Category Archives: Iran

Resistance to DC rising

“The Yankee is compelled to toil to make the world go around.” Admiral Raphael Semmes, CSN

Pat Buchanan has a must-read piece that is perfect in every way except for its inappropriate title, “Why Neo-Isolationism Is Soaring.” My nit-pick is that “isolationism” is what interventionists use to slam those who question their endless wars. It’s the equivalent of the use of “racist” to put down anyone who objects to socialism — which is exactly what that term means. And as I’ve argued before, the interventionist abroad validates and reinforces the interventionist at home. Both have an other-worldly ideal that mere humanity never quite lives up to, requiring the noble idealists to spill a little more blood. All in the name of doing good, you see.

Pat points out that the interventionists have directly harmed this country. The facts he presents cannot be argued:

We invaded Panama, intervened in Haiti and Mogadishu, launched Desert Storm to liberate Kuwait, bombed Serbia for 78 days to force it to surrender its cradle province of Kosovo.

Came then the blowback of 9/11, following which we had the Afghan war to overthrow the Taliban and create a new democracy in the Hindu Kush, the invasion and occupation of Iraq to strip Saddam Hussein of weapons of mass destruction he did not have, and the air war on Libya.

Others may celebrate the fruits of these wars but consider the costs:

A decade of bleeding with 8,000 U.S. dead, 40,000 wounded, $2 trillion sunk, Iraq and Libya disintegrating in tribal, civil and sectarian war, Afghanistan on the precipice, and al-Qaida no longer confined to Tora Bora but active in Pakistan, Libya, Iraq, Yemen and Syria.

While America was caught up in these wars, China swept past Britain, France, Germany and Japan to emerge as the second largest economy on earth. Using her $250-$300 billion annual trade surpluses with the United States, she has been locking up resources across Africa, Latin America, Australia and Asia.

Now Beijing has declared its own Monroe Doctrine to encompass the East and South China seas and all islands therein and to challenge the United States for hegemony over the Western Pacific.

The Afghan and Iraq wars, we should note, were supported by big-government interventionists of both the left and right. What’s scary is that the same coalition is still at it today, demanding war on Iran, and blasting those who courageously uncover illegal surveillance by the federal government. Despite their differences, the left and right interventionists are united in their support of a powerful centralized government and the demonization of dissent.

The bottom line is that they’re both cheering while the federal government chips away at what’s left of our liberty. That makes them part of the problem, not the solution. Let’s not forget that.

Let’s Discuss the Iran Deal

I was away for Thanksgiving so please excuse the recent lack of posts. Let’s get things started back up by discussing the Iran deal, which has already come up in a different thread anyway.

First of all, I’m glad there was a deal. I think a deal makes war with Iran less likely, not more, despite the objections of the war hawks that it makes war more likely. The reason they don’t like the deal is because they really don’t believe it makes war more likely and war is what they want. If they really thought it made war more likely then they would be cynically cheering it on.

That said, the deal irks me on a visceral level because I reject the premise upon which it is based. As I have said before, I think it is in America’s best interests that Iran not get nukes. I don’t think Iran is suicidal enough to use nukes on us, but a nuclear Iran would likely change the regional balance of power. And while the regional balance of power isn’t all that great at present, I would file these concerns under the “Devil you do know” catagory. So I have no objection to the US using regular mechanisms of diplomacy (which don’t include sanctions which are arguably an act of war) to attempt to dissuade Iran from getting nukes. The premise I reject is that a sovereign nation and/or some international outfit (in this case the 5 + 1) can ultimately tell another sovereign nation what weapons it can or can’t have.

Reaction to the deal has generally been as expected. Non-interventionists cons have generally been supportive (See TAC for example.) Interventionist cons have been skeptical at best and in panic mood at worst (See Jennifer Rubin for example.). Our friend Sempronius pointed out in the other thread that Thomas Fleming has expressed some skepticism about the deal in the comments of this Srdja Trifkovic’s article. I’ll admit I was a little surprised by his remarks, but not totally. Dr. Fleming believes that Carter responded inadequately to the hostage crisis, and that he was honor bound to respond in a way other than how he did. Dr. Fleming has always been concerned, from my reading of him, with the issues of honor and appearances. Once you have publicly made known your allies and interests then you are honor bound to stick with them lest you appear feckless and untrustworthy on the international stage. I don’t want to put words in Dr. Fleming’s mouth. Read his replies. While I don’t agree, his points make sense in context and aren’t quite the abandonment of non-intervention that Sempronius and company are making it out to be.

