Governor Rick Scott continues to stick his nose in places where it does not belong. Under reactionary right-wing leadership the state of Florida has attempted to develop an alternative foreign policy in some areas to that which is undertaken by the United States Government. Be it on issues of Cuba, Sudan, Iran or other matters, the State of Florida has at various times attempted to create an alternate view of foreign affairs specifically designed to embarrass the Obama Administration. It is worth noting that upon taking control of the legislature in 1996, the Florida House of Representatives started passing House Memorials that condemned the policies of President Clinton. During the 2001-2009 time period the legislature of course did not engage in any of this sort of gamesmanship while George W. Bush was the President.
Yesterday Scott along with several other Republican state governors stated that on the matter of Iran they will seek a form of interposition or nullification which would put state laws above federal ones. Read below:
“Paragraph 25 of the Iran nuclear agreement provides that the federal government will “actively encourage” states to lif t state-level sanctions such as the divestment and contracting restriction laws, While Secretary Kerry confirmed in testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee that the agreement will not preempt state law because it is not a treaty, we are concerned about what steps your Administration may take to attempt to implement paragraph 25. Therefore, we wish to make it clear to you in advance of any efforts to implement paragraph 25 that we intend to ensure that the various state-level sanctions that are now in effect remain in effect. These state-level sanctions are critically important and must be maintained.”
Much like the nullification crisis of the 1830’s involving South Carolina and the desire of most Southern Democrats in the 1950’s and early 1960’s to avoid implementation of Federal civil rights laws and rulings, Scott and his cohorts have publicly stated that the will interpose on this issue. The legal dodge that the Iran Nuclear Agreement is not a formal treaty is simply that – an attempt to craft individual state policies that contradict the federal one and potentially create international tensions that could platoon this landmark work of diplomacy by Secretary Kerry and President Obama.
Divestment and sanctions schemes would already put Florida at an economic disadvantage versus states who have taken a different attitude toward Iran should the nuclear agreement be implemented. With this letter, Governor Scott and his Republican allies are attempting to dig in deeper, and circumvent American policy to create a separate foreign policy on the individual state level.
This represents a remarkably dangerous precedent and wherever you sit on the Iran Nuclear Deal, Americans should work to speak with a single voice on serious foreign policy issues. Politics is supposed to stop at water’s edge, says the old adage but in the one-party plutocracy that is Florida, an arrogant governing elite embodied by Governor Scott feels those logical rules don’t apply to them.