The stage is set, the actors have committed their lines to memory, and the curtain is now rising: the Great Iran Debate is on! It’s a war story, as so many of our national narratives are these days, one pitting the President of the United States – and the overwhelming majority of Americans – against the US supporters of a foreign government, a “fifth column,” if you will.
This debate underscores an amazing fact: not since the war of 1812, when the New England Federalists sided with Great Britain against their own government, has a fifth column wielded such power in this country. As President Obama seeks to avoid war with Iran – what would amount to World War III in terms of its military and economic consequences – the fifth columnists in our midst, ensconced in some of the highest councils of government, are actively undermining his efforts to avoid catastrophe. Unlike subversives of the past, however, whose treason was found hidden in pumpkin patches and took cover in the darkest corners of the State, these proclaim their allegiance to a foreign government quite openly.
The administration’s negotiations with Tehran over Iran’s nonexistent nuclear weapons program have been extended beyond the deadline for success twice now, reflecting the eagerness of both sides to reach some kind of agreement. Neither wants war: but there are those who do. In a demonstration of how radically different societies nonetheless share overarching patterns of human folly, both the Americans and the Iranians face pretty much the same conundrum at home: how to overcome the influence of their hardliners in order to avoid a war that would surely be the ruination of both. In this sense, our neoconservatives and their Republican sock-puppets are mirror images of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), both of which are trying their damnedest to sabotage the talks.
Not that the neocons are pro-IRGC, except in the sense that they share the same fanatic mindset: in making their case against even the faintest possibility of peace, they echo the arguments made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has declared that Iran represents an “existential threat” to the Jewish state and conjures images of a Second Holocaust to make his rather unsubtle point.
Unlike subversives of the past, the neocons make no effort to hide their allegiance to a foreign government. Indeed, with refreshing honesty, they openly proclaim it, as House Speaker John Boehner has done with his invitation to Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress as the Great Iran Debate takes place.