Michael Cohen comments on the political implications of the failed attempt to sabotage the nuclear deal:
The consequences of this shift are likely to live on far past the Iran nuclear debate. For years, fear of political attack drove Democrats into dangerous positions on the use of military force, most of all with the 2002 Iraq War vote. With the Iran vote, Democrats are discovering that support for diplomacy rather than war is the more fertile political terrain. If anything, Democrats may have the opportunity now to put Republicans on the defensive for their insufficient dovishness and “shoot first, ask questions later” approach to the use of military force. If that were to happen, the Iran deal might represent more than an historic nonproliferation agreement—it might actually put America on the path to a sane foreign policy.
I certainly hope this is the case. I have said before that the successful conclusion of the nuclear deal represents a major blow against threat inflation, and that still seems mostly correct. The deal undermines the hawkish case for attacking Iran, and it also weakens the alarmist case regarding the Iranian “threat” by significantly limiting and monitoring Iran’s nuclear program, and all of this was achieved during one of the most sustained campaigns of fear-mongering and deception in recent history. Iran hawks have done everything they could to try to undermine diplomacy with Iran, and they have fallen short at every step. More than that, their heavy-handed, clueless attacks on the deal and its supporters repeatedly backfired on them and helped to discredit their cause.
However, that shouldn’t blind us to the reality that the majority party in Congress appears to be completely in the thrall of hard-liners on this issue, so much so that it appears that there won’t be a single dissenting Republican voting in support of the deal. Maybe there are some courageous House members that will surprise us, but it’s not looking promising. Considering how lacking in merit the anti-deal arguments are, that is worrisome in itself. If purveyors of threat inflation and alarmism failed in this instance, they nonetheless have a very receptive audience in the GOP, and unfortunately they have a decent chance to have a president inclined to view the world their way in two years’ time. I suspect that the party’s continued embrace of hard-line policies will be a liability for them in presidential elections for the foreseeable future, and I assume that hard-line opposition to the deal will hurt the eventual Republican nominee, but it isn’t going to weaken their control of Congress that much. Until the GOP pays a significant and sustained political price for its hard-line foreign policy agenda, the party will never contemplate serious changes, and that will continue to warp our foreign policy debates for some time to come.