Barack Obama was one of many liberals who took to their virtual spaces this week to bash President Trump for pulling the United States out of the Iran nuclear agreement. But while many a leftist had something to say about the “disastrous” decision to “ruin America’s credibility” (among other complaints), you’ll notice that none of them argue that Trump exceeded his authority in doing so. And trust us, they would if they could – see: immigration, see: travel ban, see: transgender soldiers, etc. And the reason they couldn’t is because instead of doing the Iran deal the way it should have been done, with congressional approval, Obama took the weasel’s way out and signed an agreement that wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on.
The left has their reasons for believing that the Iran deal should have been kept in place, and though we think those reasons are thinly sourced and overly deferential to the credibility of the Iranian regime, we won’t get into that today. Reasonable people can disagree as to the merits of the agreement.
What isn’t reasonable is to claim – as Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and Obama have all done in recent days – that Trump sacrificed America’s trustworthiness when he made the decision to snap sanctions back in place. They argue that our allies and enemies will have no reason to trust us from here on out because we’ve shown that we’re ready, willing, and able to break international compacts whenever the political winds shift. Now, that may be true from a certain standpoint, but guess what? There’s a constitutional remedy for that. It’s called legislation. It’s called, doing things the right way. It’s called, getting a political consensus before you move forward with reckless, one-sided deals with terrorist nations.
That’s not the path Obama chose, and that’s why his supporters are crying in their beer today.
Had Obama chosen another path, things would be different. He could have presented the Iran deal to Congress. He could have pursued the path that would have turned the nuclear deal into a ratified treaty, backed by the rule of law. Had he done so, we would have avoided two situations: One, we would have had an agreement that passed the laugh test, because Republicans would not have certified a deal with this many holes in it. Nor would they have passed something in a rush just because Obama thought it would look good on his Achievements Board. Two, the deal would have been much harder for his successor to break. In fact, if Obama and gone this route and Trump had then done what he did this week, then all the clowns saying he ruined America’s credibility would have a point.
As it is now, though, we have a situation much more akin to Obama’s executive actions. A situation that resembles the Paris Climate Agreement. These were political moves taken on by a president who could never figure out how to compromise. So, instead of learning a thing or two about negotiation and politics, he used his infamous “pen and phone” to carve out a legacy for himself. That made it easy to grab headlines back in the halcyon years of his administration, but it also made it easy for Trump to come along and smash that house of ice chips with a sledgehammer.
Long story short, America’s credibility isn’t hurt by this move because “America” never signed this agreement in the first place. John Kerry and Barack Obama did. And if the international community needed a reminder that those guys are gone, this should do the trick.