Saturday, September 09, 2006
I'll be on a plane much of the day after which I will wallow in an orgy of college football, Tivo'ed and otherwise, so posting will be light for the next seven or eight hours. While I'm gone, take a look at Newt's op-ed on Iran, which closely tracks Michael Ledeen's position:
Let me be clear: Iran cannot be allowed to develop nuclear weapons. Ahmadinejad has said he is committed to seeing Israel "wiped off the map". If a military strike to replace the regime is the only option left to prevent this from occurring, then I would support it. However, it should be the last option because it isn't a very good one.
Instead, we should seek to replace the regime by bringing to bear the non-military weapons in our arsenal. A successful policy of regime change in Iran should start with what President Ronald Reagan did in eastern Europe to defeat communism.
By using America's full economic, political, and diplomatic clout and by working with dissident groups, the Soviet Union was defeated without firing a shot. This can be our goal in Iran as well. Remember, over 1,000 candidates were removed from the ballot in the recent Iranian election because they were too hostile to the current regime. Certainly there are those among the 1,000 candidates who we could work with immediately to help the Iranian people overthrow the current, oppressive government. Still more could be found in the pro-democracy and religiously moderate college professors that Ahmadinejad is now trying to purge from Iranian universities.
The Iranian regime is indeed dangerous and must be stopped. However, it is dangerous not just because of what weapons it has or is pursuing, but because of its evil intent. Therefore, the only viable long-term strategy for safety against Iran is replacing the regime - with force if necessary, but without force if possible.
I agree with those who suggest that the problem is more the regime than the proliferation. Even Democrats have long understood this -- the Shah launched Iran's nuclear power program and had Jimmy Carter's blessing. We have to remember, though, that centering the problem on the regime defines a point of difference with the Europeans, who tend to be far more concerned about proliferation qua proliferation than the regime itself. Indeed, many European policemakers would still object to Iran's program even if the regime did change. That gulf in attitude between the United States and the major powers in Europe may make it particularly difficult to negotiate a solution without direct talks between the United States and Iran.
It really way a great editorial, and I've posted a commentary on my blog - shameless plug - at: http://21stcenturyschizoidman.blogspot.com/2006/09/real-war.html
I think that if you tie on Mead's take on the currents of American history - Wilsonian, Hamiltonian, Jeffersonian and Jacksonian - that we can put a better perspective on what is important and what isn't.
Great blog. Yours, of course... :-)
It's a strange world when Newt Gingrich starts sounding like the cautious, sensible one.
As for proliferation -- I think I lean more towards the European view. I'm not sure what the solution is, but even "friendly" regimes acquiring nuclear weapons could turn, er, hostile. Or, more likely, get toppled. How confident are we in the lasting sanity of Pakistan's regime?
I love grand strategies like this one.
"By using America's full economic, political, and diplomatic clout and by working with dissident groups, the Soviet Union was defeated without firing a shot. This can be our goal in Iran as well. Remember, over 1,000 candidates were removed from the ballot in the recent Iranian election because they were too hostile to the current regime. Certainly there are those among the 1,000 candidates who we could work with immediately to help the Iranian people overthrow the current, oppressive government." And just how do es the newt propose we do this?
Our current strategy is hampering IAEA efforts to maintain the transparency of Iran's nuclear program. Iran wants to enrich uranium, which is legal under the NPT. We are demanding something we have no right to demand. Let them enrich and let's get the snap inspections going again. If we want them to not go down the road of weapons proliferation, let's stop giving them reasons to do so.
Oh I see, ronb, it's all our fault. We're making them do it.
We absolutely have the right to demand that they stop enrichment and here's why: Iran is not Sweden. More precisely, the government of Iran does not hold the same values as the government of Sweden.
It's all about intentions. Dictatorial regimes that talk about wiping Israel off the face of the earth do not deserve to be trusted with nuclear anything.
Rahter, TigerHawk has it right when he says that pursuing traditional nonproliferation strategies won't work. Surveys show that the Iranian people both oppose the regime but think that they (as a country) should have nuclear weapons or at least energy. So the only recourse is to change the regime.
How, pacific_waters? That would take too long to explain here as I'm not going to use TigerHawk's comments section for a post. But if you search around you'll find that Newt and others have provided suggestions.
Final Historian lists only one reason that you can't draw analogies between the Soviet Union and Iran:
In 1981, the USSR was led by old aparachiks who had were content with a status quo. In Iran, we have religious fanatics.
