Hawks on Iran

Lobe Log publishes Hawks on Iran every Friday. Our posts highlight militaristic commentary and confrontational policy recommendations about Iran from a variety of sources including news articles, think tanks and pundits.

Michael Rubin, Fox News: Missing from last week’s roundup was an op-ed by the hawkish American Enterprise Institute’s (AEI) Michael Rubin, George W. Bush’s Pentagon adviser on Iran and Iraq, where he explains how to make Iran “blink” with devastating sanctions. Rubin indirectly reiterates calls for “economic warfare” against Iran made by Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) when he says that the “only way to undercut Iran’s strategy is to sanction whole industries”. He also argues that if we want to avoid war with Iran, we need to really threaten it (to death?):

It is time to face down the Iranian leadership to convey that they cannot imagine the pain the United States and its allies are capable of inflicting. The Iranian leadership may respond with bluster but, if policymakers are serious both about avoiding a prolonged military conflict with Iran and denying the Islamic Republic a nuclear weapons capability, then the United States will have no choice but to call Iran’s bluff.

Max Boot, Commentary: The Council on Foreign Relations’ Max Boot allied with neoconservatives as an early supporter of the US’s war on Iraq and has agitated for war with Iran even while acknowledging that strikes would not set back its alleged nuclear ambitions by much. This week he writes that the West should not be deterred by Iranian threats to close the vital oil supply route, the Strait of Hormuz, and should proceed with the crippling sanctions game plan because that’s the only option left next to war:

This is yet another reason why the West should not be intimidated by Tehran’s bluster, and why we should proceed with even more punishing sanctions in a last-ditch chance to bring a peaceful halt to the Iranian nuclear program, which, as the chief of Britain’s MI6 warned recently, could result in the production of actual nuclear weapons by 2014.

John Bolton, Weekly Standard: Negotiations with Iran are futile according to John Bolton, George W. Bush’s ambassador to the United Nations and AEI fellow, who once again refuted high level US and Israeli intelligence assessments when he declared this week in William Kristol’s magazine that Iran is involved in a “decades-long effort to build deliverable nuclear weapons” while failing to provide a shred of supporting evidence. And here’s his pitch for military force:

In the race between the West’s sanctions/negotiations track and Tehran’s nuclear weapons track, the nuclear effort is much closer to the finish line. Since all other options have failed repeatedly, we must at some very near point face a basic question: Are we prepared to use force at a time of our choosing and through means optimal for us rather than for Iran’s air defenses, or will we simply allow Iran to have nuclear weapons under the delusion it can be contained and deterred? The clock is ticking, and the centrifuges are spinning.

Jasmin Ramsey

Jasmin Ramsey is a journalist based in Washington, DC.



  1. In a sense the war on Iran has already started. Economic hardship on the middle and lower classes is crushing and is to get worse. The goal is to soften up Iran and make it so weak that the inevitable invasion can take place. Given the incompetence of the governmnet in Iran, I don’t think that the regime will have much of a chance if an attack takes place. They could not defeat much smaller country (Iraq) in eight years during a favorable period when the revolutionary fervor had not yet died. Militarily, they are only a bluster.
    The only thing that invaders fear is the people. That is the peoples of Iran and other nations of the middle east. Be it secular or Islamic, they hate the West’s policies. They hate colonialism, plunder of their resources by a few who are in the collusion with the West, esp. this country and treatment of Palestinians. Invaders know that they have to fight the people of Iran ultimately just as in Iraq.
    Islamic republic has not been able to capitalize on this historically rooted hatred. For instance, their sectarion approach to the Palestinian cause has prevented them to use it to their benefit . Why don’t they say for instance, that they will stop one centerfuge spinning for each settler house unbuilt? Given that no Arab country does anything for Palestinians, this will generate sympathy for Iran among the Arab masses. Equally, they could request that the issue of Palestine be added to the agenda of the nuclear talks.

  2. The Arabs aren’t against the Iranians. Maybe a few Western allied dictators are, but not the people. And, we have little indication that they are as worried about Iran as they are about Israel and their own dictatorial standing.

    What I foresee is that the sanctions on Oil are very much like the war on Drugs. Stupid and futile. Though it might be far more devastating for the US. Cause, just as the BRIC nations are seeking a way out of the Dollar as reserve currency, the US may be forcing this issue to come manifest. Economics trumps the machinations of bureaucrats.

    Further, European oil companies have created a workaround for Iranian oil, Russia, China, India, South Korea, Japan, Brazil have all gotten waivers on the oil embargo, or they simply don’t care. This will create an alternative trading facility just as the war on drugs created a black market.

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