I bow to no one in my disregard and contempt for Obama, but I am more than a little concerned with the GOP’s use of a foreign leader to do so. In foreign policy, for good or ill, the President is the symbolic head of the country and its national leader. Disrespect to him by foreign leaders is, often enough, disrespect for the country as a whole.
The Congress, while it contains an important role in foreign policy–the approval of funds and, in the case of the Senate, ratification of treaties–it should not have its own, separate foreign policy. It was unseemly, for example, when liberal Senators like John Kerry traipsed around Nicaragua back in the 1980s, seeking to avoid “another Vietnam” by making sure the communists won. It is unseemly that a foreign leader–any foreign leader–would meet with other members of the American tripartite government without presidential approval. It is a breach of decorum, a deliberate provocation, and the very kind of “foreign entanglement” our first President warned us of so eloquently in his Farewell Address.
There is no doubt most Americans support Israel, do not want Iran to have nukes, and are wary of Obama’s misguided foreign policy. But the affection for the former should be kept within certain bounds. We are a separate country. Our interests are distinct and they sometimes diverge. Israel and its leader never forgets this, dealing as it does with our rivals such as China to sell its own sophisticated arms, but American congressman sometimes do. Here, in their enthusiasm to court evangelical voters, Jewish donors, and Obama haters everywhere, they are undermining the formerly well settled principal that the nation speaks with one voice in matters of war and peace and that voice, for good or for ill, is of the President.
This is an unserious act by thoughtless, short-sighted people. Obama won’t be president some day, but a dangerous precedent of foreign leaders using one party that holds them in high regard against the president has been set.