Right Web

Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

Lindsey Graham Says Congress Will “Follow [Bibi’s] Lead”

Sen. Lindsey Graham has remarkably gone to Jerusalem and told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the U.S. Congress will follow his lead with respect to Iran sanctions.

Print Friendly


Lindsey Graham, who is not a stupid person, can be so embarrassing. Speaking at a press conference alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem Saturday, Graham said the following in response to Bibi’s call for “more sanctions, and stronger sanctions” against Iran.

But you, above all others, have said that sanctions are what got Iran to the table, and it will be the only thing that brings them to a deal that we can all live with.

I’m here to tell you, Mr. Prime Minister, that the Congress will follow your lead. [Emphasis added.]

What a remarkable thing to say to a foreign leader when he’s hosting you in his country, especially when the president of your own country is clearly not happy with that prime minister’s approach to this particular problem.

But that’s not all he said. He implied that people in the US intelligence community, which has insisted for more than seven years now that Iran has not made a decision to build a nuclear weapon, should have their driver’s licenses revoked whenever they return from overseas assignments, meetings or vacations.

To those who believe the Iranians have not been trying to develop a nuclear weapon, if you come to America, you should not be allowed to drive on our highways. Clearly, this regime for years has been deceiving the international community, has been trying to pursuit [sic], in my view, a nuclear weapon.

And then there’s this little gem offered to a leader who, as prime minister or the leader of the opposition, has steadfastly opposed the peace-making efforts of three US presidents, including George W. Bush, and who enthusiastically encouraged the United States to invade and occupy Iraq, among other incredibly stupid moves.

And what brings me here so many times, is common and shared values and common and shared enemies.

The fate of one country determines the fate of the other.

God bless the people of Israel, and you can count on the United States Congress, Republican and Democrat, to be there for you when you need us the most. [Emphasis added.]

Now, to be fair to Graham, he did not explicitly endorse Netanyahu’s call for “more sanctions, and stronger sanctions” despite his promise that Congress will follow Bibi’s “lead” in dealing with Iran. Instead, he promised that Congress will vote on the Kirk-Menendez bill, or what I originally called the “Wag the Dog Act of 2014,” next month, the approval of which, according to virtually all knowledgeable observers, will result in the collapse not only of the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, but also of the international sanctions regime. (For a more specific analysis, you can examine Ed Levine’s assessment of the bill after it was introduced last year.)

Graham, like Netanyahu himself, also insisted that he supports the administration’s efforts to negotiate a deal. “I would love nothing better than a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear ambitions,” he said. “I support the Administration’s effort to try to bring this to a peaceful conclusion.” But then he went on to insist that any final agreement must include the abandonment by Tehran of its uranium enrichment capabilities—a demand that all of the P5+1 (US, UK, France, Russia, China plus Germany) consider totally unrealistic.

Now, Graham often has had a problem with getting a little carried away in his public rhetoric. Reacting to President Obama’s State of the Union Address last January, and particularly his remarks about imposing sanctions against Iran, the South Carolina senator warned that “the world is literally about to blow up.” At the 2010 Halifax International Security Forum, Graham reportedly stunned the audience—and apparently embarrassed his hosts—by calling for a full-scale attack on Iran beyond its nuclear facilities.

So my view of military force would be not to just neutralize their nuclear program, which are probably dispersed and hardened, but to sink their navy, destroy their air force and deliver a decisive blow to the Revolutionary Guard. In other words, neuter that regime.

But then last June, Graham, while on the rounds of the Sunday talk shows and apparently freaked out about Islamic State’s sweep in northern and western Iraq, called for Washington to work with Iran (and presumably with the hated Revolutionary Guard) to protect Baghdad. The US has to “have to have some dialogue with the Iranians that says, ‘let’s coordinate our efforts,’ but has some red lines,” he said on one show. “The Iranians can provide some assets to make sure Baghdad doesn’t fall,” he said on yet another. “We need to coordinate with the Iranians. To ignore Iran and not tell them, ‘Don’t take advantage of this situation,’ would be a mistake.”

