GOP Senators Warn Iran about Nuclear Deal

 

Freshman Sen. Tom Cotton gathered a group of 47 GOP senators to send an open letter to the Iranian regime concerning any potential nuclear deal. The letter warns the mullahs that the deal — especially if not approved by Congress — is likely to be overturned once a new President enters the White House.

“It has come to our attention while observing your nuclear negotiations with our government that you may not fully understand our constitutional system … Anything not approved by Congress is a mere executive agreement,” the senators wrote. “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.”

Arms-control advocates and supporters of the negotiations argue that the next president and the next Congress will have a hard time changing or canceling any Iran deal — which is reportedly near done — especially if it is working reasonably well.

Since “working reasonably well” seems to mean “letting Iran get nukes,” an anti-proliferation President is unlikely to endorse the agreement in January 2017. Democrats are shocked and appalled by the insolence shown by nearly half the U.S. Senate and spared no time condemning their motives and patriotism.

The foreign minister of Iran mocked the letter as propaganda, but the White House found his language far too easy on the evil Republicans. Inaptly named Press Secretary Josh Earnest whinged, “writing a letter like this that appeals to the hardliners in Iran is frankly just the latest in a strategy, a partisan strategy, to undermine the president’s ability to conduct foreign policy and advance our national interests around the world.”

Senate Minority Leader (I love saying that) Harry Reid said “Let’s be clear, Republicans are undermining our commander in chief while empowering the ayatollahs.” The bruised and battered Nevada senator forgot to mention that “the ayatollahs” agree with the White House on the negotiations quite heartily.

Note that this is the same Harry Reid who voted for the Iraq War, then declared it lost while we still had troops in theater. And who can forget House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s cozy summit with Syria’s Bashar al-Assad in 2007, or Minority Whip David Bonior’s anti-Bush meeting with Saddam Hussein in 2002? Imagine the outrage if Sen. Cotton had visited Israel instead of merely writing a letter?

It’s a strange turn of events to have Democrats treating half the U.S. Senate and Prime Minister Netanyahu as enemies of the state while embracing the theocratic, women-hating, gay-lynching, Holocaust enthusiasts in Tehran as trustworthy allies. Valerie Jarrett must really want this Iran deal.

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  1. user_1065645 Contributor
    user_1065645
    @DaveSussman

    This has been the Democrats m.o. as long as I can remember. Didn’t a contingent of Democrats (including a young John Kerry) meet with the Sandinista Junta?

    11054858_10152570927216261_6707716336136043064_n

    • #1
  2. Quinn the Eskimo Member
    Quinn the Eskimo
    @

    I’m probably the only person who thinks this, but I’ll say it anyway: The letter was well-intentioned, but probably counterproductive.

    To understand why, look at the parties respective bargaining positions:

    1. Obama wants a deal.  It doesn’t have to be good.  It doesn’t have to be honored by Iran.  It doesn’t have to been enforceable.  As long as there is something called an agreement, he has what he wants and will sell the store to get it.

    2. Iran wants to see how much it can extract from the United States, while not living up to its end of the bargain.  It will take a whole bunch of concessions, plus continue to work on its nuclear weapons program.

    I think the GOP letter will give Iran an excuse to ask for even more concessions, claiming it is taking a risk that Republicans will not honor the agreement in 2017.  And Obama will give yet further concessions.

    • #2
  3. user_536506 Member
    user_536506
    @ScottWilmot

    I hope they cc’ed Barack Hussein Obama so that he also might gain an understanding of our Constitution.

    • #3
  4. Leigh Inactive
    Leigh
    @Leigh

    Quinn the Eskimo:I’m probably the only person who thinks this, but I’ll say it anyway: The letter was well-intentioned, but probably counterproductive.

    To understand why, look at the parties respective bargaining positions:

    1. Obama wants a deal. It doesn’t have to be good. It doesn’t have to be honored by Iran. It doesn’t have to been enforceable. As long as there is something called an agreement, he has what he wants and will sell the store to get it.

    2. Iran wants to see how much it can extract from the United States, while not living up to its end of the bargain. It will take a whole bunch of concessions, plus continue to work on its nuclear weapons program.

    I think the GOP letter will give Iran an excuse to ask for even more concessions, claiming it is taking a risk that Republicans will not honor the agreement in 2017. And Obama will give yet further concessions.

    The other risk is that it is essentially telling Iran “Hey, you have until January 2017 to get nukes.  Got it?  Start racing!”

