The Financial Times offered Bolton a space to blather on about the resolved hostage crisis (the British one anyway, you know, the one that matters, duh). I can only assume the FT was trying to boost the US employment rate as their editorial page is commonly stocked with people with functioning brains. Anyway, Bolton, amidst the tired themes of strength vs. weakness so common on the right, offers this analysis:
Indisputably the winners in Iran were the hardliners. It was Mr Ahmadi-Nejad who stood in the international spotlight for hours on end, who awarded medals to the Revolutionary Guards who captured the hostages, who announced the hostages' release and accepted their thanks.No shit, John. You would think if the Iranian navy were cruising the east coast of the US, and Iranian soldiers were patrolling the borders of Canada and Mexico, that it would offer endless opportunities for hardliners in the US to score nationalistic victories on virtually any international incident.
Despite harping about the lessons of 9/11, our hardliners have failed to learn perhaps this most obvious of lessons: that external belligerence will rally a population around its most reactionary elements. Virtually any conflict has prominent actors who benefit from this reaction among their own population, yet they are the ones most blind to the same reaction in the 'enemy' population. That the US-UK military presence on Iran's borders and their accusations that Iran's government is fueling violence in Iraq is 'emboldening' Iran's hardliners shouldn't be at all surprising since they practically owe their good fortune to the belligerence of our hardliners. Zero-sum rhetoric like this always seems to lay bare the fact that each group needs each other to prosper.
The result, of course, is not only that assholes like Bolton and his counterparts in Iran may drag us into another unnecessary war, but that they're making it so much easier for Iran's reactionaries to crush the reformist movement we're supposedly trying to help. Could it be more obvious that our stance here has only strengthened their most uncompromising elements that in all likelihood do want to harm us?
UPDATE: A year or so ago it finally hit me. John Bolton had always reminded me of someone but I couldn't place it.
[Above]: John Bolton explains how crunchberries embolden the enemy.