Obama used strong-arm tactics to force foreign policy


Lamont Colucci, associate professor and chair of the politics and government department, recently published an opinion piece on USNews.com, criticizing President Obama’s recent diplomatic strong-arming.

He cites an incident from 1797 in which President John Adams sent three American envoys to France in an attempt to forestall war between the United States and its Revolutionary War ally. They were blocked from meeting the French foreign minister by intermediaries who first demanded bribes to France and the foreign minister. This debacle resulted in combat between the U.S. Navy and France.

“What is the point of reminding readers of this vignette in American foreign policy history?” he writes. “We recently witnessed a contemporary XYZ Affair, dubbed by this author as the Senate Shakedown of 2015. In this story, foreign diplomats from Russia, China, Britain, Germany and France were encouraged by the Obama administration and assisted by Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz to pressure senators to vote for President Barack Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran.”

Colucci writes that the Obama administration designed this group to coerce senators to vote for “the worst foreign policy decision of Obama’s two terms.” The diplomats threatened to withdraw their sanctions on Iran, leaving America to stand alone against Iran, should they not sign.

These diplomats cared not for America’s well-being, but only their own interests, Colucci writes. “In the case of our European allies, they clearly see the potential business profits to be made by a reopening of the Iranian market. The Russians and Chinese not only see the economic benefits, but the ability to use a reopened Iran for military and diplomatic benefits to thwart American interests.”

He criticizes the White House for using foreign diplomats to force the hands of senators. “We might pine for the days when France was only asking for bribes, and they were embarrassed. What do we call the actions of our own government at this time?”

The full opinion piece can be read here.