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January 09, 2012

The GOP's Iran Obsession
Posted by Michael Cohen

ObsessedOver at Foreign Policy I have a new piece up looking at why the Republican candidates for President can't stop talking about Iran's nuclear program . . . and why it might actually be dangerous for them to keep doing it:

Why are Republican candidates treating Iran like it's the modern embodiment of Nazi Germany, al Qaeda, and the Soviet Union, all wrapped up in a mischievous and explosive ball?

The long answer is Americans don't like Iran, they are afraid of nuclear weapons and images of mushroom clouds, and Muslims with weapons of mass destruction are scary. Frankly, GOP primary voters care about threats to Israel -- and sanctions and diplomacy are less impressive than the promise that American airplanes will soon be dropping bombs on reinforced bunkers.

But the short answer is this is pretty much all the GOP has. Want to claim that Obama has been soft on terror? That whole killing Osama bin Laden thing makes that a bit tough. Same goes for all the al Qaeda lieutenants who have been killed in drone strikes. What about pulling out of Iraq? Good luck finding many Americans who disagree with that decision. How about Afghanistan and Obama's call to begin pulling out troops in 2014? First, it's hard to argue that Obama didn't give war a chance in the Hindu Kush; second, Afghanistan is a less and less popular war every day. How about the claim that Obama has thrown Israel under the bus vis-à-vis the Palestinians? That's not going to make all that much of a difference. It turns out the two groups of voters most concerned about Israel (American Jews and evangelical Christians) likely already have a pretty clear sense whom they'll be voting for in November.

You can read the whole thing here


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Good! A chance to get a comment in before the commercial spambots hit....

Another factor, I think, that must be kept in mind when contemplating 2012's Presidential race is that the Republican foreign-policy "establishment" (such as it is) is still being influenced (if not actually run) by the same-old, same-old neocon/PNAC/war-is-wonderful crowd who have never quite yet cottoned to the fact that their US-as-hyperpower pipedreams have:

A) proved mainly abject failures in real life;

B) been mostly rejected by the bulk of Americans

C) been (rather cleverly) co-opted by the Obama Administration

which has left them with little more than bellicose Iran-mania to try to sell to the voting public.

Sadly, even a decade after the national freak-out over 9/11, these ideas still have some sort of traction: fortunately, the fact that they are currently being articulated by a band of buffoons like the GOP Presidential candidates (!) may give us some hope for sanity after all....

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