The bipartisan nature of American politics is well-known. It’s understood that the tension between Republicans and Democrats is what stalls progress in the country and prevents true change from being achieved. A two-party system isn’t necessarily bad in theory, but it can only work if the main goal of both sides is compromise.
The negative aspects of bipartisan American politics have been on display to the rest of the world for decades. This week, however, the petty nature of our squabbling government revealed its worst side. The consequences have potentially become more serious. In light of the ongoing nuclear talks with Iran, 47 U.S. Senators signed “An Open Letter to the Leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran.” The letter essentially claims that the ongoing negotiations regarding a nuclear deal could be changed or dismissed as soon as Obama leaves office. The full text of the letter (signatures excluded) can be viewed below.
The letter not only undermines the authority of an executive office in the midst of significant, sensitive talks with a foreign nation, it clearly demonstrates just how incapable our government is at operating efficiently. The fact that the legislative body of the world’s only superpower has told Iran that its impending nuclear deal could basically be meaningless in a few years destroys any progress that has been made thus far. If it were Democrats doing this to a Republican executive office, there’d be way more talk of treason. As Vice President Joe Biden said in his response letter, “This letter sends a highly misleading signal to friend and foe alike that our Commander-in-Chief cannot deliver on America’s commitments -- a message that is as false as it is dangerous.” Even Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif described the letter as a “propaganda ploy.”
This embarrassing debacle began with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Washington D.C. The visit was protested by Obama and several of his fellow Democrats, yet celebrated by the Republicans in Congress. His widely-publicized speech and the debate it stirred within Washington notified the whole world that America had extremely inconsistent views in regards to foreign policy.
The Senators’ letter may ultimately have little impact on the way the United States is perceived. The rest of the world has likely already been well-aware of the ridiculous nature of our bipartisan system. But with an issue as sensitive as nuclear proliferation — and with tension as high as it is in the Middle East — now is not the time to put our government’s incompetent style of ruling on display. Perhaps it was already too late.