Friday, August 19, 2005

Failure of Assumptions

The assumptions of this article are interesting. It says the President's strategy of confronting the Axis of Evil is failing:

President Bush's campaign against what he once termed the "axis of evil" has suffered reverses on all three fronts in recent days that underscore the profound challenges confronting him 3 1/2 years after he vowed to take action.

First, multilateral talks orchestrated by the United States to pressure North Korea to give up nuclear weapons adjourned last week after 13 days without agreement. Then Iran restarted its program to convert uranium, in defiance of the United States and Europe. Finally, negotiators in Iraq failed to draft a new constitution by Monday's deadline amid an unrelenting guerrilla war against U.S. forces.

I find this fascinating. Chalking up the failure of the North Koreans to agree during this latest round of talks after cheating on the 1994 agreement as a failure of the President seems to assume that we can talk our way out of this problem. I certainly don't think that. I'm fine with talking as long as at the end of the day we smile, shake hands, and walk away from the pressure evident in this article to just come to an agreement--anything at all--because that's what you do when you talk. Let North Korea die. And smile as they collapse.

As for Iran, how is Europe's failure to deal with Iran by their means an indictment of our policies? We've been told how all moderate the Iranians are and that if we just talked, we'd solve the problems. Shouldn't the reasonable Euros have made tremendous progress? Guess again Sparky. The Iranians are going for broke and sophisticated Euro appeasement didn't stop them and won't slow them down:

"Thanks to the negotiations with Europe," [Iran's chief nuclear affairs negotiator, Hossein Musavian] bragged, "we gained another year, in which we completed...Isfahan." This was quite a coup, at least in Musavian's humble opinion: "We suspended (the enrichment program) in Isfahan in October 2004, although we were required to do so in October 2003...Today we are in a position of power: (the program) in Isfahan is complete and UF4 and UF6 gases are being produced. We have a stockpile of products, and...we have managed to convert 36 tons of yellow cake into gas and store it..."

As for Iraq, the Iraqis will hammer out an agreement. I'm all for deadlines but sometimes they can't be met. At least they are all talking about compromises and I imagine something will happen and it will be acceptable. Merely getting in the habit of talking out differences is a good experience for all involved.

I think this article says more about Baker and Linzer than the President.

I dare say, Victor Hanson has it right when he says that our methods in Iraq and Afghanistan will endure history's scrutiny better than those who love talking and nicely bound reports with brightly colored ribbons to show for their efforts:

A responsible Iran and the Europeans may hammer out a peaceful partnership. And the North Koreans could put away their weapons and begin reunification with the South. In contrast, Afghanistan and Iraq could descend into even more chaos, confirming the belief of many that imposing U.S. solutions on complex indigenous problems in these countries was a mistake.

Or then again, Gaza, Iran and North Korea may become the fountainheads of deadly misery well beyond their borders. Meanwhile, Iraq and Afghanistan, thanks in large part to the thousands of American soldiers risking their lives to ensure that elections are not derailed, may settle down to enjoy the first constitutional governments in the Middle East--in the manner that democratic Japan, Germany, Italy, South Korea, Panama and the Balkans are now more stable after U.S. resolve and sacrifices.For now, I doubt whether Palestinians, Iranians and North Koreans will be pacified by the deference of others. Sooner or later they may well have their own rendezvous with the quiet Americans now in the shadows.

I trust this President is serious about dealing with Iran and North Korea and preventing them from remaining threats to American life and liberty. Failure would be a betrayal of his oath of office. I think my trust is well placed. Even if action remains in the shadows for now, I think we will next address Iran. Don't assume that there will be no storm after this calm.