While their preferred policies have brought war closer in the Middle East, it is not surprising that Iran hawks want to talk about something else. The Wall Street Journal editors fume about two (count them, two!) Iranian ships docking in Brazil:
The arrival of two Iranian warships in Brazil on Sunday is unsettling for democracies in the Western hemisphere. Worse is that the Biden Administration seems to have been complicit in trying to bury the news.
The editorial goes on to claim that “President Biden’s domestic political agenda trumped security in the Americas.” That would be a damning charge if it weren’t devoid of merit and made in bad faith. No one seriously believes that the presence of two Iranian ships in our hemisphere threatens “security in the Americas.” This is nothing but cynical fearmongering designed to fault Biden for alleged “weakness” and to sour relations with a Brazilian government that hawks already despise for other reasons. There is no news to “bury” because there is nothing more to the story. We are all stupider now for having listened to the hawks’ arguments.
Ted Cruz was the first out of the gate with his own ridiculous overreaction to the news, calling the docking of the ships a “direct threat to the safety and security of Americans” and threatening Brazilian firms with sanctions. It would almost be funny if Cruz weren’t trying to demagogue this non-event into an excuse for damaging relations with one of our largest hemispheric trading partners. Threatening Brazilian firms with sanctions over nothing is a useful reminder of how unhinged hardliners are by even the slightest hint of Iranian influence. It is no wonder that so many other governments resent U.S. sanctions overreach.
Daniel Larison is a weekly columnist for Antiwar.com and maintains his own site at Eunomia. He is former senior editor at The American Conservative. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.