Gates: Diplomacy Route on Nukes in Iran, Syria
Blake Hounshell transcribes Secretary of Defense Bob Gates’ comments about U.S. plans vis-a-vis Iran and Syria on yesterday’s “Fox News Sunday.” While Gates was “cagey” in his reply, using the required disclaimer that “All options are on the table,” it’s quite clear that military intervention is simply not in the cards for either set of problems.
I continue to believe that various leaks about planning for military solutions to these crises are simply exercises in maintaining some level of uncertainty in the minds of Iranian and Syrian officials to give more weight to negotiations. From all indications, though, our rivals know full well that massive air strikes, let alone ground invasion, aren’t on the table and that the only ones being fooled are Seymour Hersh and a handful of bloggers.
UPDATE: Thomas Edsall has the contrarian view at HuffPo, claiming that, “The drumbeat for a military assault on Iran is getting louder at some conservative think tanks, in the offices of hawks on the Bush and Cheney staffs, and among ground forces in Iraq dealing with weapons and explosives constructed in Iran.”
The grown-ups are universally opposed to a military solution to this problem on the very practical grounds that it will almost surely not work. While it’s true that we went to war with Iraq despite intense opposition from the foreign policy elite, the consensus on that was not nearly as strong as it is here. And the Iraqi mess itself provides all manner of constraints, political and logistical, to similar action in Iran and/or Syria.