Trying to navigate the array of neoconservative reactions to the ongoing talks with Iran gives me a headache. Several are very straightforward about wanting war, but it seems like many others are pretending to support sanctions and negotiations in theory, but their standards for a successful outcome range from unrealistic to outright impossible, leaving nothing left but, well, war. To wit:
An example of unreasonable conditions comes from Michael Singh, managing director of the neoconservative Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) and former senior director for Middle East affairs at the National Security Council for the Bush administration. He argues in a recent piece that the P5+1 (the U.S., Britain, France, China, and Russia plus Germany) should insist that Iran retain zero enrichment capacity in a comprehensive deal, despite Iranian insistence that they will never give up enrichment. Like Stephens, Singh argues that tougher sanctions can achieve this outcome, but offers no suggestions as to what those sanctions should be and, more crucially, whether the international community could be expected to go along with them. This is an important concern, particularly at a time when tensions within the P5+1 are high over the situation in Crimea. Until now, the international unanimity that supported sanctions has been held together in part because the United States has been open to negotiations and to easing sanctions in return for Iranian concessions. If the US suddenly shifts to a more rigid position, is there any reason to believe that the P5+1 will maintain unity on Iran?
The answer, it seems obvious, is “no,” but then that’s probably the point. These are the same folks who preached “go it alone” on Iraq, after all.