Enemies of Diplomacy

by Ed Sawicki

June 19, 2022

GOP are the enemies of diplomacy

In 2012, I wrote an article titled Quemoy and Matsu that used a 1960 example of U.S. politicians favoring expensive military misadventures instead of diplomacy. The story detailed how Vice-president Richard Nixon, running for president against then-Senator John F. Kennedy, criticized the reasonable foreign policy of his own administration because Kennedy agreed with it. However, President Eisenhower got his revenge, and Nixon lost the presidential race. The country was spared having war hawk Nixon dealing with the Soviets over the Cuban Missile Crisis instead of the far more level-headed and pragmatic Kennedy administration.

Fast-forward to today, and U.S. war hawk politicians are still putting their party and career first even when the safety of the country is an issue. In 2015, forty‑seven Republican Senators sabotaged the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran Nuclear Deal. They sent a letter to Iran's leadership discouraging them from accepting the deal by telling them the deal may not last after Obama's presidency. It didn't. Donald Trump revoked the deal in 2018.

Here's the March 9, 2015 letter:

GOP Senate Letter to Iran

An Open Letter to the Leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran:

It has come to our attention while observing your nuclear negotiations with our government that you may not fully understand our constitutional system. Thus, we are writing to bring to your attention two features of our Constitution -- the power to make binding international agreements and the different character of federal offices -- which you should seriously consider as negotiations progress.

First, under our Constitution, while the president negotiates international agreements, Congress plays the significant role of ratifying them. In the case of a treaty, the Senate must ratify it by a two-thirds vote. A so-called congressional-executive agreement requires a majority vote in both the House and the Senate (which, because of procedural rules, effectively means a three-fifths vote in the Senate). Anything not approved by Congress is a mere executive agreement.

Second, the offices of our Constitution have different characteristics.

For example, the president may serve only two 4-year terms, whereas senators may serve an unlimited number of 6-year terms. As applied today, for instance, President Obama will leave office in January 2017, while most of us will remain in office well beyond then -- perhaps decades.

What these two constitutional provisions mean is that we will consider any agreement regarding your nuclear-weapons program that is not approved by the Congress as nothing more than an executive agreement between President Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei. 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.

We hope this letter enriches your knowledge of our constitutional system and promotes mutual understanding and clarity as nuclear negotiations progress.


  1. Senator Tom Cotton, R-AR
  2. Senator Kelly Ayotte, R-NH
  3. Senator John A. Barrasso, R-WY
  4. Senator Roy Blunt, R-MO
  5. Senator John Boozman, R-AR
  6. Senator Richard Burr, R-NC
  7. Senator Shelley Moore Capito, R-WV
  8. Senator Bill Cassidy, R-LA
  9. Senator John Cornyn, R-TX
  10. Senator Michael Crapo, R-ID
  11. Senator Ted Cruz, R-TX
  12. Senator Steve Daines, R-MT
  13. Senator Michael Enzi, R-WY
  14. Senator Joni Ernst, R-IA
  15. Senator Deb Fischer, R-NE
  16. Senator Cory Gardner, R-CO
  17. Senator Lindsey Graham, R-SC
  18. Senator Charles Grassley, R-IA
  19. Senator Orrin Hatch, R-UT
  20. Senator Dean Heller, R-NV
  21. Senator John Hoeven, R-ND
  22. Senator James Inhofe, R-OK
  23. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-GA
  24. Senator Ron Johnson, R-WI
  25. Senator Mark Kirk, R-IL
  26. Senator James Lankford, R-OK
  27. Senator Mike Lee, R-UT
  28. Senator Mitch McConnell, R-KY
  29. Senator John McCain, R-AZ
  30. Senator Jerry Moran, R-KS
  31. Senator Rand Paul, R-KY
  32. Senator Rob Portman, R-OH
  33. Senator Marco Rubio, R-FL
  34. Senator Pat Roberts, R-KS
  35. Senator David Perdue, R-GA
  36. Senator Jim Risch, R-ID
  37. Senator Mike Rounds, R-SD
  38. Senator Ben Sasse, R-NE
  39. Senator Tim Scott, R-SC
  40. Senator Jeff Sessions, R-AL
  41. Senator Richard Shelby, R-AL
  42. Senator Dan Sullivan, R-AK
  43. Senator John Thune, R-SD
  44. Senator Thom Tillis, R-NC
  45. Senator Pat Toomey, R-PA
  46. Senator David Vitter, R-LA
  47. Senator Roger Wicker, R-MS

Read the article Did 47 Republican senators break the law in plain sight? for more.

GOP are the enemies of diplomacy