Fat Steve's Blatherings

Friday, January 13, 2006

What is WRONG With These People?


        Timothy Garton Ash demonstrates that Europeans don't have a clue about what to do about Iran.

At Length:

        Writing in The Guardian, Timothy Garton Ash says that Europe's plan A for preventing Iran's acquisition of nuclear arms has failed.

        What's plan B?  Garton Ash says it's the UN, which will consider sanctions.  And how will these work?  They won't: Russia, China, France, Germany, and Italy will undercut them, he avers.

        How about Plan C?  Garton Ash doesn't have one.  "Europeans and Americans" should get together, pool information on Iran, develop a "common analysis," deciding how any action will affect Iranian society, and then — well, that's where things break down.  Apparently, once all these heads are put together, they'll come up with some diplomatic steps that will somehow do what all previous diplomacy has failed to do, and prevent Iran from acquiring nukes.  Unless diplomacy fails again.

        But there are a few things he's sure of — don't use military force:
        For the hawks in Washington and Tel Aviv, Plan C would be to bomb selected Iranian nuclear facilities, in order to slow down Iran's progress towards the bomb.  Despite all the famous pinpoint precision of state-of-the-art US bombing, one can be quietly confident that this would take the lives of innocent civilians - or, at least, of people whom Iranian television could credibly claim were innocent civilians.  A recent trip to Iran convinced me of two things: first, that there is a large reservoir of anti-regime and mildly pro-western feeling in Iran; and, second, that this reservoir could be drained overnight if we bombed.

        . . . Americans, for their part, should not confuse European warnings about the need to proceed cautiously with cowardice, euroweeniness, and all those other failings of "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" attributed to us by red-blooded American anti-Europeans.

        . . . I feel deeply uncomfortable when I hear the American neoconservative Frank Gaffney calling for a revolution in Iran.

        No, instead, we must attempt to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons by diplomacy.  And if there is no such diplomacy available, and the only alternatives are military action, or letting the Iranian regime acquire nuclear weapons?  Garton Ash won't say.  What he will say is that force musn't be used, and that no attempt to stir up revolution in Iran should be made.  Objectively, that means let the mullahs acquire nukes, and maybe wipe out Israel (but after all, they're only Jews), and maybe attack Europe sooner or later (but then, as Rand noted in another context, some people really just want to do).

        Now, you can make a case for the position 'Let the Tehran regime acquire nuclear weapons, and rely on deterrence to keep them from using them.'  But Garton Ash is so cowardly, he can't even say that out loud.  He just professes to hope that somehow, someway, someone will find the magic words that will keep Iran from going nuclear — even though his own column says that the only explicit idea he has, sanctions, won't work.

        And that's why we red-blooded Americans despise Europe, and consider it irrelevant, when we think of it at all.  To be cautious about getting into a shooting war with Iran is prudent.  To allow Ayatollah Khamaeini nuclear weapons may be the best alternative.  But to so lack balls that you can't even say that out loud?  Go away, coward.

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