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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

What do the Jay Treaty and the Iran Deal Have in Common?

Obama Hopes History Will Prove Him Right on Iran


In a thought-provoking article by George E. Condon Jr., White House correspondent for National Journal, the author points out that all the way back to our Founding Fathers, when Presidents have made controversial agreements with foreign governments in the face of harsh public criticism, those agreements have typically ended up on the right side of history; with hindsight vindicating their decisions and proving the critics wrong:

“The reality is that almost every president who has reached a major agreement with a U.S. foe has been viciously attacked, with treaty foes warning of dire consequences. But even as he is being battered over the Iran deal, Obama can take some solace from the fact all of those presidents were rewarded by sticking with the deal and ignoring popular disdain and stinging criticisms.

Some of the venom was captured earlier this year in "A Brief History of Hating Treaties," by reporter David H. Montgomery of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. He recalled the criticism of the Jay Treaty in 1796 that dealt with the issues left over from the Revolutionary War. George Washington was too revered a figure to assail, so the critics went after Washington's chief negotiator, John Jay. Montgomery cited one newspaper editor who wrote sentiments about Jay not too far away from today's Republican attitudes toward Obama, referring to Jay as "the arch traitor—seize him, drown him, burn him, flay him alive."

Seven years later, Thomas Jefferson was viciously attacked for agreeing to the Louisiana Purchase for $15 million. Then there was the 1842 Webster-Ashburton Treaty, again with Britain, which one congressman said was a collection of "errors, mistakes, blunders, concessions, explanations, apologies, losses, and mortifications." But history showed both Jay and Webster to be good treaties for the United States, and Jefferson was vindicated for doubling the size of the United States.”

Read the full article at:

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