Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010.
Jose Luis Magana/AP Photo

Neocons let loose

Updated
At a certain level, international diplomacy with Iran and a first-in-a-generation breakthrough constitute the worst possible scenario for U.S. neoconservatives. Their vision dictates that change can come to the Middle East, but only through military force – and the more diplomacy and the search for peaceful solutions makes force unlikely, the more it must be rejected.
 
And with this in mind, it’s understandable that neocons are even more agitated than usual this morning. With P5+1 – the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, plus Germany – having reached a preliminary agreement with Iran, the entire neocon vision is facing a historic repudiation. Michael Tomasky noted this morning that among neocons, “there is contemplation of the hideous reality that Obama and the path of negotiation just might work. This is the thing the neocons can’t come to terms with at all. If Obama succeeds here, their entire worldview is discredited. Check that; even more discredited.”
 
David Corn flagged the perfect encapsulation of the far-right freakout.
Hours after the Obama administration announced an interim agreement with Iran regarding its nuclear program, John Bolton, the hawk’s hawk of the neocon crowd (remember when he practically yearned for terrorists to blow up Chicago with a nuclear device to teach Barack Obama a lesson?), was busy penning a piece for The Weekly Standard decrying the deal as an “abject surrender” of President Obama to the mullahs of Iran. Bolton essentially makes the familiar (and hyperbolic) conservative case that any deal that does not start with Iran trashing all of its nuclear equipment is yet another Munich moment. From this perspective, there can be no bargaining with Tehran – that is, no diplomacy. […]
 
Thus, his article ends with this assertion: “in truth, an Israeli military strike is the only way to avoid Tehran’s otherwise inevitable march to nuclear weapons.” Thank you, Ambassador, for such candor.
Indeed, there is some value in this. For every mainstream observer telling neocons, “You make it sound like you’re opposed to any solution that omits missile strikes,” it’s helpful to have prominent figures effectively concede, “Yep.”
 
But what continues to impress is the fact that neoconservatives continue to pretend they have credibility – and much of the political world just plays along. The New York Times report had a lengthy item on the preliminary deal with Iran today, which quoted some “experts.” The next paragraph quoted … wait for it … Elliott Abrams.
 
This keeps happening. Every time the Obama White House advances U.S. interests through diplomacy, the neocons howl, and their opinions are not immediately subjected to ridicule.
 
A few questions keep coming to mind: (1) weren’t you guys cheerleaders for the war in Iraq? (2) Don’t you guys still look back at that catastrophe as a good idea? and (3) Isn’t it about time you guys enjoyed a little quiet time?
 

Iran, John Bolton and Neoconservatives

Neocons let loose

Updated