Kicking the Iran can down the road -- why we must foment an internal regime change in Iran before it's too late
Michael Ledeen has a must-read column on the problem of Iran in today's NRO. Having kicked the Iran can down the road for 5 years hoping that a revolution would just happen by itself, the administration and the world is faced with a list of unappetizing alternatives in order to stop the fanatical madman in Iran.
Readers of Ultima Thule will know that I have been advocating this policy for quite some time. Why it hasn't been done yet and why it does not even appear to be in the works is a tragic mystery.
Michael Ledeen on Iran on National Review Online
Bit by bit we are getting to the inevitable showdown with Iran. This administration, like every other Western government, has hoped against hope that it would not come to this. President George W. Bush, for reasons good and bad, threw in with the Europeans' phony-negotiation scheme, even though he knew it would fail. Like the others, he hoped that revolution would erupt, and that decisive action on our part would not be necessary. Like the others, he preferred not to face the hard fact that revolutions rarely succeed without external support. Had Ronald Reagan been around, he would have told W. that the democratic revolution that ended the Cold War only finally succeeded when the United States supported it.
[...]We now hear cries for violent action from those once aptly characterized by Senator Henry Jackson as "born-again hawks," Democrats and Republicans suddenly willing to talk tough about sanctions and military strikes against Iran. This is only to be expected. Having failed to pursue serious policies in the past, we are left with distasteful options today, and the pundits' and solons' chest pounding shows it. They do not expect the "hard options" to be embraced; this is posturing to the crowd, this is political positioning of the most cynical sort.
You want sanctions? When have sanctions ever "worked" against hostile countries? Did they bring Saddam to heel? With one exception (Reagan's embargo of military technology against the Soviet Empire), they have only altered the behavior of regimes that wanted to be part of our world, countries like South Africa and Chile. For the rest, sanctions cut primarily against the oppressed peoples of our tyrannical enemies, and the tyrants could care less. Sanctions, even if you accept the fantasy that the West en bloc accepts them and enforces them, would do more harm than good. We should want to help the Iranian people, who are overwhelmingly pro-American, and bring down the mullahcracy, which is our outspoken, fanatical, and bloodthirsty enemy. No sanctions.
You want to bomb the nuclear facilities? Do you really believe that our intelligence community is capable of identifying them? The same crowd that did all that yeoman work on Saddam's Iraq? The CIA that once received accurate information on Iranian schemes in Afghanistan, only to walk away from the sources that provided it? The CIA that, three times in the past 15 years or so, seems to have had its entire "network" inside Iran rolled up by the mullahs? And even if you believe that we have good information about the nuclear sites, are you prepared to deal with the political consequences, in Iran and throughout the region? Do we even know, with any degree of reliability, what those are? Look at the problems we now face in Pakistan, after a handful of innocents were killed in an assault against a presumed terrorist gathering. Then imagine, if you can, the problems following hundreds, or thousands of innocents killed in raids inside Iran. Are you prepared for that?
These are the questions that define our current plight. Having kicked the Iranian can down the road for many years, having failed to purge the intelligence community the morning after 9/11, and having failed to support democratic revolution in Iran and Syria, we are between various hard and alarmingly sharp rocks.