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Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton has received a great deal of criticism for the “open letter” he and 46 other Republican Senators concocted and released publicly in early March. Delivered in an incredibly sarcastic tone, Cotton’s letter was aimed at undermining the nuclear talks between the U.S. and Iran. The letter states that any nuclear agreement reached will not be supported by Congress, but it will be viewed as a deal solely between President Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei. Yes, this actually happened.
In a recent interview with VICE News, President Obama spoke to Shane Smith about the letter, claiming he was “Embarrassed for them.…their basic argument is ‘Don’t deal with our president because you can’t trust him to follow through on an agreement’, that’s close to unprecedented.” In reality, today’s GOP isn’t the first party to go behind a president’s back in regards to foreign affairs. In 2007, Nancy Pelosi went to Syria to speak with Bashar al-Assad, much to the chagrin of the Bush Administration, which was seeking to diplomatically isolate Syria at the time.
Pelosi’s visit may have been a polarizing move, but it still doesn’t hold a candle to the GOP letter. Undermining the president is never a good idea when it comes to foreign policy. All Senator Cotton and his band of rogue republicans have managed to do with this letter is show how truly unstable our government is right now. We have shown our hand, so to speak, and we appear weak to the rest of the world every time something like this happens.
The letter states that the strides Obama is making to limit Iran’s uranium enrichment efforts can be struck down with “the stroke of a pen” by whoever replaced Obama in 2016. This, of course, would only be if a Republican takes office. It is hard to see what the Republicans wish to accomplish with this tactic. If the goal is to keep Iran from making a nuclear weapon, why not support the president’s efforts to do so? Obama has made it very clear that he intends to keep the Iranians from obtaining a nuclear weapon. In his interview with VICE, Obama stated very clearly that he’s “prepared to take all options to prevent them [Iran] from getting a nuclear weapon, but the absolute best option is a diplomatic solution.”
Basically, the President is saying we should give diplomacy a try. Republicans need to understand that the United States cannot strong arm the rest of the world forever. We are already wearing ourselves thin by stretching our military resources across the Middle East. Hard-lining Iran with threats of military intervention is only going to make things worse, and any diplomatic solution that keeps heads cool and rockets un-launched is a good one. Cotton’s letter and Netanyahu’s impromptu visit to Congress to bash the President’s foreign policies have accomplished nothing, other than deepening the partisan divide and showing Middle Eastern rulers that we don’t have things under control politically.
The Republican party’s deep “love” of Israel is also disturbing. After Bibi’s Obama-bashing speech before thunderous applause in Washington, several celebrities came out to support Netanyahu’s re-election campaign. One of the afore mentioned Israel loving celebs was Jon Voight, who took a creative spin on Giuliani’s “Obama Doesn’t Love America” book (which is undoubtedly written in crayon), claiming Obama “doesn’t love Israel.” He continues to bash “deal making” and all other diplomatic solutions, and makes claims that Obama wants to “control Israel” and “be friends with its enemies.” This is not only childish and erroneous, but it supports the Republican “he’s not my president” attitude. Once again, Americans are undermining and even rejecting the president’s foreign policy, this time on Israeli television.
If Republicans seek to keep Israel safe, they should start by supporting the current president and his foreign policies — the diplomacy that the majority of Americans voted for twice. We have seen what chaos ensues when we interfere in matters we don’t fully understand in the wake of the Iraq war, which ultimately created the Islamic State. It is beyond foolish to think that we (the West) can control the Middle East. We have to continue to give new solutions a try, especially since threats and invasions have only made things worse. I guess what I’m saying is…Senator Cotton, let’s give diplomacy a try. Your way doesn’t work — let the President be the President. And, maybe, just stop talking on television for a while?
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Drew Chowbay at firstname.lastname@example.org