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Iraq Didn’t Destroy the Republican Party … but Iran Might

March 29th, 2013 - 3:03 pm

The estimable Peggy Noonan asked last week, “Can the Republican Party recover from Iraq?,” adding, “It’s still digging out, and whether it can succeed is an open question.” Republicans can succeed by boldness, clarity, and courage, but by no other means. Americans trust the Republican Party to look out for their security in a pinch. By a margin of 63 to 28, the Pew Institute reported March 26, they favor military force to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons. Just 8% are undecided. There’s the Republican majority on foreign policy. Even Western Europeans (excepting Greece) favor the use of force if needed, albeit by smaller majorities.

Why aren’t we appealing to this majority? Apparently we are so browbeaten by the public backlash against the blunders in our nation-building exercise that we are afraid to ask the public to support a limited, mainly aerial attack on a terrorist nation on the verge of becoming a nuclear power. If that’s the best we can do, we deserve the contempt of the voters. Mitt Romney hid under his chair during the second presidential debate on foreign policy. It didn’t do him any good. This kind of timidity goes back to the Bush administration, which feared that an extension of the conflict would lead to a public backlash against the war.

Obama has done nothing since taking office but let the mullahs run out the clock while they accelerate uranium enrichment, extract plutonium from the Bushehr light war reactor, and perhaps acquire weapons from North Korea. No-one expects the Obama administration to do what the vast majority of Americans want, that is, use force to prevent this calamity from happening. Top Pentagon planners assume that Iran will acquire nuclear capability. The oil market assigns a probability of around zero that America will attack Iran, as I showed in a recent study for the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.

 

Republicans should assert leadership on national security. We should say: “Enough is enough. We’ve run out the clock for four years, and Iran is on the verge of getting nuclear weapons. If Iran gets nuclear weapons, so will the terrorists that Iran has funded and armed for the past thirty-four years. It’s time to take action.”

We should remind voters that Obama did nothing to aid the Iranian people when they demonstrated in the millions against vote fraud after the 2009 presidential elections in that country.

We should demand that Obama back regime change, as my PJ Media colleague Michael Ledeen has argued for years. We should ridicule the notion that our intelligence services can pinpoint the date at which Iran will become a nuclear power. They were caught flat-footed by India’s nuclear weapons acquisition in 1998 as well as North Korea’s apparent test of a plutonium bomb in February. And we should make clear that we have no intention of putting significant numbers of boots on the ground in Iran.

Among the 28% who oppose military force are many supporters of Rand Paul who see any overseas military action as the thin end of the wedge for another land war. These are fearful people. The task of leadership is to make them more afraid of terrorists getting nuclear weapons from Iran than, say, the CIA using drones on American territory.

Republicans are still playing geopolitical small ball, attacking Obama for not doing enough to help the Syrian opposition, for example.  Small ball is guaranteed to lose. Precisely how the United States is supposed to arm “moderate” Syrian Sunnis while keeping weapons out of the hands of the al-Qaeda types who do a disproportionate share of the fighting is an unanswerable question in any case. In Syria’s chaos, we can’t often tell them apart. Meanwhile Iran has placed Revolutionary Guard regulars in Syria as well as its Hezbollah proxies. Iran’s attempt to position itself as the nuclear-capable dominant power in a “Shi’ite crescent” from Lebanon to Afghanistan persuades the Sunnis of Syria (and their co-religionists across the Iraqi border) to fight to the death. Syria’s civil war cannot be controlled as long as the shadow of Iran falls over the country. The road to peace in Damascus lies through Tehran (and Bushehr).

It’s pointless to take potshots at Obama for failing to act on Syria. What we should say is this: “Iran is the main source of instability in the Middle East. Iran’s intervention in Syria has turned the country into a slaughterhouse. By showing weakness to Iran, the Obama administration encourages its murderous activities elsewhere in the region.” American missteps set up the Syrian civil war, as I argued in a March 19 post. Most of this goes above the heads of the voters. But they are wise enough to know that it’s extremely dangerous for an America-hating band of murderers in Tehran to get hold of nuclear weapons.

Republican leaders should hammer at this issue relentlessly. If Obama–contrary to the world’s well-founded expectations–were to take action against Iran, we would take the credit. If Iran gets nuclear weapons, Obama will take the blame for losing the Middle East. In either case, Republicans will regain the high ground on foreign policy.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Well, another Goldman column, another smear against Rand Paul. What a shocker that is. You do realize, Mr. Goldman, that Rand Paul and Ron Paul are two different people, yes? Or do they "all look alike" to you? Just wondering.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I simply do not care anymore.
Stupid Party?
Evil Party?
Same bird, different wings.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (81)
All Comments   (81)
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I keep stating the problem already -- what if the Pentagon analysts are right and it's too late to stop Iran from getting a bomb? What then David? What would air strikes accomplish if Iran already has at least one or two working nuclear devices purchased from North Korea? True we could degrade their missile capabilities but the bombs won't be touched.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If we do it correctly, any existing weapons are destroyed. It cannot be done with air strikes. It requires and Reconnaissance in Force, that is, go in heavy, don't shoot first, but hammer if fired upon, go, see, eliminate.
Easy to say. Harder to do.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Easy to say. Harder to do."

