Mr. Shavit doesn’t just blame Bush. He goes after “the Republicans” for failing to act against Iran.
The Republican Party could have done that in 2003 or 2005 or 2007. But Republican leaders squandered the opportunity. Worse still, the United States got bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan and that sucked all the oxygen out of America’s lungs. Mr. Bush passed on to Mr. Obama a nation that had lost much of the resolve it had possessed. When faced with a real threat to world peace, America’s will was spent. It had evaporated in the violent streets of Basra and Baghdad.
There is no mention of the left’s anti-war campaign–it was just Bush’s mess–nor of the fact that we won the war in Iraq, decimated al Qaeda, and so frightened Iran that Tehran may have voluntarily suspended its nuclear program following our invasion in 2003, the very year, as luck would have it, that Qadaffi terminated his nuclear efforts.
Mr. Shavit grants that Obama has made a few errors himself, but argues that it’s not his fault:
He ignored the British, French, Israelis, Egyptians and Saudis who warned him that he was being naïve and turned his back on the freedom-seeking Iranian masses in June 2009. When Mr. Obama finally endorsed assertive diplomacy and punitive sanctions in 2011 and 2012, it was too little, too late.
But Mr. Obama was operating within the smoky ruins of the strategic disaster he had inherited.
One doesn’t have to admire Bush’s strategy–like Obama, he negotiated with Iran and was ready to sign a deal in 2006–to excuse Obama, who came to office believing that Iran’s hostility to us was our own fault, and that once the ayatollahs saw they had a friend in the White House, all would be well. That hasn’t worked out well for him, or for the United States, or for the millions of Iranians he abandoned in 2009, or for the thousands of American soldiers killed or maimed by Iranian killers and their proxies in the region.
Bush’s Iran policy was a feckless disaster, to be sure. He thought he would deal with Iran after Iraq and Afghanistan had been brought under control. He failed to realize that the Iranians (and Syrians) could not tolerate American victories on their borders, and that it was folly to postpone a serious strategy against the tyrants in Tehran. Just look at Iraq today, where the slaughter exceeds that in Syria. Is that the result of “too little, too late?” Hardly. It’s the result of Obama’s “turn tail and run” in Iraq and Afghanistan, elements in a broader retreat from the region.
Hard to blame that policy on Bush.