Peter Beinart combs through many Iran hawks’ past statements to show that some of them really have no interest in making diplomacy with Iran succeed:
There are certainly sanctions supporters who genuinely believe—despite the protestations of U.S. intelligence—that the bill currently in the Senate will help facilitate a nuclear deal. But just as clearly, there are others, like Kristol, who see the new sanctions bill, with its patently unrealistic demands for what a final deal would contain, as a way to torpedo talks while blaming Iran for their failure. As a way to build “an evidentiary case that every non-military option will have been exhausted.”
For them to justify new sanctions as a means of settling the Iranian nuclear dispute “without the use of force” is patently dishonest. And it’s neither a “canard” nor a “slander” to point that out.
This relates to how many hawks view sanctions and diplomacy. While many people view these things as alternatives that should be pursued in order to avoid conflict, the hawks Beinart is talking about tend to see them at best as motions that the U.S. is required to go through and at worst as time-wasting obstacles that get in the way of pursuing the policy they actually prefer. The purpose of going through those motions isn’t to test whether there is a non-military option that can resolve the dispute (they have already decided that there isn’t one), but simply to check them off the list so that later calls for diplomacy can be dismissed and agitation for military action can go forward. Then again, since attacking Iran means waging preventive war against another state, Iran hawks have already made their support for another unnecessary war quite clear. By its nature, a policy of prevention requires launching an attack long before all other options to resolve the dispute have been exhausted. Because they have ruled out containment as unacceptable and because they have set maximalist conditions that Iran will never accept, these hawks have already expressed their preference for conflict.