Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

AT LARGE: Partisanship New Twist to Foreign Policy

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

AT LARGE: Partisanship New Twist to Foreign Policy

Article excerpt

Daniel Webster said it first, and perhaps best:

"Even our party divisions, acrimonious as they are, cease at the water's edge," the early United States senator and secretary of state under three presidents, said in 1812.

In other words, despite huge differences in the conduct of domestic policy and arguments about how to proceed on the home front, when it comes to the implementation of the nation's foreign policy, we should speak with one voice, that of the president and his foreign policy establishment.

That guiding principle has remained remarkably steady through two world wars, Korea, Vietnam and the War on Terror in the aftermath of 9/11.

To be sure, the war in Vietnam was incredibly contentious, but it was the mass movement of the people -- not Congress -- that led to its eventual unsatisfactory conclusion.

So, too, did Congress speak with one voice when it authorized President George W. Bush to undertake his adventures in Afghanistan and Iraq. Wars which, in retrospect, seem to have been disasters, especially the attack on Iraq in quest of nonexistent weapons of mass destruction.

But now comes Speaker of the House John Boehner and congressional Republicans who have invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress next Tuesday on the Iranian threat.

The invitation, which was issued behind President Barack Obama's back, comes at a particularly critical juncture, as the United States and its allies near the end of negotiations with Iran over its nuclear weapons developments.

We, of course, do not want to see Iran progress to the point where it has the capacity to develop such weapons.

Iran, on the other hand, insists that its nuclear program is aimed at energy production only, and the negotiations seem to have reached a critical juncture, at which we may be able to reach an agreement that would ensure that Iran keeps its nuclear program in the peaceful realm.

Israel, of course, is justifiably terrified that if Iran is allowed to go down the path toward production of nuclear weapons, it would pose an existential threat to the Jewish state, which, despite its own possession of nukes, fears possession of such weapons in the hands of a nearby hostile state. …

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