The Compass

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War, the GOP and 2012

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With the exception of Ron Paul, it appears every Republican in the field is quite willing to start a war with Iran.

With unemployment still high and the economy still weak, I doubt foreign policy will figure much in the election, but it's worth considering how the discussion (I won't call it a debate) on Iran would play out between the GOP nominee (assuming it's not Paul) and Barack Obama. GOP Nominee X will declare his or her intention to bomb Iran if it came to it, and President Obama will say that he's definitely open to the possibility.

What's significant in this, I think, is the extent to which the idea of preventative war has been rejuvenated - if it was ever truly discredited. Whatever misgivings the U.S. public had about the Iraq war are fading (alongside, not coincidentally, American attention to what is actually happening inside Iraq) so it is obviously politically safer to muse openly about starting another war.