Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Friday, June 26, 2009

Neoconservatives Call for "Regime Change" in Iran

John Bolton, the embarassment who should never have been appointed ambassador to the UN, has now printed an op-ed piece predictably slamming Obama. What is somewhat novel is the insistence that the US "policy" should be regime change in Iran, rather than trying to negotiate. If you're a Fox News watcher, you shout out "yee-hah!" and get all giggy over this. But the more educated segment of the public asks the question: what is a "policy" of regime change about? The answer, of course, is exactly what it was in Iraq: confrontation, building a "case" for war, then invasion. The imposition of our will on Iran. Sure, Bolton and others will talk about "support" for pro-democracy movements and such - the same sort of "support" that has been so successful in Cuba this past half century. But they mean war. They just are too cowardly to openly say that they see military force as the only option. So let's call them on it.

So let's all take a breather and recall how disastrous this same policy was when applied to Iraq. It resulted in thousands of American deaths and tens of thousands wounded. It resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians, perhaps over 100,000 or more. Iraq is poorer and more violent than it was before. It has made Iran stronger and the USA much, much weaker. It has also hurt the world's oil supply, contributing to the spike in oil prices in 2008 and to the current recession that followed, in part, from the financial burden of those energy prices (fewer bankruptcies would have resulted if various companies and homeowners had not already been bleeding over energy prices). It may be true that we have salvaged something from Iraq, but let's be clear. Ex ante, knowing what we know now, we would not have waged that war. We should not do so in Iran. The American people don't want war with Iran. After spending something like a trillion dollars or more on the Iraq war, we literally cannot afford it. Iran is much, much more powerful, more populated, and more difficult to fight in than IRaq. Iraq was a flat, underpopulated desert. Iran is a mountainous country that has resisted most foreign invasions for 3000 years.

So when jackasses like Bolton or anyone at the Heritage foundation tells you that Obama is "weak" on Iran and that we should favor "regime change" understand this: Of course we all favor regime change. Our preferences on this subject are not in doubt. But we have to live in the real world. In the real world, the only way we stop Iran from acquiring nukes is to find a way to work with them. There is no military option.


Raised By Republicans said...

I'm 100% in agreement if Bolton's point is that our GOAL should be democratic Iran. What I fear though is that Bolton intends to accomplish that goal through confrontation, especially military confrontation. On that dimension I'm 100% in agreement with LTG - it would be a disastrous policy.

How should we achieve regime change in Iran? Stay the F@$# out of it! The Iranian people have made more progress on changing the regime in Iran in the last two weeks than Bush's militarism has accomplished in 8 years!

Obama is playing this exactly right. We should be a source of passive support unless and until a pro-democracy movement in Iran gets sufficiently organized and established that they can ask for our help themselves.

What we cannot do - and what Bolton and the Neocons always want to do - is provide the leadership that the current demonstrations in Iran seem to lack.

Dr. Strangelove said...

You are dead on. This talk of "regime change" is just code for continuing the same failed policies of the Bush administration. A policy of regime change means covert agitation leading to overt war. Still knee-deep in denial over the failures of this approach in Iraq, Afghanistan, Cuba, and North Korea--failures they can no longer conceal from everyone else--neo-conservatives like Bolton are reduced to the tenuous claim that the policy of "regime change" has not yet succeeded because we have not hewn to it closely enough. This near-religious obsession with the projection of American force has blinded them to the reality LTG speaks of: the military option is folly.

Part of this obsession stems from a misunderstanding of the cold war: many neoconservatives claim Reagan "won" the cold war by pursuing a policy of "regime change." On the contrary, the Soviet Union fell apart for its own reasons, largely because it was unstable to begin with, barely held together by fear and force, and one could easily aruge that the fierce American opposition likely did more to unite and sustain the ruling classes in Moscow than it did to undermine them.

It is good we have a President who rejects the failures of the past and embraces alliances, multi-lateralism, internationalism, negotiation, diplomacy, and soft power.