Wednesday, April 12, 2006

ignatius & brzezinski on iran

In David Ignatius' column he worries that the current Iran situation is more analagous to 1914 than the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. His last three paras are worth repeating:
Zbigniew Brzezinski, a former national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, makes a similar argument about Iran. "I think of war with Iran as the ending of America's present role in the world," he told me this week. "Iraq may have been a preview of that, but it's still redeemable if we get out fast. In a war with Iran, we'll get dragged down for 20 or 30 years. The world will condemn us. We will lose our position in the world."

Brzezinski urges President Bush to slow down and think carefully about his options -- rather than rushing to stop Iran's nuclear program, which by most estimates is five to 10 years away from building a bomb, even after yesterday's announcement. "Time is on our side," says Brzezinski. "The mullahs aren't the future of Iran, they're the past." As the United States carefully weighs its options, there is every likelihood that the strategic picture will improve.

The Bush administration has demonstrated, in too many ways, that it's better at starting fights than finishing them. It shouldn't make that same mistake again. Threats of war will be more convincing if they come slowly and reluctantly, when it has become clear that truly there is no other choice.
Good advice. No reason to expect they will take it. As Paul Krugman pointed out in his (behind-the-New York Times-firewall) recent column, people said that Bush wouldn't be stupid/reckless enough to attack Iraq. And we were wrong then. This time, if possible, the damage to the US will be even WORSE, in the Islamic world, in the world at large, possibly to our economy, and almost certainly in terms of dead Americans that will be killed by irate Shiites in Iraq, not to mention by Iran's terrorist cells, who will have nothing to lose.