On May 28, Ali Larijani, former nuclear negotiator and close confidant of Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamene'i, won the position of speaker of the Majlis, Iran's parliament. Larijani is a member of the mainline conservative faction in Iran -- which is different from the more radical faction led by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. (Iranian political observers have aptly borrowed the American term "neoconservative" to refer to the Ahmadinejad faction.)
If you live in the United States and want to start a war, the first step is to compare the foreign leader to Adolf Hitler. This technique was on display in a recent PBS NewsHour debate between Norman Podhoretz, a foreign policy adviser to Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, and Fareed Zakaria, editor of Newsweek International. At least four times during the debate, Podhoretz likened the clerical regime in Tehran to the Nazis. He argued that there is a danger that Iran may "replace [the existing global order] with a new order dominated by Iran and ruled by the religio-political culture of Islamofascism."
The job of neoconservative writers analyzing the Iraq war has largely been to obscure objective analysis and provide talking points for war supporters. Robert Kagan's column in Sunday's Washington Post (promptly distributed by the White House in its "Iraq Update" email early Monday) fulfills that role with aplomb.
It is becoming increasingly obvious that Democrats have a stronger grasp on national security issues than do Republicans. Democratic voters, at least. That a sitting senior senator could be hoisted on his petard by an unknown challenger in an atmosphere of roughly 98 percent incumbent retention in the Senate says a lot about the unpopularity of the Iraq War, and the disgust isn't limited to Democrats. A recent CNN poll showed 61 percent of Americans want to cut and run, with just 34 percent now supporting a “stay and die” policy.*