Class in Leadership Author: BobRDate:2015-03-11 10:55:09
If there's one thing Republicans hate, it's not having a mortal enemy to demonize, to scare their constituents, and to fatten the wallets of their buddies in the defense contract industry. It's also to separate the men from the boys (in their small minds anyway), even though very few of them would be willing to actually go mano-a-mano with anyone. The Middle East is always low-hanging fruit for them, because it's easy enough to stereotype and convince their simple-minded sycophants that everyone in the region is dangerous.
Well - except for Israel, of course. Israel is the Promised Land full of noble men who only want to protect the Land of Jesus and Abraham from those heathen Muslims (who also happen to believe in the same God, but that's another story).
They also hate President Obama, so what better way to poke a stick in his eye, show support for Israel, and demonize another country in the region than to invite Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to Congress? Unfortunately for them, they appear to have stepped in it.
In response, Iranian Foreign Minister Dr. Javad Zarif schooled the Republicans on everything from how the U.S. government really works, to why their threats were empty. It's a shame this hasn't gotten more coverage in the news, because it's a perfect example of why Republicans suck so badly at foreign policy - they are stupid without knowing, and assume (incorrectly) foreign dignitaries are dumber than they are.
The senators’ letter is an unserious act of anti-diplomacy specifically designed to undermine the president’s efforts to conduct foreign affairs in his capacity as chief executive. As such, the correspondence tests the limits of the Logan Act, which reads in part,
“Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.”
While the letter’s signatories are U.S. senators, that does not mean they have the “authority of the United States” as required by the law since when it comes to conducting foreign policy, the executive branch is the United States, taking into consideration the occasional “Advice and Consent of the Senate” as prescribed by the Constitution. However, this letter is neither advice, nor consent. It’s directly addressed to leaders of a foreign government presently involved in talks with the U.S., and it is designed to thwart those talks. Unless the senators were authorized by the president to address Iran’s leaders in this letter, a case can be made that 47 U.S. senators just violated a federal law that carries a prison term of up to three years.
Because Democrats are loathe to actually do more than say "tsk tsk - shame shame" to them, it's extremely doubtful any prosecutions will develop (meanwhile, Republicans call for special Congressional investigations every time a Democrat sneezes without saying "excuse me").
Even worse (yes, it's possible), the Senator responsible for penning this "failed-10th-grade-civics" open letter is Tom Cotton (R-AR), a freshman Senator with two - count 'em - two months experience on the job. Immediately after penning what could be described as a call to war, he met with defense contractors in a closed-door session. Nothing like a little tit-for-tat. Perhaps it's time to take a closer look at the campaign donations report for Senator Cotton.
It's a big shame because - despite the Israeli leadership's hatred for Iran, the people of that country are actually quite fond of the United States. The most popular country for Iranians to emmigrate to is the United States. Scratch beneath the surface, and you will find the former Persia is a fairly modern place, full of intelligent people welcoming strangers into their homes:
But - like Israel, the United States Congress, and countless other countries, it is often the leadership that creates conflict, paints others with simple dark colors, and stirs up resentment to others. Iran doesn't have a lot of choice, since they have Imams who make a lot of the decisions. In the U.S., voting districts have been so gerrymandered, choice is often limited to the least offensive of the worst - and even that doesn't always work.
I don't see a change any time soon, until voters start casting ballots with their heads and their hopes, instead of their feelings and their fears.