Thanks for blowing this one apart, and so quickly. We had better strike Iran before this Posen meme takes hold among the left. This means next month (before their reprocessing advances), not next year, when this meme becomes the left's party line. If we had moved more quickly against Iraq, we would have recovered those WMDs before they had been shipped off to Syria (and, possibly Russia). I pray we won't make the same mistake twice.Posted by Eric Gagnon at February 28, 2006 2:22 PM
Yet another fine piece, Gerard. But I have no doubt what your adversaries would say:
"If you gave us time to change your mind,
"You'd find a way to leave all the past behind..."
Nope, I'm taking the past with me and, in time, will write the truth about all of it.Posted by Gerard Van Der Leun at February 28, 2006 4:07 PM
Posen remind me of the character in the film Ridicule. After careful, logical argument to prove the existence of God, he then said, (paraphrasing), 'And if you like, I can disprove God's existence as well.'Posted by Kerry at February 28, 2006 4:13 PM
I am living in a nightmare. I thought perhaps this was some parallel (sic?) universe like the Bizarro World from the Superman comics - a result of reading too much. I know!! - I blew a fuse from too much study and what I am seeing is not really happening. No, it is there - it is 1938 all over again and Neville Chamberlain is waving papers with signatures that are not worth the ink they were written with. Germany arms!!It cannnot be - our intellectual elites, and others - the ones with the access to the newspapers - the ones with tenure at the socialist universities - the ones that select what is stocked in the college bookstores are saying there is no danger. Go back to sleep, America, it's not our problem. There's no danger (hey, great, American Idol is on tonight!!) We are safe behind our two oceans. Let the fascists have what they want - we can manage them besides who would be foolish enough to attack the U.S., the sleeping giant?
I think we are in serious trouble because half of America and the west in general has lost the will to survive.Posted by Chester at February 28, 2006 4:35 PM
The past is arguable, the present does not exist, the future just arrived and became the past immediately. Which is just as well, because there seems to be little future for the future ... if your analysis is sound - and I fear it is. The problem seems to be that 'Western Civilisation' does not permit us to take the 'uncivilised' steps that are necessary to protect it. And as if the boog-Iran isn't enough, hovering above are the winged messengers of doom crapping their pandemic lethal spores on us and our free-range fowl from a great height. I am on the direct flightpath of 100,000 pink footed geese and their daily forays to and fro their feeding grounds and nesting reserves. Moreover, I just got a notice of intended prosecution through the post extorting £60 for me for whizzing along at 36 mph in a 30 mph zone in leafy Berkshire last weekend, this completely unnecesssary and unjustified restriction recently imposed only to increase the revenue of the local constabulary. I am therefore in favour of nuking Thames Constabulary Headquarters, at Banbury Oxon, in the United Kingdom - forthwith! Iran can wait until next week.Posted by Frank P at February 28, 2006 4:44 PM
The West has for too long been meddling in the affairs of other countries. Because of the past or present crimes of the likes of Churchill, Reagan or Bush, ordinary people the world over suffer. In some quarters, evil men such as Churchill (an imperialist racist tyrant) are idolised as saviours of small nations. Well, ask the Irish, the Iranians or the whole African continent, and they wouldn't agree that Churchill was a saviour of the weak and downtrodden. Churchill is the other half of the same cloth that Hitler came from. It is time for those who condemn Hitler to condemn Churchill as well. Big colonial powers, not innocent people or small peaceloving nations, won both world wars and are now intent on dominating the world in the current war (maybe world war 3). This should never be forgotten.
