Thursday, January 19, 2006


Just a great op-ed by the National Review's Michael Ledeen.

Do the Right Thing
Let’s avoid making a catastrophe out of an embarrassment.

Bit by bit we are getting to the inevitable showdown with Iran. This administration, like every other Western government, has hoped against hope that it would not come to this. President George W. Bush, for reasons good and bad, threw in with the Europeans' phony-negotiation scheme, even though he knew it would fail. Like the others, he hoped that revolution would erupt, and that decisive action on our part would not be necessary. Like the others, he preferred not to face the hard fact that revolutions rarely succeed without external support. Had Ronald Reagan been around, he would have told W. that the democratic revolution that ended the Cold War only finally succeeded when the United States supported it.

The failure to craft an effective Iran policy has plagued this administration, and indeed the entire American political class, for five long years. Calls of "faster, please" were dismissed, in large part because they failed to resonate in the policy community, aside from a few brave souls in Congress (Jon Kyl, John Cornyn, Rick Santorum, Sam Brownback, Illeana Ros-Lehtinen come to mind. No thanks to the nominal leaders, Henry Hyde and Richard Lugar, both in full denial, in lockstep with Foggy Bottom and Langley).

Wishful thinking still dominates global "leadership." The pathetic Jack Straw intones, "I don't think we should rush our fences here. There are plenty of examples where a matter is referred to the Security Council and the Security Council takes action and that action is followed without sanction." And he wistfully adds: "the fact that Iran is so concerned not to see it referred to the Security Council underlines the strength of that body."

This, at a moment when Iran, which either possesses or will soon have atomic bombs and excellent intermediate-range ballistic missiles, scoffs at the Security Council, threatens to drive oil prices through $100 per barrel, and chants that the West needs Iran more than Iran needs the West. Meanwhile, Secretary Rice, trying to put a brave face on a potentially catastrophic policy failure, happily claims that Iran "is isolating itself" in the world community.

But it is not so. Iran has powerful defenders and apologists (Russia, China, and often Saudi Arabia), and, far from isolating itself, Iran's ability to intimidate her neighbors is growing relentlessly. Just a few days ago, when Iraqi patrol boats attempted to stop Iranian oil smugglers, Iranian naval vessels opened fire, killing several Iraqi sailors and enabling the smugglers to proceed. Such events do not register against the din of empty words directed at our feckless demands that Iran cease arming herself. (full article)

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