During the Mid-Term Elections of 2014, the Republican Party gained a majority in the Senate, thus providing it with full control over both Houses of Congress. So, last Tuesday, when President Barack Obama came to deliver the Annual State of the Union Address, the GOP assumed that he would be conciliatory and express an interest in working with them. Obama has, however, been trying that approach, for most of his six years in office–unsuccessfully I might add. So, this past Tuesday, he addressed the Joint Session of Congress by laying-out his progressive agenda for the next two years.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), apparently feeling that he had been one-upped by the President, decided to do him one better. Among many other things, the GOP disagrees with the Administration because Obama has decided not to increase the sanctions on Iran while negotiations are underway regarding its Nuclear Weapons Program. Also, Iran has been suffering considerably of late due to the decline of oil prices–the source of most of its hard currency–by almost 60% just since June.
The Hawkish element of the Republicans Party has been instigating to “Bomb Iran” for some time. So, Speaker Boehner invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a Joint Session of Congress on March 3. The White House, State Department, and neither of the Democratic Minority Leaders, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in the House or Harry Reid (D-NV) in the Senate, were consulted. Neither Obama nor Kerry will meet with Netanyahu during his visit, since standard Washington practice is not to meet with foreign politicians prior to elections in their home country.
Prime Minister Netanyahu is no stranger to meddling in American Politics. Even the media in Israel was surprised to see him outwardly supporting his former colleague Mitt Romney, from their days as young businessmen in Boston, during the 2012 Presidential Election. But, why did “Bibi” allow himself to be drawn into a feud between the President and his Opposition Party now? The Jerusalem Post noted that Netanyahu was asked to address the significance of the Nuclear Threat that Iran poses. “Nuff said!
Now, the U.S. Constitution does not specifically charge any of the three branches of Government with the Foreign Affairs Portfolio; however, it does direct the President to: make treaties; appoint Ambassadors and receive Ambassadors and Ministers of foreign countries. The folks back in Jerusalem question why the Republicans are meddling in Israeli Politics and, while agreeing, I also wonder about the Prime Minister’s diplomacy!
I seriously question the mindset of Speaker Boehner in asking the Prime Minister of another country to weigh-in on an internal American disagreement–especially one with regard to important on-going negotiations between other countries. What could throwing Netanyahu into the fray–not only between Democrats and Republicans, but also America and Iran–ever hope to accomplish?