A Rare Example of Sanity and Bipartisanship in Washington
SKIP ASH, ACLJ
If you’ve been following what’s been going on in Congress recently, you will know that last week the Senate held a marathon, all-night, session to deal with the COVID-19 Budget Reconciliation bill recently passed by the House of Representatives. The House bill, as expected, contained virtually every progressive bell and whistle on the Democrats’ wish list of projects to fund, Trump policies to defund, and so on.
As part of the process in the Senate, conservatives were able to propose scores of amendments to force each Senator to publicly take a stand on various issues, like whether to continue to build “the wall,” or give COVID-19 relief checks to illegal aliens, or raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, or continue to build the XL pipeline, or rejoin the Paris Climate Accord, and so on and so forth.
Like many conservatives, I was disappointed with most of the decisions; but, as has been repeated a lot lately, elections do indeed have consequences. We are even now beginning to see the contours of those consequences.
One of the amendments proposed by conservative Senators during the marathon all-nighter was to get the Senate on record regarding whether the U.S. Embassy should remain in Jerusalem or be moved back to Tel Aviv where it was previously located. This was a rare ray of sunshine in an otherwise dark and cloudy day. By a vote of 97-3, the United States Senate voted to keep our embassy in Jerusalem. The three nay votes were by Senators Sanders (I-VT), Warren (D-MA), and Carper (D-DE). All Republicans, 46 Democrats, and one Independent who caucuses with the Democrats voted aye.
This was a welcome example of bipartisanship. Hopefully, it will not be the last. In one sense, it was a very pleasant surprise, given that many Democrats are so viscerally hostile to the Trump presidency and all that it achieved that they seem ready to abandon sound policies pursued by President Trump and take up the failed policies of the Obama Administration simply because the sound policies were initiated by Donald Trump.
For example, you may recall that key foreign policy experts in the Obama Administration had severely criticized President Trump’s decision to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, arguing that such a move would set the region on fire. Not only did that not occur, there was hardly a serious fuss anywhere in the Arab world.
Moreover, bold action by President Trump actually opened up the region inter alia to the following realities: that Israel was there to stay; that the greatest threat to peace in the region was not Israel (it was Iran); and that Arab nations’ knee-jerk opposition to Israel in reality meant that they were cutting off their noses to spite their faces by continuing to allow the Palestinians (who had neither desire nor incentive to make peace with Israel nor the best interests of their Arab brothers at heart) to dictate their economic and foreign policies.
The Abraham Accords were genius. They cracked open the Arab world to a new reality with Israel. Not only have four Arab countries recently recognized Israel, but the non-Arab, Muslim majority European State of Kosovo has also established diplomatic relations with Israel and has gone a step further by declaring its intent to establish its embassy in Jerusalem.
Despite the bipartisan U.S. Embassy vote ray of sunshine, I fear that more and more failed policies pursued by the Obama Administration that were demonstrably not in our national interest—like the nuclear agreement with Iran and the Paris Climate Accord and open borders—are about to be resurrected and reimplemented.
We at the ACLJ will remain diligent and ready to do what is necessary to counter policies harmful to the national interests of the United States. We ask you to stand with us in this important cause.
Robert W. “Skip” Ash is a Senior Counsel at the ACLJ and at the ECLJ. Ash heads the ACLJ’s national security practice. As such, he deals daily with legal issues concerning Believers in the U.S. Armed Forces, with issues regarding the Law of Armed Conflict worldwide, with issues before the International Criminal Court, with issues before the United Nations and its agencies, and with issues before other international courts in Europe. Ash is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, who served 22 years on active duty as a U.S. Army officer. His service included serving as NATO desk officer in the War Plans division of the Army Staff as well as a military strategist for the Secretary of Defense in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Plans in the Pentagon. Ash is also one of the founders of the Centre for the Study of Law & Public Policy at Oxford. He currently serves as Secretary of the Centre at Oxford. A graduate of Regent University School of Law, Ash has also served as a member of the faculties of the School of Law and the Robertson School of Government at Regent University where he taught courses on national security law, public international law, comparative law, First Amendment law, business associations, and legal research and writing.
Used with the permission of the American Center for Law and Justice.