Sunday, March 05, 2006

What to do about Iran

I have no confidence in the Bush administration. None at all. So I am deeply hesitant about recommending a course of action with respect to Iran. Unfortunately, we cannot wait for competent people to take over in Washington. We have already done nothing, or the wrong thing, for too long.

Two articles worth a look: the first, in today's NY Times, by William Broad and David Sanger, describes what we think we know about Iran's current capabilties and problems they face in building nuclear weapons, suggesting we may have some time yet to deal with this threat; the second, an article by James Fallows appearing in the December 2004 issue of The Atlantic, described the military options available to the US, and the great difficulties posed by each of the options.

Although we have done our best to convince Iran that they need not worry about us invading their country, through the cleverly botched war in Iraq, there is no way to be sure that the clownish antics of our current President will not scare the Mullahs in Teheran as much as they do the majority of Americans.

Therefore, as poor as our options are, and as little confidence as we may have in the dope in the Oval Office, we need to work on the Iran nukes problem - now.

I'm for pressing Teheran hard, and, at the same time, for seeking common ground as well. The Iranians could be influenced to help us in the war on terror -- I am not convinced that we need to be enemies, or see one another as threatening. But we need to convince them that it is not in their best interests to press forward with their plans.

I'll discuss more detailed ideas for dealing with Iran in a future post -- for now, our first step must be to build a reality-based foreign policy. Nuclear weapons in the hands of an Iran that is supporting terrorism against the USA is a threat we cannot ignore. If we have to fight to stop that from happening, we will have no choice.

We might start by replacing the key foreign policy and national security officers in the current administration with competent people, and drop the cowboy ideology in favor of some good old-fashioned realism.

posted at 1:14:00 PM by Neil

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"It is the logic of our times
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