Home/Daniel Larison/Huntsman’s “Skeptically Nuanced” Support for Attacking Iran and Guiding Its Internal Politics

Huntsman’s “Skeptically Nuanced” Support for Attacking Iran and Guiding Its Internal Politics

As Dan McCarthy observes on the main blog, George Will is offering little more than warmed-over ’80s platitudes in his mostly enjoyable denunciation of Romney and Gingrich:

Behind the formula lies the idea — or flickering ghost of one — that free trade, low taxes, and low regulation will always lead to growth, and growth will solve the problems that are actually whiplashing the economy right now: unemployment, financial-sector instability, fear of inflation or deflation, unsustainable federal spending, and debt. But this day-glo ’80s supply-side fix gets today’s priorities backwards. In order for tax cuts to stimulate growth, for example, they have to be spent; if Americans would rather pay down debt, that may ultimately lead to a healthier economy, but you won’t have much near-term growth to alleviate unemployment or keep a low-tax, high-spending government solvent.

Rod notices that Will’s column is effectively a Huntsman endorsement, and Huntsman has always been one of Will’s original five “plausible” nominees. This makes some sense, since Huntsman probably best approximates Will’s own incoherent views on foreign policy. Will describes Huntsman’s foreign policy this way:

Between Ron Paul’s isolationism and the faintly variant bellicosities of the other six candidates stands Huntsman’s conservative foreign policy, skeptically nuanced about America’s need or ability to control many distant developments.

What exactly is “skeptically nuanced” about Huntsman’s oft-repeated position that he would support military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities? If there is something that betrays an obsessive need to control a distant development, it is Huntsman’s claim that he “cannot live” with a nuclear-armed Iran. Two weeks ago at the last debate, Huntsman was repeating the party line nonsense that the U.S. somehow “failed” to exploit the Green movement protests in 2009:

We missed the Persian spring. The president failed on that front.

Huntsman didn’t elaborate on how Obama failed to direct Iranian domestic politics, but presumably Huntsman wants us to think that the U.S. had the ability and opportunity to support the Iranian opposition in a meaningful way and failed to do so. Where is the skepticism and nuance about America’s ability to guide the internal politics of another country? It’s nowhere to be found.

Let’s also remember that this is a candidate who said, “Our interest in the Middle East is Israel,” as if there were no other, competing U.S. interests to be found in the region. I would say that it almost seems as if Huntsman were parodying the “pro-Israel” rhetoric of Bachmann, but that might be unfair to Bachmann.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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