    On the other hand, the Iranians can probably already do the math on all that anyway.   The Senate’s refusal to ratify any treaty gives them that same cover to demand further concessions, if they feel like it. It is, of course, possible that they could completely misread our system and the American mind, and that this letter will kindly make certain things clear and save them from certain mistakes, but any regime savvy enough to tweet about American Sniper probably can figure out the difference between a treaty ratified by the Senate and an executive agreement the Senate strongly opposes.

    This is diplomatic cover for a new President come 2017, and it’s not really meant for Iran.  It’s worth making clear to the rest of the world that this deal binds nobody but Obama.

    • #4
  5. Nick Stuart Inactive
    Nick Stuart
    @NickStuart

    Quinn the Eskimo:I’m probably the only person who thinks this, but I’ll say it anyway: The letter was well-intentioned, but probably counterproductive.

    Hard to say.

    But it is refreshing to see someone in the GOP Majority strap on his generative organs and lead a push back on President Obama.

    • #5
  6. user_657161 Inactive
    user_657161
    @SimonTemplar

    Nick Stuart:

    Quinn the Eskimo:I’m probably the only person who thinks this, but I’ll say it anyway: The letter was well-intentioned, but probably counterproductive.

    Hard to say.

    But it is refreshing to see someone in the GOP Majority strap on his generative organs and lead a push back on President Obama.

    This!  This was my first reaction to this story too.

    • #6
  7. user_280840 Inactive
    user_280840
    @FredCole

    And how would we react if it were 47 Democratic senators who did this to George Bush?

    • #7
  8. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    To which Iran replied, “What? You think you’re the only ones with no intention of living up to this agreement?”

    • #8
  9. Severely Ltd. Inactive
    Severely Ltd.
    @SeverelyLtd

    Leigh:

    Quinn the Eskimo:I’m probably the only person who thinks this, but I’ll say it anyway: The letter was well-intentioned, but probably counterproductive.

    To understand why, look at the parties respective bargaining positions:

    1. Obama wants a deal. It doesn’t have to be good. It doesn’t have to be honored by Iran. It doesn’t have to been enforceable. As long as there is something called an agreement, he has what he wants and will sell the store to get it.

    2. Iran wants to see how much it can extract from the United States, while not living up to its end of the bargain. It will take a whole bunch of concessions, plus continue to work on its nuclear weapons program.

    I think the GOP letter will give Iran an excuse to ask for even more concessions, claiming it is taking a risk that Republicans will not honor the agreement in 2017. And Obama will give yet further concessions.

    The other risk is that it is essentially telling Iran “Hey, you have until January 2017 to get nukes. Got it? Start racing!”

    On the other hand, the Iranians can probably already do the math on all that anyway. The Senate’s refusal to ratify any treaty gives them that same cover to demand further concessions, if they feel like it. It is, of course, possible that they could completely misread our system and the American mind, and that this letter will kindly make certain things clear and save them from certain mistakes, but any regime savvy enough to tweet about American Sniper probably can figure out the difference between a treaty ratified by the Senate and an executive agreement the Senate strongly opposes.

    This is diplomatic cover for a new President come 2017, and it’s not really meant for Iran. It’s worth making clear to the rest of the world that this deal binds nobody but Obama.

    It also emphatically makes the point to Americans (Liberal Jewish voters, I’m looking at you) that if they want Iran stopped, they’d better think seriously about electing a Republican president. This is also why I’ve cooled a bit on Rand Paul as our man.

    • #9
  10. user_657161 Inactive
    user_657161
    @SimonTemplar

    Fred Cole:And how would we react if it were 47 Democratic senators who did this to George Bush?

    That has got to be about the most apples to oranges question that you’ve ever asked around here.

    • #10
  11. Leigh Inactive
    Leigh
    @Leigh

    Simon Templar:

    Fred Cole:And how would we react if it were 47 Democratic senators who did this to George Bush?

    That has got to be about the most apples to oranges question that you’ve ever asked around here.

    This would depend on whether George Bush was doing something that directly threatened the security of the United States and the lives of millions of innocent people.

    Put another way, it’s probably bad form.  It’s certainly something that shouldn’t be done every time a Senator happens to disagree with a President’s foreign policy.  But when something reaches a certain level of life-and-death urgency, bad form doesn’t matter so much.  And of course that’s a completely subjective judgment.  But it’s also a matter of form, not constitutional authority.  We can live with the subjectivity.

    Also, it’s highly probable that a future president would revoke the deal.  In that case, there would be those who said we acted in bad faith.  By making it clear where the president’s authority stops, the Senators preempt such an argument and defend our national honor.

