Wednesday, March 8, 2006


All this bad news from Iran might just be good news in disguise:

The Russians have given up trying to find a compromise, and have joined ranks with the U.S. and Europe. The Europeans (yes, even the French and the Germans) are making stern noises and telling Iran to watch out for the “consequences” if they keep pursuing nuclear weapons. An Iranian official tells leaders of other Muslim countries all about how the Iranians pulled the wool over the European’s eyes when they denied what we all knew was the truth — that they are in fact developing nuclear weapons. The Iranian president, openly, repeatedly, and forcefully calls for the destruction and “wiping out” of Israel. And finally, today, responding to Cheney’s (wonderful) AIPAC speech, the Iranians are directly threating the U.S.

That all sounds like uniformly bad news, right?

I think not. In fact, I think every bit of that was completely predictable if you accept as fact that the Iranian government is actually directed by the mad mullahs — and only the most committed ostrich would claim otherwise. The mullahs have made no secret of their radical Muslim beliefs. In particular, they have reiterated on many occasions their belief that all non-Muslims should either be killed or enslaved — and their definition of “non-Muslim” means, really, anyone who is not a Muslim of the same radical flavor as themselves.

So how can any of this bad news really be good news?

Until quite recently, the Iranians have played a quite effective PR game. As their envoy recently said (at a meeting he thought was private), they’ve been regularly pulling wool over the eyes of the Europeans, and anyone else who would rather believe a comfortable lie than the uncomfortable truth. This PR game has allowed the leftish liberals (in any country) to make the claim that the cowboys of the world were grossly overreacting to the peaceful Iranian intentions. After the news of the past few weeks, that’s a hard position to defend. The good news in all this bad news is this: all the bad news is tipping the entire world against Iran — a united front against Iran appears to be developing.

In the U.S., another phenomenon is likely to hurt the Iranian cause — the liberal Democrats are trying hard to get to the right of the Bush administration on the question of Iran. I’ll wager this is one the mullahs did not anticipate! When we have Hillary and Kerry accusing President Bush of being too soft on Iran it seems like almost anything is possible.

Cheney, in his AIPAC speech, made the point that one certain truth in the world we live in is that President Bush is a man of his word. At least on the War on Terror, I am perfectly willing to grant Mr. Cheney that point. The follow up, of course, is that President Bush has repeatedly stated that Iran will not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons. Not “shouldn’t be allowed", but “will not be allowed.” When the man of his word makes a commitment like that, and the other side won’t voluntarily back down, then what’s left? I think the only remaining possibility is military action.

Donald Rumsfeld, in a question-and-answer session yesterday, made a related point. A reporter questioned him about the recent reports of sophisticated Iranian-made IEDs (bombs) being discovered in Iraq. Both Rumsfeld and General Pace (who was also present) talked about what these bombs were, and why we were sure they were coming from Iran. Then Mr. Rumsfeld said this: that he believed the Iranians would look back at this decision to aid the insurgents in Iraq and regret their decision to do so. He wouldn’t elaborate any more, but he’d made his point. One might legitimately ask whether that was posturing for propoganda effect, or whether that was a foreshadowing of future U.S. action. Knowing Mr. Rumsfeld’s track record, I’d bet on the foreshadowing.

I’m much more comfortable with the future’s possibilities when I see the world’s governments looking more and more united in opposition to Iran than I was when it appeared that the U.S. was a lonely voice in this particular wilderness. If nothing else, the supportive political environment makes unilateral — and possibly radical — action by the U.S. or Israel more likely. I can only think of two courses of action likely to be effective: military action (and this is a far larger and riskier course of action against Iran than it was against Iraq), and “regime change”. We’ve been told repeatedly that by and large the people of Iran do not support the mullahtocracy there. If this is true, then the preconditions for regime change are in place — and if we can help it along, wonderful.

So I’m actually feeling better about the Iranian threat, after all this “bad news”. Are you?

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