Ambassador Bolton recommends treating the disease, not the symptoms. I am all for that. And the disease is the global jihad and Islamic supremacism.
“Iran Clenches Its Fist: The danger is that direct talks may facilitate, not reduce, threats to U.S. interests,” by John R. Bolton in the Wall Street Journal, March 2 (thanks to Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi):
As Iran prepares to fire up its Bushehr nuclear reactor — and as the International Atomic Energy Agency governing board meets this week, again confronted with further progress by Tehran’s nuclear program — it is worth asking how the Obama administration is responding.
Well, the State Department recently named Dennis Ross, a seasoned Middle East negotiator, as a “special adviser” to the Gulf region — a bureaucratic but important prerequisite for direct talks with Iran. Unfortunately, a new envoy and a new diplomatic tone cannot disguise the ongoing substantive collapse of U.S. policy and resolve in the teeth of the Islamic Republic’s growing challenge.
Tehran welcomes direct negotiations with Washington. Why not, given the enormous benefits its nuclear programs have accrued during five and a half years of negotiations with Europe? Why not, with America at the table, buy even more time to marry its impending nuclear weapons with its satellite-launching ballistic missile capability?
We have yet to see any evidence that Barack Obama (any more than George W. Bush) knows how to stop Iran. Consider these four blunt threats to our interests that direct talks may only facilitate, not reduce.
First, diplomacy has not and will not reduce Iran’s nuclear program. Ironically, European leaders are belatedly feeling hollow in the pits of their diplomatic stomachs, now that their failed diplomacy has left us with almost no alternatives to a nuclear Iran. Imagine their dismay that President Obama is now “opening” to Iran, thus eviscerating their tentative efforts to “close” the diplomatic cover under which Iran has almost achieved the worst-case outcome, deliverable nuclear weapons.
Dismay? I expect they are thrilled that Obama is following their lead.
The West’s collective failure to stop Iran’s nuclear ambitions has persuaded Iran that it faces minimal risks in greater adventurism on other fronts as well. Mr. Obama’s discovery of “carrots and sticks,” after a half decade of European failure to make that mantra a successful policy, will lead Tehran’s mullahs to one inescapable conclusion: They have won the nuclear race, absent imminent regime change or military action.
Second, dealing with Hamas, Hezbollah and Syria as though they are unrelated to Iran’s broader threat is exactly backwards. Mr. Obama is again following Europe’s mistaken view that ending the Arab-Israeli conflict will help to resolve other regional problems. But concentrating on Gaza only increases Hamas’s leverage, just as negotiating with Syria only enhances its (and thereby Iran’s) bargaining power.
We should deal instead with diseases, not symptoms. Changing Tehran’s Holocaust-denying regime could end its nuclear program, as well as eliminate its continuing financing of and weapons supplies for Hamas and Hezbollah, reduce its malign hold over Syria, and strengthen Lebanon’s fragile democracy. Taming Iran is not a magical cure-all, but surely addressing the central threat is more sensible than haphazardly dealing with the symptoms separately….
Read it all.