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Monday, February 22, 2010

New Fareed Zakaria Article In The Washington Post

The Washington Post has added a new article by Fareed Zakaria titled "Why Iran's Dictators Can Be Deterred.". Here's an excerpt. Click here for the full article.

Sarah Palin has a suggestion for how Barack Obama can save his presidency. "Say he decided to declare war on Iran," she said on Fox News this month. "I think people would perhaps shift their thinking a little bit and decide, well, maybe he's tougher than we think he is today." Such talk is in the air again. Palin was picking up the idea from Daniel Pipes, a neoconservative Middle East expert who suggested a strike would reverse Obama's political fortunes. (Actually, Palin attributed the idea to Patrick Buchanan, but she obviously entirely misreadBuchanan's column, which opposed Pipes's suggestion. It's getting tiresome to keep pointing out her serial gaffes, but Palin does appear to be running for president.)

The International Atomic Energy Agency warned last week of its "concerns" that the Iranian regime was moving to acquire a nuclear-weapons capability, not just nuclear energy. But this does not change the powerful calculus against a military strike, which would most likely delay the Iranian program by only a few years. And then there are the political consequences. The regime would gain support as ordinary Iranians rally around the flag. The opposition would be forced to support a government under attack from abroad. The regime would foment and fund violence from Afghanistan to Iraq and across the Persian Gulf. The price of oil would skyrocket -- which, ironically, would help Tehran pay for all these operations.

It is important to recognize the magnitude of what people like Palin are advocating. The United States is being asked to launch a military invasion of a state that poses no imminent threat to America, without sanction from any international body and with few governments willing to publicly endorse such an action. Al-Qaeda and its ilk would present it as the third American invasion of a Muslim nation in a decade, proof positive that the United States is engaged in a war of civilizations. Moderate Arab states and Muslim governments everywhere would be on the defensive. And as Washington has surely come to realize, wars unleash forces that cannot be predicted or controlled.

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