I agree that the complicity of the Iranian Regime in the hostage situation potentially warranted a military response and that Carter could have handled that situation better, but at this point I don’t think that has much to do with the current situation except to the degree that it supports Dr. Fleming’s contention that Iran (and Iranians) just aren’t to be trusted. And I do appreciate the issue of appearances and honor on the world stage. While I’m glad we avoided war in Syria for example, it isn’t good for appearances that America publicly got played on the world stage by Putin. I don’t think this agreement necessarily appears bad for the US. In fact, it potentially appears good for us because it demonstrates we are capable of reasonableness. But the issue of appearances is one reason why I think declared neutrality is such an appealing option. If you simply declare your neutrality and lack of desire to meddle anymore, then you can’t look weak or dishonorable. No one thinks Switzerland looks bad because of how something went down ib Syria.

Ratman and Bombin’ want another war

Yes, the Dubious Duo is at it again! Realizing he had a war to sell, Obama summoned John McCain, the Ratman, and Lindsey Graham, aka Bombin’, to the White House to rev up war fever. Once again, these Neocon heroes have answered the call.

Both are now busy spreading rumors of dire consequences if Americans fail to “stand behind the president.” McCain is painting Assad as — wait for it! — the new Hitler who must be stopped now before he goose-steps his way into Nebraska. And Graham is singing a similar tune, warning that those eeevil Iranians will pounce on obvious American “weakness” if we fail our moral responsibility of bombing another country that has not threatened us.

And when they’re finished with Syria, the Dubious Duo can go back to working on amnesty for illegal immigrants. So much to do…

Stop Iran? Sign Petition and Get US and Israel Flag Pin?

We have no control over the banner ads that run at this site. They are just generated I assume by some algorithm based on the content of the site. So I guess since our site is labeled conservative some program assumed our readers would be interested in “stopping” Iran.

So when I surfed to CHT today, the ad that greated me was as the title above, without the question marks of course. I couldn’t resist commenting. Isn’t that ad a microcosm of what is wrong with our foreign policy? It is assumed that I am supposed to want to “stop” Iran because I have some particular affinity for Israel. Ugh! There is no need for further comment. The commentary writes itself.

US and Iran Work Together to Save Wrestling

This story might cause RonL to have a stroke.

The caretakers of the Olympics may have inadvertently accomplished what has eluded diplomats: Galvanizing Iran and the U.S. on a common goal.

Wrestling officials from the arch foes appeared to be in bonding mode Tuesday on the sidelines of a Tehran tournament less than a week after the stunning decision by the International Olympic Committee that will force the ancient sport — as old as the Olympics themselves — to lobby for a spot at the 2020 Games.

Read more…

Reuters: Iran Nukes not Imminent

According to Reuters, Iran is nowhere near having a nuclear weapon contrary to the hysterical alarmism and catastrophizing of the interventionist Iran hawks.

(Reuters) – The United States, European allies and even Israel generally agree on three things about Iran’s nuclear program: Tehran does not have a bomb, has not decided to build one, and is probably years away from having a deliverable nuclear warhead.

Those conclusions, drawn from extensive interviews with current and former U.S. and European officials with access to intelligence on Iran, contrast starkly with the heated debate surrounding a possible Israeli strike on Tehran’s nuclear facilities.

“They’re keeping the soup warm but they are not cooking it,” a U.S. administration official said.

Reuters has learned that in late 2006 or early 2007, U.S. intelligence intercepted telephone and email communications in which Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a leading figure in Iran’s nuclear program, and other scientists complained that the weaponization program had been stopped.

