In the eyes of Republicans, President Obama’s use of executive powers to circumvent GOP input on immigration reform and his sudden departure from decades-long policies toward Cuba are an affront to their oversight power. In defense of the GOP, the dramatic shift toward reengaging the isolated island-nation of Cuban was thoroughly unexpected as the negotiations were largely done in secret. At the same time, the pledge to open a US Embassy in Cuba is a major concession with nothing gained. Quite frankly, the President did not even prepare the nation by presenting his case for restarting US-Cuban relations before his December, 2014 announcement.
With this Republican view in mind, John Boehner’s infamous invitation of Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before a joint-session of Congress, which violates diplomatic protocol by circumventing the Executive Branch’s input, almost seems justified. After all, the President acts on foreign policy matters without Congressional approval or oversight, even when he understands Congress is against a particular policy stance.
In defense of the President, Republicans have made it their mission to delay, degrade, and derail anything the President wants to do. This includes shared goals like immigration reform. Republicans have become so bent on undermining the Obama Administration that they are willing to imperil their own sacred cow: national security in terms of funding the Department of Homeland Security. Unfortunately, Democrats seem to be following suit in rtheir esponse to Republican legislation now that the GOP controls both Chambers of Congress.
That said, there are reasons the Executive Branch has traditionally taken point on foreign policy matters. Clearly, Americans have a wide range of views on foreign policy issues, yet the only views that will be reflected in US foreign policy are those approved by the Executive Branch. Instead of approaching foreign governments with a multitude of voices and opinions, i.e. Congress, the President is the logical choice to present our policies toward foreign nations. If the Executive Branch makes promises it cannot keep or ignores the views of others, the President will embarrass himself when his pledges to foreign parties fall short.
Meanwhile, it is also important to recognize the issues of espionage and treason. The US government exists to serve the interests of the American People, not the interests of foreigners. It is only when the interests of the American People and foreigners overlap that foreign interests should be served by US policy. When foreign lobbyists are freely allowed to influence members of Congress, they are given undue influence over America’s political process. If the US President caters to foreign interests, Congress has the power to check that influence, yet there is little recourse when the President and the Congress are both under the influence of foreign interests.
Furthermore, it is important to recognize the globalizing nature of the Islamic identify, the democratization of the Middle Eastern Peoples, the unifying of Arab governments to address security threats in the Middle East, i.e. the Islamic State, and the threat of globalized terrorism, a failure of Israel to resolve its conflict with the Palestinian People are jeopardizing the future of Israel. Coupled with growing European distaste for how Israel treats the Palestinian People , America’s stalwart support of Israel has steadily forced a gap between Europe and the US as well as the oil-rich Muslim world and the US.
Unfortunately, the US is facing a future, unless Israel’s policies change, where it will have to choose between supporting the Israeli government or alienating the Peoples of Europe and the Middle East. Given the amount of widespread blowback from John Boehner and Benjamin Netanyahu’s breach of foreign policy protocol, as well as the apparent attempt to interfere in the internal politics of both Israel and the United States, the US may well have its excuse for abandoning Israel.
In politics, unpalatable things that need to get done are only done when there is a reason that people can accept. Israel’s negative impact on US global influence is not enough to abandon America’s closest-friend. Israel “betraying” the US by interfering in the American political system, if it continues to outrage people, is enough to shift American foreign policy away from Israel. Consequently, Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech, which is intended to garner support for Israel’s national security interests, could actually be the beginning of the end for Israel as the world knows it. At the very least, it exacerbates the need for Israel to quickly shift its policies in order to retain meaningful US support and disarm growing security threats from neighboring countries.
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