Friday, July 10, 2009

Clueless & On The Clock

From former CIA Officer Reuel Marc Gerecht, following his analysis of the import of the declaration of Qom's Association of Religious Scholars:

. . . In the West, what's particularly distressing is that the Obama White House still seems to have little idea of the magnitude and nature of what is transpiring inside Iran. Tied to a fruitless policy of engagement (there's nothing wrong with "engaging" Khamenei so long as you use force as a medium of dialogue, i.e., you do unto them as they have consistently done unto you), President Obama appears to be blind to the most amazing time in the Middle East since the Islamic revolution. The future of the region is in play. We do--even after apologizing for the 1953 coup--have a few equities involved and can helpfully "meddle."

As Iran's unfolding battle between the children of the revolution is likely to last awhile, President Obama will get a chance to change course. Administrations often endeavor for three years on failed foreign policies before they can admit, at least internally, that there is a severe disconnect between their objectives and reality. Ali Khamenei has demolished President Obama's Iran policy in only five months. As a "student of history," the president may yet grow to appreciate the favor.

I love the line about force. And indeed, the history of Iran's theocracy has been that they meaningfully modify their behavior only in response to force or the threat of force. I do not share Gerecht's belief that we can afford Neville Chamberlain Obama guiding the U.S. foreign policy with Iran for three years and still be in a position to right the ship. I believe our window will be far shorter than that due to the nuclear issue. Unfortunately, while Obama has shown a real willingness to adopt Bush policies that worked in the War on Terror, none of that has bled into his uniformly inept and ideologically driven foreign policy. At best, we will play no role during this critical window of opportunity for regime change in Iran. At worst, Obama may actually throw a life line to the floundering mad mullahs who run the regime. He is the wrong man in office at a critical moment in history - and time is not on our side.


Dave Schuler said...

I'm not sure that you need to "do unto them" but I do think we need to convince them of our capabilities and that we're willing and able to use them.

That's the essence of deterrence and we are consistently undermining it.

MK said...

"Obama may actually throw a life line to the floundering mad mullahs who run the regime."

He will and i don't think it'll be because he's stupid or doesn't know what he's doing.