Egypt is in chaos, and Syria in open war. Meanwhile, the neocons and the Israel lobby want to open up a third front of death, on Iran, where the people have recently voted by landslide margins for the most moderate candidate available. Marsha Cohen at Lobeog appraises the orchestration and delivery of the “party line:”
The vacuum at the highest levels of U.S. foreign policy analysis is being filled by an echo chamber of self-styled and mutually reinforcing “experts”.
Certain themes and talking points have been constant. They have been crafted and honed by AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which published these talking points 4 days after Rouhani won) and its spin-off think-tank WINEP (the Washington Institute), the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) and a host of other hawkish think-tanks and advocacy groups such as the American Jewish Committee (AJC), the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), the Heritage Foundation and the Gatestone Institute.
I urge readers to follow the Cohen link and read her quotations, which comprise a remarkable demonstration of how heavy duty war propaganda is done in Washington. In this case a few simple talking points are compiled (Rouhani doesn’t have any real power; couldn’t have won if he was real reformer; Rouhani is a regime insider; Rouhani is a terrorist; time to take the gloves off with Iran and threaten force.) Some are dubious, some might or might not be true, some are simply made up. These lines are amplified and aired repeatedly through the neoconservative multidirectional sound system, so they seem to come from all directions. Think tanks. Blogs. Webzines. Columnists. The Weekly Standard. Meanwhile most people are thinking about what’s in the news at the time, or how to keep their kids out of trouble during summer vacation. And so the oft repeated line gains a little plausibility, as no one seems to oppose it. The neocons did something like this after 9/11, putting an invasion of Iraq on the menu as a plausible response to a terrorist attack by Al Qaeda. It seemed a stretch at the time –rather like recommending an invasion of Moscow in response to Pearl Harbor–but the neocons/Israel lobby’s sheer ability to mobilize multiple media platforms put the crackpot idea on the table. Dick Cheney grabbed it, and the rest is history.
If Obama wanted to lead, he could counter this pretty effectively, by praising the Iranians for their peaceful and important election, and then telling the neocons that Americans have no need for another war. But the conflict adverse President is husbanding his political capital, and seems all too ready to the let the Iranian election–a remarkable event, and probably the best news in the Middle East this calendar year–be treated as if it it barely happened.
Robert Hunter, former ambassador to NATO and a long time DC insider, parses the official administration response here, and finds it lacking.