That led to a bombshell conclusion in a controversial 2007 National Intelligence Estimate: American spy agencies had “high confidence” that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in the fall of 2003.

Current and former U.S. officials say they are confident that Iran has no secret uranium-enrichment site outside the purview of U.N. nuclear inspections.

Read more…

It is not sufficient for Iran hawks to just hand wave this away, which is their habit. They have to counter this conclusion with credible contrary  intel.

Absurd Iran Fear Mongering

The subject line to the email I received was “Iran Makes New Threat.” I opened up the e-mail to find a link to this story,”Iran Warns It Will Attack Anyone Who Attacks It.”

You have got to be kidding me. Iran saying they will respond if attacked is a “new threat?” Well of course they will attack back if they are attacked. Does anyone expect otherwise?

Paul Craig Roberts Says Vote for Ron Paul or a Third Party

Paul Craig Roberts has a new column out on the potential war with Iran. In it he suggests voting for Ron Paul or “for a more extreme third party candidate.”

Where do we go from here? If not to nuclear destruction, Americans must wake up. Football games, porn, and shopping malls are one thing. Survival of human life is another. Washington, that is, “representative government,” consists only of a few powerful vested interests. These private interests, not the American people, control the US government.

That is why nothing that the US government does benefits the American people.

The current crop of presidential contenders, except for Ron Paul, represent the controlling interests. War and financial fraud are the only remaining American Values.

Will Americans again give the sheen of “democracy” to rule by a few by participating in the coming rigged elections?

If you have to vote, vote for Ron Paul or for a more extreme third party candidate. Show that you do not support the lie that is the system.

Stop watching television. Stop reading newspapers. Stop spending money. When you do any of these things, you are supporting evil.

Read the whole thing here…

I know PCR has been suggested as a possible candidate of the Citizens Party, although I don’t think he had anything to do with that. But it is an intriguing idea. PCR might be one of the few people who could somewhat unite dissidents on the left and right. He is traditionally associated with the right but has recently been published more often at places like Counter Punch.

Since PCR used to be a mover and shaker in the Establishment as Assistant Treasury Secretary and associate editor of the WSJ, I have often wondered what he observed there that made him so mad. There has got to be some back story to his conversion to anti-Establishment zealot, and I would love to hear him tell it.

Cross posted at IPR minus my editorializing.

The Saudi connection

Not much has been discussed about the plot of an Iranian-American businessman to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. Perhaps because it was so outlandish and the person involved so stupid it seems the Justice Department is taking its own sweet time with the investigation or best yet, let sleeping dog lie. While there’s speculation in some quarters about Israeli involvement behind the plot to try and frame the Iranians and cause a U.S. attack, given how sloppy this whole mess is and given the Mossad’s reputation, one can raise questions about their potential involvement. But one intelligence service which does not enjoy such a reputation but has every reason to get the U.S. to attack Iran  is not just Israel, but Saudi Arabia.

The Arab Spring protests may have seemed to pass by the Desert Kingdom but this is not entirely true. There have been revolts outside the eyes of the media and they’ve taken place in a very sensitive spot  of the country, the eastern provinces closest to the Persian Gulf and Iran. These places are predominately Shiite and the House of Saud has worried for years they may rise up in revolt ever since the Iranian Revolution in 1979. With revolts and unrest all over the region, the Saudis have cracked down in these provinces and in nearby Bahrain, where an unpopular Sunni tribal family rules over a Shiite majority with the assent of the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet which ports there.

Alexander Cockburn has written a very good article on Saudi worries for Chronicles. Saudi worries are also U.S. worries because the east is where Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure is located. Any serious unrest here threatens the kingdom, threatens oil prices and U.S. interests in relation to Iran, who already has increased its influence with the U.S.’s war in Iraq. A dynasty ruled by old men with seething populations of youngsters and repressed Shiites is not exactly a stable situation as Cockburn points out:

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FBI and DEA Foil Iranian Plot … ALLEGEDLY

Oh boy! Brace yourself for the warmongering and the bloodlust. Given that so many people are itching for a reason to bomb Iran, this news must be greeted with extreme skepticism.

