News and Views Relevant to U.S.-Iran relations for August 13th, 2010:

  • Huffington Post: Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch calls for the United States to bomb Iran. Citing the concerns of Sunni Arab allies, Israel, and even Europeans, who Koch says would be within range of rockets being developed by Iran, Koch quotes 2008 Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain that, the only “thing worse than military action against Iran… is a nuclear-armed Iran.” Koch concludes, “President Obama hopefully will reach the same conclusion.” Most of the post is dedicated to calling for an end to negotiations and comparing U.S. “carrots” for Iran to Neville Chamberlain’s concession of Czech Sudetenland to “Herr Hitler” before World War II, going so far as to explicitly compare Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Hitler. For a take-down of the right’s constant use of the Hitler analogy, check out Matt Duss’s Wonk Room post on the subject where he writes, “Just as Churchill had to deal with the consequences of Chamberlain’s misjudgment of the historical moment, so Obama continues to wrestle with problems created and exacerbated by the incompetence of his predecessor, George W. Bush.”
  • The Weekly Standard Blog: Michael Makovsky and Lawrence Goldstein argue that in order to secure crude supply oil from the Persian Gulf the Obama administration must pursue a three-track policy of diplomacy, sanctions, and a visible preparation for a U.S. strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. “The Obama administration has focused mostly on the first two tracks. However, diplomacy and sanctions will only have the chance to be effective when simultaneously coupled with an active and open preparation for the military option,” they write. Makovsky and Goldstein do acknowledge that, “U.S. or Israeli military action in Iran would trigger a jump in oil prices,” but, “A far greater threat to the oil market would be Iran’s attainment of a nuclear weapons capability.”
  • The Washington Post: Janine Zacharia reports on the growing disagreement between the White House and members of Congress seeking to cut U.S. military aid to Lebanon. Several members of Congress have called for a discontinuation of U.S. military aid to Lebanon after last week’s deadly skirmish between Lebanese soldiers and the Israeli Defense Forces. But the State Department has emphasized that supporting the capacity and capability of the Lebanese army is in the United States’ national interest. The United States has supplied over $700 million in military aid to Lebanon since 2006 to help train and equip the Lebanese army and help counter Iran’s support of Hezbollah. Zacharia interviewed many policy-elites in Lebanon and reports that, “…many expressed concern that severing U.S. aid could feed instability in Lebanon and weaken democratic forces that have lost ground since the Cedar Revolution in 2005 swept a pro-Western government to power. Iran immediately said it would make up whatever shortfalls the Lebanese army incurs by a U.S. aid cut.”  (Eli wrote about the attempts to suspend military aid to Lebanon on Wednesday.)