The negotiations with Iran have been as front and center lately as the Hillary Clinton e-mails. As we know, the administration deplored the invitation to Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to the Congress. That speech went well for Netanyahu, not so well for the administration.
Netanyahu’s concerns are obvious: the survival of Israel as Iran moves steadily toward a nuclear capability; the fear that these negotiations will lead to disaster for his people because they don’t seem to rule out that continual development of nuclear weapons.
This rising concern over the Obama administration’s approach to Iran led 47 Republican senators to sign on to a letter addressed to the Iranian government, letting that government know that any agreement with Obama that doesn’t go through the Senate’s ratification process for treaties is an agreement that has no legs and can be dismissed by the next president.
The letter is no more than a simple statement of fact. They could have sent a copy of our Constitution to Iran and the same point would have been made. Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas was the principal senator behind the letter, and now he is being roundly attacked for “interfering” with the executive’s authority to negotiate with another nation.
One of the more delusional responses to this letter is to drag out the Logan Act, written just before the turn of the nineteenth century after a private citizen, George Logan, went to France and tried to work out some arrangement with the French government after the XYZ Affair. Some have called the senators who signed this letter “traitors,” and a petition to prosecute these senators, based on the Logan Act, has received more than 100,000 signatures.
How silly. The senators are not private citizens interfering with government negotiations; they are duly elected representatives of the people/states who have an obligation to ensure that the Constitution is followed. My only caveat with their action is that perhaps the letter should have been addressed to President Obama himself instead of to the Iranian government. But the letter only states the truth of how our government is supposed to operate. The Obama administration, however, chiefly through Secretary of State John Kerry, is trying to go it alone, hoping to circumvent the Senate entirely.
Kerry, testifying before Congress yesterday, walked back earlier statements about making sure Congress approves any agreement that arises out of these negotiations. Keep in mind that all treaties with foreign governments must be ratified by a 2/3 vote in the Senate. To avoid that, Obama and Kerry are saying this is not a treaty, but merely a “non-binding” agreement with the executive branch.
Think about that for a moment. If this so-called agreement is “non-binding,” of what value is it? Does anyone with even half a brain believe that Iran will abide by a “non-binding” piece of paper? In a sane world, that would be branded as ludicrous. It comes down to this: Obama and Kerry think they can trust Iran’s leaders to keep their word, but they cannot trust the Congress.
We are in a dangerous world situation with Iran as the primary instigator of the danger. Yet we are willing to trust that government over our own elected representatives?
That kind of thinking—if it can be called that at all—will ultimately lead us to disaster.