Update: Surprisingly, this revelation is meeting with some skepticism from conservative Obama and Holder opponents who would otherwise likely be inclined to believe it. Holder is being subpoenaed today by Congress about his role in the Fast and Furious scandal, and many see the timing as suspect. The Pres has apparently known about the alleged plot for months.

Rank Order the GOP Candidates Based on Likelihood to Plunge Us into Another War

I believe that since interventionist premises about America’s role in the world are taken for granted by the establishment and mainstream (left, right, center, neocon, realist, or whatever), it can be safely assumed that any candidate shares them unless there is positive evidence otherwise. Meaning that there are not likely to been any stealth non-interventionist candidates. If they are a non-interventionist we will already know it. There might be stealth realist candidates and ones more or less likely to do something completely foolish, but that is the best we can hope for. For example, when people were speculating about where Cain stood on foreign policy because he hadn’t said much about it, I assumed he was an interventionist because I had no evidence he was not. Ditto with Perry before his foreign policy coming out speech.

That said, I do think it is possible to make educated guesses about just how hawkish a candidate is likely to govern based on subtleties of rhetoric and analysis of their temperament and governing style. So to test my theory, let’s play a game. Rank order the nine “major” announced candidates by their likelihood to plunge us in to war with Iran or some other evil state of the month. I want to see if there is broad agreement on differentiating the interventionists among themselves.

In descending order:

1. Rick Santorum

2. Newt Gingrich

3. Michelle Bachmann

4. Rick Perry

5. Herman Cain

6. Mitt Romney

7. John  Huntsman

8. Gary Johnson

9. Ron Paul

1 and 2 were easy and 7, 8 and 9 were easy. 3 through 6 were harder.

This post was prompted by this post by Daniel Larison.

How Dangerous is Iran?

The people who suggest we should preemptively bomb Iran to prevent them from getting a nuclear bomb base this on the belief that due to Iran’s particular Shiite theology they will not be deterred from using it by the normal MAD type considerations and will surely bomb the US, Israel or both. The case for preemptive bombing then depends entirely on how accurate this assessment is. So is it accurate? This Foreign Policy article says no. The whole article is a must read.

… conservative Hot Air blogger Ed Morrissey helpfully explained that deterrence wouldn’t work against Iran, because “The mullahs’ strategic goals are metaphysical; they want their Messiah to arrive and establish a global Islamic rule.  According to their view of Islam, that will come at the end of a great conflagration, and there isn’t a much better way to start one of those than by lobbing nukes at Israel, the US, or both.”

It’s tempting to dismiss this as simply the raving of Congress’s leading anti-Muslim hysteric (West), accompanied by the usual noise from the right-wing blogosphere. But similar assertions about Iran’s supposedly suicidal tendencies have been made by other conservative leaders. Indeed, the belief that Iran is some sort of “martyr state,” and therefore uniquely immune to the cost-benefit calculations that underpin a conventional theory of deterrence, seems to have become something of an article of faith for many Iran hawks…

“Given the novelty of the martyr state argument,” Grotto continued, “and how unequivocally its proponents present it, one would expect to encounter an avalanche of credible evidence. Yet that is not the case.” Finding both that “references are scarce in this line of writings, and certain references are cited with striking regularity,” Grotto determined that the “martyr state” view essentially rests upon a few neoconservative op-eds and a report by a right-wing Israeli think tank, whose claims have been bounced endlessly around the internet.

See more…

Daniel Larison comments on the article here.

Nat’l Review Defends Imperialism Against “Isolationists”

National Review published another attack on non-interventionism today, libeling its proponents as “isolationists” (this after the shabby treatment of non-interventionism in the Ron Paul interview). This one must have been a rush job – the authors (Alvin S. Felzenberg & Alexander B. Gray) wheel out every wheezing, decrepit canard and ancient boogey-monster in the imperialist handbook. Here’s a taste (my comments in brackets):

The United States and the world paid a severe price for the ostrich-like behavior too many democratic nations exhibited during the 1920s and 1930s [This one has more lives than Buddha's cat].”

