The Real Reason The GOP Wants To Sabotage The Iran Nuclear Deal

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) Image via

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR)
Image via

Treason isn’t a word I use lightly, but even if the act wasn’t exactly treason, Senate Republicans attempting to undermine delicate negotiations with Iran is one of the most ridiculous stunts I’ve seen in my 20+ years in politics. As Allen pointed out earlier, while many of us couldn’t stand George W. Bush when he was in the Oval Office, we wouldn’t have supported any politician that tried to sabotage negotiations that he was involved in. While Senate Republicans claim that they love this country, they’re putting two interests ahead of the United States as a whole, and this is the reason why Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and 46 other Republican senators sent a letter to Iran trying to dissuade their government from making any sort of deal with President Obama.

Before we discuss the reasoning behind their motivations, here’s the text of the letter:

It has come to our attention while observing your nuclear negotiations with our government that you may not fully understand our constitutional system.  Thus, we are writing to bring to your attention two features of our Constitution—the power to make binding international agreements and the different character of federal offices—which you should seriously consider as negotiations progress.

First, under our Constitution, while the president negotiates international agreements, Congress plays the significant role of ratifying them.  In the case of a treaty, the Senate must ratify it by a two-thirds vote.  A so-called congressional-executive agreement requires a majority vote in both the House and the Senate (which, because of procedural rules, effectively means a three-fifths vote in the Senate).  Anything not approved by Congress is a mere executive agreement.

Second, the offices of our Constitution have different characteristics.  For example, the president may serve only two 4-year terms, whereas senators may serve an unlimited number of 6-year terms.  As applied today, for instance, President Obama will leave office in January 2017, while most of us will remain in office well beyond then—perhaps decades.

What these two constitutional provisions mean is that we will consider any agreement regarding your nuclear-weapons program that is not approved by the Congress as nothing more than an executive agreement between President Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei.  The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time.

We hope this letter enriches your knowledge of our constitutional system and promotes mutual understanding and clarity as nuclear negotiations progress. (Source)

Now, why would 47 Republican members of the Senate want a nuclear deal to fail? With the condescending tone of their letter, which Iran says is proof the United States is “not trustworthy,” it’s obvious that they’re not attempting to send any other message than to say that they are in charge, and not President Obama. Therefore, anything will have to ultimately be approved by them, and if it comes from President Obama, they’ll automatically refuse to ratify any treaty he could possibly add to his legacy. Tom Cotton even went on record at a Heritage Action for America event back in January and stated that he wanted these talks to fail, so there’s no other explanation for this letter from him and 46 other members of the GOP Senate.

These Republicans aren’t just refusing to allow a treaty with Iran because they’re stubborn and hateful partisan ideologues who place sabotaging President Obama over everything else, they are also extremely loyal to two separate interests that I mentioned before. These two interests are defense contractors and religious extremists (both Jewish and Christian), both of which are huge supporters of the Republican Party. Neither of these groups want peace in the Middle East, because war is profitable if you’re the producer of tanks and bullets, and if you’re a religious extremist, war against your religious enemy is required by your twisted interpretation of what your god wants.

Bernie Sanders is right when he said Republicans are “itching” for war with Iran, and the fact that Bobby Jindal (who has pandered hard to Christian extremists) is urging Republican presidential candidates to sign on to this letter is proof that the GOP is playing hard to the Christian fringe in this attempt to sabotage peace talks. The religious right, especially here in the United States, believes that a war involving Iran and Israel is part of a series of events needed to fulfill a Biblical prophecy found in the book of Revelations. This is why they support hawkish politicians both here and in Israel, and oppose any sort of peace deal with Iran. The only acceptable outcome for the people Bobby Jindal is desperately courting is a massive regional conflict that results in the deaths of millions of innocent Jews and Muslims, because they think that will set the wheels in motion for the End Times and return of Jesus. This is why they’ve cheered at the idea of nuclear war and the enormous casualties that would come with it, while electing people like Senator Tom Cotton because they’re “pro-life.”

At the same time, Iranian hard-line politicians and religious figures also don’t want peace with the West, or with Israel either. This is because they need to have an outside enemy for their people to hate and blame for their problems, just like Republicans need to have an enemy to justify a military budget. Radical Islam is most certainly a threat to global stability, but so are radical Christians, their defense industry bedfellows, and the Republicans like Tom Cotton and Bobby Jindal who pander to them.


