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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student


COLUMN: Sedition in the Senate? Not just yet

In 1968 — on the eve of the presidential election — Richard Nixon’s campaign secretly communicated with the government of South ?Vietnam.

The exchange was made with the intent to convince the South Vietnamese to derail peace talks that year by a promising a better deal, embarrassing the Johnson administration and weakening the Democratic candidate for president.

Ultimately, that’s what happened: the talks failed, Nixon won and the war continued for seven more years. LBJ would later go on to label what Nixon did as ?“treasonous.”

Fast-forward to 2015.

This week, users on Twitter drew comparison between Nixon’s sabotage and the actions of 47 Republican senators who sent an open letter to the leaders of Iran, arguing that whatever deal the Obama administration reaches over Iran’s nuclear capabilities will be subject to congressional interference after the ?president leaves office.

This is in the middle of ongoing and intense negotiations between the United States and Iran.

The hashtag #47Traitors trended Tuesday with many citing the Logan Act — legislation that forbids any individual from corresponding or coordinating with a foreign government to defeat the ?foreign policy of the U.S.

Of course, calling the GOP’s latest stunt treason or sedition would be giving them too much credit. The letter was swiftly and ironically dismissed by Iran’s foreign minister as “propaganda.”

It’s also highly unlikely to actually affect the outcome of the negotiations.

Still, the GOP’s intent is no less dangerous. It’s one thing to attack the president’s domestic agenda. But playing politics with our foreign policy? That’s taking petty politics to the level of not only brazenly disrespecting the administration, but the ?presidency itself.

Leading the charge is freshman senator from Arkansas, Tom Cotton. The Republican hasn’t even been a senator for more than two months, yet seems determined to make the upper chamber of Congress as broken as the House where he previously served.

One might hope that Cotton — a war veteran — would best understand the implications of attempting to undermine the authority of our commander-in-chief.

One would also perhaps hope he’d be more weary of the nuances of war and peace, as he and his Republican colleagues attempt to sabotage negotiations that could lead to another massive armed conflict in the ?Middle East.

My generation has no interest in fighting a war that has the possibility of being prevented. It’s unreal to think there’s a group in Congress that would prefer that to even giving the president and his team a chance.

If anything, this most recent episode underscores how Republicans’ hate of President Obama far outmatches their interest or ?commitment to govern.

Past attempts to undermine the president have failed spectacularly; though their hostility toward to White House continues to be astounding ?nonetheless.

This time their actions might have been shy of Nixonian. But with a Republican-controlled Congress, who knows what’s next.

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