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Strange Bedfellows: Israel, Iran and the Republican Party

Updated on March 24, 2015

Strange Bedfellows: Israel, Iran and the Republican Party

Here is a curious thing… What do hard-line Iranian leaders, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Republicans in Congress are have in common? They are all on the same side when it comes to limiting Iran’s nuclear ambitions through a negotiated agreement. Strange bedfellows indeed. It is hard to see anything good coming from that alliance. Here’s why.

It has been well documented that Netanyahu has lied, lied, repeatedly lied, about Iran’s nuclear programs proclaiming over 20 years ago, (and numerous time since) that Iran was within months of attaining nuclear capabilities. Iranian hardliners want no part of a deal that would limit or deny them the right to pursue a level nuclear playing field with Israel. And Republicans have drawn condemnation from the international community, even among our non-allies, for their total disregard for diplomatic protocol prompting one diplomat to observe, “Negotiations with the United States are facing problems due to the presence of extremists in Congress.” Another added, “This kind of letter is unprecedented and undiplomatic. In truth, it told us that we cannot trust the United States.” Another went so far as to say that the letter represented the “destruction of the American establishment from within’.

It is generally understood that this letter was sent in an attempt to either 1) derail negotiations even before the upcoming deadline, which may well pass without any agreement, making their actions irrelevant, or, 2) try to simply embarrass and disrespect the President of the United States in front of the entire world. The latter seems more consistent with their actions of late, particularly inviting Netanyahu to speak to Congress while, again, disregarding diplomatic protocol (though Netanyahu bears as much blame for accepting the offer without even consulting the White House). Unfortunately, in their attempt to undermine the man they have degraded the Office of the President of the United States.

It seems to be overlooked that the U.S. is not the only country negotiating with Iran. Britain, China, France, Germany and even Russia are all participating in the negotiations to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power. However, they were not consulted and were slighted as well. How could this possibly strengthen America’s role internationally? Obviously it can’t.

The bottom line is this. No deal virtually assures that hardliners in Iran will use this to exert great pressure to move forward quickly any plans for attaining nuclear weapons. If that happens, Israel has threatened to attack. If they do and things escalate (as they easily could), we could have another Cuban Missile Crisis on our hands, but this time we might not be so lucky. Such a scenario could actually precipitate a nucear exchange rather than avoid one.

Constituents need to rein in their representatives and ask them to act with decorum and observe time-honored protocols (both international and domestic) in their pursuit of what they believe is in the best interests of America internationally and of the American people at home. Their actions have brought embarrassment on our great country and that is (or at least should be) unacceptable. If America is going to maintain its role as an international leader (and not a bully) we need to be a United America. We need to stop blaming the “others” for our problems and start acting like the civil society so many people around the world believe us to be.


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