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  • LeeDorsey

    That’s funny the New York Post on its Front Page calls them TRAITORS …

    THE NEW YORK POST @newyorkpost4u and Twitter have turned on the nation’s ‪#‎47traitors‬

    Outraged Americans on Tuesday blasted the overwhelming majority of Senate Republicans for sending a letter to Iran’s leaders, sparking a top trending #47Traitors hashtag on the social media site following the Daily News’ front-page coverage of the unprecedented missive.

    “We have met the enemy, and they are ours. #47Traitors,” user @Normsmusic of California wrote.

    “Judas got thirty pieces of silver. What did you get? @SenJohnMcCain #47Traitors,” New Jersey resident @annmariepoli added.

  • strayaway

    Yawn…this has happened before. Google the Breitbart article, “7 times Democrats advised America’s enemies to oppose the president”. I guess John Kerry is a “traitor” too. But why not start with the definition of the word “enemy”. Is Iran or are the Iranian people our “enemy”? Who decided that?

    Or what about the 1st Amendment? “Congress shall make NO LAW…abridging the freedom of speech”.

    Look up “Treaty Clause” article on Wikipedia. “[The President] shall have Power, by and WITH the Advice and CONSENT of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur…”

    • Jason

      Yes, and in no part of the treaty clause does it say that the power to negotiate those treaties is the senate’s to do so. The founders separated that purposely. Otherwise, why have the president do it at all?

      • Jim Bean

        I’m pretty sure the Senate’s letter didn’t make any proposals or counter proposals so . . . . . . . .you’re point is_______?

      • Jason

        You’re either very naive or very dishonest.

      • Jim Bean

        Or . . . . . .I read the freakin’ letter which the NYT published.

      • Jason

        The letter doesn’t have to make proposals to undermine the president’s position as chief negotiator of treaties (or selector of a proxy therein).

        Like I said, you’re either naive or dishonest.

      • Jim Bean

        And like I said, you got it wrong. Again.

      • Jason

        Right. Well, you go right on around with that circular logic.

        Let me help you: You are CEO of a contracting firm negotiating terms for your business with the local government. I am part of the board of your corporation. Before you complete negotiations, I send a letter to that government agency telling them that you two might come to terms, but it’s very likely that agreement will be nullified by myself and several other board members. While technically not illegal according to company by-laws, it completely undermines your position as CEO when dealing with that government agency.

        If you don’t get that, you hold an inadequate understanding of governing and should remove yourself from the conversation, or you are dishonest. Personally, I’m beginning to think you’re a nothing more than an agitator without substance.

      • Jim Bean

        Yeah, except there’s a problem. If you are the CEO of a contracting firm and you presume to unilaterally and secretly negotiate an agreement with someone while keeping us – the board – in the dark about what you’re doing, then tomorrow, we have a new CEO.

        Actually, there’s two problems. You see Obie as the CEO and Congress as the board. In reality, Congress and the President are equal branches of government and Congress is NOT elected to serve the President.

        Wait! There another one yet. You’re moral compass is broken.

      • Jason

        “Executive Branch.”

        They called it that for a reason. Washington himself argued for basic secrecy of negotiations: You don’t want rogue members of the senate attempting to undercut the negotiations.

        In a corporation, the CEO and the board basically are equals. The structures are purposefully similar, to the degree that originally, the senate actually chose the president and vp, just like a board.

      • Jim Bean

        The ‘executive branch’ is there to execute the laws passed by the legislative (law making) branch – which is congress.

      • LubecLou

        The executive branch has sole authority to negotiate with foreign entities. Period.

      • SidSeven

        Congress has been hijacked by elected lobbyists you complete idiot.

      • strayaway

        We don’t even know what is in the treaty. Whatever the president negotiates has to be agreeable to Iran and 2/3 of the Senate. Perhaps the actual intent of the letter was to remind the president of that. I’m glad to see the president negotiating this but, unlike some here, I don’t mind if senators recite the Constitution.

      • Jason

        Then you write to the president and remind him. You do not write to a foreign dignitary and say “Yeah, whatever you agree to with him won’t matter because we say so.”

