There has been much ado about the efforts of President Obama to reach a so-called “nuclear deal” with Iran. Throughout the meetings, phone calls and negotiations that have, thus far, proven to be little more than mere empty talk between the two states, strong feelings on either side of the political spectrum have caused an even deeper divide between the White House and Congress.
Many will recall the recent drama between the two branches of our government on this issue. Friction occured between the office of the president and the conservative factions of Congress as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke before our legislature, imploring American policymakers to oppose President Obama’s efforts to negotiate with Iran.
Many will also remember the open letter from 47 Republican senators to the Iranian government, trying to steer the Islamic Republic’s statesmen away from making a deal with Obama without the approval of Congress.
Such instances have created a tense atmosphere within the diplomatic apparatus of the United States. Legitimate foreign policymaking is being stymied by a power struggle between the executive and legislative branches of the government.
This is no doubt one of the many frustrations that have arisen from America’s well-documented, highly talked about lack of bipartisanism at the national (and international) level.
Following party lines has become the focus of many of the United States’ foremost politicians, generally at the expense of genuine progress on crucial issues, both domestically and abroad.
With this in mind, what—or rather, who—I would like to call to attention is Republican Senator Bob Corker.
Corker recently pulled off a remarkable feat that has been little-noted by the media. Despite the deep divisions that run rampant in the Senate, he managed to unanimously push a bill through his committee that promises Congress at least 30 days to review any sort of final arrangement with Iran on the subject of their nuclear program.
The bill also grants Congress the right to approve the revocation of the economic sanctions that are presently imposed on Iran, should some sort of congenial deal be reached between Obama and Iranian President Rouhani.
The Tennessee senator managed to achieve this despite initial opposition from both parties on the bill’s language. Originally, the White House vowed that it would veto such legislation, and far-right policymakers similarly pledged to oppose it.
Nonetheless, he was able to snag unanimous support for his proposition, yielding a rare, progressive resolution on an issue related to a controversial topic in U.S. foreign policy.
What I appreciate about Corker’s recent triumph is the manner in which it was accomplished.
Corker provides the American Senate with a rare blend of subjectivism and partisan loyalty. He cannot, and is not, to be considered a moderate, the likes of which many of the American people see as being the only solution to its current political strife. According to an article in the Economist, he has been quite vocal in his disapproval of many of Obama’s foreign policy decisions, and has openly criticized him several times.
Nonetheless, Corker has also given credit to the President where he deems it fit, and sympathizes with many of the tricky international situations that were bequeathed to Obama by former president Bush and his administration.
Senator Corker has shown that the power struggle between the two parties, and hence the two branches of government, is of no importance to him. He did not participate in the Republican senators’ letter to the Iranian government, having said such an event was unprogressive.
I am a big fan of Corker’s work in this instance because he has shown the country that one can be strongly affiliated with a political party while still making progressive, reasonable strides to solve current issues.
He has proven the United States is capable of operating with politicians who are loyal to their respective parties, and with luck, he will be able to set an example for his colleagues as such issues continue to develop.