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.

Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post: The neoconservative pundit attacks the Obama administration for not aligning its “red line” on Iran (a nuclear weapon) with Israel’s red line (nuclear weapon-making capability) and resisting Benjamin Netanyahu’s demand for a deadline:

The Obama policy is in shambles. Which is why Cordesman argues that the only way to prevent a nuclear Iran without war is to establish a credible military threat to make Iran recalculate and reconsider. That means U.S. red lines: deadlines beyond which Washington will not allow itself to be strung, as well as benchmark actions that would trigger a response, such as the further hardening of Iran’s nuclear facilities to the point of invulnerability and, therefore, irreversibility.

Which made all the more shocking Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s dismissal last Sunday of the very notion of any U.S. red lines. No deadlines. No bright-line action beyond which Iran must not go. The sleeping giant continues to slumber. And to wait — as the administration likes to put it, “for Iran to live up to its international obligations.”

Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal: The board shares Krauthammer‘s analysis:

Most of all, Iran continues its march toward a nuclear weapon despite the President’s vow that it is “unacceptable.” The U.S. says it has isolated Iran, but only last month the U.N. Secretary-General defied a U.S. plea and attended a non-aligned summit in Tehran. The Administration has issued wholesale exemptions to Congressional sanctions, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared on the weekend that the U.S. is “not setting deadlines” for Iran as it sprints to a bomb.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has engaged in repeated public arguments with Israel, supposedly its best ally in the region. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, recently declared that he doesn’t want to be “complicit” in any Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear sites. The White House failed to contradict him. A nation that appears so reluctant to stand by its friends won’t be respected or feared by its enemies.

Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post: The neoconservative pundit laments the fact that Israel’s Prime Minister must resort to “heckling” the US president to get what he wants and quotes a staffer from the hawkish Foundation for Defense of Democracies to further her position on the Israel vs. Iran debate:

Such is the state of the U.S.-Israel relationship. The tussle over who requested what begs the question as to why the leaders aren’t meeting in New York. If the relationship is as close as Obama insists, there would be every reason to meet, make a show of solidarity and make a joint statement regarding Iran. So Netanyahu resorts to heckling Obama in public over “red lines.”

Schanzer said, “ The real problem here is the lack of transparency on the part of President Obama. When was the last time he delivered an official presidential statements on the Iranian nuclear crisis? He has not given the American people or the Israelis a glimpse of how he plans to tackle what has become the most pressing foreign policy issue of our time. This is what is driving Bibi to his wits end. “

So how is that leading from behind, timidity in the face of jihadists, meekness toward Iran and heavy defense cut policy working out? Are we more safe or are events spinning out of control? Are we most respected or less? The answer: Romney is being unfair pointing all this out.

Danielle Pletka, the New York Times: Explicitly hawkish views stated here by the vice president for foreign and defense policy at the neoconservative-dominated American Enterprise Institute:

America cannot prevent every tragedy, nor can we assure ourselves of the affection of every Middle Eastern citizen. But we can have a policy in Iraq that fights Iranian influence, a policy in Egypt that incentivizes liberalism among elected leaders, a policy in Syria that hastens the fall of Assad and promotes the rise of moderates, a policy that punishes attacks on our embassies that take place unimpeded by the local government (see Egypt), and a policy that rewards the values we cherish and punishes extremism. And yes, those policies can go hand in hand with a military strategy that attacks our enemies where they live. We may not always win the fight of western liberalism against Islamist extremism, but we could try much harder.

David Makovsky, New Yorker: Ali Gharib points out why an argument made by David Makovsky of the AIPAC-created Washington Institute — that Israel’s bombing of Syria’s nuclear program should be factored into calculations about attacking Iran — doesn’t stand up to an important test.

Jasmin Ramsey

Jasmin Ramsey is a journalist based in Washington, DC.