        It undermines the presidents position as chief negotiator, and was purposefully done as such. It also undermines our nation’s credibility when you say “agree to what you want, we won’t honor it if we win the presidency.

        These chicken hawks want war.

      • strayaway

        Whatever Iran and the president agree to won’t matter unless 2/3 of the Senate gives its consent. That a point of fact. Nothing new there. Your argument is about style.

      • Jason

        Actually it is considered a non-binding agreement if the president signs off on it but the senate does not. Meaning that under current leadership, the US is likely to honor that agreement, but future leadership may not. If the senate ratifies it, then it is a binding agreement that must be nullified by another vote or an act of war.

        The argument isn’t about style, it’s about separation of powers and the duties of each branch. The duties of the senate do not include speaking in lieu of the president.

      • strayaway

        Oh, then I guess if it looks like a treaty and is written like a treaty but we call it a “binding agreement”, it must be a “binding agreement”. I’ve cited the clause in the Constitution relating to treaties. Could you cite the part of the Constitution mentioning “binding agreements”.

        The point of Newspeak is to make it impossible for people to think. Illegal aliens become “undocumented immigrants”, the definition of marriage was changed in dictionaries, taxes become “investments”, and now, treaties become “binding agreements”. Here is the dictionary definition of TREATY: 1. a formal agreement between two or more states in reference to peace, alliance, commerce, or other international relations. 2. the formal document embodying such an international agreement.

        Nice try.

      • Jason

        You can cite all you want. You’re being intellectually dishonest if you are trying to argue the letter wasn’t a direct attempt to undermine the president’s bargaining power. Everyone who deals with the US understands that the senate must eventually ratify agreements for them to become treaties lest they have no fully binding power.

        Now you either have a limited understanding of governing and foreign affairs, or you’re purposely dodging the fact that between our house and senate, republican leadership has engaged foreign leaders in an attempt to undermine the executive authority of the president of the united states, in which case you are egregiously intellectually dishonest.

        What I was citing is actually the current legal opinion and precedent set in the US regarding presidential agreements with foreign entities, not newspeak. Let me know when you do reading beyond the surface.

      • strayaway

        So, I guess there is nothing in the Constitution about “non-binding agreements”. Congress telling Iran what is in our Constitution does not undermine the president. Besides, Kerry just said that it wasn’t even going to be a legally binding agreement but maybe it could be made legal, from the administration’s perspective, if the UN approved it instead of Congress. What is Obama even doing wasting time setting up personal agreements that aren’t legally binding?

        You have a disdain for the Constitution and side with these people who make up terms, pull them out of their ass if they have to, to sidestep Congress domestically and now internationally. The Constitution only delegates the power to presidents to negotiate treaties. It doesn’t delegate power to presidents to set up personal deals like King Leopold did with the Congo.

      • Jason

        The US constitution is nothing more than a legal backdrop to law, setting the tone and basic premises upon which all US laws are judged.

        You can argue that last bit all you want, yet that’s exactly how the US has been operating since Washington was president. The senate and presidents simply had respect for one another then.

      • Jason

        As far as what is he doing? He’s negotiating, at the end of which he will present the package to the senate, as per every other agreement ever, including the several hundred Reagan worked out during his tenure.

      • strayaway

        No, the Constitution is the supreme law of the land. It overrides all other laws. The President takes this oath- “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Unfortunately, this president, is his own words, has violated his oath. Regarding the senate and presidents always respecting each other: You are wrong about that too. Offhand, John Q. Adams, Jefferson, Jackson, Nixon faced a lot of hostility and it wasn’t because they were half black. When Obama starts changing laws and keeping Congress from voting on his treaty negotiations, what should he expect?

      • Jason

        Talk about a strawman… He has not changed laws, nor prevented votes, nor violated his oath.

        Nice race canard. No one but you said anything about race. Sounds like your shadow’s trying to project.

        You’re busy playing dishonest semantics to defend the indefensible…

        How did you feel when Pelosi spoke with Assad while Bush was trying to negotiate with Syria?

      • strayaway

        According to the president, he has changed laws. On Nov.26, 2014, speaking to amnesty activists, he said, “I just took an action to change the law.” This was in reference to his recent immigration edict in which he, not Congress, decided to hand out 4-5M work permits to illegal aliens so they could legally take a wider variety of US workers’ jobs.

