Has there ever been an occasion when members of Congress have written to the leaders of a foreign nation not to strike a deal with the US president? Because this is quite amazing to me:
A group of 47 Republican senators has written an open letter to Iran’s leaders warning them that any nuclear deal they sign with President Barack Obama’s administration won’t last after Obama leaves office.
Organized by freshman Senator Tom Cotton and signed by the chamber’s entire party leadership as well as potential 2016 presidential contenders Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, the letter is meant not just to discourage the Iranian regime from signing a deal but also to pressure the White House into giving Congress some authority over the process.
“It has come to our attention while observing your nuclear negotiations with our government that you may not fully understand our constitutional system … Anything not approved by Congress is a mere executive agreement,” the senators wrote. “The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time.”
The Republicans seem to have become quite unhinged in their effort to undermine the president’s ability to conduct foreign policy. It seems as if they consider Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu to be their president and look to him to decide what the US’s stance vis-à-vis Iran should be and are willing to shamelessly undermine president Obama by actually telling the people the US is negotiating with that they cannot trust the US position.
One wonders what Iran, not to mention other nations, think about this latest gambit. Not only that, if the roles were reversed and some Democratic congresspersons had done this to a Republican president, Fox News would have been the leader in calling them traitors and urging that they be lined up and summarily shot.
Update: We don’t have to guess. Iran’s foreign minister has issued a statement on the letter;
“In our view, this letter has no legal value and is mostly a propaganda ploy. It is very interesting that while negotiations are still in progress and while no agreement has been reached, some political pressure groups are so afraid even of the prospect of an agreement that they resort to unconventional methods, unprecedented in diplomatic history.This indicates that like Netanyahu, who considers peace as an existential threat, some are opposed to any agreement, regardless of its content.”
They see right through our Republican master strategists.