With Sen. Lindsey Graham’s candidacy for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination goes any chance of the Republican Party having any kind of reasonable debate about foreign policy or a pragmatic approach to dealing with the threat posed by the Islamic State.
Instead, that discussion is doomed to descend into obsessive fearmongering and ultra-nationalistic delusions of American exceptionalism. It’s that very same attitude that worked our nation into a war frenzy and allowed Dick Cheney, George Bush and his neo-con administration to embark on the doomed war of profit that killed thousands of our soldiers, squandered our resources and threw an entire region into a hellish vortex of chaotic violence. Lindsey Graham, Rick Santorum and all the other longshot candidates will be attempting to out-hawk each other, whipping up a frenzy of Islamophobic hatred amid their relentless jingoistic posturing. Graham already has said we need another surge and should deploy 10,000 troops to Iraq to fight ISIS.
This represents the last desperate grasp of the evangelical right to maintain any degree of relevancy in a world that has moved into the future while they stubbornly remain rooted in the past. Under their logic, gay marriage, the refusal to allow discrimination against gays, abortion rights and the rise of ISIS are evidence that American Christianity is “under attack” by the apostate liberals and dangerous foreigners.
Behind Graham and the Republican war hawks are the vast corporate interests who profit from America’s ill-advised foreign wars. The invasion of Iraq in 2003 saw a huge privatization of duties normally conducted by the military, given to companies connected to the Bush administration with no-bid contracts. These corporate interests will spend big to elect a war hawk president to the White House — with catastrophic consequences.
Graham is either deliberately misleading the American people or is entirely ignorant of Iranian politics; the current president, Hassan Rouhani, is the most moderate president Iran has ever had. The very fact that nuclear negotiations have been successfully concluded shows that the Iranian regime wants to rejoin the diplomatic community and work with us to deal with ISIS.
We cannot let the propaganda of war and hate take over the rational discussion of how to deal with an alarming foreign-policy threat. Lindsey Graham is definitely not the answer.