Tom Cotton Hurt America and Israel With A Treasonous Iran Letter

What if Mapai or Labor wrote a letter to Anwar Sadat in 1978 stating that peace would only be temporary?

How would Menchem Begin react to an Israeli Tom Cotton?

Imagine for a moment that Mikhail Gorbachev received the following letter from 47 Democrats after arms control talks with President Reagan:

“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.”

Imagine Ronald Reagan’s reaction to such a petty and ludicrous attempt at undermining America’s nuclear negotiations with the Soviet Union.

What would the Soviets think?

How would the Reagan administration react?

No, the GOP isn’t a country. It’s a political party in the United States. To undermine negotiations with an enemy of the United States is treasonous act at worst; a shameless political stunt at best. It’s similar to when Nixon and Kissinger prolonged the Vietnam War, but that’s another Republican fiasco.

Say what you want about The New York Daily News, but it’s more respectable than a lying Bill O’Reilly or a Fox News that has overtly propagated the notion of President Obama being a socialist. The New York Daily News endorsed Mitt Romney in 2012, so it can hardly be called a liberal mouthpiece. Furthermore, here’s what the fourth most widely circulated paper in the U.S. is saying about the GOP:

Un-patriot games as GOP senators undermine President on Iran

Regardless of President Obama’s fecklessness in negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran, 47 Republican U.S. senators engaged in treachery by sending a letter to the mullahs aimed at cutting the legs out from under America’s commander-in-chief.

…The plain intent was to sabotage Obama by pushing the Iranians into balking at a deal out of fear that a turn of the U.S. political wheel could doom the pact in the not-so-distant future.

Horrendously, every member of the Republican Senate leadership signed the letter, as did GOP presidential contenders Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio. Only seven Republicans showed sense enough not to go along.

It’s never good to hear the words “sabotage” in reference to an American political party’s behavior towards its Commander in Chief. Furthermore, this sets a horrible precedent for the future.

Imagine President Jeb Bush negotiates an arms reduction deal with North Korea, and 47 childish naysayers in Congress decide to write the North Korean regime their own letter condemning negotiations?

Politics used to end at the water’s edge, but now Sen. Tom Cotton and the GOP are doing their best Aaron Burr imitation and attempting to speak on behalf of their own empire. If only today’s GOP was around when JFK was dealing with the Cuban Missile Crisis, imagine the wonderful letter they would have drafted to Nikita Khrushchev?

According to Raw Story, publications around the country, including the Daily Banter, are questioning the legality of the GOP’s Iran letter:

The Daily Banter and other outlets noted that the letter could be considered a violation of the Logan Act, which prohibits U.S. Citizens from starting or engaging in “any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof” for the purpose of interfering with a foreign policy negotiation.

“This letter is neither advice, nor consent,” The Banter’s Tommy Christopher wrote. “It’s directly addressed to leaders of a foreign government presently involved in talks with the U.S., and it is designed to thwart those talks. Unless the senators were authorized by the president to address Iran’s leaders in this letter, a case can be made that 47 U.S. senators just violated a federal law that carries a prison term of up to three years.”

So, the GOP’s letter was “designed to thwart talks” and could have violated a law that leads to years behind bars.

However, this type of behavior is unprecedented in U.S. history. Can you name a time when an American president was negotiating with a foreign country and opposing Senators decided to further their own foreign policy objectives? It’s treasonous to undermine the United States in negotiations with an enemy; even under the guise of standing firm against terror. It’s not the GOP’s place to speak or negotiate with countries, it’s the role of our president. The Reagan Doctrine, The Monroe Doctrine, The Truman Doctrine, and every other example of American foreign policy would never have worked if previous Congressional opposition parties had acted in the same manner.

The same document referenced in the Republican’s open letter to Iran has something to say about treason. The U.S. Constitution, as explained by the Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics, highlights the repercussions of treason:

Article III Section 3

Section 3 – The Text Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court. The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

Section 3 – The Meaning Treason is the only crime specifically defined in the Constitution. According to Article III, Section 3, a person is guilty of treason if he or she goes to war against the United States or gives “aid or comfort” to an enemy. He or she does not have to physically pick up a weapon and fight in combat against U.S. troops

What better “aid and comfort” to an enemy nation than the belief our country doesn’t speak in one voice, especially during negotiations?

Hawks like Sen. Cotton convince themselves that their acting “tough”, but in reality, all they’re doing is hurting a sitting president in front of another nation. This illustrates weakness, not strength. Again, imagine Reagan being undermined by opposing Democrats. The Soviets would be less willing to compromise knowing that Congressional opposition planned to reverse anything accomplished by the Reagan administration.

It helps Iran, North Korea, and every other enemy of the U.S. to know that political dysfunction in Washington D.C. has risen to such unprecedented heights that one political party will act on its own, regardless of what our president negotiates in terms of a treaty.

When our enemies know that our own politicians will undermine a president, then the U.S., Israel, and democracies everywhere must worry about this precedent.

Debate is good. Arguing is great. Dissent is fine. A treasonous letter?

Just ask yourself what FDR would have done to a version of Tom Cotton after the Yalta Conference in 1945.

Voting against a treaty or agreement is one thing, writing a letter to an enemy nation explaining that current nuclear talks are meaningless is a whole different ballgame. Would Dwight D. Eisenhower allow this kind of behavior, or a letter to Stalin from Eugene McCarthy? What would the Founding Fathers think of this “letter” to Iran?

There’s a word for this type of disgusting behavior. The Constitution that Republicans reference in their Iran letter talks about what happens with this type of behavior. Tom Cotton and the GOP hurt the U.S. and Israel by undermining the voice of the world’s superpower and by showing our enemies how fractured and dysfunctional we’ve become as a nation. If you don’t think this is treason, imagine how George Washington would have reacted to these 47 Republican Senators, had he been president in 2015.

Sen. Cotton, you and the other Republicans should find new pen pals, rather than engaging in vapid political stunts that cause the Iranians and others to laugh at the West’s self-conscious war hawks. A letter to an enemy, during negotiations, hurts everyone. By the way, Putin and Kim Jong-un are waiting for their letters, hoping that they too can cause an unprecedented fracture within the U.S. government.

About the Author
H. A. Goodman is an author and columnist published in numerous publications and websites.