With this past week’s news of a tentative deal between the “P5 + 1” (read: the U.S. + a few puppet governments) and Iran that would – theoretically and hopefully – ease sanctions while guaranteeing that Iran will not be attacked by the United States – it should come as no surprise that the usual neocon talking heads are in a tizzy about it. Setting aside the ridiculous notion that people halfway across the world should have to get “permission” from the United States or other countries to pursue certain technologies, any step towards peace and away from war should be seen as a positive.
Let’s take a quick look around the Neocon Rogues Galary:
Jeffrey Goldberg seethes over at Bloomberg:
Momentum for sanctions is waning. It’s true that the economic relief the Iranians will receive in this deal is modest, but it is also true that many nations, many companies and the Iranians themselves are seeing this agreement as the beginning of the end of the sanctions regime. Iran is already making a push to recapture its dominant role in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. U.S. officials believe they can hold the line on sanctions, but it is reasonable to assume that they will come under increasing pressure from countries such as South Korea, Japan, India and China, which could very easily convince themselves that Iran is preparing to act in a more responsible manner (after all, it replaced its snarling, Holocaust-denying president with a smiling, savvy president) and should be reopened for business.
Ah, yes, a deal with Iran on sanctions is bad because it will kill the “momentum” for sanctions! Well Jeffrey, that is sort of the point. Sanctions are an act of war; sanctions attack the economic activity of citizens who have done no wrong outside of happening to live in the “rogue” state of Iran.
For more on how sanctions are an act of war, check out my podcast interview with Ron Paul Institute’s Daniel McAdams.
So how could the administration have entered into such a rotten deal at a time when it arguably could have accomplished so much more? It is hard to explain the Obama administration’s conduct unless you posit the following: The administration never intended to use military action. It had hoped sanctions might dissuade Iran from pursuing its nuclear weapons program, but sanctions didn’t do the trick. So now the goal is to prevent Israel from exercising the military option and acclimatize the West and the Middle East to an Iran with a nuclear enrichment program — one with an international stamp of approval.
The horror! Ms. Rubin is horrified by the one thing about the current President I actually give him some points for – he seems uncomfortable with the idea of a full-scale war. Of course, this makes the happy-go-lucky drone-killer a “dangerous dove” to bloodthirsty neocons like Rubin.
And a Neocon Spree wouldn’t be complete without hearing from Cheif Neocon Extraordinaire (and future Presidential candidate?) John Bolton’s maniacal rantings. In an Op-Ed for the Weekly Standard, he writes:
In exchange for superficial concessions, Iran achieved three critical breakthroughs. First, it bought time to continue all aspects of its nuclear-weapons program the agreement does not cover (centrifuge manufacturing and testing; weaponization research and fabrication; and its entire ballistic missile program). Indeed, given that the interim agreement contemplates periodic renewals, Iran may have gained all of the time it needs to achieve weaponization not of simply a handful of nuclear weapons, but of dozens or more.
Nevermind the fact that Iran, as a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, has every right to pursue nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. Meanwhile, even U.S. intelligence agencies agree that Iran has no nuclear weapons program whatsoever. But perhaps Mr. Bolton has some top secret knowledge that even U.S. intelligence won’t share to start a war.
Second, Iran has gained legitimacy. This central banker of international terrorism and flagrant nuclear proliferator is once again part of the international club. Much as the Syria chemical-weapons agreement buttressed Bashar al-Assad, the mullahs have escaped the political deep freezer.
Oh no! Not the dreaded “legitimacy”! I don’t particularly see any coercive government as “legitimate”, and the government of Iran is no exception. But if one was to describe a “central banker of international terrorism” to most citizens of the world, what is the first country that would come to mind? If I had to take a guess, it would likely rhyme with “Subsided Grates.”
Third, Iran has broken the psychological momentum and effect of the international economic sanctions. While estimates differ on Iran’s precise gain, it is considerable ($7 billion is the lowest estimate), and presages much more. Tehran correctly assessed that a mere six-months’ easing of sanctions will make it extraordinarily hard for the West to reverse direction, even faced with systematic violations of Iran’s nuclear pledges. Major oil-importing countries (China, India, South Korea, and others) were already chafing under U.S. sanctions, sensing President Obama had no stomach either to impose sanctions on them, or pay the domestic political price of granting further waivers.
And here we come full circle, back to the “psychological momentum” argument. It’s almost as if the neocons are all reading out of the same rhetorical playbook. The circular argument remains: easing sanctions is bad because it will make it easier to ease sanctions. Can’t have that!
He goes on to call for the only alternative left: send in the Israelis!
So in truth, an Israeli military strike is the only way to avoid Tehran’s otherwise inevitable march to nuclear weapons, and the proliferation that will surely follow. Making the case for Israel’s exercise of its legitimate right of self-defense has therefore never been more politically important. Whether they are celebrating in Tehran or in Jerusalem a year from now may well depend on how the opponents of the deal in Washington conduct themselves.
In the end, all that a True Neocon wants is American global military hegemony, and all the war and death that comes with it. Every statement and political position taken by a neocon seems to aim squarely at this goal. If the prospects for a U.S. war on Iran are looking grim, well darn it let’s get those Israelis to do it!
The Neocons didn’t always have it this rough. Remember how easily they convinced the American public and American politicians to launch a war on Iraq? Now, they are squirming in their seats as a war-weary, increasingly non-interventionist citizenry pushes back on their plans.
It’s no time for peace-loving libertarians to rest on their laurels – the neocons certainly won’t – but it sure is fun to watch their Imperial Panties get bunched up, isn’t it?
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