Greg D. over at Belgravia Dispatch has a long post on ‘What To Do About Iran?’ In it, he lays out a solid case for negotiation.
Go on over and read it (and admire the picture of the happy Greg and Mrs. D dancing).
So what do I think about it? I think that he’s 1/3 right. I think that the path of negotiation he lays out is something we ought to be doing, and it should be front-and-center in the attention of everyone, because if it works, it’ll be the least-bad outcome in an array of bad outcomes. And God knows, it could work.
So what’s the other 2/3, you ask?Well, we need to be in a better position to militarily remove their capability to build nuclear weapons than we are today. That involves a bunch of things; human intelligence from within Iran, technical means intelligence, more planes and ships close by, more men and women who are combat-ready and available. All of those things take time – which we’ve pissed away over the last two years as this crisis has developed.
We should probably have a ‘snap’ plan ready to execute, in the event we get strong intelligence they are preparing a test or to export a weapon to test or use.
We should take the position that any smuggled nuclear weapon used against Israel, Western Europe, or the United States will be presumed to have come from Iran and North Korea, and that we will react appropriately – and massively.
Note that all of these things ought to help the Iranian leadership feel like they also have something to lose if the negotiations go badly.
So that’s two of three.
We keep doing what we’re doing, We keep destroying Al Quieda, keep supporting the nascent political institutions in Iraq, keep pressuring Syria, keep supporting Jordan, and make it clear that if this is going to be a long, slow conflict, we’re prepared to be patient as well.
That goes against the impulses of those who don’t see us as having anything at stake, and who see our foreign policy through the beer goggles of electoral advantage and desire. Too bad for them. And too bad for us all if they manage to win an election.