The Next Unavoidable Problem

Lex pointed out this recent essay, on Iran, by Walter Russel Mead.

The Bush administration, for its part, has treated Iran the way many of its critics wanted it to treat Iraq: It has supported a European Union initiative to resolve the nuclear issue in a peaceful way.

So there’s a widespread U.S. consensus to engage Iran in peaceful negotiations in partnership with Europe. This strategy has one small flaw: So far, it isn’t working.

Mead is more optimistic than I am about the possibility of defusing Iran without using force. I think we emboldened the mullahs by appeasing them, in our efforts to avoid having to open a new front in the war, and that confrontation is now inevitable unless we prepare seriously to attack. (And we should make our intentions clear; this enemy interprets subtlety and nuance as weakness.) Even then I think it may be too late to avoid confrontation.

We need also to consider that Israel has long considered a nuclear Iran to be one of the main threats, if not the main threat that it faces, and is at more immediate risk than we are. I don’t think Israel will stand by indefinitely if we are indecisive.

We may do better to force the situation. The mullahs are either bluffing, in which case we should call their bluff, or they are serious, in which case we should confront them on our own timetable rather than wait for them to get nukes and precipitate a crisis. Our current policy, consisting of a combination of appeasement and hoping that the Iranian government gets overthrown before we have to act, isn’t working.

Quote of the Day

Peggy Noonan in the WSJ:

I do not feel America is right to attempt to help spread democracy in the world because it is our way and therefore the right way. Nor do I think America should attempt to encourage it because we are Western and feel everyone should be Western. Not everyone should be Western, and not everything we do as a culture, a people or an international force is right.

Rather, we have a national-security obligation to foster democracy in the world because democracy tends to be the most peaceful form of government. Democracies tend to be slower than dictatorships to take up arms, to cross borders and attempt to subdue neighbors, to fight wars. They are on balance less likely to wreak violence upon the world because democracies are composed of voters many of whom are parents, especially mothers, who do not wish to see their sons go to war. Democracy is not only idealistic, it is practical.

(via Instapundit)

“Mobile” vs. “Immobile” Civilizations

That’s how Reuven Brenner, in this recent column, characterizes the struggle between the democratic West and Islamic fundamentalism. Brenner’s argument is interesting.

It is easy to criticize both grandiose thesis and narrow ones. To come up with a different way of perceiving the events and offer solutions is a bit harder. Yet this brief does just that. It shows that today’s conflict between Islamic groups and the West, as well as within Islamic societies, can be viewed as one between “mobile” and “immobile” civilizations, whose members can be found in every society. What distinguishes the US is that it has far more people sharing the outlook of a “mobile civilization” than any other country. And what characterizes many Islamic countries is that they have a large number of people sharing the values of an “immobile” civilization. “Relativist” orthodoxy notwithstanding, one point I make is that although one can understand the values and ideals of “immobile societies”, as fitting certain situations, there cannot be a compromise between these two civilizations. Today’s circumstances – demographic in particular – require moves toward “mobility”.

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Joke of the Day

The World Court, an organization with neither legitimacy nor accountability, condemned Israel, a democratic country, for building a security fence that is saving lives every day. The Court’s head judge wrote:

. . . “The wall … cannot be justified by military exigencies or by the requirements of national security or public order.

“The construction … constitutes breaches by Israel of its obligations under applicable international humanitarian law. Israel is under an obligation … to dismantle forthwith the structure,” he said.

Where does this head judge, who is so concerned about humanitarian and legal obligations, come from? From China, a country ruled by an unelected clique of mass-murderers that lacks legitimacy and accountability and treats its citizens like ants in an ant farm.

It should long ago have become obvious, to anyone who has a clue, that the principal role of “international organizations” like the World Court is as weapons against the U.S. and Israel and other democracies that assert their right to defend themselves. These are the same organizations to which John Kerry and his political allies on the Left would grant increased resources and legitimacy. Bush, whatever his flaws, at least understands who our enemies are. The Democrats won’t be ready for national leadership again until they wise up in this area, and stop pandering to the idiots for whom it is always 1968.