Especially, when you leave out ironclad, no room for error, human intelligence (not military recon) required to even consider your strategy.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Dear Mr. Goldman,

Oh, how I rue the fact I feel compelled to dredge up that sorry phrase "thinking outside the box." Yet, I so do.
The vast majority of Iran's oil rigs are found offshore in the Persian Gulf, or on small offshore Persian islands. Seizure of these assets, on a partial or total basis, would entail a naval operation. This would involve use of our Special Ops and Navy Seal assets, and perhaps a few Marines. No regular army troops would be required. The Iranians would respond, via small-boat swarming activities, and some off-shore and on-shore missiles. We have excellent defenses against these assets. In approximately 2 weeks time, the contest would be over, a contest, if properly managed, that would include the elimination of the entire Iranian air force, air defenses, and navy. The chance they could re-take the various rigs would be zero.
Game, set, match. The key to the Iranian problem is their greatest asset, oil, which is extremely vulnerable to a relatively minor operation on the part of the U.S. navy. Lock-up their oil, and Iran goes out of business in two weeks' time. Think oil, not nukes. No oil, no nukes, of that you can be sure.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The straits of Hormuz are key to delivering huge quantities of oil all over the world.
Iran has already threatened the security of the straits and were they ever to mine them creating a huge problem for oil tankers to navigate through insurance for tankers navigating the straits would skyrocket. All of a sudden $150 oil is in the realm of reality.
Iran knows this,we know this, zero knows this.He will never take action against iran which could threaten saudi oil flow.
That's why the Saudi loyalty he has shown keeps him from approving the Canadian pipeline more fracking or allowing more oil leases here in the states. Ozero is hell bent on incrementally screwing the country in favor of the saudis and to a certain extent the Russians as well.
We are simply pawns in a big league game.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Top Pentagon planners assume that Iran will acquire nuclear capability. The oil market assigns a probability of around zero that America will attack Iran, as I showed in a recent study for the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs."

USA good Christians know How God has been faithful to the Jews in giving them the promised land that God gave to Abraham. Then they lost that land and became slaves in Egypt . The God was faithful beyond the modern man's ability to believe it really happen with modern man's addiction to his modern pleasures to make him smile.
The Jews lost the land to the King of Babylon God chose to make them slaves for 70 years. Then God chose Cyrus the Persian to free them.
Beast nation after wild beast nation continued to roam the earth Satan the Devil putting in their minds and hearts to destroy the Jew and the Promise God made to them
the Beast Christian nations and the beast Islam nations taken over by Satan the Devil torment the Jew but I believe the True God give them His Great presence to some how endure and also great revelation they keep in mystery.
So today .they have their homeland and the Egyptian people are in slavery. (Slavery not so bad it can make people holy again I believe so they do not go to hell but some go to heaven)
USA Christians know about how the Jews were chosen by God and the GOP can gain millions more of good Christians for the 2016 election and win presidential election
( Please I implore you do not listen to the beast man possessed by demons and end up destroying the GOP . This is my opinion)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
>> Precisely how the United States is supposed to arm “moderate” Syrian Sunnis while keeping weapons out of the hands of the al-Qaeda types who do a disproportionate share of the fighting is an unanswerable question in any case.

But setting up this pretend-impossible conundrum of how to arm the right people and get results in your strategic interests used to be what foreign policy types did. After regime change that you're advocating do you think the choice of who to arm would get any easier? Nope, the same argument would be true after regime change and this type of thinking only determines that the most ruthless or well-backed foe by our adversaries win. Do you think they'll be friendly to us? Not likely. So this supposed perfect conundrum whereby we can't act to aid anyone without also arming Al Queda is something of a canard. The longer the doomed regime lasts in Syria the more Al-Queda will get embedded in the forces participating in the overthrow. And good luck keeping these foreign fighters out of Europe or other friendly places. Many of them are European citizens. Once they get trained and a tast for battle they won't go back the cafe in Denmark.

