Jim Lobe discusses the paradox of the Republicans, who may be headed for a disaster of historic proportions in November, but seem hell bent on continuing with their senseless 'Iran talk'. The price of gasoline has an enormous emotional effect on Americans, not to mention a very real effect in terms of economic hardship considering the American over-reliance on automobiles (with the importance of gasoline being more profound in those areas most likely to vote Republican), and a political party that seems unable or unwilling to do anything to contain rampant increases in the price of gasoline is likely to pay a steep political price. A political party whose actions seem intent on raising the price of gasoline is suicidal.
The Official Story now seems to be that the 'Iran talk' isn't real, but is just the method being used by the Bush Administration to pressure the Iranian government into moderating its actions. If so, this is one of the worst examples of diplomacy in modern history. Bush and the Israelis have made the Iranian nuclear program into a matter of national pride in Iran, and increased support for the hardliners. Even worse, the increase in the price of oil caused in large part by the 'Iran talk' - not forgetting the other large factor, the continuing irritation of the American occupation of Iraq - has staved off economic problems in Iran which were threatening the political future of people like Ahmadinejad. 'Iran talk' has not only increased the price of gasoline, it has gone a long way to promoting the Iranian nuclear program. All this with no obvious American strategic interest in whether the Iranians make electricity out of uranium or not!
Can the Republicans be that stupid? Are we finally seeing the fatal error in their connections with the Christian Zionists, whose desire for an end-of-the-world war appears to be leading directly to the effective destruction of the very successful conservative dominance of American politics for the past thirty years? Two terms of Obama, with the liberal judges he can nominate, and many years of Democrat majorities in both the House and Senate will make Ronald Reagan a very distant memory.
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