Monday, April 14, 2008

Rubin Op-Ed

Via Foreign Affairs

Michael Rubin has a generally wrong op-ed in the WSJ, but it has a few nuggets worth considering.  His thesis in a nutshell:  Democratic presidential candidates pose as realists, but their emphasis on diplomacy as opposed to military force makes them idealists.  Rubin implies this makes them more dangerous then the fantasist George Bush.

The problems with this thesis are clear.  Neither of the Democratic candidates have indicated a desire to disband the U.S. military.  They have not even indicated a desire to reduce military funding from it's current astronomical levels.  In fact, the only policy proposal from a Democratic candidate that Rubin cites is Obama's advocacy of aggressive diplomacy with Iran.

What is Rubin's take on Iran?

Attacking Iran isn't a viable option because it would likely only delay, not eliminate, Tehran's nuclear program. Risking the blowback from an attack would only be productive if there was a strategy to use the interim period to end the threat posed by the regime's ideology. Until there is a regime-change strategy, a military strike would merely allow politicians to put off conducting a serious national security debate.

In other words, to topple the government of Iran. 


Snarkage:  Rubin pushes the combination of threatening military force with diplomacy.  Is there a better example of successfully executing this strategy then Bill Clinton with North Korea and Iraq?  Is there a better example of the perils of this strategy then George W. Bush?

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