Tag Archives: Highway Funding

Unfinished Business — Congress’s Summer Recess and the Presidential Debate

As Congress heads out of Washington for a month of getting back in touch with their constituents and “educational” travel, the list of unresolved issues is (as always) extremely long.  How much of these issues Congress will manage to handle in September and October (and maybe November and December) is anybody’s guess.  (Mine is not many).  Some of these issues are more significant and may become part of the upcoming Republican Debates.  I would like to focus on two:  the Highway Bill and Iran.

Back in April, I did a post on the Iran Negotiations.  Most of what I said then is even more true now that there is a deal.  Iran has a right under international law to have a civilian nuclear power program.  From the international communities perspective, the issue is what procedures need to be in place to guarantee that Iran does not use their civilian program to develop nuclear weapons.  Previously, the U.S. was able to convince the rest of the world that Iran was not willing to give such assurances and the rest of the leading nations went along with the U.S. in imposing sanctions.  The rest of the world (with the exception of those nations most at risk) view the current agreement as adequate.  (For obvious reasons, the nations most at risk view any lifting as sanctions as bad because — even if Iran does not pursue nuclear weapons — the lifting of sanctions will allow Iran to devote more resources to other portions of their military.)  If the U.S. decides to kill the deal, it is unclear what would happen next.   How much of the agreement will the rest of the world insist that Iran comply with in exchange for lifting the sanctions if the U.S. is not part of the regime for enforcing the agreement.

At the Republican debate, it is unlikely that we will get any serious discussion of how the rest of the world would react if we walk away from the deal (or even the fact that Iran has the right to a civilian nuclear power industry).  Instead, the entire field (with the possible exception of Rand Paul) will say that the deal is not good enough,  Some of them may imply that no deal would be good enough.  Others will simply say the deal is bad without suggesting any additional terms that would satisfy them.  None of them will acknowledge the role of the rest of the world in keeping Iran in check and that this agreement is a multilateral agreement. Continue Reading...

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