    • #11
  12. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Fred, that 47 democrat senator thing-they DID that to Bush for eight friction’ years! It’s about time Repubs got some cojones.  House? Not One Dollar to comply with ANY terms of any “agreement”.

    • #12
  13. user_280840 Inactive
    user_280840
    @FredCole

    RushBabe49:Fred, that 47 democrat senator thing-they DID that to Bush for eight friction’ years! It’s about time Repubs got some cojones. House? Not One Dollar to comply with ANY terms of any “agreement”.

    Oh.  So two wrongs make a right?

    • #13
  14. Herbert Woodbery Inactive
    Herbert Woodbery
    @Herbert

    This sets a terrible precedent, if it were the dems sending out such a letter. The treason word would be flowing freely in these parts.

    • #14
  15. user_280840 Inactive
    user_280840
    @FredCole

    Leigh: But when something reaches a certain level of life-and-death urgency,

    So here’s my problem with this.  The Iranian have been about-to-get-the-bomb-any-second-now-OMG-we-need-to-bomb-them since at least 2007.  I remember people questioning if GWB was going to bomb Iran before he left office.

    This rhetoric is overheated.  There just isn’t this urgency.  They may be working on it, but they’re not getting there tomorrow.  Period.  The facts in this case don’t match the rhetoric.

    • #15
  16. user_280840 Inactive
    user_280840
    @FredCole

    Simon Templar:

    Fred Cole:And how would we react if it were 47 Democratic senators who did this to George Bush?

    That has got to be about the most apples to oranges question that you’ve ever asked around here.

    How so?

    • #16
  17. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Fred Cole

    RushBabe49:Fred, that 47 democrat senator thing-they DID that to Bush for eight friction’ years! It’s about time Repubs got some cojones. House? Not One Dollar to comply with ANY terms of any “agreement”.

    Oh.  So two wrongs make a right?

    Thank you for the argument from Mrs. Othmar.  I approve of whatever measure are needed to secure my well-being, and I do not care how many democrats are offended or terrorists are killed.  You flawed-as-usual analysis is flawed in the usual way through false (or inappropriate) equivalency.  Democrat undermined Bush to the detriment of our security.  Republicans undermine Obama to the benefit of our security.

    • #17
  18. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Leigh:

    On the other hand, the Iranians can probably already do the math on all that anyway. The Senate’s refusal to ratify any treaty gives them that same cover to demand further concessions, if they feel like it. It is, of course, possible that they could completely misread our system and the American mind, and that this letter will kindly make certain things clear and save them from certain mistakes, but any regime savvy enough to tweet about American Sniper probably can figure out the difference between a treaty ratified by the Senate and an executive agreement the Senate strongly opposes.

    It could also mean that the Iranians scale their demands down a bit, in order to have an agreement that survives a change of regime in Washington.

    So: washing dirty linen in public is undignified and in questionable taste, but it could provide the push for a better (more palatable to the mainstream Republican party) agreement.

    • #18
  19. user_199279 Coolidge
    user_199279
    @ChrisCampion

    Fred Cole:

    Leigh: But when something reaches a certain level of life-and-death urgency,

    So here’s my problem with this. The Iranian have been about-to-get-the-bomb-any-second-now-OMG-we-need-to-bomb-them since at least 2007. I remember people questioning if GWB was going to bomb Iran before he left office.

    This rhetoric is overheated. There just isn’t this urgency. They may be working on it, but they’re not getting there tomorrow. Period. The facts in this case don’t match the rhetoric.

    They won’t, right up until a brilliant light is spotted in the middle of the night, someplace slightly east of Jersusalem.

    They’re on a path to nuclear weapons.  They have said, repeatedly, they wish to destroy Israel and western countries.  That their program got delayed is due, in part, to Israel’s efforts to undermine their centrifuge infrastructure, and international sanctions limiting (to some degree) access to technology and materials used to produce fissile material.

    This is like living next to a neighbor who has said he’s going to kill you, as soon as he can find some bullets for his gun.  It’s a question of when, not if – which means, by the above logic, that you should never, ever worry about him, because it’ll only happen on some day other than tomorrow.

    Frankly, given Iran’s rhetoric and their clear involvement in Iraq, their directly attacking US troops via IEDs, training, and people, they can simply jam it.

