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Kirk’s Tired and Dangerous Warning About Appeasement

Sen. Mark Kirk makes a completely original and unprecedented argument against diplomacy with Iran:

So when negotiations with Iran begin tomorrow, it is no exaggeration to say that David Cameron must choose between two Conservative legacies – that of Winston Churchill, or that of Neville Chamberlain.

Sen. Kirk is writing for the Telegraph, so perhaps he thought that a British audience would be more interested in reading tendentious claims about diplomacy and appeasement. If so, he is likely to be disappointed. All that the constant references to Chamberlain and Munich achieve is to remind everyone how stale and outdated Iran hawks’ arguments are. Negotiations with Iran will not result in ceding Iran new territory or compromising the independence of another country. Properly speaking, it is not Iran that is being appeased. It is the one seeking to appease the states that are inflicting harm on it and threatening it with illegal attack.

Kirk’s advice to David Cameron is fanciful:

He would opt to maintain maximum economic pressure on the Iranian regime until its Supreme Leader fully dismantles his entire nuclear programme and ends his global sponsorship of terrorism [bold mine-DL].

Here Kirk insists on two conditions that Iran is never going to accept. Now that there is a chance that the nuclear issue might be resolved peacefully, Kirk is quick to suggest ways to sabotage negotiations. Not only is “zero enrichment” a non-starter for Iran, but dismantling its entire nuclear program is absolutely out of the question. Demanding that Iran cease its sponsorship of Hizbullah and other proxies is pointless, and trying to link Iran’s support for these groups with the nuclear issue shows just how uninterested in a diplomatic solution Kirk is. Indeed, Kirk wants everyone to know that he intends for diplomacy to fail:

My colleagues in the US Senate and I will not be fooled by hollow declarations of “peace for our time”. We will not accept any level of uranium enrichment on Iranian soil.

If they won’t accept that, then they have already decided that they prefer continued tensions and the heightened risk of armed conflict.

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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