Thursday, January 19, 2006


I imagine you'll have been waiting for my words of wisdom on this issue, Bush. Unfortunately, I have none. Nor, apparently does your Rice, who threw up her hands yesterday and said "there's nothing to negotiate." Now, as you well know, I'm no foreign policy wonk, but it seems clear to me that your past actions are what have left you with no options there. Having gone off half-cocked in Iraq, you've left yourself pretty much at the mercy of the ever intemperate President Ahmadinejad and the America- (and Israel-) hating mullahs.

Ahmadinejad is clearly enjoying the freedom to thumb his nose at you--and at the West in general. He's got the oil. And he evidently has the support of his people, who are awash in national pride about their nuclear program, without regard as to whether it's for military or peaceful purposes. For them, it just feels good to have the power.

And what have you got, Bush? A military that is widely known to be seriously depleted by the Iraq adventure. You've sent your reserves over there to fight three or four times over. You also seem to have shot a good part of you wad: your arsenal is also depleted, along with the budget to replace it. Meantime, you've given the Iranis, what, three years, is it, to prepare for this moment, since you goaded them so smugly with your "axis of evil" speech? They have taken at face value your rash promise to take "pre-emptive" action against your enemies, and have used the intervening time cannily, both on the diplomatic front and in marshalling their resources.

At the same time, your threats have been becoming more and more transparently empty. After so many public lies, and broken promises, and deceptions, your word rings hollow throughout the world. So the current impasse comes as no surprise: like an incompetent poker player, you have showed your hand too often to be able to bluff with any credibility, and have openly outspent your chips. If polls are to be believed, you have lost the support of the majority of your own people. You have empowered those who oppose you by insulting them.

No wonder, Bush, that you find yourself without options on Iran's dangerous nuclear ambitions. And meantime, hovering in the background, there's also Kim Jong Il. And the terrorists are still out there, plotting away. A new bin Laden tape today? If your intention was to protect the world against the spreading nuclear threat, I'm afraid you achieved the opposite effect.


Fred Thompson said...

Peter, I read a very interesting article in "The Atlantic" recently about a "war game" exercise against Iran conducted in 2004. It concluded that neither an Israeli bombing option or an American one had much likelihood of success. It also concluded that one of the likely results of such a strike would be for the mullahs to inflame their Iraqi Shiite brothers against us--adding that population to the insurgency. Until now they have pretty much kept hands off Irag--certainly in comparison to the mischief they are capable of making.

dennis said...

Peter, Today's is a particularly good job on your part. The logic of your angle is excellent. Simplicity and Clarity go well together. Nice piece.

Mr Thompson makes a good point in what they've done compared to what they could do. They take their time, that is their way. They have often said and understand that Americans become weary, because we like to move on to the next crisis. Not for muslims, for they seem in no particular hurry. This is it for them. Get us out and get control of their oil away from their own abusers. So, they can become the lordly abusers. And around and around and around. Big wheel keeps spinnin'.

PeterAtLarge said...

Thanks, Fred & Dennis. I'll check out that Atlantic article, Fred. Haven't got to that yet. And please take note of my request, posted later in the day....