Josh Rogin reports that Iran hawks continue to press ahead with new sanctions legislation in spite of Obama’s veto threat:
Illinois Republican Mark Kirk told me in an interview today that even if the Senate delays until late March on voting on the new sanctions bill he crafted with Democrat Robert Menendez, his party’s leadership is committed to moving forward and he is confident the Senate will pass it.
There has never been much doubt that a GOP-controlled Senate would pass a new sanctions bill at some point. Even if Flake and Paul don’t support the bill, Republicans have enough votes to pass the legislation on their own, and the only reason they need Democratic votes is to make the effort appear bipartisan. There were never going to be enough Democratic votes to override Obama’s veto, so the purpose of passing the bill now is to demonstrate how thoroughly opposed to diplomacy with Iran the majority is.
Kirk is unhappy that the administration doesn’t welcome his continuing efforts to sabotage the negotiations:
“I’m very tired of being seen as the enemy by the administration,” Kirk told me. “They tend to only talk to people that agree with them. They like to stay only inside their left-wing appeasement bubble, only talking to left-wing appeasers.”
This is one of the more irritating habits of Iran hawks. They vehemently denounce any and all engagement with another regime as appeasement, they vilify the people conducting the negotiations for supposedly selling out the U.S. in deals that are “worse than Munich,” and then they complain that their objections aren’t being taken seriously. “Why won’t you listen to what I have to say, you miserable Chamberlain clone?” It would be much more alarming if the administration were trying to find some way to placate hard-liners that are dead-set against any deal that could realistically be reached. It’s a good thing that the they aren’t trying to cater to Kirk and other Iran hawks like him, since there is nothing that could possibly satisfy them that wouldn’t derail the talks and take the U.S. on a path to another unnecessary conflict.