        You didn’t say anything about race but you wrote that in the past “The senate and presidents simply had respect for one another” and I frequently run across progressives who explain Obama’s opposition as being racial in nature.

        I don’t remember anything about Pelosi speaking with Assad. However, if she did, she was also protected by the 1st amendment. If, she criticizes the letter for doing the same, then she is a hypocrite.

      • Jason

        According to the president, he has undertaken action to change law. That does not mean he changed the law himself, on his own. A lot of representatives and senators say they passed laws.. does that mean they did it all by themselves? Let us not grasp at such short straws.

        I was referring to the founding fathers. Though they fought, they did so primarily with respect.

        As it turns out, numerous people are quite hypocritical about this:

        Let’s just be honest about this: while likely technically not illegal, it is a determined move to undermine the executive branch’s authority in dealing with foreign leaders, and that should not be tolerated during times of negotiation. If you want to cast a vote against the treaty when the time comes, that’s what you do. Interfering otherwise is dangerous to our way of government.

      • strayaway

        “That does not mean he changed the law himself, on his own”. Well then, who did? It wasn’t Congress that changed the law from sending illegal aliens home to giving them work permits here. It was Obama. In that context, his quote “I just took an action to change the law” was correct. His action changed the law.

        “A lot of representatives and senators say they passed laws.. does that mean they did it all by themselves?” Article 1, Section 1 provides the authority for members of Congress to make “ALL” legislation. None is given the executive branch. It is common English for members of Congress to say they passed something if they voted for it.

        Your knowledge of history compares with your understanding of the Constitution. John Adams on Alexander Hamilton, ““That bastard brat of a Scottish peddler! His ambition, his restlessness and all his grandiose schemes come, I’m convinced, from a superabundance of secretions, which he couldn’t find enough whores to absorb!” Jefferson on Adams, ‘blind, bald, crippled toothless man who is a hideous hermaphroditic character with neither the force and fitness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.’ Burr shot Hamilton in a dual.

        Thank you though for conceding that the Cotton letter was not technically illegal. How could referencing the Constitution and stating the obvious ever be illegal?

      • Jason

        Exceptions define the rule. They are not the rule. Posing as a historian and google-quoting exceptions at me as a rebuke to the obvious totality of their relationships is borish.

        EOs are not the law. They are treated as law until congress does something about them other than whine. This has been happening since Washington said “If someone interferes with the war against france, prosecute them.” (So much for that freedom of speech…). I imagine that he would’ve taken a senator going and talking to a french diplomat very seriously.

        I conceded nothing. I said it is likely not illegal, though in varying opinions, it is regarded as highly illegal. Please don’t put words in my mouth.

        Do you have trouble focusing? The thousand branches of your argument to support undermining the executive branch of the US government is sprawling, but ultimately it is smoke and mirrors.

      • strayaway

        Your first two sentences are cliches. Giving out work permits to millions of people who are here illegally is a major change in the law and an affront to Article 1, Section 1, the uniform naturalization clause of Article 1, Section 8, Obama’s earlier statements that he had no constitutional authority to do such a thing, and his oath of office. EO’s are no even mentioned in the Constitution. I credited your statement “while likely technically not illegal” referring to the Cotton letter.

        Our premises are different . Your focus seems to be your concern for “undermining the executive branch” while my concern is the undermining of the Constitution. One irony is that I support the Obama’s effort to negotiate with Iran. I just want to give it treaty status instead of some personal deal our president has made that Congress should ignore or override.

      • Jason

        As it turns out, the letter was actually illegal:

        “A 1936 case in the United States Supreme Court emphasized it; to wit – In United States v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp. (1936), “The President alone has the power to speak or listen as a representative of the nation. He makes treaties with the advice and consent of the Senate; but he alone negotiates. Into the field of negotiation the Senate cannot intrude, and Congress itself is powerless to invade it.” United States v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp. Sutherland, J., for the Court.”

