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Republican Hubris Threatens Tehran Deal

In the September issue of the 'Atlantic,' Contributing Editor Peter Beinart draws attention to the consequences of failure of the Iranian peace deal that currently hangs in the balance through Congressional dalliance. They are manifest, dangerous and appear to stir up the testosterone of every Republican candidate.

The basis for this apparent joint 'rush to the head' appears to lie in the long held fallacy of the success of Bush's 'surge' in Iraq undertaken in a counter-intuitive manner in the face of the collapse of the 'neo-con' advice he had followed for so long. Contrary to modern day Republican perception, the surge failed, regardless of it providing a 'way-out' later for Obama who having backed the 'bad' horse in Nouri al-Maliki, was left with little option.  

"That was then. Today, hawkishness is the hottest thing on the American right. With the exception of Rand Paul, the GOP presidential contenders are vying to take the most aggressive stance against Iran and the Islamic State, or ISIS.......

For today’s GOP leaders, this story line has squelched the doubts about the Iraq invasion that a decade ago threatened to transform conservative foreign policy. The legend of the surge has become this era’s equivalent of the legend that America was winning in Vietnam until, in the words of Richard Nixon’s former defense secretary Melvin Laird, “Congress snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by cutting off funding for our ally in 1975........

The problem with the legend of the surge is that it reproduces the very hubris that led America into Iraq in the first place. In 2003, the Bush administration believed it could shatter the Iraqi state and then quickly and cheaply construct a new one that was stable, liberal, democratic, and loyal to the United States. By 2006, many conservatives had realized that was a fantasy. They had massively overestimated America’s wisdom and power, and so they began groping for a new approach to the world..........

To hear hawks tell it, the United States can scuttle the current deal, intensify sanctions, threaten war, and—presto—Tehran will capitulate. But Iranians have been living under the threat of attacks from America or Israel for more than a decade now. And British and German diplomats have warned that if the U.S. Congress torpedoes the agreement, sanctions pressure on Iran will go not up but down, as countries that have lost billions by limiting their trade with Tehran stop doing so.

One day, Republicans will resume the painful work they began in 2006—the work of reconciling conservative attitudes with the limits of American power. Let’s hope they don’t do too much damage before that day comes."

There is considerable wisdom in what Biernart says, and we are mere observers in this periodic and highly competitive clamouring for the extreme right that seems to characterise the Republican candidate selection season. Trump warrants barely a mention in the article, which may simply reflect the disdain of the North-Eastern establishment as generally represented in the pages of the 'Atlantic."  

But with Clinton's apparent slide to oblivion in the polls, it makes the Republican rhetoric even more frightening.




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Reader Comments (1)

Hillary Clinton might be yesterday's news, but Bernie Sanders [Dem] is not - and Sanders will present a real and significant threat to the GOP.

September 9, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRussell

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