Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Bush and Iran

Jeremi Suri argues in an op ed in the Boston Globe that Bush can salvage his foreign policy by a diplomatic opening to Iran, as Nixon opened to China. He suggests that Kissinger’s maneuvers with China provide a model for navigating relations with Iran. Suri’s book, Henry Kissinger and the American Century, was just published. He is teaching (with Jean Edward Smith) The History of the U.S. from 1898 to 1945 in our Master’s program this week.

Discussions - 5 Comments

The U.S. and the PRC had a common enemy, the U.S.S.R., which concentrated their minds on an alliance, such as it was. What common enemy do the U.S. and Iran have? What is the basis for a grand opening?

Richard hits the bullseye. China was increasingly nervous over border clashes with the Soviet Red Army.

Which power threatens Iran?

Which neighbor has designs on Iranian territory?

The idea of providing some security panel, that Iran has a seat on, which discusses and deals with security matters of the region, assumes that Iran is not the foremost destabilizing power in that region. It also assumes that Iran has a benign foreign agenda, completely consistent with our aspirations for the Mideast.

It's all a dodge.

It's all a diplomatic fig leaf behind which can be hid our strategic defeat in George Bush's "great war on terror." It was never a war on "terror;" it was always a war on the muslim terror sponsors, which meant a war on Iran, as well as Syria, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinians. But State, CIA, Powell, Armitage, Hughes, et al, had no intention of waging a real war against the foremost sponsors of muslim mayhem.

Again and again throughout this President's tenure, he's chosen the easier path, adopted lesser means, sought to find some tenuous middle ground, charted a limited war and contented himself with ever so carefully calibrated responses to acts of utter barbarism. The wisdom of Washington, Jackson, Sherman, Grant, Patton, Spaatz, LeMay and MacArthur, his administration derided as outdated.

And because of that strategic foolishness, they're staring defeat dead in the eye, and trying to rationalize it, trying to veil it, trying to conjure up the right narrative to minimize the enormity of their defeat, AMERICA'S DEFEAT. But throughout islam, throughout the Far East, throughout all of Europe, EVERYONE KNOWS it's defeat. It's a pathetic attempt to put a happy face on a cosmic blunder.

War is a verdict, someone wins, someone loses, someone conquers, someone is conquered, someone vanquishes, someone is vanquished, someone dictates the terms of the peace thereafter, someone has those terms dictated to them.

Bush is assuming a seat on a railway passenger car in the woods of Compiegne. He and Condi are making themselves comfortable, waiting for the other party to arrive. Which of us would be so foolish to suggest that his is the seat of the victor?

Thanks for recognizing my "palpable hit." But, golly, I didn't mean to say that no negotiations with Iran could ever serve any useful purpose, or that we were headed for defeat and this was part of the proof. After all, the Japanese negotiated with us while they plotted the attack on Pearl Harbor! I hope we're plotting now, because we need to. My objection was to the idea that anything spectacular could be achieved by negotiations.

There are really only two things we want from the Iranians. That they give up sponsoring jihadist terror across the four winds, and that they give up their Manhattan Project. Obtaining those objectives would be spectacular.

Diplomacy for the sake of diplomacy is usually a bad idea. It sends out a signal of desperation and weakness. If you've something to say, say it. But you don't have to be at a table to make your views known, your position clear.

The situation is actually much worse than I've ever described.

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