So though I agree with regime change for the reasons mentioned, I'm not impressed with the logic of Goldman's "unanswerable question". If these questions are unanswerable we're in deep trouble and joining the "bomb them and leave crowd" will just be further evidence of our lack of will and confidence that we have an answer to anything. If the marines hadn't slaughtered so many thousands of Al Queda in Iraq we'd be in deep doodo now. Goldman is just joining the likes of the Libs in pretending nothing good came out of it, but its a self-defeating position to agree with the Libs and still argue for foreign policy intervention of any type. That middle position is untenable. Might as well duck and cover. But at leasts Libs can live with a bomb them from 30k feet approach on a good day, so the main virtue of the position is that they could be brought onboard such a scheme. That worked out great in Gulf War I didn't it? Remember the first attempt on the World Trade Center in '93? Nope, down the memory hole.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"If the marines hadn't slaughtered so many thousands of Al Queda in Iraq we'd be in deep doodo now."

Can you please provide a resource supporting that comment just to validate it a bit so we can better understand the AQ's and AQI fighting in Iraq? Even if one chooses to believe the bunk reported by the CFR and its crony brain tank experts of nation-building, etc., here remains the question: What would AQ and AQI have been in Iraq had we not decided to go in and militarily overthrow the Hussein government? Would there have been a natural progression of civil war among the Sunnis and Shiites led by AQ and AQI?

On the other hand, stupid was, knowing well the demographics of the population as well as the geopolitics of Iraq and the region, expecting a democratic election to rectify and stablize anything. Quite the contrary has proven to be the case as has other states involved in the spring rising movements. Somebody should man-up and declare the obvious of having facillitated the expansion of AQ activities, strategies and motives in the ME region. A collosal nation-building failure!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Zeke1, can you provide a resource supporting the idea that foreign fighters entering Iraq to defeat the US military would have been non-violent where they lived? Nope. Do you have a source supporting the idea that civil war would break out as opposed to be avoided by superior access to resources, material, and training as it did for the previous decades that kept the ruthless Sunnis in power?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Sorry! I have no idea what you're trying to say or ask as being revelant to anything in the Iraq war.

"would foreign fighters entering Iraq to defeat the U.S.... have been non-violent where they lived?" Rather irrelevant, is it not?

Removing Hussein only opend the door to the historic rvial between the sunnis and the shias -- thus, the socalled "foreign fighters" had far more to do with that historic divide and a new opportunity provided by the U.S. to settle old scores of power and dominance, than it did have with the U.S. Thats why it turned out to be more of a 'civil war' for which the U.S then took sides -- siding with the sunnis.......

Iran is about 90% shias! Saddam Hussein was a devout Sunni and ruled in favor of Iraqs minority 15% Sunnie population and in conflict often with the sunni kurds sect and the Iranian majority government and population of Shia. Regardless of what one wants to deem Hussein, his minority Sunni government kept Iran and the majority Shia government in check! Does that give you a better picture of who may have been the "foreign fighters" and their motives? If the U.S. had not involved itself in Iraq there would have been NO civil war under the the iron fisted Hussein and Iran would have continued to be kept in check with the cat-n-mouse game of nuclear weapons developement and chemicals capabilities, etc. The U.S. has now 'lost' its two-prong approach to controlling Iran!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
>> Rather irrelevant, is it not?

Sorry Zeke1, but the transparent "Al Queda wasn't in Iraq before the US went there" isn't relevant to anything but your limited meme. If you think I'm going to be slow in recognizing your "hatred of the West is caused by US policies" you're going to be dissapointed. Why don't you cut to the chase and say it rather than make me point it out?

>> Iran is about 90% shias!

Really! Wow that's amazing! Um, no wait ... it isn't. The Iranian populace is almost entirely secular! I know Iran and Iranians. If the mullahs hadn't destroyed the credibility of Islam and religion generally, which they have, Islam would still be considered a transplant religion for them, and they are wistful for their native Zoastrism! Khomeini, the ultimate power there, is a self-proclaimed pan-Arabist who doesn't give a whit about Iran and everyone knows it. Do your homework dude, or develop some Iranian friends. Your inferences only make sense within your own flawed assumptions. Islamofascists aren't religious no matter where you find them. Ideology transports nicely.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Apparently we are so browbeaten by the public backlash against the blunders in our nation-building exercise that we are afraid to ask the public to support a limited, mainly aerial attack on a terrorist nation on the verge of becoming a nuclear power."

IF the GOP were to definitively devise a new long term foreign relations strategy that terminates and preempts much of the old and failed UN and nation-build strategy, they would be king of the mountains and -- much of the world would be supportive also. In fact, it would be a different world in pretty short order as trust was built.

That said, North Korea and Iran are global problems that need to be settled definitively and come home! Come home and let the world know that if anybody attempts to put the U.S. and its allies economies and peace in jeopardy, we will come calling with the full force of our might and come home. Thats effective foreign policy!

As to the GOP. They have long been joined at the hip of the UK, the CFR and other self serving foreign relations intellectual think tanks, owning the failed nation-buillding strategies and being the worlds police force. The GOP also owns the out of control defense partnered economic machine and all its corruption. The GOP owns the anti-regulating the financial and investment banking and Wall Street with all it corruption. The GOP owns the finance corruption of electoral process. The GOP today, owns a lot of corrupted and failed policies beside the foreign relations policy! A result of economic elites, global nation builders, religious social reformists and qusai anarchists making up the majority of the party today.

