You probably already know the story–46 Republican Senators co-signed a letter to Iran’s political leadership written by Arkansas’ own Tom Cotton. The letter essentially tells the Iranians that any deal they make with the Obama administration will not be acceptable to the Senate (meaning it won’t be passed), and would be overturned by Obama’s successor if that individual is a Republican. Beyond the fact that the letter is a constitutional overreach (the President has the sole power to negotiate treaties, though the Senate has final say on the approval of them), the letter sabotages any attempt to peaceably resolve the impasse over Iran’s nuclear aspirations.
We can discuss at another time the conniptions over Iran’s nuclear program–remember that if Iran decides to build nuclear weapons, it will be the SECOND country in the region to go against international non-proliferation efforts. But the GOP has taken an unprecedented effort to undermine a president’s negotiations with a sovereign country.
Oh, wait–not unprecedented, at least for the GOP.
Readers of this space will remember that the GOP has previously sabotaged White House negotiations for political gain. You read it here, perhaps–operatives working for the election of Richard Nixon in 1968 convinced the South Vietnamese to reject a peace treaty they had already committed to. The operatives promised South Vietnam that (should Nixon win the White House), they could expect much more favorable terms in any treaty. So (at the last minute before the election) the South Vietnamese pulled out of the agreement they had promised President Lyndon Johnson. The story was verified a few months after the pertinent files were released by the LBJ library.
In more recent history, there is still more than a little evidence that operatives working for the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan sabotaged Jimmy Carter’s efforts to get the American hostages released by Iran. These machinations were the root of the Iran Contra deal–Iran got TOW anti tank missiles to use in its war against Iraq in exchange for hostages. And the blowback from this agreement was the weakening of moderates in Iran–something that still weighs on US foreign policy. We also managed to destroy any trust we had in the Persian Gulf–we had betrayed the Iraqis, who had been egged on in their attack on Iran by Saudi and US interests.
So you can be outraged and you can write letters and you can complain to your congresscreatures (though rest assured the Dems will roll over on this, just as they rolled over on the previous cases of GOP betrayal). You don’t have the right to act surprised, though–the GOP has always treated partisan gain as more important than US interests.