Thursday, September 18, 2003

Michael Ledeen Gets It Too

I don't share Michael Ledeen's vision of giving aid and succor to the internal Iranian resistance (what little there is of it) as means of bringing about the downfall of the theocracy that is currently ruling that country, but this National Review article of his is actually to the point: as Ledeen points out, Iran's entire strategy right now is to play for time by drawing things out with the United Nations, even as it feverishly works on putting together the finishing touches on its' nuclear weapons program.

If there was ever a clearer case in which unilateral military aggression was called for, it would have to be with Iran and its' nuclear ambitions. Nuclear weapons in the hands of theocrats should scare the living daylights out of anyone, especially the Europeans who are within range of the latest generation of Iran's Shahab missiles. Alarm bells should be ringing in London, Berlin and Paris about Iran's intentions, and there is some (limited) evidence that these governments are beginning to pay some attention to the issue, but more jaw-jawing isn't enough. Frankly, I find it ridiculous that America, which is not even directly threatened by Iran's weapons as yet, should be taking the threat more seriously than the European powers that are. What are the leaders of these countries thinking? Do they imagine that a nuclear-armed Iran will have any compunctions about threatening Europe? To the theocrats who run that country, one Western infidel is as good as another, and Paris will serve just as well as Washington D.C. as a nuclear hostage.

Ledeen says that the Bush administration has no intention of attacking Iran, and, unfortunately, I believe him. Given the current difficulties in Iraq, the gigantic budget deficit I have already mentioned, and presidential elections coming up in just over a year, few prospects must seem less appetizing than taking on yet another war in the Middle East. And yet, something must be done, and who better to do it than the Europeans whose lives are most endangered by the Iranian nuclear program? If a joint European defense capability really means anything, this is a good opportunity to put it to the test. Europe has been a security free-rider on America for far too long, and it isn't as if it lacks either the men or the money to deal forcefully with the Iranian threat. Nevertheless, I suspect that France will not be able to resist the temptation to seize yet another opportunity to thumb its' nose at the hated Americans, rather than condescend to the very same sort of "simplistic" unilateral aggression that has ensured that no one in Europe will be living in fear of being incinerated by an Iraqi thermonuclear warhead.