"It's not that the president should involve Congress, it's that Congress will be involved regardless. Congressional action will either support or undermine any deal that's agreed to. By extending the talks past the November midterm U.S. elections, at least the president will know which Senate he's dealing with in the 114th Congress (or maybe he won't—it might all come down to the December runoff in Louisiana)."
"Otherwise, domestic politics could easily shoot down a foreign policy success. The administration ought to be bringing key members of the Senate on board now, with briefings and backgrounders. But they probably are not doing that, which will not help later."
"President Obama is in a no-win position with Congress. No matter what agreement is reached, it will not be good enough for some elements in Congress. But, if he fails to involve Congress, political outcry will be overwhelming. Obama should use congressional approval of any agreement as a tool to pressure Iran into a better agreement."
"To be pragmatic, yes. But it does depend on the nature of the 'deal.' "
"Yes, but as little as required by law."
"He's the commander in chief and has to act like one—Congress will always provide noise from the sidelines, but this is a time for the president to exercise leadership and act in the best interests of the country."
"Involving Congress in ongoing foreign policy negotiations is never a good idea."
"Not if he can help it. But Congress may have to get involved to lift sanctions."
"The less involved Congress is for the time being, the less risk there will be of Congress causing the negotiating process to collapse. Eventually, there will need to be legislative action for sanctions relief, but that can wait."
"In principle, yes. Given this particular Congress and the interests influencing it—no."
"Avoid the knee-jerk uncritically pro-Israel lobby as much as possible. The U.S. has important, stand-alone interests with Iran (e.g., stabilizing Afghanistan) which shouldn't be hostage to AIPAC's views."
"His track record in reaching settlements and establishing red lines or lines in the sand is not strong. The continuing vexing issue is that he will likely need congressional approval for any substantive agreement that ascends to the treaty level. Good luck."
"This is a no-win situation, and Congress doesn't want to be involved in such actions (even if they say they do) as then it simply forces them into having to take politically difficult positions. See, e.g., strikes in Syria."
National Journal's National Security Insiders Poll is a periodic survey of more than 100 defense and foreign policy experts. They include: Gordon Adams, Charles Allen, Michael Allen, Thad Allen, Graham Allison, James Bamford, David Barno, Milt Bearden, Peter Bergen, Samuel "Sandy" Berger, David Berteau, Stephen Biddle, Nancy Birdsall, Marion Blakey, Kit Bond, Stuart Bowen, Mike Breen, Paula Broadwell, Mark Brunner, Nicholas Burns, Dan Byman, James Jay Carafano, Phillip Carter, Wendy Chamberlin, Michael Chertoff, Frank Cilluffo, James Clad, Richard Clarke, Steve Clemons, Joseph Collins, William Courtney, Lorne Craner, Roger Cressey, Gregory Dahlberg, Robert Danin, Richard Danzig, Janine Davidson, Daniel Drezner, Mackenzie Eaglen, Paul Eaton, Andrew Exum, Eric Farnsworth, Jacques Gansler, Stephen Ganyard, Daniel Goure, Mark Green, Mike Green, Mark Gunzinger, John Hamre, Jim Harper, Todd Harrison, Marty Hauser, Michael Hayden, Michael Herson, Pete Hoekstra, Bruce Hoffman, Paul Hughes, Mark Jackson, Colin Kahl, Donald Kerrick, Rachel Kleinfeld, Lawrence Korb, Andrew Krepinevich, Charlie Kupchan, W. Patrick Lang, Cedric Leighton, Michael Leiter, James Lindsay, Justin Logan, Trent Lott, Peter Mansoor, Ronald Marks, Brian McCaffrey, Steven Metz, Franklin Miller, Michael Morell, Philip Mudd, John Nagl, Shuja Nawaz, Kevin Nealer, Michael Oates, Thomas Pickering, Paul Pillar, Larry Prior, Stephen Rademaker, Marc Raimondi, Celina Realuyo, Barry Rhoads, Wilhelm Richard, Bruce Riedel, Marc Rotenberg, Frank Ruggiero, Gary Samore, Kori Schake, Mark Schneider, Tammy Schultz, John Scofield, Stephen Sestanovich, Sarah Sewall, Matthew Sherman, Jennifer Sims, Suzanne Spaulding, James Stavridis, Constanze Stelzenmüller, Ted Stroup, Guy Swan, Frances Townsend, Mick Trainor, Tamara Wittes, Dov Zakheim, and Juan Zarate.