More recently, Graham denounced the Republican-led House Intelligence Committee’s report on Benghazi as “full of crap.”

It’s pretty clear that Graham can sometimes get excitable, especially when the TV cameras are rolling.

Assuming that the Kirk-Menendez bill does come to the floor next month, however, the big question is whether it will attract enough Senate Democrats to render its passage veto-proof (because there’s no doubt whatsoever that Obama will veto it). That will take 33 Democrats and/or independents and/or Republicans. At this point, I think the president should not have too much trouble getting those votes, and the fact that Graham has now taken the lead on this while on foreign soil will likely make it easier for Obama to get the Democratic support he needs. But Graham’s assurance that a Republican-led Congress will “follow [Netanyahu’s] lead” (against a US president, if necessary) should prompt a few of his fellow-Republicans to reflect just a little on the implications of such deference by a powerful US senator to a foreign leader.

Graham also had a lot to say about Hamas and withholding funding for the United Nations if it becomes more involved in seeking an Israeli-Palestinian settlement. You can read the whole transcript of his appearance with Netanyahu here and judge for yourself.

Share RightWeb

Featured Profiles

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) has been an outspoken proponent of militarist U.S. foreign polices and the use of torture, aping the views of her father, Dick Cheney.

United against Nuclear Iran is a pressure group that attacks companies doing business in Iran and disseminates alarmist reports about the country’s nuclear program.

John Bolton, senior fellow at the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute and the controversial former ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush, has been considered for a variety of positions in the Trump administration, including most recently as national security adviser.

Gina Haspel is a CIA officer who was nominated to head the agency by President Donald Trump in March 2018. She first came to prominence because of accusations that she oversaw the torture of prisoners and later destroyed video evidence of that torture.

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), President Trump’s nominee for secretary of state to replace Rex Tillerson, is a “tea party” Republican who previously served as director of the CIA.

Richard Goldberg is a senior adviser at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies who served as a foreign policy aide to former Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL).

Reuel Marc Gerecht, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, has been advocating regime change in Iran since even before 9/11.

For media inquiries,
email rightwebproject@gmail.com

From the Wires

Print Friendly

Hardliners at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies are working overtime to convince the Trump administration to “fix” the nuclear agreement with Iran on the pretext that it will give the US leverage in negotiations with North Korea.

Print Friendly

North Korea and Iran both understand the lesson of Libya: Muammar Qaddafi, a horrifyingly brutal dictator, gave up his nuclear weapons, was eventually ousted from power with large-scale US assistance, and was killed. However, while Iran has a long and bitter history with the United States, North Korea’s outlook is shaped by its near-total destruction by forces led by the United States in the Korean War.

Print Friendly

Europe loathes having to choose between Tehran and Washington, and thus it will spare no efforts to avoid the choice. It might therefore opt for a middle road, trying to please both parties by persuading Trump to retain the accord and Iran to limit missile ballistic programs and regional activities.

Print Friendly

Key members of Trump’s cabinet should recognize the realism behind encouraging a Saudi- and Iranian-backed regional security agreement because the success of such an agreement would not only serve long-term U.S. interests, it could also have a positive impact on numerous conflicts in the Middle East.

Print Friendly

Given that Israel failed to defeat Hezbollah in its war in Lebanon in 2006, it’s difficult to imagine Israel succeeding in a war against both Hezbollah and its newfound regional network of Shiite allies. And at the same time not only is Hezbollah’s missile arsenal a lot larger and more dangerous than it was in 2006, but it has also gained vast experience alongside its allies in offensive operations against IS and similar groups.

Print Friendly

Donald Trump should never be excused of responsibility for tearing down the respect for truth, but a foundation for his flagrant falsifying is the fact that many people would rather be entertained, no matter how false is the source of their entertainment, than to confront truth that is boring or unsatisfying or that requires effort to understand.

Print Friendly

It would be a welcome change in twenty-first-century America if the reckless decision to throw yet more unbelievable sums of money at a Pentagon already vastly overfunded sparked a serious discussion about America’s hyper-militarized foreign policy.