What Would Critics Have Done Differently in Iran?
Charles Krauthammer asks a rather pointed question with respect to those who have noted, correctly, that Iran is a bigger backer of jihadist terrorists than Iraq ever was: What would the critics have done?
Well, of course Iran is a threat and a danger. But how exactly would the critics have “done” Iran? Iran is a serious country with a serious army. Compared to Iraq, an invasion of Iran would have been infinitely more costly. Can you imagine these critics, who were shouting “quagmire” and “defeat” when the low-level guerrilla war in Iraq intensified in April, actually supporting war with Iran?
If not war, what then? We know the central foreign policy principle of Bush critics: multilateralism. John Kerry and the Democrats have said it a hundred times: The source of our troubles is Bush’s insistence on “going it alone.” They promise to “rejoin the community of nations” and “work with our allies.” Well, that happens to be exactly what we have been doing on Iran. And the policy is an abject failure. The Bush administration, having decided that invading one axis-of-evil country was about as much as either the military or the country can bear, has gone multilateral on Iran, precisely what the Democrats advocate. Washington delegated the issue to a committee of three Ã¢€” the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany Ã¢€” that has been meeting with the Iranians to get them to shut down their nuclear program.
The fact is that the war critics have nothing to offer on the single most urgent issue of our time Ã¢€” rogue states in pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. Iran instead of Iraq? The Iraq critics would have done nothing about either country. There would today be two major Islamic countries sitting on an ocean of oil, supporting terrorism and seeking weapons of mass destruction Ã¢€” instead of one.
Two years ago, there were five countries supporting terror and pursuing WMDs Ã¢€” two junior-leaguers, Libya and Syria, and the axis-of-evil varsity: Iraq, Iran and North Korea. The Bush administration has just eliminated two: Iraq, by direct military means, and Libya, by example and intimidation.
A fair point. Krauthammer goes on to discuss the possible policy options. None of them are particularly appealing.