The Guardian | Simon Tisdall: For better or worse, America remains the world’s leading military superpower. In Washington last week, a familiar row erupted over how best that power should be used. Past targets have included Soviet Russia, al-Qaida in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Today the international bogeyman topping the White House’s to-do list is Iran.
Once again the US is in the process of deciding whether to go to war. As always, it is a tangled, messy and dishonest business. On one side, favouring punitive action, stand the Iran hawks. They include neoconservative retreads such as John Bolton, Donald Trump’s national security adviser, who championed the 2003 Iraq invasion; Mike Pompeo, a former CIA director and Christian evangelical who heads the state department; and Mike Pence, the ascetic US vice-president.
On the other side, opposing escalation, stand Democratic party leaders in Congress and a clutch of presidential hopefuls; sceptical Pentagon generals and security agency officials who trust Bolton as far as they can toss an IED; a majority of Washington’s more important allies in the EU and Nato; and China and Russia, which oppose American global power-plays on principle.
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