Whether wittingly or witlessly, President Barack Obama is pursuing a neocon-charted path on Iran that parallels the one that George W. Bush took to war with Iraq – ratcheting up sanctions against the “enemy,” refusing to tolerate more peaceful options, and swaggering along with the propagandistic tough-guy-ism of the major U.S. news media.
The Obama administration is celebrating its victory in getting the UN Security Council on Wednesday to approve a fourth round of economic sanctions against Iran. Obama also is expected to sign on to even more draconian penalties that should soon sail through Congress.
Obama may be thinking that his UN diplomatic achievement will buy him some credibility – and some time – with American neocons and Israel’s Likud government, which favor a showdown with Iran over its nuclear program.
However, the end result of the new sanctions may well be a greater likelihood that the debate within the Iranian government will tilt toward a decision to proceed with ever-higher-level enrichment of uranium and possibly construction of a nuclear bomb as the only means of self-defense.
That may be the opposite of what Obama seeks, but it is what the neocons and Likud would cite as justification for another Middle East war.
Just as the neocons and Israel wanted “regime change” in Iraq, they have long hungered for “regime change” in Iran, too. A favorite neocon joke at the time of the Iraq War was to speculate on which direction to go next, to Syria or Iran, with the punch-line, “Real men to go Tehran!”
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