Tom Cole blasts Obama's international policy, including deal with Iran, saying 'this president will … leave us weaker'
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Published: 09-Aug-2015

OKLAHOMA CITY – U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, does not believe President Barack Obama's agreement with Iran is sensible, or good for the United States.

In an interview with CapitolBeatOK, he reflected on what he deemed “multiple failures” in the accord Secretary of State John Kerry negotiated.

About the only thing Cole grants Obama is his agreement that the deal with just that – a deal, not a treaty requiring approval from Congress.

“An agreement between governments is not a treaty. The next president can change this agreement, and I think that’s what has Obama concerned,” Cole commented. After saying repeatedly he was willing to walk about from a bad deal, Obama's team made concessions to the Iranians before inking the deal several weeks ago.

“He must have decided he was so deep into it was too difficult to reverse,” Cole said.

The veteran politician says a strong majority in both chambers of Congress likely opposes the agreement, but that Obama only needs enough backing to sustain his promised veto of any congressional resolution of disapproval.

Speaking a few hours before U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, announced opposion to the deal, Cole speculated the possible future leader of Senate Democrats might break against Obama: “He knows it is very significant to a large portion of his constituency.”

Cole continued, “The main failure is that even if it works -- if the Iranians keep their word -- they will be nuclear capable after a decade and will have time to develop a means to deliver that.” Further, “it is a mistake to lift the embargo on conventional arms, and to end the ballistic missile development ban.”

As for provisions banning many inspectors of Iran's nuke sites, including all Americans, Cole said, “The Iranians don’t want us inspecting their facilities. 

"The issue is that the people who don’t recognize Iran’s government are the ones I’d most like to see included in the inspections process.

“The Iranian government made no change in behavior, yet got this incredible reward. They are continuing to finance and otherwise support Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria's government, and the Houthis in Yemen. And, they are active in Iraq.”

As for provisions allowing cash infusions to bolster the Iranian government, Cole said, “Their financial windfall will be from as little as $58 million to as much as $150 million.”

In summary, “Some deals aren’t worth having. … [Obama] made a mistake in not walking away from it when [the Iranians] walked away for a time. If we’d walked away, the sanctions would have stayed in place, and that would be preferable to what we’re getting now.”

Bemused over comparisons of Obama to the most conservative U.S. president in modern history, Cole says: “I find interesting and unpersuasive the comparisons to Ronald Reagan’s negotiation of an agreement with Russia. …

“Reagan walked away from a deal in Reykjavik (Iceland). That brought the Soviets to their senses, and brought them back to the negotiating table. The comparison between Reagan and Obama is not a good fit. Anytime you evaluate something like this you have to look at the potential gain against the status quo. The status quo would be better than this deal.

“Nobody trusts the Iranians, and this president has been repeatedly wrong in foreign policy. He was wrong about early withdrawal from Iraq. He was wrong on Libya, and on Egypt, and he misjudged the war in Syria. He misjudged [Russian President] Putin’s play in the Urkraine. This president will, uncontestably, leave us weaker than when he came into office.”

In dialogue with CapitolBeatOK, Cole said President Obama “has destroyed what was left of the bipartisan tradition in foreign policy. 

"The Democratic party drummed over and over again the claim that 'Bush lied and people died.' It shows how the base and even the leadership of their party has shifted.

“Both John Kerry and Hillary Clinton supported the decision to go to war in Iraq, but now look where they are. They were willing partners in that policy, yet now they are willing partners in the Iran policy.”

Cole noted that James Clapper, current Director of National Intelligence, “has said the world today is a complex and dangerous place, more so than in a long time. And yet, this president has misjudged our position and the situation with Russia, China, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and the terrorists.”

Cole said the current field of Republican presidential candidates includes at least eight people with a plausible path to the presidency. 

He hopes one of them can end Democratic control of the presidency, and reverse many of Obama's policies in the international arena.

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