Tuesday, July 15, 2008

John Bolton:Diplomacy::Jack Ripper:Surgery

Wall Street Journal ran an Op-Ed today by John Bolton entitled “Israel, Iran and the Bomb” in which he advocates military strikes on Iran. Now this may come as a bit of a surprise, especially after Fox News just last week asked Bolton if his past statements advocating military action against Iran still represent an "accurate reflection" of his views, and he said "no.”

According to Bolton, “Iran's test salvo of ballistic missiles last week together with recent threatening rhetoric by commanders of the Islamic Republic's Revolutionary Guards emphasizes how close the Middle East is to a fundamental, in fact an irreversible, turning point.

“Tehran's efforts to intimidate the United States and Israel from using military force against its nuclear program, combined with yet another diplomatic charm offensive with the Europeans, are two sides of the same policy coin. The regime is buying the short additional period of time it needs to produce deliverable nuclear weapons, the strategic objective it has been pursuing clandestinely for 20 years.

“More sanctions today (even assuming, heroically, support from Russia and China) will simply be too little, too late. While regime change in Tehran would be the preferable solution, there is almost no possibility of dislodging the mullahs in time.”

Bolton goes on to advocate military attacks, arguing, “… Israel is now at an urgent decision point: whether to use targeted military force to break Iran's indigenous control over the nuclear fuel cycle at one or more critical points. If successful, such highly risky and deeply unattractive air strikes or sabotage will not resolve the Iranian nuclear crisis. But they have the potential to buy considerable time, thereby putting that critical asset back on our side of the ledger rather than on Iran's. With whatever time is bought, we may be able to effect regime change in Tehran, or at least get the process underway. The alternative is Iran with nuclear weapons, the most deeply unattractive alternative of all.”

Bolton also attacks Barack Obama and the EU3 for calling for sanctions and diplomacy with Iran. Instead, he endorses John McCain’s call for a missile defense system and makes the case for voting Republican in the November elections.

Bolton concludes, “Thus, instead of debating how much longer to continue five years of failed diplomacy, we should be intensively considering what cooperation the U.S. will extend to Israel before, during and after a strike on Iran. We will be blamed for the strike anyway, and certainly feel whatever negative consequences result, so there is compelling logic to make it as successful as possible. At a minimum, we should place no obstacles in Israel's path, and facilitate its efforts where we can. These subjects are decidedly unpleasant. A nuclear Iran is more so.”

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