      • strayaway

        First, this apparently is not a treaty. There is no sign the president wants to involve the Senate. This is some sort of a private deal between the president and someone in Iran that he has no delegated power to establish. Second, the Senate letter was a reminder about the content of the Constitution which requires the Senate’s involvement in approving any such treaty should anyone on the Iran side think that the president is a dictator who can make de facto treaties without consulting his Congress. Are you suggesting that the Senate has no right to mention the content of the Constitution? It is a public document. The Senate letter did not get into the secret negotiations and suggest what should be in the treaty if it was a treaty.

      • Jason

        “Into the field of negotiation the senate cannot intrude…” This is exactly what they have done.

      • strayaway

        How is mentioning the wording of the Constitution an intrusion? I doubt that the Constitution is a negotiating point in the Obama/Iran negotiation. Mentioning the Constitution requirements of a treaty is no more an intrusion than a title company stipulating its requirements prior to closing an agreement between two parties. The can negotiate whatever they want. The Senate just stipulated a legal requirement on our end whatever Obama and Iran choose to negotiate. Also, don’t forget the first amendment right of free speech: “Congress shall make NO LAW…abridging the freedom of speech”.

      • SidSeven

        You have the intellect of a small child.

      • SidSeven

        Try growing a functioning brainstem.

  • They want to go to WAR. And they will after Obama is gone. So let’s get ready people.

    • SidSeven

      Why? It worked so well last time ALEC started a war over there…

      • Whoa, I just read up on them. Thanks for the info……I’m not a Democrat BTW.

      • SidSeven

        I’m gonna start a Labor Party.

  • name
  • Jim Bean

    The Senate has no standing to inject itself into business between Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Supreme Leader Barack Hussein Obama. They’d know that if they’d consult their Quran a little more frequently.

    • SidSeven

      I see you are off your meds again…

  • SidSeven

    This is not a treaty. So shut up about that. GOP LIKES STRIFE. If there WERE no problems, the GOP would have zero reason to exist.

  • Cynthia Davis

    These poor excuses excitedly told the World that THEY could NOT be trusted to carry out ANY FOREIGN POLICY because in a brief moment of GOP PMS they could “CHANGE ” their minds and TAKE BACK ANYTHING that has been agreed to – not JUST with Iran but ANYTHING! So Take that UK, Russia, China, Israel, and the REST of the world. The OFFICIAL GOP BRAG that they can “change their minds” and INVALIDATE ANY TREATY or AGREEMENT is out there – no surprise to Native Americans btw.

  • Charles Vincent

    The Logan act makes your whole fear mongering attempt to gin up hate disappear in a puff of smoke Manny.

    In 1975, the Department of State had this to say;
    clear intent of this provision [Logan Act] is to prohibit unauthorized
    persons from intervening in disputes between the United States and
    foreign governments. Nothing in section 953 [Logan Act], however, would
    appear to restrict members of the Congress from engaging in
    discussions with foreign officials in pursuance of their legislative
    duties under the Constitution. In the case of Senators McGovern and
    Sparkman the executive branch, although it did not in any way encourage
    the Senators to go to Cuba, was fully informed of the nature and
    purpose of their visit, and had validated their passports for travel to
    that country. Senator McGovern’s report of his discussions with Cuban
    officials states: “I made it clear that I had no authority to negotiate
    on behalf of the United States — that I had come to listen and
    learn…” (Cuban Realities: May 1975, 94th Cong., 1st Sess., August
    1975). Senator Sparkman’s contacts with Cuban officials were conducted
    on a similar basis. The specific issues raised by the Senators (e.g.,
    the Southern Airways case; Luis Tiant’s desire to have his parents
    visit the United States) would, in any event, appear to fall within the
    second paragraph of Section 953. Accordingly, the Department does not
    consider the activities of Senators Sparkman and McGovern to be
    inconsistent with the stipulations of Section 953.[8] -From Wikipedia

  • JR

    The two interests, “defense contractors” and “Christian Extremists” ” HA! The writer is a fool! [Just like all progressives, or should I refer to them as “Useful Idiots”]. On the “defense contractors”, try doing just a little bit of research into the donations to political parties by CEO’s and managing partners of the war-profiteering companies in Iraq and Afghanistan. You will find the greatest percentage goes to Democrats….including Diane Feinstein through her husband’s companies CBRE, Perini and URS. Same old tired argument, “those terrible conservatives and Christians.”