The incredible cowardice of Senator Chuck Schumer

Chuck Schumer, senior Senator from New York, last night came out in opposition to the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by the five permanent Security Council members and the EU, a deal which takes an Iranian nuclear weapon off the table.

The fact that he released his statement when followers of politics had their eyes fixed on the GOP beauty pageant is telling. It was the equivalent of a Friday afternoon news dump.

Of course, he wasn't counting that those of us who are Obama supporters and supporters of peace can do more than one thing at a time. The reaction was instant and furious. I've tried calling Sen. Schumer's office, and no one is answering the phone.

His Medium piece is one roiling paranoid fantasy that Iranians can never be trusted, ever, on a par with Binyamin Netanyahu's belief that Iran wants to conquer the world.

Nowhere in his piece does he address the fact that if the US rejects the deal, the other signatories are not bound by that rejection. They are tired of the sanctions regime, and will no longer be able to trust the US on negotiating any accord. Certainly Russia and China will lift their sanctions. And France, Britain, and the EU are not likely to fall back in line when there's already a breach in the sanctions regime, absolutely fed up by US fecklessness.

What Senator Schumer is advocating is a dereliction of US leadership. Approving a deal maintains a coalition built painstakingly by Pres. Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and current SoS John Kerry. Rejecting the deal does not enhance the US's position in the world, but tarnishes it as much as anything done during the Bush Administration. It is strategic and political malfeasance.

It is also telling that Mr. Schumer spends half of his statement on the non-nuclear aspects of relations with Iran. There he paints Iran as a member of that putative Axis of Evil, on a par with Nazi Germany, unwilling to change, always seeking to dominate the Middle East and the world. His "better deal" would have addressed the totality of the Iranian political system, not just its nuclear program. How he thinks the Powers could have gotten Iran to the table if the ultimate object was complete capitulation he doesn't adumbrate. Merely the fact that the deal didn't include curbs on Iran's strategic interests is sufficient to scupper it.

What the putative future Democratic Senate leader did last night was to call for war. This is not scare mongering. US strategic interests cannot allow a nuclear-armed Iran. Absent this deal, Iran will be able to, if it wishes, manufacture nuclear weapons. To prevent this, the US will have to launch a costly, catastrophic war, with no support from any of its allies. It is, quite simply, a recipe for the destruction of American leadership. It would also destroy the world economy. Such a man is not fit to have any position of leadership in the Democratic Party.

Mr. Schumer said a few days ago that he would not be swayed by party in his deliberations over the Iran deal. He obviously was also not swayed by logic, empathy, or plain common sense. If the President's veto is overturned, the pursuant deaths will be on his head.



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