Friday, June 26, 2009

Post Platonic Retreat

Ever wonder what the architects of the disastrous administration of George W. Bush administration are doing these days? Well, one of them, John R. Bolton, is currently a Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (no surprise there). He also penned this op-ed piece for the Los Angeles Times, the contents of which are also not surprising.

Mr. Bolton's subject is President Obama's foolish policy with respect to Iran, foolish in Mr. Bolton's eyes because the president has determined that "negotiation" is inferior to what the neocons found to be so useful in foreign policy -- missiles and bombs.

But it is the president's underlying policies that are wrong, not just his rhetoric. Saying that he does not want the "debate" inside Iran to be about the United States is disingenuous at best. Obama's real objective is to launch negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, in the belief that he can talk Iran out of its 20-year effort to acquire deliverable nuclear weapons. He said it during the 2008 campaign, during his inaugural address and repeatedly thereafter.

Viewed in the light of this near-religious obsession with negotiation, Obama's reticence is entirely understandable: He does not want to jeopardize the chance to sit with the likes of Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or the Islamic Revolutionary Guard.

In fact, everything we know about the regime indicates that Iran, and the Revolutionary Guard in particular, will never voluntarily give up its nuclear program, so Obama's policy is doomed to failure. (Inevitably, of course, if negotiations start, Obama would change the definition of success to include accepting a "peaceful" Iranian uranium- enrichment program, which means Tehran would retain its "breakout" capability to quickly produce nuclear weapons -- but exploring this further Obama failure has to wait for another day.)

Accordingly, it is Obama's policy errors, not his rhetorical ones, that should be opposed. Rhetoric itself is not policy but only the adjunct of policy, albeit often an important one. Obama's reticence reflects his larger misjudgment -- the dangerous misconception that there is a negotiated solution to Iran's nuclear threat that can satisfy both Iran and the United States. ...

Obama's policy, and that of the United States, should be the overthrow of the Islamic revolution of 1979. The massive resistance to the June 12 elections is just another fact supporting that conclusion. ...

...Obama wants negotiations with Tehran, not regime change. Given that the Revolutionary Guard and the hard-line mullahs -- and not the people -- are increasingly likely to be the short-term winners of the current Battle for Iran, supporters of regime change must now make longer-term plans.
[Emphasis added]

"Overthrow," "regime change": where have we heard that before? Iraq, maybe?

Here's what we got from that approach to the world: thousands of dead and wounded American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of dead and wounded Iraqis later, we're still mired in Iraq. Our economy is in shambles, and we're stuck with an off-budget war paid for on the national credit card that will take a generation to pay off. Our military, stretched beyond its capacity, will take nearly that long to fully recover, even with the recruitment of thirty-somethings to fill the gaps left by a war we're stuck with for at least another couple of years. All because some cowboys in Washington were looking for an excuse to get their war on.

We've seen what "regime change" costs. It's time to see what real diplomacy can accomplish.

[Note: the article has a side bar poll on the issue, one that is crudely phrased. A little "freeping" is still in order.]

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home