Thinking Aloud: Passing Notes

Nov. 10, 2014 by Darius 

A report recently surfaced that President Obama committed the unspeakable crime of…sending a letter to Iran’s Supreme Leader about ways the US and Iran could coordinate in the fight against ISIS.  Senate Republicans are treating the letter like the end of the US’s Middle East policy.  Their main objection is that Obama should have consulted US allies in the region, especially Israel and Saudi Arabia, before sending the letter to Iran.

The entire point of US foreign policy is that it is just that—US foreign policy.  Allies are important, but if an ally has veto power over policy, that isn’t an alliance—that’s more of a vassal relationship.  Furthermore, Obama’s letter to Supreme Leader Khamenei didn’t outline their diabolical plans to split the Middle East between US and Iran.  Instead, it supposedly (being a secret letter, the contents aren’t fully known) outlined in broad terms areas for cooperation between the US and Iran against ISIS.

To claim that a US president needs permission from other countries before even communicating with a third country is not only asinine and harmful, it arguably borders on treason by putting the interests of a foreign nation above those of the US.

No nation, not Israel, not Saudi Arabia, not Great Britain or any other US ally, has the power to veto US foreign policy.  Likewise, US allies don’t get to decided who the US is allowed to talk to and who the US is not allowed to talk to.  This is not fourth grade.

In addition to customary Republican fear-mongering, this whole incident has served as a reminder of perhaps the worst consequence of Republican control of the Senate: John McCain, the increasingly cranky senator from Arizona with a penchant for US military involvement in other countries, is now the chairman of the Armed Services Committee.  Now, we all need to deal with that for the next two years, at a minimum.

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One Response to Thinking Aloud: Passing Notes

  1. Rick O'Shea says:

    “Officials would not say if Mr. Obama had received a response, but past letters to Ayatollah Khamenei have usually resulted in lengthy diatribes about American intentions in the region.”

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