WASHINGTON -- Being a know-it-all in Washington might win you headlines, but it won’t get you friends, as freshman Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) is learning the hard way on Capitol Hill.
“We’ve got a couple of colleagues, especially on the Republican side, especially a young, 30-something member from Arkansas who seems to already know everything about foreign policy, and I think that that is quite dangerous for the country and for the region,” Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) told The Huffington Post on Tuesday.
Cotton’s foreign policy style on the Hill has pushed even standard hawkishness to its rightward limits. Only six months into his tenure as senator, the Iraq and Afghanistan veteran has become known for bombastic statements that threaten decades of precedent and brash tactics that frustrate Democrats and Republicans alike. Cotton made waves earlier this year when he unilaterally sent a letter to Iran’s political leadership claiming the American political process allowed lawmakers to tank any deal President Barack Obama reached with Tehran -- a move many said not only violated constitutional separation of powers, but came across as just plain ignorant.
Although officials from the U.S., its five negotiating partners and Iran only announced a final deal on limiting the Iranian nuclear program early this month, the deal-bashing Cotton told reporters in April that he already knew most of it.
That approach didn’t sit well with Schatz.
“If there’s anything that we should’ve learned from the last adventure, it’s that we are perfectly capable of making things worse with our undue clarity,” Schatz said.
The first-term senator is one-third of a trio of progressive young Democrats who are trying to overhaul Washington’s approach to foreign policy. Along with Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Schatz hopes to make D.C. think differently about its approach to overseas crises. The three penned a joint op-ed in Foreign Affairs last month that advocated, among other things, multilateralism and judiciousness when it came to overseas endeavors.
Cotton’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.