Carol Platt Liebau: A Thorough and Nuanced Argument

Monday, April 17, 2006

A Thorough and Nuanced Argument

Edward Luttwack, in a remarkably informative and nuanced piece in Commentary, provides three reasons it's not time to bomb Iran -- at least not yet. With it he offers the most helpful and thorough context for the present controversy that I've seen to date. And he's no pacifist, which only makes his case for (temporary) restraint more compelling.

Here are Luttwack's reasons, in his own words:

(1) Iranians are our once and future allies. Except for a narrow segment of extremists, they do not view themselves as enemies of the United States, but rather as the exact opposite . . They must not be made to feel that they were attacked by the very country they most admire, where so many of their own relatives and friends have so greatly prospered, and with which they wish to restore the best of relations.

(2) In essence, we should not bomb Iran because the worst of its leaders positively want to be bombed—and are doing their level best to bring that about. . . The clerics’ frantic extremism reflects a sense of insecurity that is fully justified, given the bitter hostility with which they are viewed by most of the population at large. In a transparent political maneuver, Ahmadinejad tries to elicit nationalist support at home by provoking hostile reactions abroad.

(3) The effort to build nuclear weapons started more than three decades ago, yet the regime is still years away from producing a bomb.

Let's hope he's right about #3. Numbers 1 and 2 do seem to me to indicate that there are solid strategic reasons for waiting a bit before undertaking military action -- assuming, of course, that time is on our side.

This intriguing piece is definitely worth a read.


Blogger Greg said...

I'm one who supports whole-hearted, full-throated, aggressive conduct of the war on terror. Iran has been for decades perhaps the top sponsor of international terrorism. So my gut reaction is to attack immediately and devestatingly.

Having said that, I hope Luttwack is right. Contrary to the views of the left, the vast majority of us hawks do not want war. We want peace. We're simply not afraid to use war to achieve peace.

If real and lasting peace with Iran can be achieved without military conflict, I'm all for it! After all, it is obviously much better for all involved if the people of Iran can overthrow their tyrannical leaders themselves and restore a peaceful, democratic government.

But if the grip of the tyrants is too tight, I say be prepared to take military action.

5:44 AM  
Blogger COPioneer said...

right, and the thought that diplomacy will work without having a strong military is where the left wing pacifists really fall flat...

10:03 AM  

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