Obama’s Made Some Bad Deals. Why He Should Stop Sidelining Congress.
Rep. Doug Lamborn /
I have some bad news for Americans and our allies around the world: President Obama is quite good at making bad deals, particularly with dangerous regimes and groups.
The nuclear negotiations with Iran are but the most recent example. A nuclear “framework agreement” has been reached, but the latest deal coming out of Switzerland is dangerous on two fronts. First, it doesn’t protect America’s interests or protect Israel, our strongest strategic ally in the region. Second, the agreement doesn’t meaningfully restrict the extremist Iranian regime from expanding its nuclear program.
An example also can be found in 2014, when President Obama “traded” five hardened terrorists imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay for the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who had been held captive by the Taliban for five years. What makes this deal particularly disturbing, aside from the president even entertaining the idea of freeing dangerous enemies of America, is Bergdahl already was suspected of desertion. In essence, we swapped five terrorists for one suspected deserter. That’s not a good deal. To add insult to injury, at least one terrorist involved in the “swap” is believed to already have rejoined the Taliban’s fighting forces.
What do these two bad deals say about this administration? There are striking parallels that should be pointed out.
Both bad deals relegated Congress to the sidelines when it should have been instrumental in helping make decisions in these matters. In the case of Bergdahl, the president conducted the “swap” without seeking consultation from Congress, even though U.S. law explicitly requires the president and his administration to notify Congress 30 days before it transfers any prisoners from Guantanamo Bay. This failure to notify was no accident; it was the president deliberately flouting the law of the land.
In the case of the Iran nuclear talks, once again Congress was left in the dark and presented with a situation where the president was unilaterally making decisions. The president placed more faith in the despotic leaders of Iran than in the process established by our Constitution and the democratically elected members of Congress. This is a slap in the face of Congress and the people we represent.
In both situations, the president downplayed the questionable aspects of the deals but exaggerated facts to make the deals sound better than they were. He made grandiose claims about Iran’s good deeds in the nuclear talks but ignored the blatant threats the Iranian regime has made toward the United States and Israel. He argued the Taliban terrorists released in the Bergdahl deal weren’t a threat to American lives. This was, to say the least, extremely naïve.
It seems clear the president acted as he did because he knew his actions in both situations would not be tolerated by Congress. As is customary with President Obama, when he knows he has a tough sell to the American people and Congress, he creates ways to maneuver around even the constitutional barriers to push forward his agenda.
It is clear President Obama doesn’t want to work with Congress because we may thwart his plans. Instead of working within the reasonable limits established by the Constitution and trusting that good policy will win in the end, President Obama repeatedly has shown a willingness to play fast and loose with the truth to achieve his policy goals. This is wrong and dangerous.
Ultimately, we want to be able to trust our president, to trust he will make the right decisions for our country, our safety and our strategic allies. We don’t want our country to be shortchanged. Poor decisions such as these place our country and our troops in danger. And the question must be asked: What would stop our enemies from capturing more soldiers (and potentially even civilians) to trade for other terrorists in Guantanamo Bay?
The president is willing to trade known terrorists for a suspected deserter. This leads to a crisis of trust. If we can’t trust President Obama to make the right decision regarding the Bergdahl situation, can we trust him to make the right decision on Iran? Sadly, the answer appears to be a resounding “no.”