Bill Kristol and John McCain have replaced Robert Novak and Pat Buchanan in Republican foreign policy influence.

By Scott McConnell
April 8, 2015
The American Conservative

When the unexpectedly detailed P5+1 framework agreement with Iran was announced last Thursday, Illinois Republican Mark Kirk made a bizarre comment. “We all know” said the senator, that this is going to end with “a mushroom cloud somewhere near Tehran”—a result of Israel having to go to war to “clean up the mess” made by American and European negotiators. A few days earlier John McCain had expressed the wish that Israel “go rogue” and attack Iran in order to upend the Iran negotiations.

It would have been one thing if such comments had come from backbench congressmen. But McCain is a former GOP presidential nominee, one of his party’s most prominent foreign policy spokesmen. Kirk is the co-sponsor of what was, until recently, the major Senate legislation intended to scuttle the Iran negotiations—a leader in GOP “pro-Israel” circles. Yet neither remark sparked a repudiation, or even any reaction at all. They were what one expects from the GOP these days, recklessness about war and peace fused with a passion for Israel. It was if all the diffuse sentiments which once fueled American nationalism and militarism were concentrated into a tight stream and displaced onto Israel, turning the country into the fantasy surrogate of American hawks. The conservative belief in American exceptionalism is like Zionism, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol boasted. Kirk and McCain may know that Americans have little enthusiasm for another Mideast war; the U.S. Army understands perfectly well that no occupation of Iran could be sustained, and America would have zero international support if it tried. But no matter, they have Israel.

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