Friday, September 15, 2006

Neocon Myopia

Charles Krauthammer is still banging the wardrum, I see. After telling us how horrible the blowback would be from military intervention in Iran he says that if we don't:
In the region, Persian Iran will immediately become the hegemonic power in the Arab Middle East. Today it is deterred from overt aggression against its neighbors by the threat of conventional retaliation. Against a nuclear Iran, such deterrence becomes far less credible. As its weak, nonnuclear Persian Gulf neighbors accommodate to it, jihadist Iran will gain control of the most strategic region on the globe.

Then there is the larger danger of permitting nuclear weapons to be acquired by religious fanatics seized with an eschatological belief in the imminent apocalypse and in their own divine duty to hasten the End of Days. The mullahs are infinitely more likely to use these weapons than anyone in the history of the nuclear age.
Ezra Klein gets to the heart of Krauthammer's piece:
It's unclear why the other nuclear powers in Iran's neck o' the woods -- Israel, Pakistan, and Russia -- will cede the all energy supplies and regional autonomy to old Iran. Nor is it clear why, if Iran currently fears conventional retaliation, they wouldn't buckle under the threat of total, American-led, annihilation if they sought expansion. Indeed, all that's really clear is that Krauthammer wants to go on record saying war will be really, really, really bad before he agitates us into one. That way, he's both prescient and tough. And when you've got those two under your belt, "strategically sound" isn't really an urgent acquisition.
But the myopia doesn't end there.

Krauthammer starts his warmongering by teling us that there is only one candidate for a nuclear armed dictatorship that could overrun the Middle East - Iran.

I think his neocon colleague Ed Morrissey would disagree. On news that Pakistan's really-truly dictator (as oppossed to Ahminutjob, who is nothing of the kind) has released 2,500 Taliban foreign fighters detained by Pakistan after fleeing the battleground in Afghanistan:
This doesn't just call into question Pakistan's stomach for opposing radical Islam, it calls our entire relationship with Pakistan into question. We had worked with Musharraf because he promised to take a hard line against the terrorists, and for five years he had pretty consistently met that expectation. That hard line allowed us to rely on his forces to contain and capture jihadists in his territory, which until now meant that they stayed out of the fight.
Ed doesn't read very well - the article he quotes from says those fighters have been released over the last four years, so where's the proof that Musharraf has "consistently met" any expectations of "taking a hard line with the terrorists" over the last five?

I've been saying that Pakistan was as much, if not more, of a threat to world stability as Iran for almost two years - and have been saying that Musharraf was playing Bush like a bigmouth Bass for about as long. Conservatives galore have jumped in to defend Bush's support of Musharraf and now look - the scales finally fell off.

Look. Pakistan is a really-truly nuke armed nightmare. It has well over 40,000 Taliban and Al-Qaida trained terrorists within its borders, mostly Pakistani citizens. It has done more to spread the Islamic Bomb than any other nation. It, being a majority-Sunni nation, has more influence with Arab Sunni nations than Persian/Shiite Iran could ever have. Every major Islamist terror attack has featured those indoctrinated in its schools. There is ample evidence that the state intelligence agency is sponsoring terrorism in both Afghanistan and India. It has a history of starting wars with its democtratic neighbour, India. It is protected by a close military alliance with China. Every now and again Musharraf throws Bush a bone - yet another alleged Al Qaida number three that even the FBI hadn't heard of until he was arrested.

The entire American political establishment has been had, to the point of re-arming Pakistan's military...and are frantically trying to look the other way. But no=one's doing more of it than the neocons.

Krauthammer has far more of Israel's interests at heart than America's when he urges the U.S. to be israel's proxy for a fight with Tehran - but even he should realise that it isn't as simple as he is making it out to be.

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