[Marxism] WaPo gently suggests that attacking Iran should be left to Hilary, or anybody but incumbent

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Sun Feb 18 06:36:36 MST 2007

Feb. 18, 2007

The Iran Options
U.S. pressure on Tehran is needed; military action is not.
Sunday, February 18, 2007; Page B06

PRESIDENT BUSH'S actions toward Iran are consistent with two very different
underlying strategies. Both start with a correct reading of Iran's behavior
at home and in the region as dangerous to U.S. interests and to the
prospects for peace and democracy in the Middle East. Both mix pressure --
economic, rhetorical, military -- with diplomatic overtures. In one
scenario, these are employed with the hope of success. In the other they are
employed with the hope of success but an expectation of failure, in which
case military force would be brought to bear with a justification that every
other reasonable approach had been tried.

We have seen no evidence that the administration has Option B in mind, but
it's plausible enough to merit stating that such a course for this president
would be folly. There is much speculation in Washington about how Mr. Bush
views his "legacy": about how he ostensibly wouldn't want to kick the Iran
problem to his successor as he believes President Bill Clinton left North
Korea to him, or to be known as the president who invaded the country
without nukes while allowing the two other "axis of evil" nations to go
nuclear. Concern about historical judgment is natural, but it should play no
part in such decisions.

Given the intelligence fiasco that preceded the invasion of Iraq, any claims
by this administration about Iranian misbehavior will be viewed with intense
suspicion, as we saw last week. Given the debacle of postwar planning in
Iraq, there is no reason to trust Mr. Bush with the execution of another war
of choice. Someday a future president may decide, in consultation with a
future Congress, that the risks of seeking to contain a nuclear-armed Iran
are greater than the risks of seeking to degrade or destroy its nuclear
capability by force. Most intelligence estimates suggest that such a
decision need not be faced in the next two years.

Meanwhile those concerned about Option B shouldn't urge the administration
to abandon Option A. It's not acceptable that Iran defy U.N. demands to
abandon its nuclear program, nor that it undermine a U.N. peacekeeping force
in Lebanon or a U.N.-approved military mission in Iraq. The international
coalition the administration has painstakingly assembled to pressure Iran
seems to be having some effect on the mullahs; it should be maintained and
strengthened. U.S. financial pressure and assurances of support to Iran's
neighbors also are appropriate. All of these might have a greater chance of
working, as we've said before, if the administration also remained open to
diplomatic overtures, at least in a regional context. That, and not secret
military plans, is the missing component of U.S. strategy right now.

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