Saturday, June 24, 2006

When is Bush going to Stop Iran?

In a column published today in the Washington Post, the controversial Richard Perle is adding his voice to the chorus of criticism of the US policy (or lack thereof) in regards to Iran’s nuclear threat.
“For more than five years, the administration has dithered. Bush gave soaring speeches, the Iranians issued extravagant threats and, in 2003, the State Department handed the keys to the impasse to the British, French and Germans (the ‘E.U.-3’), who offered diplomatic valet parking to an administration befuddled by contradiction and indecision. And now, on May 31, the administration offered to join talks with Iran on its nuclear program. How is it that Bush, who vowed that on his watch ‘the worst weapons will not fall into the worst hands,’ has chosen to beat such an ignominious retreat?”

“Twenty years ago, I watched U.S. diplomats conspire with their diffident European counterparts to discourage President Ronald Reagan from a political, economic and moral assault on the Soviet Union aimed at, well, regime change. Well-meaning diplomats pleaded for flexibility at the negotiating table, hoping to steer U.S. policy back toward detente. But Reagan knew a slippery slope when he saw one. At the defining moments, he refused the advice of the State Department and intelligence community and earned his place in history.

It is not clear whether Bush recognizes the perils of the course he has been persuaded to take. What has been presented to Ahmadinejad as a simple take-it-or-leave-it deal -- stop the activities that could enable you to acquire nuclear weapons and we will reward you, or continue them and we will punish you -- is nothing of the sort. Neither the activities nor the carrots and sticks are clearly defined or settled with our allies, much less with Russia and China. If the punishments require approval by the U.N. Security Council, the United States would need an unlikely combination of approvals and abstentions from council members. The new policy, undoubtedly pitched to the president as a means of enticing the E.U.-3 to support ending Iran's program, is likely to diminish pressure on Iran and allow the mullahs more time to develop the weapons they have paid dearly to pursue.”

If Bush continues on the same course, he too, will earn his place in history, as the one who allowed Iran’s islamo-fascist regime to acquire nuclear weapons.