Top U.S. and Iranian diplomats returned to talks Tuesday, seeking to resolve differences blocking a deal that would curtail Iran's nuclear program and ease sanctions on the country. Among the issues they're now contending with is a Republican letter warning that any deal could collapse the day President Barack Obama leaves office.
The discussions between Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif came after a senior U.S. official described Iranian diplomats twice confronting their American counterparts about last week's open letter to Iran's leaders written by freshman Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and signed by 46 other GOP senators.
The letter came up in talks Sunday between senior U.S. and Iranian negotiators, the official said, and the Iranians raised it again in negotiations Monday led by Kerry and Zarif.
Note that phrase, "any deal" (my emphasis). Republicans are saying they won't honor any deal with Iran - obviously, since there isn't a deal to oppose, not yet.
As usual, Republicans oppose Barack Obama, not what Obama does. It's immaterial to them what the president actually does, since they're going to oppose it no matter what it is. Heck, they agreed to that before he'd even taken office for his first term.
No, this act of treason - working with Islamic extremists to sabotage our side in the negotiations with Iran - isn't about a particular agreement. It's just about the negotiations. They're simply trying to sabotage our side, America's side, in order to make the negotiations as difficult as possible for us.
Mostly, that's just their knee-jerk response to our first black president. The potential harm to America is not even a consideration, since the president will be blamed for any harm. If you can cause damage to your own country, but take no political blame yourself,... well, why wouldn't you, right? It's like being crazy to pass up a free war.
But these negotiations are also an attempt to avoid war, and Republicans want war - as long as someone else does the fighting, the dying, and the paying for it, of course. Defense industry lobbyists certainly want war, and Eisenhower's military-industrial complex owns the GOP.
Afghanistan was OK, but quickly got too boring for them. There were never many targets for our expensive missiles, and there are even fewer now. And we're long past the "shock and awe" phase in Iraq. We've left the country a complete mess, but who cares about that? It's long past time for another unnecessary war against another oil-rich country, isn't it?
I guess that treason works. Well, it's had an effect, anyway. Who knows if they'll actually be successful at sabotaging any agreement? But at the very least, America will get a worse agreement than before Republicans sabotaged their own side.
And that will be a plus for them, because it will be easier to win political points fighting against a poor agreement. Yes, they've indicated that they won't accept any agreement - indeed, that they'll fight against anything Barack Obama wants, no matter what it is - but a really good agreement would make that harder.
Which is why they committed treason in the first place - not so much to scuttle the negotiations entirely, but to make sure that America gets the worst agreement possible.