The 'what were you thinking' question hits a new level

The 'what were you thinking' question hits a new level

Kansas senators' signature on letter to Iranian leaders raises some fundamental questions about knowledge of history, respect of government

I had an uncomfortable experience Sunday morning when I watched my Congressman, 4th District Rep. Mike Pompeo, in an interview on the KAKE-TV Sunday morning news program, “This Week in Kansas.”

Talking about the issue of 47 U.S. Senators signing a letter to the leaders of Iran in an attempt to sabotage the ongoing negotiations for a multi-national, unilateral agreement to end the Iranian move toward a nuclear weapon, Pompeo said President Obama should have brought the negotiations to the U.S. Congress for “open debate.”

U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., holds a press conference at the U.S. Capitol, March 2012. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Apparently, Pompeo, like Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran, both of whom actually signed the letter, doesn’t understand the difference between a treaty, which requires the “advice and consent” of the U.S. Senate and a multi-national, unilateral agreement , which is ratified by the Security Council of the United Nations.

The pending Iranian agreement would be a lot like the U.N. agreement that resulted in the partition of Palestine and the creation of the nation of Israel in 1947. Not that there haven’t been some problems with that, but check your records and you will find that the agreement  is not something  that the U.S. Congress weighed in on.  Neither has the U.S. Congress played much of a role in subsequent resolutions regarding the expansion of Israeli territories in Palestine or ongoing violence in the Saini or the Gaza Strip.

All of that leads me to wonder if our Congressional delegation has much knowledge of world history. It's pretty much uncontested that the 47 signers have some missing lessons.

That is disturbing. There is no one in Kansas politics that I have admired as much as I admire Pat Roberts. Yet, he signed that letter. Jerry Moran has always struck me as a sensible, thoughtful person. He, too, signed that letter.

How do you explain that? Either they were so distracted by a snowstorm, ala John McCain, that  they signed a letter without reading it, trusting their leadership;  they are so out of touch with reality that they really thought the U.S. Senate has ratification authority over a United Nations Security Council multi-national agreement; they are so anxious to pander to the Tea Party base that they don’t care what damage they do U.S. credibility on the world stage, even it if leads to yet another unwinnable war in the Middle East or they are so fixated on damaging the Obama administration that they don’t care how much damage “getting” him does to America.  None of those excuses pass muster.

For Pompeo to hop on TV and smirk for the camera about how this is simply the Congress trying to insist on doing its Constitutional duty is gag-worthy.

There is NOTHING in the Constitution that offers wisdom on multi-national agreements or sanctions on countries that threaten world peace. That’s because the Constitution was drafted in 1785 and 1786 and ratified in 1787. At that point in time, a World War had never even been imagined and disputes were pretty much universally between individual countries --or in the case of the U.S. -- native tribes and the fledgling government.

The United Nations was not created – along with the structure that goes with it – until the end of World War II.

However, there is a legal precedent about unauthorized parties injecting themselves in negotiations with foreign governments that dates bsack to 1799. It doesn’t weigh in favorably to the 47 signers.

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