But the next decade will witness increasing competition among nation-states for control of valuable resources and the exertion of influence worldwide [Imagine that? Nation-states vying for resources and influence? Unprecedented!]”

Russia, through its control of vital energy pipelines, seeks to draw Western Europe more closely into its orbit, thereby weakening the latter’s historical ties to the United States [Uh oh - Red Dawn II]”

The alliance of these two anti-American and increasingly menacing states could pose a threat to the United States of a kind that would make us nostalgic for the Cuban Missile Crisis [The two "menacing states" in question are... Iran and Venezuela. I'm not kidding - go read it. Iran and Venezuela will make us "nostalgic" for close calls with nuclear armageddon, or for an authoritarian communist empire hostile to the West and armed with tens of thousands of nuclear missiles]”

By far my favorite sequence of thoughts, though, is this one:

China… has proclaimed its sovereignty over the entire South China Sea, menaced neighbors from India to Vietnam, used its economic muscle to intimidate Japan, and increased its threats against Taiwan [Sounds sinister. Perhaps we do need an inconceivably massive military with such a menace abroad]”

the Chinese are acting from a desire to defend their nation’s trade and access to world markets, with a focus on energy supplies [Ah! Here we see that China, that muscly menace, is trying to seize "control of valuable resources" and exert its influence - precisely the dread specter America needs its fully-funded military to confront!]

Then comes a brief history lesson explaining that it was the British Empire (specifically its navy) “that gave the Monroe Doctrine force”, which gave the U.S. the space to “develop internally” and, as we all know, eventually achieve global military supremacy.

Then comes this bit of salesmanship:

If appropriately funded, the United States Navy has the capacity to play a similar role in China’s rise.”

Count me in! Of course we need to sacrifice blood and treasure to help midwife the Communist Chinese Century. That way, according to Felzenberg and Gray, it will be the right kind of Communist Chinese Century. The good kind. Not the nasty kind.

There’s quite a bit more, and I haven’t the time to address all of it, but the closer is in my opinion particularly remarkable:

A world in which the United States willingly ceded power and influence would both be more dangerous and prove less receptive to values that most Americans share, such as respect for human rights [Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo, Black sites, Blackwater], the need to restrain governments [This entire argument is against restraining the most dangerous government power, remember] through the rule of law [The Congress shall have Power To... Declare War], and the sanctity of contracts [Amendment X].”

Please do read the article, and let them know what you think – comments are open (must join to post – it’s free).

Neocon ideology vs. Reality

Want to see just how bad Neocon tunnel vision is? Here’s how bad it is, as illustrated by one of the War Party’s loudest cheerleaders:

I mentioned that something good might come of the latest WikiLeaks document dump, but I wasn’t expecting it so soon.

The headline at this morning’s Los Angeles Times hardcopy reads: “Hidden Diplomacy Exposed: Among the WikiLeaks disclosures are pleas by Arab nations to the U.S. to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities.”

So, Muslims are “pleading” that the US start another aggressive war againt Muslims, huh? Here’s the story in the Los Angeles Times:

Leaders of oil-rich Arabian Peninsula monarchies who are publicly reluctant to criticize Iran have been beseeching the United States in private to attack the Islamic Republic and destroy its nuclear facilities, according to a series of classified diplomatic cables released by the WikiLeaks website.

The cables show that both Saudi King Abdullah and King Hamed ibn Isa Khalifa of Bahrain, which hosts the U.S. 5th Fleet, are among the Arab leaders who have lobbied the United States to strike Iran.

Wait a minute — “hosts the U.S. 5th fleet”? In other words, these are US puppets propped up US military power, not by the consent of their people.

What do ordinary Arabs think about Iran? Fortunately, Brookings’ Arab Public Opinion Poll, published this August, gives us some insight into this. It seems the vast majority of Arabs see things a little differently. Unlike their US-backed rulers, 77% of Arabs believed that Iran has a right to a nuclear program. (And as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty — which Israel and India ARE NOT — Iran does indeed have that right.) When asked which foreign country they saw as a threat to them, 88% said Israel, and 77% said they feared the US more. Only 10% of Arabs polled feared Iran.

