Between the Lines

The Neocons Called the Tune

I want to apologize to my readers, although I can only hope for forgiveness.  I certainly don’t deserve it.

OK, Justin—I can hear you now—what have you done this time?

The sin of which I am guilty is optimism of the most fatuous sort—or, rather, projecting an inauthentic optimism onto a most unworthy object.  The object is Sen. Rand Paul, whose presidential ambitions I mentioned at the end of last month’s column.  Recalling the libertarian slogan of my youth, “Freedom In Our Time,” I opined that the senator’s campaign for the White House put this goal within reach.

I was wrong.

That issue of Chronicles had just gone to press when the news broke: 47 Republican senators had signed an open letter to the Iranian leadership penned by neoconservative stalwart Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR).  In the letter, Cotton lectured the Iranians on the U.S. political process, pointing out that a treaty must be approved by the Senate and helpfully noting that a future president could very well disavow any “executive agreement” made by Barack Obama in the absence of Senate approval.  In short: If I were you, I wouldn’t sign anything.  The clear intent was to sabotage the ongoing negotiations, in support of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s relentless campaign against any American accommodation with Iran, which...

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