Muravchik: McCain Will Bomb Iran

I attended a debate between Harvard Prof. Steven Walt and veteran neo-conservative and American Enterprise Institute (AEI) fellow Joshua Muravchik at the Nixon Center Thursday evening. Most notable for the unfortunately abbreviated time I was there was Muravchik’s certainty that “if McCain is president, there will be an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.” The way he said this also conveyed that it could well be item number one on McCain’s agenda.

He also asserted that “McCain is by history more of a neo-con than Bush” (no quarrel there) and noted that his service as chair of the International Republican Institute (IRI), a creation and beneficiary of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), helped steer him in that direction. “I would expect from McCain policies (that) I would like,” he said just before his observation about McCain’s intentions vis-a-vis Iran.

I would have to take Muravchik’s prediction seriously given his long-time perch at AEI, McCain’s favorite foreign-policy think tank, and his long association with some of McCain’s closest advisers, including Robert Kagan with whom he has worked since their Central America days. (Incidentally, Kagan, as well as Abrams, may be vying for the National Security Advisor post in any McCain administration.) Of course, bombing Iran has been a devout and explicit wish on Muravchik’s part for nearly two years if not more, so this may be an example of wishful thinking, but I can’t help but believe his associations give him some real insight on this question. Kagan, however, has supported unconditional talks with Iran if for no other reason than to strengthen the case for eventual military action.

Jim Lobe

Jim Lobe served for some 30 years as the Washington DC bureau chief for Inter Press Service and is best known for his coverage of U.S. foreign policy and the influence of the neoconservative movement.



  1. I read this link just as Jim Lehrer asked, what is the #1 threat to American security, “Iran” was the answer. Of course now Obama is rushing to sound nearly as hawkish.

    O’ at least is pointing out that our Iraq folly has strenghtened Iran.

    Funny, Lehrer asked what is the greatest threat to America. They both answered Iran’s threat to Israel.

  2. We are witnessing the passing of the only remaining empire on our planet. U.S. threats against Iran recapitulates Rome’s bellicosity, or Britain’s contentiousness, before their inevitable global bankrupcies. Empires eventually reach the limits of their capacity and implode as a result of the countervailing forces they generate. This is not a reflection of values, whether good or bad, but merely a fact of history.

    I believe we are now entering a syncretic global age where not just one national chauvinism, political ideology, economic system or religious theology dominates, but where all human groups willingly participate in a new global culture.

    This too will end when we encounter another sentient civilization somewhere out there — and a new synthesis will emerge!

  3. The neocons do not care if the American Empire collapses under the weight of its own fiscal irresponsibility. Individually they are doing fine and if all goes wrong they can scuttle out and embed themselves in the next. But where will that be ? Puten has seen the light and closed that faucet, and surely China will not be such easy prey. I guess that, currently, all bets are being placed on the EU.

  4. Obviously the only thing stopping an attack on Iran is the effect it will have on oil supplies. I really don’t see how they can get round that.

  5. Chuck, in Dec 2005 Reuters in Indonesia, Singapore or some such released a Deutche bank report that oil had fallen into contango. This means that the spot price had fallen $10 below the futures price. Deutche Bank said that the price of oil needed to rise to $77/barrel or hedge funds would be looking at major losses. Well, the price at the time was at $60. Then the Iran rhetoric really heated up. This got the price to move up to $70. Insufficient.

    Then the Israel/Lebanon war broke out. I am not saying that this was the cause of the war. Conspiracies seldom have a single cause, I like the Sundae analogy, perhaps this was just the cherry on top. But the prolonged war, prolonged at exclusive American insistence raise prices to $75/barrel.

    While this was insufficient to hit the targeted price, it certainly mitigated the damage. Now, if it sounds fantastic to suggest that Washington might go to war to advance/protect the profits of our investment banks, but that would ignore the lessons of history.

    Smedley Butler a Major General in the U.S. Marine Corps and, at the time of his death, the most decorated Marine in U.S. history wrote the short book “War Is a Racket.” His words say it all:

    “I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

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