The partisan struggle in the political corridors of Washington reached unprecedented heights this week, with Iran becoming the focal point for fierce contention between Republican members of Congress and the Barack Obama administration. The latest display of these sharp internal divisions over the Iran talks has come from a provocative letter by 47 Republican senators to the Iranian government. The letter marks a direct interference by US legislators in the negotiations, with senators such as potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul co-signing the message that purported to emphasize the innate fragile nature of any would-be agreement with Iran. However, in their desperate attempt to dissuade Iran from reaching a deal, the Republicans have harmed US credibility on the international stage more than they know, or perhaps even care to understand.
The letter signaled not only continued Republican obstructionism toward seemingly anything President Obama does, but also that the United States is potentially no longer a cohesive entity in terms of how it conducts itself in global affairs. In fact, what the Republicans have done with their attempt at scuttling the diplomatic efforts aimed at peacefully resolving the Iranian nuclear dispute, is to make a claim that has very rarely been made in US history: that the US government’s executive branch does not conduct the nation’s foreign policy.