by BRUCE JENTLESON for THE HILL on APRIL 13, 2015:
There have been many times in American history when Congress has played a constructive foreign policy role. There have been other times when its role has been counterproductive to foreign policy success. As we move to the final stages of the Iran nuclear negotiations, there is room for the former. But the Iran Nuclear Agreement Act of 2015, the bill whose principal co-sponsors are Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and former ranking minority member Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), risks the latter.
The Parameters for a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) recently agreed to in Switzerland, building on the November 2013 original JCPOA, made significant strides, including some restrictions on the Iranian nuclear program that went further than many anticipated. But it had less clarity and specificity than optimal. The Obama administration and its P5+1 partners (European allies Britain, France and Germany as well as China and Russia) have a lot of work to do by the end of June for a comprehensive agreement that provides high confidence that Iran will not develop nuclear weapons.
But in the name of preventing a bad deal, the Corker-Menendez bill weaves a procedural spider web for congressional review and includes a poison pill provision that hinders, rather than helps, getting a good deal. KEEP READING
Bruce W. Jentleson is a professor at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy and a professor of political science. He is also Co-Principal Investigator with the Duke-American University-UC Berkeley “Bridging the Gap” initiative. Jentleson’s areas of expertise include Middle East peace and security, international conflict prevention, global governance, international security, and U.S. foreign policy. In 2009-11 he served as a Senior Advisor at the State Department. His publications include “American Foreign Policy: The Dynamics of Choice in the 21st Century” (W.W. Norton, 5th edition 2013). Recently named Kissinger Chair in Foreign Policy and International Relations at the Library of Congress Kluge Center, he will begin his tenure in the fall and continue for nine months, where he will complete his forthcoming book Transformational Statesmanship: Difficult, Possible, Necessary. The book focuses on 20th century world leaders who made major breakthroughs for global peace and security, drawing lessons for key 21st century policy challenges.
Jentleson is also affiliated faculty with the Duke Islamic Studies Center and a contributor to ISLAMiCommentary.