So keep this simple rule in mind whenever you read something from a known Neocon: Just believe the opposite of whatever they say.

Charles Johnson watch

The Lizard King is revoking a totally worthless award his minions once gave to fellow loony tune John Bolton:

In 2006, LGF readers voted to give the Anti-Idiotarian Award to former UN ambassador John Bolton, largely because of his passionate support of the US and Israel in the frequently hostile environment of the United Nations.

I feel slightly sad to announce that today, as the proprietor of LGF, I’m revoking that award. And when I say “slightly sad,” I mean “very disgusted with John Bolton.”

It was bad enough that Bolton actually wrote the foreword for hate monger Pamela Geller’s anti-Obama “book.” But the final straw was the announcement by Geller that Bolton will be speaking at her anti-Muslim rally.

Notice CJ has no problem with Bolton’s current efforts to goad Israel into launching a war of aggression against Iran, an act that could spark World War III. But to cozy up to the number one name on CJ’s burgeoning enemies list is just too much.

Operation Opera II – The Israeli attack upon Iran

This guest submission comes to us from SARTRE at the website BATR:

The worse kept secret is the joint plans of Israel and their American stooges for a sneak attack on Iran. Succumbing to the militaristic legacy of imperial Japan, the joint chiefs of staff are ready to facilitate or even lead a stealth charge against purported WMD targets. So what is their rationale? Since the deadly weapon facilities could not be found in Iraq, maybe they will be found in Iran? If Iran was ready to develop nuclear weapons, how is that any different from Israel already deploying 200 plus warheads? Especially since the Zionist belligerent is poised to strike Iran in a repeat of their “Operation Opera” against the Iraqi Osirak reactor in 1981. 

In the most delusional and warped minds of hardened Christian Zionist supporters of the ultimate terrorist state, Israel can do no wrong. How could such an act of undeclared war benefit the American nation? The neocon hijacking of an American First foreign policy is the demented legacy of the Bush presidencies. The Obama administration is no different. The War Party mindset remains the dominate force that defends the Zionist rogue regime that is bent upon an apocalyptic holocaust of their own making. 

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More on What to do With the Jacksonians

James Antle has an excellent article up at American Conservative discussing the potential for Jeffersonians to make common foreign policy cause with Jacksonians. I generally agree with his assement with some reservations which I posted there.

The problem is that a lot of these new breed Jacksonians are not really Jacksonians. Policy wise they are a sort of bastardized neocon/Jacksonian hybrid.

Jacksonians at least theoretically understand the gravity of war and don’t seek out “monsters to destroy.” If Jed Babbin’s article on AmSpec is typical of many of these new “Jacksonians” they do not see war as grave (it is pretty much their first resort), and they presume that monsters are lurking out there to get us. They share with neocons a hysterical assessment of the danger posed by Islam and they seem to rule out alternatives to force preemptively. These people have been with us since the start of the war. They have just been overshadowed. They always viewed neocons with skepticism because they rightly understood neoconservatism to be a form of liberalism, and they saw nation building and spreading democracy as harmfully touchy-feely. (Since they are fundamentally illiberal, they usually agree with paleos on immigration restrictions and understand the limits of our ability to transplant our culture.) They are not “too hell with them” hawks who are willing to disengage. They are “just kill ‘em all and let God sort ‘em out” hawks. They can’t disengage because of their irrational fear of the threat posed by far off Islam.

Non-interventionist can possibly work with “too hell with them hawks” and are right to view this as progress. I don’t think we can work with Babbin style hawks because they simply want to free up troops so we can bomb Iran and Syria. This is madness. We can however work with them on immigration restrictions.

This Kind of Jacksonianism Doesn’t Necessarily Represent Progress

This new breed of anti-nation building, anti-neocon Jacksonian seems intent on proving Daniel Larison right. Here Jed Babbin bemoans that silly neocon desire to nation build because it interferes with our ability to bomb other Muslim countries.

