Thursday, March 12, 2015

Weakening The Country Is No Accident

More snarky than humorous, and more humorous than logical, the National Review's Rich Lowry defends Tom Cotton's letter undermining the USA negotiating position by writing

if I really want to skirt the Logan Act, I will write it on a postcard, put a stamp on it and drop it in the corner mailbox:
To Whom It May Concern in Tehran,
You are unlikely to ever encounter someone this weak and credulous again in the Oval Office.
Rich Lowry

Lowry is, presumably, not talking about President 666, Ronald(6) Wilson(6) Reagan(6), who cut and run after the barracks bombing in Beirut (photo below from Pierre Sabbagh/AFP/Getty), which killed 241 Marines and  set his schedule with the approval of his wife's fortune teller. Weak and credulous, indeed.

Lowry also maintains the New Republic's Brian Beutler believes the correspondence was "indistinguishable from an op-ed," which would have been a legitimate claim by Lowry if it had not been entitled "An Open Letter to the Leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran;" started with "It has come to our attention while observing your nuclear negotiations with our government that you may not fully understand"; or if Beutler (who suggests the letter was "reckless" and motivated by "intra-coalition politics") had not actually referred to it as "the letter."  The only thing missing was a name or two of the leadership, which would have made the letter less offensive than intended.

Even signers- 47 of the 56 Senators in the Rep caucus- aren't claiming it was a "functional op-ed." Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey charged critics "will use whatever they think works. That letter is just the most recent case of my doing all that I can to prevent Iran from having a nuclear bomb."

Now we know: if Tehran never produces a nuclear weapon, it will be due to the tireless efforts of Pat Toomey. Or maybe not, for Michael Crowley reports  

A key European diplomat said Thursday that the letter to Iran from Senate Republicans “was not helpful” to ongoing international nuclear talks with Iran.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier was reacting to a letter signed by 47 Senate Republicans warning Tehran that any nuclear deal it strikes with President Barack Obama will be non-binding and easily undone.

Steinmeier added that to call the missive unhelpful was “an understatement.”

Germany is among the six nations conducting talks with Iran in an effort to prevent Tehran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability. In addition to the United States, the others are France, Britain, Russia, and China.

Steinmeier elaborated in German-language remarks to his country’s media this morning.

“It’s not just a matter of U.S. politics. It has an impact on the talks in Geneva. Because now of course mistrust is growing on the Iranian side about whether our side is really serious about negotiations,” according to a translation from German network Deutsche Welle.

According to sources close to the negotiations, the letter may have given Iran more leverage in the nuclear talks.

“The game that was played in the past is that we are credible and the Iranians are not credible,” said one. “The letter is creating the advantage for the Iranians. It is hurting our position in the negotiations.”

It's hurting the negotiating position of the countries aiming to prevent Iran from joining the nuclear club.  It also has hurt the credibility of the USA, upon which much of the nation's strategic strength lies.  The only question remaining is whether the majority of the majority Party in the US Senate wanted to undermine the nation or that was the inevitable and collateral damage.

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