Manchin’s indecision on Iran vote smacks of politics

An editorial from The Dominion Post

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — This decision and this senator certainly would have never qualified as a chapter in “Profiles in Courage.”

But if anyone ever pens a “Profiles in Cowardice,” a short biography describing U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin and his convenient indecision on the nuclear deal with Iran should be included.

Sure, his decision Tuesday to oppose that deal did precede news of Senate Democrats locking up enough votes to block any GOP disapproval resolution —by an hour.

Of course, some will say he is defying his party and some of his constituents, too. But he’s done that ever since the political tide turned against the Obama White House and the Democrats in Congress.

We ’re convinced this is strictly a political decision that gives Manchin a pass with conservative state voters. It also allows him to to play it safe since his vote for the Iran deal doesn’t matter any longer.

Oddly, six weeks ago, Manchin said, “I’m leaning very strongly towards that (the Iran agreement) because of the options that I have,” on a news show.

“The only other option is go to war, and I’m not ready to send our people into harm’s way again until people in that part of the world want to clean up their own mess.”

He also noted then he had spoken to leaders of four of the five other nations that negotiated this deal with Iran.

“And they all believe that this is a pathway that they should be taking; it’s one they support,” he said. “If we pull out, we pull out by ourselves.”

Then on Tuesday, he declared in his news release, “I have grave doubts that we will have unified, committed partners willing to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

Huh. And here we thought the British, French and Germans were our greatest allies.

Of course, there should be doubts about the Russians and the Chinese, but last time we looked China is still our nation’s biggest trading partner. They are also our nation’s biggest creditor too, to the tune of about $1.3 trillion.

Manchin also complained that “this deal does nothing to guarantee that (Iran’s) behavior changes.”

Funny thing there, too. We have signed off on a slew of nuclear deals with Russia, but not one of those deals was ever contingent on Moscow changing its behavior.

The negotiations with Iran to constrain its nuclear program were never intended to influence its “behavior.”

From the outset, nearly two years ago, these talks with Iran only set out to constrain its nuclear program. Period.

Trying to drag Iran’s foreign policy into such an agreement would be futile, at best.

Chameleon-like, Manchin has often changed his colors to cover his political career. But this decision shows his true colors. Maybe they were always more red than blue.

But now, he comes customized with a big streak of political yellow, too.

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