Ok, let’s say I’m the ruler of Iran. The world’s only superpower has listed me as a member of an "axis of evil." Two other countries share that distinction. One, right on my border, had no nuclear deterrents, and was overrun with U. S. forces, its government deposed. The other, with a nuclear deterrent and a ruler who acts crazy enough to make people want to leave him alone, is left alone. What’s more, the U. S. has invaded another of my neighbors, formerly governed by a religious party, and has installed a new government there. They also lacked a nuclear deterrent. Hmmmm. . .
I come from a religious party, and while we have national support, a whole generation of young people in my country are not so crazy about us. They make up an overwhelming proportion of our country. But I’m in luck: despite their modestly pro-Western sympathies, the U. S. has lost an incredible amount of international goodwill, trust and support for invading my neighbor. The U. S. has essentially declared nationalist military power to be the current global order, as opposed to treaties and international law, and the result is most of the world sees the greatest threat to world stability as the United States itself.
This has been very good for me. While the U. S. is bogged down in my neighboring country, it’s in my interests to keep them bogged down there a while. If the U. S. withdraws quickly, conditions in Iraq could destabilize and draw me into a sectarian civil war. That would be very expensive, and probably unpopular at home. We fought a long war with Iraq back in the day, and it was costly and bloody. Better to let the U. S. grind its military down in Iraq. That way, its ground forces grow weaker and cannot take action against my country. My goal is to provide enough destabilization in Iraq to bleed the U. S. for as long as possible, without prompting a pullout.
The best way to promote my own security is to pursue a nuclear deterrent, but not so openly that I shift the balance of world opinion against me. I need to thread the needle. At the same time, if I can provoke the U. S. to drop some bombs on my country, this will further solidify international goodwill against the U. S., accruing to my benefit. What’s more, keeping the U. S. acting like an international belligerent drunk bolsters my support at home: the young people more sympathetic to the West rally to the nation when it’s threatened. And as the U. S. talks about supporting dissenters in my country, dissenters lose domestic support and power. That makes me more secure. What’s more, if the U. S. attacks us, we can bog down the Straight of Hormuz due to our geographic advantages, crippling the world’s and the U. S. oil supply. Even without a nuclear deterrent, in the short term, we have a lot of leverage over the U. S. Things are working out rather nicely.
The worst thing for me would be if the U. S. acted less like a belligerent drunk and became more magnanimous in its cooperation with its traditional allies. The U. S. has built up a huge store of ill will in the last five and a half years, and that won’t evaporate overnight, but as long as Bush and the Republicans are in power, I have little risk that the U. S. will pursue a more sober international policy. My domestic situation is likely to be secure as long as Bush and his party remain in charge. And since they justified their attack against Iraq based on lies, claims they make about me will be widelydiscounted.
Still, the U. S. is trying to make a play for international support through its new negotiating ploy, but that will fail. Indeed, it was designed to fail: the terms of the deal offered to me are not serious. They would require that my country essentially renounce the pursuit of nuclear development designed for peaceful energy use, a clear violation of the Nuclear No-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The international community already recognizes this, so the U. S. has made a hollow offer designed to fail, as a prelude to bombing. A transparently cynical maneuver, if anything, this "offer" has strengthened my hand. Cheney and his people still run the show, and that’s good for me. They’re just trying to shore up their own domestic support for their militaristic plans, as their domestic political support has imploded. So, I should pretend to consider this proposal for a while, to keep up appearances, before rejecting it out of hand as irresponsible. That keeps up my image on the international front while strengthening the Bush/Cheney regime.
Okay. . . let me look at this from the American perspective again:
The Republicans have clearly weakened the United States, making us a rogue superpower on the international stage. Even our allies see the need to limit our power to prevent us from destabilizing the world order even further, as we have totally screwed up the world’s geopolitical powder keg in the Middle East. We cannot achieve our international goals through unilateral military power, and yet our so-called leadership does not recognize, at all, the limits of military power. Meanwhile, our ports are not secure, we mint new multi-generational enemies every day through our brutal tactics against civilians and civilian populations, we’re spending ourselves into an insane amount of debt to support our imperialistic pretensions and our military is near the point of collapse. Oh, and how ’bout those loose nukes?
The truth is inescapable: there is no strengh or security to be had through Republican leadership, period. The Republicans are not the party of strength and security. They are the party of weakness and failure.
Oh, and by the way: it’s a very good idea to become a regular reader of retired U. S. Navy Commander Jeff Huber at his blog, Pen and Sword. Bookmark him. You’ll thank me.