So, they as a minority party already, have more than Iran, Iraq or North Korea and nation building problems to deal with going forward as a political party!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Great post. It is a pity that the war (police action?) in Iraq only served to increase the influence of Iran in the region. Unintended consequences indeed.

Sorry Mr. Goldman, conservatives have zero credibility on national security. The Left isn't any better, but at least they haven't waste the same money. Time to draw down the empire, focus on what matters, the people at home.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I agree that our credibility is low. That's the point of the post. I argue that boldness and courage are required to restore our credibility.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"...served to increase the influence of Iran in the region. Unintended consequences indeed.

They knew going in, that Hussein was a formidable deterrent of a hostile Iran. In fact, it was a part of 'our' strategy for the region for a long time. The administration got hoowinked by the expats who had a grand scheme for a new government leadership and reform, then disappeared as the war drug out and the WM 'theory' fell apart. Yet another grand nation-building scheme going awry since 1947.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
We get terror-bombed by Sunnis from Saudi Arabia, and highly unstable Pakistan has had the bomb for years. Naturally we obsess about Iran and treat it as self evidently true that the Iranians are crazy and aggressive.

Does it ever bother anybody in these parts that it is American conservatives, and not the Iranians, who talk casually about bombing other nations? Project much?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
To all Pjmedia readers,
Please don't waste your time responding to Jim Harrishmuck a.k.a. Jim Hitlerson. He has venomous opinions about everything. He thinks he knows everything about everything. He thinks he has the answer to all of the world's problems. He's what Thomas Sowell might call a self-anointed messiah. He's extremely childish. He throws tantrums. He evades questions. He hates Jews and hates Israel. Please don't pay attention, to this immature, malignant, narcissistic, anti-Semitic demagogue.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Pay me now or Pay me later, but you will pay me, my name is destiny. Obama and his progressive feel good minions are once again taking us down the path of appeasement and will back us into a lot of blood. Instead of taking care of the issue now, we will wait for New York or LA to blow up and decide that a million deaths from an Iranian made nuke must be avenged and then the fun really begins. These sorts of Humans never understand human nature and live in their little fantasy worlds full of cowards and fools.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You can't honestly and objectively blame Obama for the more than 60 foreign relations strategies consequences and....the long term foreign relations policies are NOT constructed within any political party! ONLY the consequences at any given time in any given region or nation is handled by a party administration with direct guidance from external and some internal foreign relations and defense policy makers. Far to many people assume far to much presidential direct power and authority than reality and law dictates -- though he is seen as blowing the bulge for the militarys initial charge and that too has limitations.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Zeke,
I appreciate your well thought out comment. Still Obama internally made the decision to pull out ALL of our troops leaving not so much as a guard dog in Iraq thereby IMHO pretty much blowing off the lost lives of our troops and the money spent on this ill informed invasion of a country that in my view was probably one of the best things we had going in the mideast in terms of containing our paranoid and belligerent medieval adversaries. As to our policy of the past 60 years I always wonder who it is that folks would like to see in our thankless role as the world cop and I pray no one makes the naive comment "Well no one, we should all live happily ever after in peace land". That isn't the way it works lads. Someone will fill the void. Who should it be, China, Russia, Argentina, Andorra, India, Venezuela, North Korea, who exactly?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Larsky -- Tried to post a reply to your nice and meaningful comment but ti keeps saying it contains words not allowed. Not a single word remotely comes close of infers something that would not be allowed.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
60 = 60 years
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Pay me now or Pay me later, but you will pay me, my name is destiny. "

Didn't know Destiny posted here, got to check in more often!

So hey, Mr. Destiny (if that is your real name) before we acceot your expertise, just one question...who did you call the election for, Romney or Obama?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Mao Xia, what does that have to do with anything? Some deep thought intended for weak souls like yourself? Trying to pretend that you have some grand intellectual standard for the rest of us that only odd ducks like you understand? Odd fellow indeed are you. Not impressed. But thanks for what ever it is you are trying to share.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I'm not fearful of war, but I do believe that the gradual use of force in these mid-east "adventures" will only weaken our unity and resolve for the real war when it finally forces itself on us.

Make no mistake, war is coming, not some epic break-their-stuff lightning campaign like "Gulf War One" and not some nation-building fiasco like the Iraq or Afghan "wars", but a "kill 'em all and let God sort them out" bloodbath to see who will survive into the future. This war will come whether we want it or not because there are people who are willing to force it on us.

We cannot successfully fight such a war unless the nation is united in purpose. Bullying gradualism divides us.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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