If the negotiators from the U.S. and other nations succeed in getting an agreement to restrain Iran's nuclear program, Republicans will of course object that the deal is terrible and gives away the store to the Ayatollahs. We know this because they've been saying that for months, even though they don't actually know what's in the deal. It's enough to know that 1) it was negotiated by Barack Obama's government, and 2) it's a deal with an adversary, which by definition must be weak and craven. But there's something else we're going to be hearing a lot: Munich analogies.
I can make that prediction with certainty as well, because we've already heard plenty of them. But as I discuss at the Plum Line today, we should be absolutely clear what those who talk about Munich are saying:
Many of us roll our eyes and poke fun at endless Hitler analogies, but in this case their use is extremely revealing. If you believe that the negotiations with Iran are the equivalent of those in Munich in 1938, what you're basically saying is that war with Iran is inevitable, so we might as well get started on it right away. After all, it isn't as though, had Chamberlain left Munich without an agreement, Hitler would have retired and gone back to painting. The whole point of the "appeasement" argument is that the enemy cannot be appeased from his expansionist aims, and the only choice is to wage war.
That's what Iran hawks are arguing: We shouldn't pussyfoot around trying to find a diplomatic solution to this problem when there's going to be a war no matter what.
You can call this clear-eyed realism, or you can call it terrifying lunacy. But it would be nice if they would admit that war is indeed what they're advocating. Up until now, only a few conservatives have been willing to say so. I'd like to hear their argument, and not a bunch of "all options should be on the table" hedging, but a real case for why launching a war on Iran really is the best of the available options.
I'd like to think that after the disaster of Iraq, the American people would hear that debate and emphatically say that war with Iran is such a spectacularly stupid idea that no one who advocates it should get within a mile of the White House, the State Department, or the Pentagon. But maybe they wouldn't — maybe enough dark warnings about how the Iranians will soon turn Omaha and Augusta and Topeka to wastelands of rubble would be enough to get the war juices flowing once again. After all, it has been a whole twelve years since we started a war, and given the history of the last few decades we're way past due. So who's the brave Republican willing to run on a war platform? I'm sure a couple of them will step up.