" />

Right Web

Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

Outlandish Iran “Plot” Unleashes Calls for War


The alleged Iranian plot against the Saudi U.S. ambassador was remarkable not only for its sheer strangeness, but also for the surprising fanfare with which the Obama administration disclosed it—leading some writers to question the administration’s motives. “The administration's hyping of this strange case fits [an] established pattern,” observes former CIA analyst Paul Pillar. “[I]t is operating in a reelection mode. Being in that mode means being determined to look just as tough on Iran as the next guy.” Moreover, Gareth Porter has identified several potentially false claims used by the administration to support its conclusions, and Ian Williams has discerned in the plot the hallmarks of yet another FBI-instigated terror plot.


Even within the administration, reports Reuters, some officials “are privately expressing disquiet that the outlandish-sounding plan has triggered U.S. calls for stiff new action against Iran.” While generally not openly disputing the facts of the case, some administration skeptics have tentatively concluded that, if anything, the plot suggests weakness and division within Iran’s security agencies, which could make further escalations unnecessary.


This, however, has not been the conclusion of many prominent neoconservatives and right-wing commentators, who have seized upon the development to justify explicit calls for U.S. military action against Iran.


In a press release reposted by Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) wrote, “It is time for the United States and our allies to make clear to Iran’s leaders that, if they continue on their current outlaw course, they will face more than just further incremental ratcheting up of economic sanctions and diplomatic pressure.” Rubin herself piled on, indicating her impatience with diplomatic approaches to Iran: “Sanctions—ho hum. Diplomatic responses—yawn. The Iranian regime can only be encouraged by such reticence.” She added in a post the following day that President Obama “is not willing to acknowledge that while we haven’t been at war with Iran, Iran is certainly at war with us. … Sanctions and talk. Neither has had an impact. Obama’s weakness is provocative to our enemies and demoralizing to our allies.”


Elsewhere, Max Boot writes at Commentary, “time and again we have failed to grasp the lesson that Iran responds positively to displays of American strength and is emboldened to aggression by evidence of American weakness.” He laments that “there is little chance we will go to war over a plot to kill a Saudi diplomat on our soil,” which he says “is likely to convince the Iranians we really are a paper tiger and will not go to war even if they are on the verge of going nuclear.”


AEI fellow Reuel Marc Gerecht, writing in the Wall Street Journal, was the most explicit. “The White House needs to respond militarily to this outrage,” he said. “If we don't, we are asking for it.” (Cannily, M.J. Rosenberg notes from our Right Web profile that Gerecht had already reached the same conclusion back in 2002, biding President Bush to “[compel] his administration to follow him against Iraq and Iran”—well before the United States had even invaded Iraq!)


If the Obama administration offered up this strange allegation to boost confidence in its security policies, it’s playing a dangerous game that may force its hand later. “By offering up this kind of red meat,” notes Paul Pillar, the administration “risks enabling the meat eaters to push the administration into even more dangerous actions toward Iran.”


—Peter Certo

Share RightWeb

Featured Profiles

Although better known for his domestic platform promoting “limited” government, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has expressed strong sympathies for projecting U.S. military power abroad.

Dinesh D’Souza is a conservative writer and conspiracy theorist whose books and films have gained notoriety for their diatribes about the “culture wars” and fear-mongering narratives about liberals. D’Souza is also well known for his 2014 conviction on federal charges related to an illegal campaign fundraising scheme.

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson is an important financial backer of right-wing “pro-Israel” groups in the United States and elsewhere in the world, as well as a prominent supporter of key Israeli Likud Party figures.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) is one the Senate’s more ardent supporters of militaristic U.S. foreign policies.

The Tikvah Fund has worked closely with neoconservative think tanks and media outlets as well as many universities to promote conservative ideologies.

Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City a 2008 Republican presidential candidate, has been a vocal advocate for staunchly militaristic foreign policies.

Donald Trump, the billionaire real estate mogul and 2016 GOP presidential candidate, is known for racist and reactionary rhetoric, in addition to his ignorance about nuclear weapons strategy, Middle East conflicts, and the value of allies.

For media inquiries,
email rightwebproject@gmail.com

From the Wires

If one is looking for new thinking about improving U.S.-Iran relations, they are not going to find it at the Center for American Progress (CAP) if its latest report on Middle East policy is any indication.

The U.S. presidential election campaign has done more to set back U.S. foreign relations and the cause of good foreign policy than has any other election within memory.

Whoever moves into the White House next January should be willing to “take more risk to find some common ground with Iran,” according to a new report released by the non-partisan Atlantic Council.

As the GOP establishment scrambles for the lifeboats in the wake of Donald Trump’s disastrous campaign, Trump’s biggest donor, Sheldon Adelson, is moving full-steam ahead, writing big checks and mobilizing newspapers owned by his family to support Trump, even as the candidate careens toward a massive defeat.

Osama bin Laden surely died happy. He devoted the last third of his life to creating animosity between the West and Islam and to driving a wedge between Saudi Arabia and the United States. Today, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey are all estranged from the United States. And, as an unexpected bonus, so is Israel.

Saudi Arabia has launched a charm offensive following the historic vote by the European Parliament demanding an arms embargo on Riyadh.

The world according to Trump: The American economy has tanked. Mexico has sent a horde of criminals over the border to steal jobs and rape women. The Islamic State, cofounded by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, is taking over the globe. “We haven’t seen anything like this, the carnage all over the world,” he has declared.