Fanaticism Or Self-Preservation?

Stephen Walt picks apart Eliot Cohen's latest column on Iran:

Cohen trots out the usual bogeymen about Iran's "fanatical, ruthless, and unprincipled regime" (an obvious hint that these are irrational criminals who could not be deterred), and flatly declares that no "real negotiation or understanding" is possible with such people.  He says that allowing Iran to have the bomb "may yield the first nuclear attack since 1945," even though he also believes the mullahs are "willing to do whatever it takes to stay in power."  (Newsflash: if "staying in power" is the Iranian leadership's  primary goal, starting a nuclear war and thus inviting overwhelming retaliation by the U.S. or Israel isn't something they're going to do.)

I found Cohen's column to be one of the more honest out there. At least, he conceded the appalling consequences and limited effect of a military strike against Iran. That candor and realism is not often dispayed on the neocon right.