Cheney, Putin and Bibi

I was pondering a post about Netanyahu’s speech and its rapturous reception by the chickenhawks in Congress, but Fred Kaplan at Slate beat me to it:

Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before Congress on Tuesday was a disturbing spectacle: shallow, evasive, short on logic, and long on cynicism.

The Israeli prime minister pretended to criticize the specific deal that the United States and five other nations are currently negotiating with Iran, but it’s clear from his words that he opposes any deal that falls short of Iran’s total disarmament and regime change. He pretended merely to push for a “better deal,” but he actually was agitating for war….

It’s worth noting, for now, that Netanyahu has been consistently wrong on this whole issue. He denounced the interim accord, signed a year ago, as a fraud that wildly favored the Iranians and that the Iranians would soon violate anyway; in fact, it’s been remarkably effective at freezing Iran’s nuclear activities, while freeing up a small fraction of its sanctioned funds. For the past 15 years, he’s been warning that Iran could or would go nuclear in the next year—and yet, here he still stands, in a Middle East where the only nation with nuclear weapons is his own.

I agree with Kaplan–and with the sober analysts (including, importantly, military leaders in Israel) who have warned that this Bibi/Boehner bit of political theater not only undermines the longstanding partnership between the U.S. and Israel, but misrepresents the threat posed by Iran.

But what Kaplan and others haven’t addressed is even more disturbing: the Republican worldview–prominently on display during Bibi’s speech–that celebrates impetuous saber-rattling, prefers armchair “warriors” (let’s you and him fight) to thoughtful diplomats, and approaches all potential conflicts through a lens with only two categories: good guys or “evil doers.” It’s a worldview that valorizes strongmen like Putin, war criminals like Cheney and  shallow, self-righteous “leaders” like Netanyahu.

It’s a worldview that prefers the simplicity of the bumper-sticker to the messy complexity of the real world. It’s childish– and it’s incredibly dangerous.


  1. This entire fiasco from beginning to end has appeared to me that the Netanyahu/Boehner talks read as if all nuclear negotiations are solely between President Obama and Iran. This is misleading, obfuscated, twisted and untrue – as always with anything to do with Boehner & Company. Boehner’s power mongering in this country reminds me of a line Dick Van Dyke spoke in the movie, “Divorce American Style” – to paraphrase – Boehner gets the aluminum and President Obama gets the shaft. Hopefully, President Obama and intelligent American officials allowed Boehner to get away with the improper, if not illegal, presentation of Netanyahu (who incidently had nothing new to say) before Congress in hopes of giving him enough rope to hang himself. I’m still waiting, hoping for repercussions to indicate the downfall of John Boehner and replacement with a Speaker who has the ability to listen to reason before speaking and taking action against the American people and America in general.

  2. It was interesting to contrast the reception given Netenyahu by our congress to that given OUR president during his State of the Union Address. Maybe some republicans should relocate to Israel and run that country and let us elect a new leadership team that is functional.

  3. It’s like TYT says–the same party who screams about ‘foreign laws’ invading our realm, this is total Republican allegiance to a foreign leader. I am SO creeped out by the totalitarianism shown by our current congress. I’d be more upset if I hadn’t seen the same kind of performance several years ago in Indiana when Brian Bosma decided he was going to show Indiana that under his regime we were all going to bow before the christian god IN THE LEGISLATURE. The highlight of that debacle was the performance of a woman evangelist preacher beseeching her god to cast out gays and democrats from the legislature.

    Probably the most traumatizing part of the whole Bibi speech was that I almost agree with Rand Paul. His comments about the comments about his applause apparently lacking the Party Approved degree of enthusiasm were somewhat refreshing. And I just threw up in my mouth a little bit when I wrote this paragraph.

