One of the stunning ironies of America's profound failure in Iraq is that Bush and Co. have actually succeeded in giving Iran a stronger hand to play, not least in terms of stirring the pot of mayhem next door. Now, waving the nuclear flag, the Bushies may be gearing up for military action against Iran, which will lend legitimacy to the regime, further inflame Muslim world sentiments against America, and offer further incentives for nuclear weapons' development by Iran and other states.
What we really need right now is a serious debate about two things: one is a nuclear free Middle East, which is the only tenable goal that will enlist support rather than alienate support in the Middle East and the broader Muslim world; and, what sort of risks are poised by Iran becoming a fledgling nuclear power. Notwithstanding Iran's bumpkin as president, I don't see the regime as suicidally irrational or prone hand off nukes to millenarian terrorists, as recently suggested by Graham Allison.
U.S. Campaign Is Aimed at Iran's Leaders: "In private meetings, Bush and his advisers have been more explicit. Members of the Hoover Institution's board of overseers who met with Bush, Vice President Cheney and national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley two weeks ago emerged with the impression that the administration has shifted to a more robust policy aimed at the Iranian government.
'The message that we received is that they are in favor of separating the Iranian people from the regime,' said Esmail Amid-Hozour, an Iranian American businessman who serves on the Hoover board.
'The upper hand is with those who are pushing regime change rather than those who are advocating more diplomacy,' said Richard N. Haass, who as State Department policy planning director in Bush's first term was among those pushing for engagement."