The West still thinks it is the world saviour, only now it is more America's role (Britain is in the backseat). Iran is not perfect by any means (no country is) but its young and educated population will sort out something by themselves to place secularism and religiousity into their proper places while safeguarding human rights. Iran's current system is more sophisticated than many other states in the area and - only for Axis of Evil speach - was well on its way to being a secular democracy. However, Axis of Evil speach made things messy with more Iranians actually voting for extremer people and more politicians (even the educated and almost definitely secular PhD graduate (with that education, you believe in more than Adam and Eve and heaven and hell), Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) playing the game of being the anti-Western person to avenge calling the nation Axis of Evil. Ahmadinejad, like Bani Sadr, uses extremist religious movements to do his dirty work for him. However, Bani Sadr found out that they became powerful and didn't need him anymore .. Ahmadinejad needs to be careful by courting favours off of people like Mesbah Yazdi who could challenge the ruling conservative but pragmatic Ayatollah and abandon the Presidency altogether! Guys like Yazdi do not have the true support of Iran's disaffected youth but are:
1. The only ones who seem to listen to genuine poverty issues.
2. They are untested by a population tired of the current economic mess and see the West as someone who is adding to their problems.
If Yazdi becomes the next Supreme Leader, bans the Presidency and sets up a neo-Taliban regime, then the Axis of Evil speach is to blame. The West had Iran onboard almost in December 2001 and they should not forget that. Yazdi was a remote force then, but now he is so popular and powerful that even the President and current Supreme Leader have to listen to him and not anger him.Posted by jppowerus at February 28, 2006 5:40 PM
Frank P gets the Monty Python Award for the Month. May there always be an England even under Islamic control!
As for JP Powerus, why yes, the Axis of Evil speech is clearly the one moment in the last thousand years that is to blame.Posted by Gerard Van Der Leun at February 28, 2006 7:01 PM
JP Powerus posts a comment calling Churchill, Reagan and Bush EVIL and you respond to him - a stinging putdown, true, but a response still - instead of instructing the stormtroopers to invade his home, kill his hampsters and convert him to rationality? You suffer fools with admirable restraint, Gerard.Posted by AskMom at February 28, 2006 8:32 PM
Gerard I really enjoy your writing and count you as an inspiration for my own blogging.
Interesting and (to me at least) unexpected take from Thomas P.M. Barnett though:
Yes, yes, we must also worry about Iran’s slow-motion reach for the bomb, but as Barry Posen so reasonably argues, even that much-dreaded long-term scenario changes very little in the region, except perhaps to, yet again, freak the Saudis out more, something I think most reasonable people welcome.
In the end, Iran gets the bomb because Iran is logically a great power--the great indigenous power in the Gulf. And we’ll figure out how to accept that “unacceptable” outcome just like we have with India, and Israel, and Pakistan.
And our efforts, along with those of other interested great powers, to achieve regional security will be accelerated--not derailed--by Iran’s inevitable achievement. And in that pathway Israel’s security will finally be achieved.
Again, all more risky than sitting with the status quo. But if you want the Long War to get done as quickly as possible, you accept that risk, and that tumult, and the lost lives, and you commit yourself more and more to the real task at hand: spreading the connectivity of the global economy and shrinking the Gap.
On the other hand, maybe he's nuts too.Posted by Count Grecula at March 1, 2006 1:13 AM
Way off the point but I'm reminded of an idea from a WaPo op ed on nuclear proliferation a year or so ago. If it is possible for a University phyics department in, say, Riyadh to manufacture a couple of nukes (and set them off in Tel Aviv or Manhattan), the physicists at a university in Tel Aviv or Bombay or Copenhagen have the same ability.
Gerard, thanks for your blog.Posted by Jim in Virginia at March 1, 2006 10:05 AM
That politics is thought to be a science is absurd. Thus, it is with disgust that I read that people receive degrees in Political Science. It should stay in the Philosophy department!
We are failing to seize the advantage with Iran and this comes at great peril to our Republic. There remians no mystery behind the intent of Persia.Posted by Washington at March 1, 2006 10:55 AM
I happened to read the Posen article shortly before going to my favorites and was wondering if I would find a critic. Well done. Hope is the enemy indeed. cousin mikePosted by michael mcnair at March 2, 2006 11:53 AM