There are times when I simply find it necessary to react to an event that is so incredible that it screams at me to write. This is one of those times. As you must be aware, 47 United States Senators of the Republican majority took it upon themselves to write a letter to the Iranian leadership warning that any agreement with the United States under this President would be vulnerable to Senate modification or rejection as well as modification or rejection by a future President. Their obvious intent is to destroy any chance of an agreement on the future of the Iranian nuclear program. It is hard to select which part of this action I find most objectionable. I was appalled at the invitation by Speaker Boehner to Prime Minister Netanyahu to speak before a joint session of Congress without the concurrence of the White House. But that action pales in comparison to this letter sent by 47 Republican Senators.
It is clear to anyone who has studied basic junior high school civics that foreign policy is within the purview of the Executive Branch. This is why the State Department was created, and why the Secretary of State is part of the President’s cabinet. The Logan act of 1799, most recently amended in 1994, forbids any unauthorized private citizen from negotiating with a foreign government. This action is considered a felony and punishable by up to three years in prison. It is simply unheard of for a Senator, without clearance from the White House, to communicate with the leaders of a foreign country. Their behavior is not only illegal and reprehensible, it is damaging to the institution of the Presidency and this President in particular. It exhibits a complete lack of respect for this President in the international arena, an act that is incredibly irresponsible and dangerous. There is no possible excuse or explanation for this behavior that is acceptable.
The body of the letter itself is incredibly patronizing in its assumption that the Iranian leadership is not aware of the way in which our government works or the contents of our Constitution. The authors of the letter not only diminish our President, but insult the very leaders they are trying influence. However, they have underestimated both our President and the Iranian leadership. Our President has reacted with humor and irony to this affront. He said that it is interesting that the extreme right-wing of the GOP has seen fit to attempt to create an alliance with the extreme right-wing of the Iranian leadership. This just a week after the visible alliance they created with the right-wing of the Israeli leadership. The desire for war makes strange bedfellows. However, the Iranian Foreign Minister in his response to the letter from the 47 Senators saw fit to school them in the way of international law and the operation of the American system. He was clear in his statement that he feels that this letter is of no importance and that the negotiations will continue. He further stated that should an agreement be reached, international law will dictate the manner in which this law is applied and maintained.
The behavior of the GOP on both the Senate and House sides is simply unacceptable. They are turning our system of government on its head and destroying accepted procedures, processes and protocols that have been in place for centuries. We cannot sit on our sofas and simply shake our heads. That is what we have done as they encroach on voting rights in 36 states. That is what they are expecting. They are changing the nature of our country one move and one state at a time. They have proven that they are incapable of governing and that they do not respect our Constitution. They are not only an embarrassment, they are a danger to our Union.