    • #19
  20. user_657161 Inactive
    user_657161
    @SimonTemplar

    Fred Cole:

    Leigh: But when something reaches a certain level of life-and-death urgency,

    So here’s my problem with this. The Iranian have been about-to-get-the-bomb-any-second-now-OMG-we-need-to-bomb-them since at least 2007. I remember people questioning if GWB was going to bomb Iran before he left office.

    This rhetoric is overheated. There just isn’t this urgency. They may be working on it, but they’re not getting there tomorrow. Period. The facts in this case don’t match the rhetoric.

    My bet (folding money) is that time, but much sooner than you think, will tell just how very asinine this comment is.

    • #20
  21. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Fred Cole:

    Simon Templar:

    Fred Cole:And how would we react if it were 47 Democratic senators who did this to George Bush?

    That has got to be about the most apples to oranges question that you’ve ever asked around here.

    How so?

    Well this is how it looks to the unsympathetic.

    • #21
  22. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    …argument from Mrs. Othmar.

    I’m stealing that, BDB.

    • #22
  23. Tuck Inactive
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    Fred Cole:And how would we react if it were 47 Democratic senators who did this to George Bush?

    Bush wouldn’t put himself in a position where it was necessary.

    And if it were necessary, I’d salute them.

    • #23
  24. Quinn the Eskimo Member
    Quinn the Eskimo
    @

    Nick Stuart:

    Quinn the Eskimo:I’m probably the only person who thinks this, but I’ll say it anyway: The letter was well-intentioned, but probably counterproductive.

    Hard to say.

    But it is refreshing to see someone in the GOP Majority strap on his generative organs and lead a push back on President Obama.

    This letter won’t stop Obama.  I’m not even sure if Congress eventually passes new sanctions or defunds implementation of the “agreement” that Obama would faithfully enforce those measures.  (I certainly support sanctioning and defunding, but I am not under the illusion that this would do nearly enough.)  This is the problem when the executive branch doesn’t care about the Constitution and only about getting his way.

    And perhaps more importantly, this isn’t about standing up to Obama.  It has to be about standing up to Iran.  The Republicans can tell off Obama six ways from Sunday, but if it doesn’t stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons, it’s just talk.

    I would talk to the Israelis and see if there was anything they needed from us that Congress could provide.  If the president won’t do the right thing, you have to find parties who will.  I’m not even sure there is a lot useful that Congress could provide, but whatever would be useful to people who can do something is where I lean.  If there are better ideas, I’ll endorse those too.

    • #24
  25. Quinn the Eskimo Member
    Quinn the Eskimo
    @

    Severely Ltd.:It also emphatically makes the point to Americans (Liberal Jewish voters, I’m looking at you) that if they want Iran stopped, they’d better think seriously about electing a Republican president. This is also why I’ve cooled a bit on Rand Paul as our man.

    You would be shocked to find out the number of liberal Jewish voters who would let Jerusalem burn to preserve gay marriage.  I wish I were joking.

    • #25
  26. user_82762 Inactive
    user_82762
    @JamesGawron

    Jon,

    Sometimes a man’s got to do what a man’s go to do. I think Mitch McConnell needs to take some spine lessons. If Tom Cotton is the new spine coach in the Senate so be it. If Tom wants to run for President as of now I have no objection.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #26
  27. Mendel Inactive
    Mendel
    @Mendel

    Much hullabaloo over very little.

    As somebody pointed out above, the mullahs likely understand how our electoral system works and what side the Republicans are on well enough that there is absolutely nothing newsworthy for them in this letter. (And if they have been paying any attention to US news lately, they won’t be taking any threat of action from Republican Senators seriously anyhow.)

    This letter will no have no affect on Iranian actions.

    The real recipients of this letter are not the Iranians, but American voters. Which is fine – if the letter helps get a Republican president elected in 2016, it will have served a great purpose.

    • #27
  28. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    Fred Cole:And how would we react if it were 47 Democratic senators who did this to George Bush?

    That would require Bush first doing what Obama has been doing, which he never did…  and never would have done.  So, if 47 democratic senators “did this” to Bush, it actually would be a whole different story.

    • #28
  29. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Zafar

    Fred Cole:

    Simon Templar:

    Fred Cole:And how would we react if it were 47 Democratic senators who did this to George Bush?

    That has got to be about the most apples to oranges question that you’ve ever asked around here.

    How so?

    Well this is how it looks to the unsympathetic.

    If I were concerned with how the defense of our nation appeared to our enemies, that would be a valuable perspective.

    • #29
  30. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    Obama is awful for our country. If something from our politicians insults him then it’s a good thing. I want more including some darn prosecutions.

    • #30

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