Friday, June 30, 2006

Nuclear Iran

Richard Perle is one of the guiding lights of NeoCon foreign policy. He is currently out of office, but he maintains a presence in the capital and speaks his mind on the Bush policy in the middle east. This does not mean that his mind is right, of course, or that Bush is right. Perle merely speaks from a set of postulates that he believes are coherent and interconsistent. He is wrong, of course, ... as usual.

Perle had an article in last Sunday's Washington Post which you should not have missed. The Post is welcome to run this stuff. It is a classic study in the threadbare and tattered ideology of the latter day American Empire. Perle wrote ...

So, after declaring that a nuclear Iran was "unacceptable," Bush blinked and authorized the E.U.-3 to approach Tehran with proposals to reward the mullahs if they promised to end their nuclear weapons program.

Perle blames the "blink" all on Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, about whom he explains

Condoleezza Rice has moved from the White House to Foggy Bottom, a mere mile or so away. What matters is not that she is further removed from the Oval Office; Rice's influence on the president is undiminished. It is, rather, that she is now in the midst of -- and increasingly represents -- a diplomatic establishment that is driven to accommodate its allies even when (or, it seems, especially when) such allies counsel the appeasement of our adversaries.

Perle, like many in the conservative bullpen, believe that diplomacy is hogwash and diplomats fools. He, like Cheney and Rumsfeld, believe that history is made by select advisors and other non-Constitutional officers taking up the reins and riding a horse hard into the fray. They have little patience with established lines and communications. Ultimately, Perle and his ilk believe in the Great Man Theory of history ... as long as they are the handlers of the great one.

You see, Richard Perle wants us to believe that President Reagan sank the USSR single-handedly, that it was his bluff and bluster that forced Gorbachev to liberalize and to reform, and that ultimately Reagan pushed Gorbachev over the edge of the cliff. This, of course, overlooks the fact that 55 years of rule by thugs of the CPSU had transformed Russia from a country on the brink (1910) of evolutionary industrialization into a state planned economy, which was more like a shell game of resource allocation than a real economy. The USSR collapsed of its own ponderous bureaucratic weight and ironically of the destitution of its infrastructure. It never did work as a whole, and the Soviets and their people knew it. It was a house of cards, industrialized over the dead bodies of millions, eleven time zones wide and a minute deep.

Now Perle overlooks the weaknesses and strengths of Iran and sees a new kind of "Great Man" politics for George W. Bush in the middle east, a person who can posture and shake his big stick at the mullahs and ayatollahs of Iran until they, too, collapse in a heap of unraveled turbans. Well, Iran is nothing like the USSR. And the Europeans are correct in their belief that nuking Iran to keep them from the brotherhood of nuclear weapon-bearing nations would be counterproductive to say the least, the beginning of a protracted war drawn partly along religious lines and partly along natural resources lines, the final outcome of which cannot be foreseen, but the stoking of terrorism from it completely assured.

By sheer luck and circumstance the American policy on Iran is slowly building from some stark realizations about the jack boot nonsense of Perle and the rest of the Empire makers. The fact is that the American Army cannot now or in the near- or mid-term future invade Iran, hold even the smallest territory within Iran, or carry out "surgical" operations. Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld have exhausted the Army in Iraq. It is basically off the chess board, whether Perle understands this or not. The U.S. Air Force, when it is not busy worshipping Jesus as an early Jimmy Doolittle, is fully capable of reducing Iran to radio-active rubble, of course. And, the U.S. Navy could do the job as well from carriers and submarines. The result would be $25/gallon gasoline on Day One of the aftermath, swiftly escalating to prices that will bring the western world economies to their knees and elbows! Iran is not completely helpless; the Straits of Hormuz will be closed for months, if not years. Oil from the Persian Gulf will dry up and so will the EU and US economies ... and civilizations.

Perle somehow thinks that bluster and bluff will do it again. It will not. It did not do the deed the first time. He is wrong; he has read history through PNAC lenses and his distorted version has become a mantra of perverse puerile dreams. Perle's article will be referred to, however, so be ready to hear this baloney again and again.