The Looming Showdown with Iran

Sunday, February 18, 2007

I have recently commented very disparagingly on the Bush Administration's dealings with North Korea regarding its quest for nuclear weaponry, but not so much lately on its recent diplomatic moves in the Middle East. No matter. Caroline Glick does a far better job than I could have, tying the two together and considering as far as possible the implications of both. Her summary:

Whether the US arrives at its showdown with Iran from a position of weakness or strength, willingly or unwillingly, there is no doubt that the confrontation is approaching. And the difference between initiating the confrontation and allowing Iran to initiate it with a nuclear first strike is not a trivial question. It will make a difference of millions of lives. The question of the hour is therefore whether the little time left before the war is being used wisely.

And here is the great failure. By sending a message of weakness now, in order to purchase maneuvering time that may not be obtained [This is the most generous interpretation I can imagine for our recent diplomatic activity. --ed], the US this week has accelerated rather than distanced the moment of truth while doing nothing to build support or increase its chances of triumph when the inevitable occurs. [my bold]
The whole thing is a must-read, of course. And then, if you've the stomach for it, you can hop on over to FrontPage Magazine for a good article about our "ally", Pakistan by Janet Levy.
Musharraf has done little to curb extremism in Pakistan and his actions have been a direct threat to U.S. anti-terrorist efforts. Under Pakistan’s watchful eye, Islamists continue to operate openly throughout Pakistan and export terrorism to Afghanistan. Can we really still afford to count on Pakistan as an ally? It is time for President Bush to seriously ask Pakistan, "Are you with us or with the terrorists?"
This is all terrible news, but it is worth taking note of now, for our Congress is in the process of taking advantage of America's proper contempt for Bush's "war effort" to push not for our proper defense, but for an anti-war agenda. Those of us in favor of fighting Islamofascism must recognize that this is not really fighting a war -- so we can make the case for the real thing by contrast.

-- CAV


2-19-07: The New York Times reports that al Qaeda is well on its way towards reestablishing itself from new bases in Pakistan.
[E]xperts questioned the seriousness of Pakistan’s commitment. They argued that elements of Pakistan's military still supported the Taliban and saw them as a valuable proxy to counter the rising influence of India, Pakistan's regional rival.


Pakistani officials say that they are doing their best to gain control of the area and that military efforts to pacify it have failed, but that more reconstruction aid is needed. [bold added]
Doing their best, eh? Sure they are.

But the following takes the cake: "State Department officials say increased American pressure could undermine President Musharraf's military-led government." Yeah. And?


Greg said...

With the current Commander in Chief being an altruistic bastard who has no idea what it takes to fight or win a war, I find it hard to imagine that any large scale military escalation in the region would be positive in the larger war on Terror. Iraq is quickly approaching 1 Trillion dollars, what would an altruistic war in Iran cost and would it serve our self interest?

Of course Iran is a threat that needs to be dealt with but I’m not sure backing the anti-war crowd in Congress is such a bad idea at least until we can get a new President. A tactical troop withdraw in Iraq means a civil war which could be just the thing to keep Iran and the Saudis busy until we can get a Commander in Chief who is capable of correctly identifying our enemy, their ideology, then devising a mission to end the threat.

Do you think military action on Iran will be worth the mishandlings and bumbling that are sure to occur with this Commander in Chief or is Iran’s bark worse than their potential bite making other strategies more tenable at this point in time?

Gus Van Horn said...

Your question brings up important points pertaining to intellectual activism concerning the war.

You are right that Bush would be nearly certain to fail to pursue the right course of action with respect to Iran.

Nevertheless, this does not mean that hawks should fail to bring up the fact that he should do something besides repeat his (and Clinton's) past mistakes with North Korea -- not to mention what that course of action should be. There is, however remote, the chance that such discussion could eventually affact the public debate enough to pressure his (or a subsequent) administration to at least do something semi-useful, like bomb a breeder reactor.

Furthermore, it is fine to have voted for the Democrats in order to see a troop withdrawal now that nation-building in Iraq has turned out to be Bush's "substitute goal" for victory -- provided that one makes clear at every opportunity that THIS is why one voted as he did.

In both cases (perhaps pressuring Bush to slow Iran down via bombing, and not ceding the war debate to the pacifists), it would be almost as destructive to American security to let the Democrats have their way in silence as it would be to help the Republicans pretend they are fighting a real war.

No matter what, we must do whatever we can to get the right approach on the table ASAP.