Congressman Lance posed a question to his constituents recently:
“President Trump last week said Iran was not complying with the 2015 nuclear arms deal negotiated by the Obama Administration and without the consent of Congress.
What action do you think Congress should now take?
- Kill the deal and impose new, immediate sanctions.
- Renegotiate a better deal.
- Keep the 2015 agreement in place.”
The last time I checked, the poll was running about 64% in favor of keeping the 2015 agreement in place. Will the Congressman take the response of his constituents in account if he is called upon to vote?
I am not a diplomat, nor an expert on treaty negotiations. I am a scientist, and I listen to what scientists have to say. For me, it was very telling when in August 2008, twenty-nine of the nation’s top scientists — including Nobel laureates, veteran makers of nuclear arms and former White House science advisers — wrote to President Obama in praise of the deal. And this was not a collection of “lefty liberal” scientists. For example, the list included the very distinguished Princeton physicist Freeman Dyson. Professor Dyson has long been a thorn in the side of liberals for his unwavering contrarian views on climate change.
In January 2017, 37 scientists, including many of the original 29, signed a letter to President Trump, urging him to abide by the deal. “We urge you to preserve this critical U.S. strategic asset,” they said.
At the highest levels of the administration, there is agreement that Iran is not in breech. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, "We don't dispute that they're under technical compliance" with the deal. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Oct. 3 that preserving the nuclear deal is in the U.S. interest. International inspectors with the International Atomic Energy Agency have reported eight times, most recently in August, that Tehran is obeying the terms. Germany, France and Britain have all reaffirmed their commitment to the nuclear deal, as have the other signatories, China and Russia.
Is the President simply grandstanding for his base? Posturing to Iran to put pressure on their ballistic missile program? Or is is this just another, more dangerous, example of his animus to any legislation that has on it the fingerprints of his predecessor?
This is a nuclear minefield through which Congressman Lance would be wise to step carefully. Will he listen to the 64% of his constituents who are urging caution? Or will he do as he does 93.8% of the time, and vote in line with Trump’s position?