On Monday, Republican Senator from Tennessee Bob Corker and Democratic Senator from Virginia Tim Kaine launched what is framed as a bipartisan resolution to change the authorization for use of military force (AUMF). The AUMF is the legal authority given to the President by Congress to conduct War, in this case against al Qaeda and their many bastard offshoots. It is vital that the President have the ability to rapidly respond as Islamist such as al Qaeda exploit the glacier pace at which American laws are made.
This is the delicate balance the United States strikes every day and many, if not most, Americans go blissfully unaware of the process. If you aren’t in the military, a family member of someone in the military, or some giant nerd who studies foreign policy for fun or money — you likely don’t give the AUMF a second thought. After all, that’s how the American Experiment works; Americans elect people, they go to Washington D.C. and make the decisions for the people who sent them to make.
That’s a perfect system in theory, but the nature and pace of the enemy’s capabilities have adapted and that means the response to threats have to adapt as well. What Corker and Kaine have proposed does that to some extent, especially since America has plans to jump with both feet into Africa’s growing jihad problem, but this newly proposed AUMF does not address a non-nuclear Iran or Bashar al-Assad.
RedState was able to ask a foreign policy adviser close to the White House about this resolution. The adviser was less than impressed with the proposal, saying,
“The kindest thing that can be said about this is that it’s merely irrelevant but more probably it’s a deliberate distraction. As the president said on Friday, we’re mopping up ISIS and the real threat now is that Iran and its proxies like Assad will fill in the vacuum. They’re the ones we’re launching spectacular multilateral raids against. Congress looked at the president attacking Assad and leaped into action with sleuthing irrelevant.”
The joint resolution never names Assad or Iran, despite the White House, the Department of Defense, and every other American intelligence agency saying they are a direct threat to America’s national security. Since scrolling through 20-pages of a joint resolution does not sound like a fun time here are some screenshots.
This is the If Obama did it it is okay clause.
It makes every single war started by Nobel Peace Prize Winner and former President of the United States Barack Obama necessary and legal. The reason some Democrats likely wouldn’t think to put Iran in the new AUMF is they legitimately believe the Iran Deal signed by Obama is working, but Corker knows better which is why he appeared to oppose the Iran deal. Despite throwing his hands up early in the process, Corker was once quoted by the Tennessean as follows,
“The fact that we’ve had this rogue nation with a boot on it’s neck and it has been able to negotiate with Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and us … and end up in the place that they are to me is very concerning”
This is the Assad Clause
Basically, to continue, any action against Assad and/or Iran, the President has to have permission from Congress even though the U.S. has already engaged four different state and non-state actors in Syria. This is a feckless and counterproductive move on the part of Kaine, Corker, and anyone who supports it. If the goal is to avoid war with Iran the worst possible move is to indicate that the United States will not follow through on threats.
Placing them in this new resolution sends the message to Iran that their destabilizing behavior is no longer going to be tolerated in the region or by the global community. It would be policy matching rhetoric, which is how the theory of deterrence in foreign policy works. If there is no intention of following through on threats it is a useless waste of breath and ink.
And if those on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee think quietly pivoting to Africa will help them avoid a conflict with Iran or even Russia by simply ignoring Assad, they should think again. Perhaps even go back and read some of the CIA’s reports on Iranian adventurism on the African Continent. Not to mention listen to what Russia is saying about what they see as a completely open security market.
Being nice to Iran hasn’t worked, giving Iran billions in cash didn’t work, and ignoring Iran won’t work. Iran is a regional bully who wants to expand and there is only one way to deal with a bully and that is to confront them directly.