(Most) Senate Republicans Engage in Diplomatic Sabotage


Having been involved in politics for 20 years, I am aware that the process involves a tremendous amount of partisan tension, robust debate, and the occasional skullduggery. As Finley Peter Dunne’s Irish saloonkeeper Mr. Dooley famously noted, “politics ain’t beanbag.” However, the letter signed by 47 Republicans undercutting the President of the United States during sensitive negotiations with Iran is one of the most contemptible political tricks I have ever observed.

It is no secret that some Republicans have a deep, almost fanatical disdain for Barack Obama. According to an early March Zogby Analytics Poll, just 17 percent of Republicans approve of his job performance. A Harris Poll from a few years ago even found that nearly 70 percent of Republicans believed that Obama is a socialist, about 60 percent suspected that he is a Muslim, and nearly a quarter said that he may be the Antichrist!

Shockingly, 47 Republican members of United States Senate took their contempt for the president to a dangerous new level on Monday, March 9 by authoring a politically charged missive titled “An Open Letter to the Leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran.” In essence, the letter warns the Iranians that the United States is incapable of delivering on whatever promises we make during delicate negotiations aimed at limiting Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weaponry. This, of course, is bunkum.

The purpose of the highly condescending letter signed by nearly 90 percent of the Senate Republican Conference is to use this historic opportunity to undermine and embarrass the president while turning this moment into a partisan confrontation. The content of this poison pen letter is damaging to the United States, as it basically tells a foreign power with which we have had rocky relations that they should not trust us to honor our commitments. Ironically, this position towards the negotiations helps put the Senate Republican Conference in alignment with the views of the hardliners within Iran who also oppose the framework for such a deal.

It pains me to say this, but the actions of these elected officials suggest that they are rooting against our nation’s success. Not only is this extremely frustrating,  but it is also indicative of a toxic and ruinous political culture that elevates partisanship above the need to tamp down on Iranian nuclear ambitions and cultivating more harmonious relations with that nation moving forward.

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