Bill Kristol gives Republicans two impossible tasks:
Of course Republicans can’t just resist. They need a positive agenda in both domestic and foreign policy, and work on that needs to go on. But for the immediate future, the crucial service the GOP can perform for the country is to stop both Obamacare and the Iranian nuclear program. Eventually the GOP will have to govern [bold mine-DL]. It has to prepare to govern. But resistance precedes governing.
It is hard to see how Republicans can “stop” the ACA all together from their current position of weakness, but it is simply absurd to think that Republicans in Congress have any means to “stop” Iran’s nuclear program. They can help to undermine U.S. and Iranian negotiators by seeking additional sanctions, and some of them are already doing this. In doing so, they can make a diplomatic solution less likely, and that in turn will increase tensions and the likelihood of armed conflict. Imposing more sanctions on Iran at this point would inflict even more unnecessary suffering on the civilian population, vindicate Iranian opponents of a negotiated deal, and provide an opening for Iran to withdraw from talks while credibly faulting the U.S. for the breakdown.
“Resisting” Iran’s nuclear program by piling on more sanctions will achieve nothing except to convince Iran that the U.S. cannot be trusted to keep its end of any agreement, and that in turn would strengthen the hand of Iranian hard-liners and give Iran an additional incentive to develop nuclear weapons. The “crucial service” Kristol wants Republicans to perform on foreign policy will make a nuclear-armed Iran more likely. Considering how much harm such “resistance” will do, one shudders to think what Kristol’s “positive agenda” on foreign policy looks like.