Get PJ Media on your Apple

Ron Radosh

The Biggest Cliche of All: ‘Hard-Liners Waiting in the Wings’

March 21st, 2014 - 10:36 am

You’ve heard the argument before, perhaps the single most-used foreign-policy cliché: “if we don’t work with the current regime — totalitarian, authoritarian, or otherwise repressive as it is — the hard-liners waiting in the wings will take over, and things will be much worse for the United States.”

It has, of course, been used most in recent times about Iran, especially after the election of the so-called “moderate” Hassan Rouhani. A staff member of the leading American apologist group for Iran, the National Iranian American Council, puts it this way:

Reza Marashi, research director of the National Iranian American Council, an advocacy group that supports the nuclear talks, said it is political suicide for any Iranian official to accept no enrichment. Tehran’s hard-liners would accuse them of capitulation to the United States and Israel.

The logic is clear: if those warlike neo-cons argue that the deal favored by President Obama is not acceptable, and if we don’t allow the regime in Iran to continue with enrichment, the real bad guys will win the argument in Iran — and then there is no hope for keeping Iran from getting the bomb.

(For an answer to the claims about Rouhani, read Sohrab Ahmari, here and here.)

Here is the argument again, presented most succinctly in an article by Harvard professor Matthew Bunn. He is also an advisor to the White House on nuclear issues. In his “Deal weakens Iran’s hard-liners and strengthens U.S. interests,” Professor Bunn writes that those who argue the deal with Iran actually increases Iran’s chances of getting a nuclear weapon are “ … wrong. With this deal in place, it will be much harder for hard-liners in Iran to argue that Iran should tear up its agreements and build a bomb.”

We’ve also heard the argument recently regarding Russia and its aggression against Ukraine. Gregory Feifer explains:

Despite Putin’s challenge to European values and security, a rising tide of commentary is urging Western leaders to moderate their response, arguing that sanctions would have little effect, that they’re not in their interests, or both. After all, the logic goes, Moscow says it’s not interested in invading eastern Ukraine.

For a rebuttal, in yesterday’s New York Times, Alexey A. Navalny — who ran for mayor of Moscow as a pro-reform opposition candidate, and is now under house arrest for his criticism of the Putin government — writes the following:

There is a common delusion among the international community that although Mr. Putin is corrupt, his leadership is necessary because his regime subdues the dark, nationalist forces that otherwise would seize power in Russia.

The argument that we can’t assert our values and defend American interests because it will hurt the moderates in adversary countries has always been false, and yet, it has been used way back in the early days of the 20th Century.

He is correct: during research for the book my wife and I are writing about the presidency of Warren G. Harding, we came across a letter written on Jan. 12, 1921 to Harding by Bruce Bliven, then managing editor of a New York City paper, The Globe. He was soon to become an editor of the “progressive” magazine of opinion The New Republic. Bliven told the president that he learned from the paper’s reporters, who were “in close touch with the Russian situation,” that the time had come for U.S. policy to change, and for the new administration to offer diplomatic recognition to the still young Bolshevik revolutionary government.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
"The logic is clear: if those warlike neo-cons argue ... ... ... ..."

Ah yes, those "neo-cons" that some here at PJM hold in such high regard and esteem. Frankly their mere presence on any side of an argument taints that side of the argument almost to destruction. It may not be fair to others, but that's what it does.

Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki's cabinet recently approved Islam based legislation that would legalize child rape ("marriage" of men, regardless of age, to 9 year old girls). Was this worth the lives of almost 5,000 American troops, thousands of their limbs, and over a trillion dollars, that we don't have?

Well, ever brilliant foreign and military policy geniuses in your own minds "neo-cons", was it?
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm more worried about the hard-liners waiting in our wings.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (18)
All Comments   (18)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
a­­s­­ A­­n­­t­­o­­n­­i­­o ­­a­­n­­s­­w­­e­­r­­e­­d ­­I­­ a­­m­­ a­­m­­a­­z­­e­­d­­ t­­h­­a­­t­­ s­­o­­m­­e­ p­­e­­o­­p­­l­­e a­­b­­l­­e t­­o­­ e­­v­­a­­r­­n $­­9­­6­­6­­7­­0­­ i­­n­­ a­­ f­­e­­w­­ w­­e­­e­­k­­s­­ o­­n­­ t­­h­­e­­ i­­n­­t­­e­­r­­n­­e­­t­­ . m­­o­­r­­e i­­n­­f­­o h­­e­­r­­e >>>>>>>>>>>>>
==========================================
j­­o­­b­­s­­6­­0­­.­­c­­o­­m­­
==========================================
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
a­­s­­ A­­n­­t­­o­­n­­i­­o ­­a­­n­­s­­w­­e­­r­­e­­d ­­I­­ a­­m­­ a­­m­­a­­z­­e­­d­­ t­­h­­a­­t­­ s­­o­­m­­e­ p­­e­­o­­p­­l­­e a­­b­­l­­e t­­o­­ e­­v­­a­­r­­n $­­9­­6­­6­­7­­0­­ i­­n­­ a­­ f­­e­­w­­ w­­e­­e­­k­­s­­ o­­n­­ t­­h­­e­­ i­­n­­t­­e­­r­­n­­e­­t­­ . m­­o­­r­­e i­­n­­f­­o h­­e­­r­­e >>>>>>>>>>>>>
==============================
h­­t­­t­­p­­:­­/­­/­­x­­u­­r­­l­­.­­e­­s­­/­­i­­c­­7­­r­­l­­
=============================
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
Muslim Brotherhood

Next!
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
LOL, R.Radosh is still writing and there are people still reading him.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
"The logic is clear: if those warlike neo-cons argue ... ... ... ..."

Ah yes, those "neo-cons" that some here at PJM hold in such high regard and esteem. Frankly their mere presence on any side of an argument taints that side of the argument almost to destruction. It may not be fair to others, but that's what it does.

Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki's cabinet recently approved Islam based legislation that would legalize child rape ("marriage" of men, regardless of age, to 9 year old girls). Was this worth the lives of almost 5,000 American troops, thousands of their limbs, and over a trillion dollars, that we don't have?

Well, ever brilliant foreign and military policy geniuses in your own minds "neo-cons", was it?
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
"those warlike neo-cons"

Warlike? You meant "chicken-hawk," of course.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Notice only the argument is what they are worried about, they could care less about what the actually facts are.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Like you could NOT care less about what the words you say actually mean?

18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
“almost certainly result in a victory for the liberals.”

I think we noted a dearth of Russian liberals in the 1918-1920 period.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm more worried about the hard-liners waiting in our wings.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Regimes .. like Putin's Russia" - that argument about learning from the past would have more weight if these clever analysts took a hard look at the regime they currently support in the Ukraine because it's 'against Putin'.

Anybody with a PC ought to look up "Pravy Sector", and perhaps delve a bit into the past of "Svoboda", now led by the interim PM Yatseniuk.

I know from history what nazis look like, and I find it totally incomprehensible and actually sickening that the EU and the USA support a regime where these people have posts, like chief of security, or sit in a committee for media while going and beating up a TV producer, forcing him to resign - for the sin of having transmitted Putin's speech. It's on YT.

It would seem that some 'pasts' from which to learn are more important than others.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
the cult for nazism is well spread in these former sovietic republics

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVe27bMouUM&app=desktop
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
"sit in a committee for media while going and beating up a TV producer, forcing him to resign - for the sin of having transmitted Putin's speech"

Link?
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thanks!
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
1 2 Next View All