The USSR had Gorbachev, whose policies had as much to do with the Soviet Union's fall as anything Reagan did. Especially as Eastern Europe fell, the old guard lost faith in their own system. Iran's leadership is nothing like this.
In 1981, the USSR was going bankrupt. Iran may be corrupt, but they aren't broke and their oil revenue can be harnassed for whatever they want to use it for. (It certainly won't be for the benefit of the people, but that's what Iran's security forces are for. And they are taken care of very well.)
In 1981, we could wait a decade for regime change in the USSR. In 2006 in Iran, we can't.
If generals tend to prepare for re-fighting the last war, instead of changing to fight the next one, can Newt be said to be doing any better? I don't think so.
The history of Xenophobia and Islamophobia in the West is very old. The genocide of innocent Jews, colonization and existence of ghettoes in the Western cities is a living example of the xenophobic past.
A clear picture has started to emerge after the cessation of hostilities in the Middle East. The USA after losing its global propaganda war has started to lose its proxy wars in the Middle East while its Deputy Sheriff, with all of its military might, has failed to muster its will on Hezbollah.
This leaves limited options available to Americans to counter their demise in the region, as their dream of "the new Middle East" has collapsed spectacularly. This dream has turned into a nightmare and it has been buried beside the infamous "New World Order".
Read More ...
Muhammad Azeem Akhter
Tom says, "Oh I see, ronb, it's all our fault. We're making them do it. We absolutely have the right to demand that they stop enrichment and here's why: Iran is not Sweden. More precisely, the government of Iran does not hold the same values as the government of Sweden."
The issue is not who has the metaphysical “right” to do what. We may believe with all sincerity and based upon good reasons that the Iranian government is evil and therefore has no right to anything nuclear. However, the Iranian government clearly does not believe it is evil and is not likely to accept any agreement which is based on the underlying assumption that it is. The only thing that would make any government inclined to accept something so odious is if there were a credible threat of destruction if it refused. We simply cannot with any credibility threaten Iran with regime change. The current Iranian government has a lot of internal enemies, but few of them would consider cooperating with the United States to topple their own government. Iranians are a patriotic folk and not easily given to treason. I think RonB’s suggestion is a reasonable place to start. The choice is between (1) an internationally monitored civilian nuclear power program and (2) us demanding they stop the entire program and flapping our gums about regime change while they do whatever they want. Who wants to argue for #2?
Hello, the bloggers have pretty much killed off Wretchard's comments section, and he's had to put limits and close off whole threads. I don't blame him.
This is an outstanding blog, and well thought of by Wretchard.
Most of y'all won't like this, but our justification for changing Iran's regime need not be that it is evil (although it is), or that they are not like Sweden, or that the metaphysics of the universe dictate one course of action or another.
God has declared (uh-oh, we have one of those nutcase bloggers online) that those who bless Israel are blessed, and those who curse Israel are cursed.
Simple enough, is it not? The Iranian regime curses Israel to the extent it declares its intention to eradicate Israel.
Do we wish to be blessed by, and in the sight of, God? Simple enough, in the sphere under discussion. Bless Israel. Support Israel. (Neocons, Shmeocons, Zionists, who cares a flip about the name calling?)
Bless Israel. Bomb Iran, change the regime, target holocaust-promoting mullahs, whatever, etc. Details.
Call me a fool and an idiot or worse if it makes you feel better, but you really ought to be cautious before you go on record as being either blase or blasphemous toward's God Word.
I'll raise my rifle for God just as soon as he explains where he was in Munich 1972, Lebanon 1982, New York 1993, Saudi 1996, Kenya and Tanzinia 1998, Yemen 2000, New York again, Washington, and Pennsylvania in 2001, Madrid in 2003, London in 2005, et cetera when his Muslim peons were killing 'blessed' people.
"The current Iranian government has a lot of internal enemies, but few of them would consider cooperating with the United States to topple their own government."
Iran is plagued almost daily by armed people trying to do just that. Student protests are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg... the Western public usually doesn't hear about the bombings, the ambushes on government convoys, the assassination attempts against government personnel, and other acts of domestic mayhem.
"Iranians are a patriotic folk and not easily given to treason."
All peoples are given to treason. Else I'd be out of a job.
"We simply cannot with any credibility threaten Iran with regime change."
Why not? It took what, a month to topple the Iraqi government on a single front? How long do you think Iran would last against three?
One well-placed small electromagnetic pulse bomb and that would be the end of Iran's "nuclear" program... Wonder what that stick would do their willingness to negotiate, since they know they couldn't stop it if we decided to do it?