Success Happens: Partisanship Stopped "at the Water's Edge"
Sen. Arthur Vandenberg, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1947, spoke in favor of bipartisanship in foreign policy when he said America must stop "partisan politics at the water's edge." We are at that edge. The water is deep, dark, and we are without a life preserver. If not a united front, we risk drowning not only ourselves in our muddled politics, but other nations as well, and with no rescue in sight.
Today, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee recognized the urgent need for a cohesive voice, and voted unanimously across party lines on a bill to review a deal with Iran.
There is a broad consensus, and has been for many years, that an Iranian nuclear program is detrimental to world peace. Numerous measures over the years have attempted to derail a nuclear program in Iran, to bring Iran to the table and encourage an honest disclosure of the details.
Iran returned to the negotiating table as a direct result of congressionally mandated sanctions. It is because of Congress that we are able to arbitrate with Iran, and therefore only just that Congress review an agreement that suspends those sanctions.
But this is, unfortunately, not only about Iran. There are and will continue to be other foreign policy issues, such as ISIS and Russia, that merit a cooperative approach from our government. These are high stakes with potentially serious consequences. They cry out for experienced people making tough decisions -- they do not cry out for either Republicans or Democrats, but rather for problem solvers of all backgrounds and parties. They cry out for a solution.
By moving the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act to the Senate floor with a bipartisan effort led by Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), the Foreign Relations Committee has seized an opportunity to set a precedent across all branches of government, and to demonstrate that problem solving trumps politics.
Foreign policy has a rich tradition of cooperation between parties. Solidarity between our branches of government, behind our commander in chief, behind our congressional leaders, is essential in establishing a respectable presence on the world stage. It is essential in building relationships with nations whose views differ from our own, and it is essential for creating a stable world, free from the national security threats and the high-stakes games in which we find ourselves. It is in this spirit of solidarity that we support the right of Congress to approve or disapprove the final Iran deal.
Now is the time when, regardless of their politics, our members of Congress must work together for the safety and security of our nation. Now is the time we must rise above -- forget the next election, forget the next news cycle. Will it matter, if we've allowed Iran to compound its nuclear capabilities because we were too preoccupied with elections and optics?
We have seized this moment, not just as legislators, but as cooperative representatives across all branches of government, to present a strong and powerful portrait of a unified nation, an American resolve that is unyielding. At this point, what could be more powerful than that?
Now is the time to band together, to work toward a solution and bring to the table those interested in solving the problem, irrespective of politics, irrespective of the past.
We are at the water's edge. And we have decided we will not sink under the weight of our politics; instead, we swim.
Congratulations to the members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for their unanimous vote on this most critical matter.
Mack McLarty and Al Cardenas are vice chairs of No Labels, a national organization of Democrats, Republicans and independents dedicated to a new politics of problem solving.