The NeoCons are back. Whether it’s the GOP’s push against the Iranian deal or the battle cry to put “some” boots on the ground against ISIS, they are back. Back in droves. And they are following the same “strong on defense” mantra that has been “conventional wisdom” in American politics for some time. It’s a bad play and political opponents (on both sides of the aisle) are foolish for being fearful of exploiting the bad play. Let me explain.
After the war in Afghanistan, two wars in Iraq (and dealing with the subsequent aftermath), Americans are leery about what the NeoCon’s are selling. It’s the same script. Vague references of needing to be “strong”, which almost always involves rejection of any diplomacy and upping military commitments. No actual plan is ever proposed. No exit strategy. No strategy whatsoever. Here lies the weakness of the NeoCons, and how they can be refuted.
- Step One – Press for the plan
All questioning should lead to the exact alternative plan. NeoCon fervor lives within the grey area of criticism that obscures a clear alternative. Expose it. For example, we should walk away from Iranian negotiations, and then do what? (Waiting for them to fold isn’t a plan, what’s the plan if they don’t fold?). You want ground troops to fight ISIS in Iraq, what is your plan for those troops to fight, win ground, and hold such ground among a Sunni/Shiite conflict? Conventional media and politicians let the NeoCons get away from specific plans, because they do not want to admit the end result of their strategy.
- Step Two – Call out the Consequences and True Motive
War. Call a spade a spade. The end result of these NeoCon positions is war. The goal in Iran is regime change. The goal with ISIS is Iraq 3.0. Call it out specifically, stating their “plan” is not a plan. For example, the end result of a conclusion that Iran can never be dealt with diplomatically, is war. Calling out the plan would result in an honest answer of, the NeoCons are banking on regime change before the time strikes are necessary, or strikes and then regime change is fundamentally a call for war. Say it. It is the plain logical conclusion from a no negotiation strategy, yet they are not being called on it. Same with ridiculous demands, such as no enrichment. Call them out for demanding things they know the Iranians will reject to scrap a deal. Similarly, calls for “some troops” in ISIS without any plan to hold ground and solve the Sunni/Shiite conflict is a call for endless occupation and war. Say it.
- Step Three – Marry the NeoCons to their Past Poor Decisions
This should be the easiest part. Link them to their decision with Iraq. Remind the American public these people called for us to get involved in Iraq 2.0, spent American lives and treasure on a blunder we are still paying for. Ask if these people should be trusted to give advice on Iran and ISIS. Say they want Iraq 3.0 and to slay dragons around the world again without even attempting a diplomatic alternative.
- Step Four – A reasonable path forward – Insulation from the Counter-Attack
This is the thing most conventional politicians are worried about. It is why you aren’t hearing enough push back against the NeoCons. The thought of being “soft” on defense. This isn’t 1980, heck it isn’t 2001 anymore. This is old thinking, and the public will support rejection of it.
Sample: I know those who beat the drumbeat of war will try to paint criticism of their position as weakness, as lack of resolve. They are wrong. The same voices that led us into the war in Iraq are beating the drums of war again. They are wrong again. Military action is not something I would hesitate to vote for if it is our last and only option. We must exhaust all chances for a peaceful resolution to the nuclear issue, which includes diplomacy with all the major players in the world. Right now the world is united with the us in seeking resolution of this issue. Even those countries we have profound disagreements with on other issues, such as the Russians, are united in a coalition to obtain a verifiable solution to the Iranian issue that prevents a path to a bomb.
We are working hard to see if an agreement is possible. A fair, strong agreement with the world community on board. Yet, there are those in Congress who seek to reject the chance of even trying to reach a deal. They want to throw away the years spend building a coalition that brought the Iranians to the table in the first place. Diplomacy is never an option they say. We should never try to talk with the Iranians. We should make demands we know they will not accept. We know where their path leads. America is stronger when we act with the world in efforts to solve things through diplomacy, and if we are unable to, use force only after no other alternative is presented. It is often said, when sending our brave men and women into military action, how do I explain to a mother in Kansas, Texas, or California the reason I am sending your son or daughter into harms way. Should that ever become necessary, the explanation will be because we had to in order to protect the United States and there was no choice. I refuse be forced into action where war was the first choice.
So I support the diplomacy with full force. It may not be successful. It may not bear fruit. But the notion that we should not try and those who seek to torpedo it for pure political gain is a game too dangerous to play. I won’t play it.
It’s not the most articulate, but I think it gets the point across. Pressure to speak out against the NeoCons is supported by the public http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/17/politics/iran-negotiations-gop-letter-poll/ so, opposition to this tactic must be a typical in the beltway thinking. Even Rand Paul is damaging his brand by failing to take this opportunity. The Neocons would be put back on their heels a bit and explaining why they aren’t trying to lead us to war. Yet their alternatives can be exposed time and time again as seeking just that. Let’s home someone is smart enough to hit back.