August 10

Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee is one of the more pragmatic Republicans in Congress. But his Aug. 6 op-ed piece “A president of empty words,” was anything but.

Mr. Corker seemed to believe that all of the challenges, bloodshed and confusion that have come to define international politics today are President Obama’s fault. Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, Libya, it doesn’t matter: The White House is the instigator of disaster. This argument is not only unfair; it’s also wrong.

If the United States were a monarchy, perhaps Mr. Corker’s complaint would be accurate. But this is a democracy, and Congress is an integral part of the foreign policy machinery. Yet on some of the very same issues that Mr. Corker deeply cares about, Congress is either slow in taking action or divided on what action it should take.

On Syria, Congress has taken zero action on the administration’s request for $500 million in military aid to the moderate opposition. On Russia, Republicans draft sanctions bills that, while tough, fail to get Democratic support. And on Libya, Americans see more televised hearings on Benghazi than on what is now practically a civil war among competing militias in that country.

None of this is to defend Mr. Obama entirely. Nor is it to dismiss the valid questions that Mr. Corker asked. It’s only to point out that Congress is not free from fault either.

Daniel R. DePetris, Sag Harbor, N.Y.