Monday, January 23, 2006

You know, for a guy who entitles his column "Time to Face Reality on Iran", Newsweek columnist Fareed Zakaria sure doesn't get it...

Let's start with his admonition that bombing won't work, as it will would only "set back Iran's program by a few years". Well, given that a nuclear Iran is something we really, really don't want, what's wrong with gaining a few more years to figure out a longer term solution? And Zakaria also claims "it would inflame (Iranian) public opinion" and "unify the nation in its determination to go nuclear". Uh, Fareed, they're already pretty determined to go nuclear... is there something in their actions and statements over the past number of months that makes you suspect they're only kidding about wanting a nuclear program.

Let's continue with looking at his claim that "Iran would have many ways of retaliating, especially with 140,000 American troops next door in Iraq". Well, yes, Iran could retaliate, but so could we up the ante on them. And, even if Iran was to cause havoc in Iraq, I'd gladly accept (as I bet would most Americans) a screwed up Iraq as the price of keeping Iran from going nuclear.

What Fareed argues for is what I earlier todaycalled "putting the process before the horse". He calls for us and our allies to "come to grips with reality and switch course, coming up with a new set of goals and a path to attain them". That is so wrong, wrong, wrong. One doesn't set goals that can be achieved, one sets goals that need to be achieved. Our goal is, and should be, to keep Iran from getting their hands on nuclear weapons.

And, for a guy who dismisses using the military because doing so would only gain us a few years, his own suggestions would - at best - gain us but a few years. He argues for the United States to begin the "construction of an alliance to contain Iran" - as if the Mad Mullahs are rational actors, which no President ever ought to assume, with the goal being to "prevent or massively slow down the weaponization of Iran's nuclear program". Fareed, why resort to going through all these diplomatic dance steps if the best outcome from such is no better than the worst outcome from using the military?

It truly bothers me that fools such as Zakaria have such a soapbox to offer up their truly dangerous ideas. He argues that since "threats usually have the effect of sobering up the neighborhood", countries such as Saudi Arabia might "recognize that they could use outside allies". Well, setting aside that the last time Saudi Arabia asked us for help, back in 1990, their doing so, along with our military presence on Saudi soil, was cited by Bin Laden as one of his reasons for attacking us. And just how does our getting back in bed with the Saudis help us push democracy there? Since pushing democracy in the Middle East is supposed to be one of the cornerstones of Bush's war on terror, us needing the Saudis sure ain't going to help in that regard.

Again and again, I can only offer up the simple, yet undeniable, truth. We can not tolerate a nuclear Iran. Sanctions and international pressure will (1) never happen, and (2) even if they did, would never be sufficient to cause Iran to call it quits. Using the military might not be a perfect solution, but it is the only one we have. The downsides of using the military are far less than the downsides of wasting time on silly UN resolutions and alliance building while Iran continues unabated its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

And, in an earlier post , I take to task a couple of fellows from the Brookings Institution for being fools...

It turns out it's not just me who thinks Zakaria has nothing to offer, as Don Surber and Brian Dunn both seem to agree.