This will necessitate an argument between conservatives and neocons, the latter’s belief in nation-building being one of their defining characteristics. The outcome of that argument will determine the immediate future of conservatism and, in all likelihood, the outcome of the 2012 election.

Neocons — according to an August 2003 Weekly Standardarticle by the late Irving Kristol, credited as the godfather of neoconservatism — define themselves differently from traditional conservatives….

If Bush had meant what he said, the Saudis would have been forced to stop sponsoring terrorism and both the Iranian kakistocracyand Assad’s Syria would only be bad memories. But he never took action, far less decisive action, against any of them.

Terrorists only have global reach if they are sponsored and supported — and given safe harbor [- by nations.

True Jacksonianism probably would represent a step forward, because true Jacksonianism is marked by an understanding of the gravity of war and doesn’t seek out quarrels. But this bastardized version shares with the neoconservatism it supposedly opposes an irrational assessment of the level of threat and a knee-jerk embrace of belligerent interventionism as the only solution. It is also characterized by a heaping helping of historical revisionism.

While it is helpful that these Jacksonians now recognize the neocons as something categorically different, the idea that nation building is a uniquely neocon project and it is keeping us from the important business of bombing Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Syria, etc. is madness.

The invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan CAN NOT be separated from their nation building component. The same revisionists who are now whining that we should have gone in, struck hard and gotten out are the same people who at one time were telling us we couldn’t leave because the terrorist will just come right back and leaving would be tantamount to “surrender.” (Remember we could have no “timelines” for withdrawal.) So am I to assume that Mr. Babbin would now endorse an immediate pull-out from both quagmires? I seriously doubt it.

While neocons may be more motivated by some abstract sense of America’s mission to police the world, and this new bread of anti-neocon Jacksonian may be more motivated by concrete concerns for American security, the result is the same, especially if both share the same fear mongering perspective about Islam. If we break it, we’ve bought it. They must own the consequences of their policies. There is no easy way of war.

The problem is the underlying interventionism and irrational fear that motivates both perspectives. Until these so-called “conservatives” abandon their Chicken Little mindset, we will continue to have perpetual war for perpetual peace.

What Should Be the Attitude of Non-Interventionists to Recent Converts?

There has been much discussion in the right-wing blogosphere on the movement of such prominent conservatives as Joseph Farah and Anne Coulter toward a more skeptical of war perspective. The problem with embracing their movement our way unequivocally is that they have not become “full-throated non-interventionists” (see Antle link). What they are expressing is a “Jacksonian” skepticism of nation building and long wars and maybe (we hope) a skepticism about war as a type of do-gooder project (spreading democracy, policing the world, etc.). Here are a few links that I think hash out what our reaction should be pretty well.

Daniel Larison is skeptical.

Jim Antle responds.

Larison replies.

Larison is largely right on the facts, but I question the wisdom of publicly slapping down movement in our direction. This seems counter-productive. Who is going to want to join us if they think they will be chastised if they do? They are more likely to just keep their new found reservations to themselves. Farah’s change of heart took courage. It seems to me more helpful to cheer on such public movement our way.

My reason for some optimism on foreign policy is that all the movement, whether great or slight, has been in our direction. Are there any former non-interventionists being won to uber-hawkish militarism these days? It is a shrinking faction that only speaks to itself. There is no audience, except the choir, for fear peddling militarism these days. Not that all its former audience has become principled non-interventionists. They haven’t. They have just moved on to other concerns and priorities.

I also agree with Larison that Iran remains a kind of litmus test. Second thoughts on Iraq and Afghanistan aren’t particularly helpful if the person still wants to plunge us into a much more potentially disastrous war with Iran. But I also believe that a lot of the current discussion about Iran is just rhetorical posturing. Wiser heads realize that we can’t attack Iran even if we wanted to. We are overextend militarily, economically and politically and an attack on Iran would be utterly disastrous, so they saber-rattle as a substitute for action. Kind of like the guy at the bar who talks trash because he knows his friends will “hold him back.” Later he can say, “If it wasn’t for my friends holding me back I would have clobbered that guy. Really, I would have.”