Writing from the parallel universe in which neoconservative foreign policy ideas haven't been comprehensively and humiliatingly discredited, Joshua Muravchik takes to the Op-Ed pages of the Wall Street Journal today to beat the Iran war drum. Following on the heels of Normon Podhoretz's addled little screed in Commentary, Muravchik's piece seems to represent an even further regression into a kind of dreamlike, bellicose haze -- a warm and cloudy place where unreconstructed neocons are free to release their gasses without consequence or accountability. Neither Podhoretz nor Muravchik give any indication of having made an effort to understand what a US military conflict with Iran would actually entail. Nor are they even making much effort anymore to protect their historical analogies from strain. We're told that war with Iran is in the cards simply because Iran's regime is obnoxious, because the bad guys are "feeling [their] oats," and because ... something about appeasement:
A large portion of modern wars erupted because aggressive tyrannies believed that their democratic opponents were soft and weak. Often democracies have fed such beliefs by their own flaccid behavior. Hitler's contempt for America, stoked by the policy of appeasement, is a familiar story. But there are many others. North Korea invaded South Korea after Secretary of State Dean Acheson declared that Korea lay beyond our "defense perimeter." Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait after our ambassador assured him that America does not intervene in quarrels among Arabs. Imperial Germany launched World War I, encouraged by Great Britain's open reluctance to get involved. Nasser brought on the 1967 Six Day War, thinking that he could extort some concessions from Israel by rattling his sword.That authoritarian regimes have often underestimated the warmaking capacities of democracies is certainly true. But that truism has fermented and now fuels the fantasies and revisionist hallucinations of the neocons, who go on to burp out bad history to support their arguments. For instance: on which planet was it that the Second World War began because of Hitler's "contempt" for an America practicing a "policy of appeasement"? In fact, can we come up with a variation on Godwin's Law for the term? Can we ask that advocates for yet another war be required to justify said war without resorting to the word "appeasement"?