongering,” Menendez said on the National Public Radio program “All Things Considered.” [...]

Menendez who often supports Obama, but is a hawk on Iran, said he would push ahead with fresh sanctions measures that would take effect if Iran stops cooperating with Western powers.

Fear-mongering would be senators such as Menendez essentially declaring that no deal can be trusted unless its utterly one-sided in favor of the U.S. or Israel. And if we’re being honest, that’s not a realistic scenario. It would be foolish and irresponsible to assume that the Iranians will receive nothing for backing down.

And while we’re on the subject, I’ve found Democratic senators who oppose the deal to be utterly embarrassing.

I expect Republicans to oppose any and all deals the administration negotiates because opposing the administration is their reason for being. When I see Democratic senators oppose the administration in a situation like this, I see politicians who don’t want to let go of this particular avenue of fundraising. I see the anti-deal lobby whispering sweet-nothings in their ears.

It would be difficult to convince me that security is at the heart of their opposition because I believe those who would move to scuttle the administration’s deal are the biggest threat to security.

If new sanctions have the support of Menendez, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, it would be a good bet to say that new sanctions will pass.

This would be good time to claim that you can see into the future by predicting a uniting of very serious people on the left and right in the media to attack the president for vetoing sanctions on Iran.

  • muselet

    I don’t understand what is gained by pushing for stronger sanctions against Iran, apart from torpedoing negotiations. As Kevin Drum said this morning, in a slightly different context, “Maximum belligerence isn’t the answer to every foreign policy problem.”

    Robert Menendez brings to mind the wise leadership of Mal Reynolds: “Jayne, your mouth is talking. You might wanna look to that.”


    • More on the point about stronger sanctions…Iran is already crying “enough” and willing to come to the negotiating table because of the sanctions as they exist now. Making the sanctions worse would only be seen as further punishment in Iran and coming after they’ve said they’d negotiate–we’d run the risk of having them fall back into the hard-line stance taken by their previous leadership. It reminds me of my kids….I can punish them but if they’ve become contrite and made an attempt to do the right thing and instead of allowing them to do what is right I increase their punishment, they get stubborn and adopt a “take no prisoners” mindset. I mean why express a willingness to compromise if all it gets you is more punishment? Might as well have stuck to your original position in the first place.

      It’s not just money whispering in not so esteemed Congressional ears….it’s ignorance of how diplomacy works. “Teh stupid” will kill us yet.

      • muselet

        Commenter Jim1648 at the link: “Each senator wants to be Secretary of State, if not President. There is a reason that they aren’t.”

        The only reason to push for even more punitive sanctions aganst Iran is to ensure the failure of negotiations. I understand why Rs might want to scuttle the administration’s diplomatic efforts—seething hatred of Barack Obama and everything he says and does—but I fail to see why Robert Menendez would. Maybe Iran pushed Menendez into a mud puddle or kicked his dog when he was a boy. I don’t know and I don’t care. What I do know is that he—and all the other Iran-hawk senators—should sit down, shut up and see what happens before proposing more sanctions.

        “Teh stupid,” indeed.