WASHINGTON — American politics once stopped at the water’s edge. Now, it doesn’t even slow down.
By trying to deter Iran’s leaders from cutting a nuclear deal with the U.S. and Europe, 47 Republican senators this week caused the most serious rupture in the tradition of bipartisan foreign policy in at least a generation.
“We’re in new territory here,” said David Rothkopf, author of a book on the National Security Council. “There’s been an escalation in the role partisanship is playing, and it’s become particularly destructive.”
Democrats — and even some Republicans — say a lack of unity confuses allies and adversaries alike, making the U.S. appear to be an unreliable negotiating partner.
“This hurts America,” Sandy Berger, national security adviser to President Bill Clinton, said of the Republicans who wrote a letter to Iranian leaders warning against an agreement. “This damages our strength in the world, damages the credibility of the president as he’s negotiating and therefore the next president who negotiates.”
The letter came a week after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu assailed the U.S. administration’s Iran policy in a speech before Congress, having been invited to do so by Republican House Speaker John Boehner. Recent weeks have demonstrated that foreign policy has become just another partisan pinata, buffeted by one-sided media outlets and office- holders.