Railing Against the Pirates of Tehran
Fred Thompson (or, more likely, a staffer) made his blogging debut at Redstate yesterday afternoon, warning of the dangers of the propaganda victory Mahmoud Ahmadinejad got from taking 15 British marines hostage. He is disgusted with the weakness shown by the international community in this affair: “The UN Security Council summoned its vaunted multilateral greatness to issue a swift statement of sincere uneasiness. The EU, which has pressured Britain to rely on Europeans for mutual defense instead of the US, wouldn’t even discuss economic sanctions that might disrupt their holidays. Even NATO was AWOL.”
Yet, despite tough words about “pirates” and “Islamo-fascism,” Thompson offers little in the way of concrete policy.
We need to understand this and use every means at our disposal, starting with serious and painful international sanctions, to prevent Iran’s rulers from becoming the nuclear-armed blackmailers they want to be. Unfortunately, we are hearing demands that we abandon the people of the Middle East who have stood up to Islamo-fascism because they believed us when we said we would support them.
If we retreat precipitously, the price for that betrayal will be paid first in blood and freedom by the Iranian people, the Kurds, the Afghanis, the secular Lebanese, the moderates in Pakistan and the Iraqis themselves. And America’s word may never be trusted again.
Of course, nobody of any consequence on the American political scene is advocating the abandonment of Israel. Further, “serious and painful international sanctions” will harm Iran’s “educated and freedom-loving people” much more than the ruling regime. There are already a pile of UN resolutions making it illegal to aid the Iranian nuclear program, so it’s far from clear what help more would be.
The plain truth of the matter is that there are no good options here. Iran’s nuclear facilities are scattered and buried deep enough to make their destruction from the safety of a B-1 bomber virtually impossible. A military invasion would likely have more negative consequences for the region than a nuclear armed Iran.
So, beyond railing about how bad it would be if Ahmadinejad and the ayatollahs got nukes, what to do? I’ve not yet heard or read anyone who has any good ideas. Fred Thompson included.
Judging from the reaction in the Right Blogosophere, though, tough but vague words are apparently quite appealing.
- Ed Morrissey asks rhetorically, “could he have picked a better way to enter the race, as far as the conservative blogosphere is concerned?”
- Kathryn Jean Lopez gushes that “you can’t help but be struck by how much like one of us Fred Thompson sounds.”
- Don Surber: “Apparently, Fred Thompson is trying a novel approach to the 2008 presidential race: He’s actually going to stand for something. . . . Finally, someone in the race is saying what needs to be said: Ahmadinejad endangers the world. “
- Kim Priestap has a long tribute to Thompson’s skills as a communicator.
- Emperor Misha swoons, “Just imagine how inspiring it would be to have somebody in the White House with a pair. It’s been 19 long years since the last time that happened.”
- Even the ostentatiously moderate Joe Gandleman is impressed, say “His post … needs to be read IN FULL.”
As a bonus, he’s making the other side mad. Mark Kleiman summarizes Thompson’s post: “He thinks it’s just awful that the latest hostage crisis was resolved without anyone getting killed.”
I realize that it’s still over a year and a half until the election and that Thompson isn’t even officially exploring his candidacy yet. Still, it’s impressive to get this much buzz out of a column that says so little. Red meat without any actual meat, as it were.