Never in moments of intense fantasizing could I conceive of anyone or any one group in Congress attempting to disrupt the President in foreign policy negotiations. For that matter neither could I visualize the Speaker of the House of Representatives inviting a foreign leader to address a joint session of Congress on a policy directly opposed to that of the President of the United States.
What we have here is a question of Why did these actions occur? What caused the Speaker and 47 out of the 54 Republican members of the Senate to act in this fashion, to go against the policies of the President, who constitutionally is our chief negotiator in dealing with foreign powers? And to do this in the midst of delegate negotiations without knowing anything specific about them except that they are at a critical point.
To what are all these Republicans really objecting? The probability is that if these negotiations fail there will eventually be war with Iran to keep Iran from developing an atomic bomb. If there is a war it will be far bloodier than that fought in Iraq. Iran has four times the population of Iraq and a well-developed military. None of these 47 Senators are or will be volunteering their children to serve in the military.
What strikes me, and does so very sadly, is that these people are basically reacting to their conscious or unconscious feelings about a Black man being President of the United States; they are reacting to their inner prejudices, probably to their feelings of superiority and/or inadequacy. They resent and, in some cases, hate the current President of the United States. They would actually prefer war to having the President achieve a diplomatic victory. I would suspect that most of them aren’t even aware that these negotiations are not just between the United States and Iran but actually between Iran and the other four permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany. In point of fact most of the economic sanctions against Iran are being leveled by our allies or fellow negotiators.
The basic objective is to keep Iran from being able to build an atomic bomb. If Iran were to have its own atomic bomb would she be able to use it? The answer to that is in the negative. If she were to threaten to use it against Israel then Israel could threaten to use a similar weapon against Iran. They would be able to totally destroy each other.
North Korea, which has a totally irrational government, has developed its own atomic bomb. This allows it to bluster a lot against its neighbors and run assorted missile tests into the ocean but there is no way it will use the bomb because it would be an act of suicide. North Korea has an atomic bomb but its enemies like the United States and Russia have much larger atomic weapons. It would be like someone with a firecracker attacking someone with a stick of dynamite.
Iran, which is far less irrational than North Korea, would be even less inclined to use her weapon. Also the major reason for the negotiations from Iran’s prospective is to end all the sanctions that have been applied against her, most of which have been placed by United States allies.
If Iran can come to terms with her enemies and openly trade with the rest of the world then the standard of living will rise significantly for all her citizens. It is greatly to her advantage to become an equal member with all the other nations of the world.
She wants to be free to develop the use of atomic energy in her country. A proper compromise would be to allow her to do this without her being able to produce enriched material that could be used in making a bomb. And, at the same time, have the sanctions against her dropped. Can this be done to everyone’s satisfaction? That is what the negotiations are about.
Under the staunch leadership of Tom Cotton of Arkansas, a junior senator, who has taken his seat in the Senate two whole months earlier, the GOP (Grand Old Party) sent a letter to the Ayatollah of Iran trying to undercut the international negotiating currently going on between Irans and P5+1. This group consists of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council: the United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, and France. The plus one is Germany.
When Tom Cotton was first interviewed after the announcement of sending the letter to the leaders in Iran he acted as though he had just discovered the wheel, the mechanism that would put him in charge of future dealings with Iran. He seemed to have the impression he was ready to negotiate between both Republicans and Democrats for future outcomes with Iran. Forty-six other Republican Senators signed the letter, the remaining seven did not
Whether he understood it or not this was an attempt to undermine the Constitutional powers of the President of the United States. On the internet there is currently a petition to the President being organized, which currently has over 150,000 signatures, requesting that these 47 Senators be tried for treason. The Republicans have made an international negotiation aimed at limiting Iran’s atomic ambitions into a political party partisan issue not only against the President of the United States but also against five of their allies.. The majority of Republican Senators have lined up with the Iranian hardliners who want no negotiations, interesting bedfellows.
Cotton and his fellow Republicans offer no alternative plan. Statements made indicate that they eventually expect complete capitulation by the Iranians. The image of their ability that they have given to the rest of the world is pathetic. In fact both liberal and conservative newspapers denounced their action in the harshest terms.
Imagine attempting to make an agreement with your enemy against the leader of your country. The Iranian leaders have denounced this as a propaganda attempt. The majority of the 47 Senators have come out with lame excuses for what they did. Senator John McCain blamed it on a snowstorm and wanting to catch a plane out of Washington, D.C. Friday night before the storm struck. He didn’t have time to read the letter; he just signed it. Others stated it was a joke and President Obama didn’t have a sense of humor by not seeing it. President Obama said he was “embarrassed” for the Iran letter signers.
Tom Cotton sees nothing wrong with what he did. For the first time in the history of the United States he has made negotiating with a foreign country a political partisan issue, something that was inconceivable the day before it happened.
If this is an example of Republican dominance in Congress, then God help us for the remaining two years until the next election. For there is no one else that can.
To site Will Rogers, the cowboy philosopher of the 1920s and 1930s, the children (Congress) were loose in the China Shop and they were all swinging their little hammers freely. Hopefully the destruction will not be too extensive.
As a footnote it should also be remarked that there is an interesting level of irony occurring between the United States and Iran. Both countries consider ISIS a threat to the Middle East and both countries are presently at war with ISIS. The U.S. is conducting an air war continually bombing the ISIS military and facilities on the ground and Iran is involved in military ground operations against them. The two countries are currently engaged separately on the same side in a war.
Currently the Iraqi military with Iranian forces and generals are fighting against the ISIS extremists in a hard fought battle to retake the city of Tikrit in the northwest section of the country, which they are expected to win, the first major victory against ISIS by Iraqi and it allies troops.
Interestingly, the article that stated this fact in the L.A. Times on Wednesday, March 12, 2015, made no mention of the Iranian participation; they just called them allied militiamen. From what I understand most newspapers and TV commentators have made no mention of the Iranian military participating in this war. For some strange reason this seems to complicate the War against ISIS. It makes it an anomaly for most Republicans. How can they accept Iran as an ally in the war against ISIS?
If we go back before the present government existed in Iran, when it was ruled by the Shah, then the U.S. was close allies with that country. We could move in that direction again.
If we think back to the Vietnam War, the longest war in U.S. history, which we eventually lost, then consider that today there is a Hanoi Hilton where Americans stay when visiting that country as tourists and the country, Vietnam, does advertise for tourists to visit their friendly shores.
Many of our enemies of yesterday are our friends of today, for example take one of our closest allies, the British, originally we went to war with them, twice. The first one was called the American Revolution and the second The War of 1812. Is this pattern of eventual friendship suddenly likely to change in this instance? After all we are allies with them in the fight against ISIS.
(Footnote: I’m averaging about 250 to 350 comments each day. Among these I get numerous requests for information.
Most of these are answered in The Weiner Component #114 – Responding to Your Enquires.)