Thursday, January 30, 2014

Larison on "Chameleonic" Iran Hawks

Daniel Larison critiques "chameleonic" Iran war hawks in The American Conservative.

The two constants in all of this have been the determination of many Iran hawks to reject any diplomatic solution that might be obtainable and to persist in their opposition at each stage of negotiations despite being proven wrong again and again. Opponents of current negotiations with Iran take for granted that any deal that can be made with Iran represents some sort of capitulation to Iran. It doesn’t matter that this assumption turns reality on its head and requires them to do violence to the facts on a daily basis. Once they have defined anything short of total Iranian capitulation as “appeasement,” misrepresenting other details becomes essential and unavoidable. At the same time, opponents of Iran diplomacy very much wish to avoid being identified as such, and that is where Pillar’s description of them as “chameleonic” is most apt. That is why we are treated to the absurd spectacle of the most predictable supporters of foreign wars complaining bitterly about how much they “resent” being called for favoring a course of action that makes war more likely.

If these hawks were genuinely interested in a diplomatic solution, they would not be making maximalist demands of the other party, but would be prepared to accept a compromise. Because they want to extract concessions that Iran will never give (and which they know Iran will never give), the only explanation that remains is that they wish to undermine and wreck ongoing diplomatic efforts. Despite their best efforts to camouflage themselves and blend in among supporters of Iran diplomacy, it is fairly easy recognize Iran hawks for what they have always been.

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