  4. The other day I drove past a church with a marquee message about “The End Times.” I think Arkansas skewed Republican because Koch money primarily promoted Tom Cotton, notorious hawk, as an good ole Arkansas boy, and fanned up hysteria over Ebola and Isis. I have to always remind myself that, in every generation, there are a fair share of slick-tongued demagogues, perilous events, and curious coincidences that inspire these are the “worst of times” conclusions. It does look, however, like we are moving closer each day to a religious war of mammoth proportions…..self-fulfilling prophesy, anyone?

  5. I believe that the proper response to folks like Bibi and Boehner is the same response deserved by the Oscars. It’s entertainment and not very good at even that.

    If Bibi gets elected again I believe that he will promote and maybe accomplish the Cheney tactics of bombing Iraq into submission thereby achieving temporary relief on his watch and kicking the unstable middle east can down the road to his successor.

    Of course that whole show is a marvelous example of why separating church and state is absolutely necessary for stable government. The Middle East petrie dish for theocracy is overflowing with pathogins.

    Let’s get off of their oil and let them figure out their own recovery.

  6. I guess that few billion dollar a year check that Netanyahu cashes payable by the USA is not enough. I cannot say I trust Iran. That said who has invaded and bombed more countries since the Iranian Revolution in 1979 – The USA -Israel or Iran???

    Not reported on in the USA by the Mega-Media was the US-British Coup that installed the Shah of Iran in power in 1953 and it produced what the CIA calls blow back. The goal for the Wall Street-Security-Military Industrial Complex is to have a new US Puppet in Iran and if Netanyahu can aid in that goal it is OK.

  7. Here is a history of the warnings about Iran going back to 1992.

    Granted, previous leaders in Iran did seem much more extreme than the current leadership. So I’m glad the U.S. and other friends of Israel have made what appears to be real progress with the current leadership to place controls over nuclear use in Iran.

    Netanyahu already helped get us into a war over weapons of mass destruction that didn’t exist. I don’t want to endanger the State of Israel either, but his credibility on the world stage is at very low ebb. Provoking both his allies and his enemies is a dangerous and self-defeating way to protect Israel, not to mention the rest of the region and world. The Mideast already has too many igniters who hate the State of Israel. We’ve sent Netanyahu billions in defense funds. Is it too much to ask that he stop throwing torches to the igniters?

  8. You will remember that the chickenhawks were crying for JFK to invade Cuba. Sounding much like Rumsfeld that it would be over in a couple of days. Later it was discovered that USSR had fully operational Tactical Nukes which could reach all the way to NYC. Not to mention their arsenal which could reach the entire USA.

    Oh yeah: What Pete said!

  9. Luckily, “impetuous saber rattling” is no longer a Republican worldview — it’s bipartisan. Evan Bayh, along with fellow former Senators Saxby Chambliss and Norm Coleman, started a new advocacy group to spend $500,000 on an insultingly bad TV promoting Bibi’s point of view.

    As Steve Benen described it:

    If the ad-makers were aiming for “brazen demagoguery,” they succeeded. The 30-second spot shows a terrorist driving a van into parking garage in an urban building – and then exploding. A narrator tells viewers. “Tell Washington: No Iran nuclear deal without Congressional approval.”

  10. Bayh. And I voted for him. NO Republican had been more damaging to this state. While seated, he consistently voted with the others side. Became fabulously rich!

  11. BrainK and Earl; Evan Bayh surely ain’t no Birch! He is a sad reflection of his father who did much for the state of Indiana; that apple fell in a different orchard, nowhere near the tree. I remember during Evan’s stint as governor when the Legislature voted for pay increases for all state employees. Evan denied them for three years; I saw a few signs held up along city streets, “State employee, will work for food”. They got their point across to everyone but Evan Bayh. He and Donnelly are red Democrats in a waning sea of blue here in this state.

  12. And, Louie, last I heard that USA check to Netanyahu was $5-Billion every year and it’s an “entitlement” off budget like Social Security so it doesn’t get stuck in Budget Committee slashing. I can see Bibi smiling on his way to the bank, can’t you? Heard anything about “reforming” it?

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