Justin Logan

Justin Logan is associate director of foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute.

Recent Articles

In Iran, Things Can Always Get Worse

American neoconservatives have consistently downplayed differences among Iranian leaders and, as a consequence, ignored the impact their own words have on Iranian politics.

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.) Larijani's rise was the first of a series of political changes in Iran. At about this time next year, Iran will hold a presidential election. Its outcome could depend, in part, on the outcome of the 2008 elections here in the United States. Given the serious disputes between the two countries and the prospect of another war in the Middle East, Americans -- and American presidential candidates -- should take a moment to think about how our election could influence Iran's. (Obligatory "to be sure" qualifier: Iranian elections are by no means...

It's Past Time to Bury the Hitler Analogy

Comparing foreign leaders to Adolf Hitler has long been a way of U.S. leaders to start hot wars and fan cold ones. But the Munich analogy isn't just inaccurate, it's dangerous.

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." This is a ridiculous claim, and it exalts Iran to status it does not deserve. Podhoretz and his confreres have a sad and curious track record of crying wolf, seeing Hitlers and appeasement nearly everywhere. The danger of embracing the Munich analogy as a catch-all analytical tool for international politics is that it overstates the implications of each international...

Spinned Surge

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. Simultaneously smearing opponents of the war (not to mention journalists) as praying for failure and proclaiming that "the surge is succeeding," Kagan adds to his regrettable legacy of undue optimism . There are some basic problems of logic in his attack on the media. Kagan suggests that American journalists are so invested in seeing the surge fail to pacify Iraq that he is forced to "wonder if the Post and other newspapers have a backup plan in case it does." But then Kagan goes on to use information from, well, American journalists to assemble data indicating that violence in Baghdad has ebbed; that Iraqi attitudes have turned from pessimism; that an oil sharing law is...

Mind the Gap

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.* The fact that Democrats' opinions are hardening is reflected in the results of the Lieberman/Lamont race , too. Forty-three percent of Lamont voters said the primary reason they voted for Lamont was his opposition to the Iraq War. Only six percent voted for Lieberman because of his support for it. Moreover, although 72 percent of the primary voters opposed the decision to go to war, Lieberman won 39 percent of that faction. If the election had been solely a...