Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Out Of Their Cotton-Picking Minds

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) has only been in the Senate for less than three months as of this writing, yet he's already trying to make his mark as a distinguished right-wing idiot.  He drafted an open letter to the leaders of Iran - signed by 46 other Republican senators - saying that they would not be in favor of any deal with Iran that permits the Islamic republic to have any nuclear capability before a deal on its nuclear program has even been negotiated.  The Obama administration is actively pursuing such a deal.
"It has come to our attention while observing your nuclear negotiations with our government," Cotton wrote, "that you may not fully understand our constitutional system. Thus, we are writing to bring to your attention two features of our Constitution - the power to make binding international agreements and the different character of federal offices - which you should seriously consider as negotiations progress.  Anything not approved by Congress is a mere executive agreement."
Cotton went on to say that a Republican U.S. leader - say, a President Jeb Bush or a F├╝hrer Scott WalKKKer - could just as easily withdraw any agreement upon taking power at a later time - say, January 2017 - and that party majorities in Congress are always happy to undermine a deal they don't like made by a President . . . they don't like.
Democrats quickly attacked the Republican sabotage ploy, calling the GOP senators traitors and noting that they're telling the Iranian leadership exactly what the Iranian hard-liners are saying - that any neogtiaition of such a deal is such a waste of time, so why bother with it if either Congress or the Iranian Parliament ultimately refuses to support it?  The alternative to a deal, of course, is war with Iran.  Cotton, who looks a bit like Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, may understand the role of the Senate in international agreements, but he doesn't understand international agreements. He (and his colleagues) had to be schooled in that topic, being told that a change of presidential administration doesn't relieve Obama's eventual successor from international obligations undertaken by the executive branch per a possible agreement about Iran's nuclear program, that any reneging on the agreement by a future U.S. President would violate international law, and that Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia are also involved in these negotiations and so any such agreement would "not be a bilateral agreement between Iran and the U.S., but rather one that will be concluded with the participation of five other countries, including all permanent members of the [United Nations] Security Council, and will also be endorsed by a Security Council resolution."
The guy who schooled Arkansas's most embarrassing contribution to American politics since last Tuesday was not a State Department senior staffer or John Kerry himself, but Dr. Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign minister.  As embarrassing as it is to have a U.S. senator's stupidity revealed by Iran's top diplomat, it's even more embarrassing to have his stupidity revealed in full view of the other countries involved, whose leaders and whose people would never forgive us if any deal with Iran were sabotaged and if a U.S.-Iran war started as a result.  This break between most Republican senators and the White House makes us look divided at best, and, as that great military figure Doug Niedermayer would say, "worthless and weak" at worst.
Obama dismissed the letter, and it's worth noting that seven Republican senators did not sign it, those being Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Dan Coats of Indiana, Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Susan Collins of Maine, Bob Corker of Tennessee, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and - notably - Bob Corker of Tennessee, the current Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman. That means 53 senators in all - even skeptical Democratic senators - are allowing diplomacy to take its course for now, even as Obama, as Mitt Romney would say, knows he's never going to be able to convince the 47 percent of senators who aren't.  Even so, Senate Democratic whip Richard Durbin of Illinois offered this sobering caveat:
"Understand that if these negotiations fail, a military response to Iran developing their nuclear capability becomes more likely.  These Republican Senators should think twice about whether their political stunt is worth the threat of another war in the Middle East."
Netanyahu's anti-Iran speech to Congress is behind us, but the worst fallout from it is possibly yet to come. :-(  

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