April 28, 2006

Where are the Democrats on Iraq?

One of the Kos Kidz puts the question to Sen. Ted Kennedy and comes up with this idealistic roadmap for a defanged Iran:

Diplomacy, first and foremost, many of us say. And not this half-hearted diplomacy currently employed by the current administration, but real diplomacy, where you step up to the negotiation table with an eye towards peace, not war. The Senator echoed this approach, reiterating in clear terms his rejection of pre-emptive war.

If they can't get their recent history straight, I'm doubtful they can come up with an effective policy. Yes, we've had such an eye towards war that we've been allowing Europe and the IAEA to have all the talks they want for the last three years. In fact, our eyes have been so firmly set on war that just today GWB beat his chest and announced that "diplomatic options are just beginning" on Iran.

Diplomacy is good. With estimates of Iran being 10 years off from being able to make a bomb, we have time for diplomacy, we must have time. But, recall that part of the Democrats' Real Security Agenda was a "tough and smart" approach to national security. Diplomacy is smart, but with Iran, who continues to defy UN resolutions, where does the "tough" part come in?

Senator Kennedy said that he supports sanctions if Iran continues to defy the international community. He thinks it is unlikely the Security Council will vote to impose sanctions (because of Russia and China); accordingly, he is open to bilateral sanctions. Sanctions, the Senator explained, worked in South Africa and Lybia [sic].

That, "we have time for diplomacy, we must have time," comment sounds more like wishful thinking than sober analysis. So does that 10-year timeframe. Mossad says Iran is two years away from a weapon, the administration says five, other U.S. intel says 10. But we've been wrong about Indian, Pakistani and Iraqi WMD, so going with the most rosy-hued report while having no plan for that two-year scenario seems irresponsible.

Same goes for pinning our hopes for halting Iran's nuclear program on bilateral sanctions. Let's not forget that sanctions never compelled Libya to give up its weapons program. Moreover, I doubt sanctions have any chance of working so long as they can sell to an economic block as large as China and Russia. Aside from this, there's a question of how many other countries would sign-on for bilateral sanctions. Unlike Libya and South Africa which have virtually no oil exports, Iran exports 2.5 million barrels a day. The bottom line is that the mullahs have a product that people want, and that economic reality will outweigh other nations' altruism for the simple fact that it's going to be us and not them on the receiving end of a Hezbollah suitcase nuke.

I note that bilateral sanctions are the "tough" component of Kennedy's approach to Iran. It probably won't be tough enough since Iran has already stated sanctions won't dissuade them from their nuclear ambitions. (On this, I believe them.) Kennedy disavows a preemptive strike, even though Iran's made it clear that diplomacy is dead and, oh by the way, is amping up their ballistic missile strike capacity.

So where are the Democrats on Iran? Nowhere helpful, except maybe for Iran.

Caveat... I'm heaping scorn on the Dems, but the administration isn't doing much better. Bush's "diplomatic options are just beginning" line reads in Tehran as "Bush promises another few years of interference-free nuclear research/weapons construction/proliferation." As Jed Babbin has been saying a lot recently, "Diplomacy that is not backed by a credible threat of force cannot succeed." The very fact we're shying away from it probably makes a shooting war more likely, and Bush, or someone in the administration, really ought to know better.

On balance though, I still have more hope for the administration eventually delivering that credible threat than I do the party of Kos and Ted Kennedy. But I'm beginning to doubt whether it's going to come in time.

Posted by JakeM at April 28, 2006 08:59 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

That's "Georgia10," a law student who still lives with her parents, has never held a job, and has no earthly idea what she is talking about. She is the quintissential Kossack.

Posted by: Delathought at April 29, 2006 09:21 AM

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