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Thursday, June 26, 2008

The 'multilateral approach' to Iran is failing

In today's Washington Post, Richard Perle points out why Condoleezza Rice's adoption of Barak Hussein Obama's multilateral approach to foreign policy is failing.
The problem, rather, is a dangerous confusion between ends and means, and it is a confusion shared by Condi Rice and Barack Obama. Coalitions, even successful multilateral ones, are instruments, tools, means to an end. They are important and useful, sometimes essential, but they are not, and must not be seen as, ends in themselves. Confusion on this point can lead to claims of success when failure is staring you in the face.

How else should we judge progress as we seek to end Iran's drive for nuclear weapons and its support for terrorism? We have a multilateral coalition. It is "united." But it has not, and almost certainly will not, do the thing for which it has arduously been put together.

Building multilateral coalitions entails compromise: to entice countries to join, to keep them on board, to order priorities, to achieve consensus on an action plan. Sometimes the compromises are worth it because the coalition goes on to achieve an objective that we could not possibly have achieved alone. Sometimes they are not, as when members are unwilling or unable to take effective measures and our own freedom of action is encumbered -- or worse, when satisfaction at having created a multilateral coalition becomes a substitute for achieving our objective. That is the case as the united multilateral coalition "confronts" Iran.

One can argue whether we alone can prevent an "unforgivable betrayal of future generations," as President Bush has put it. But the way to develop strategy for doing that begins by recognizing that the multilateral approach is failing. Seven and a half years after denouncing Iran's nuclear weapons program, a hapless president and his coalition can only look on while the Iranians rush to the finish line.

Art for art's sake is beautiful. Multilateralism for its own sake is not.
Perle is right of course. The mystery is why the administration is doing this after the American people rejected the same approach to international relations when it was proposed by John Kerry in the 2004 elections.


At 4:29 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

The Europeans and the Russians are not going to give up their lucrative trade with Iran out of a concern for the Jews. Does the U.S really think they would come on board if the time ever came to strike Iran with military force? Yeah, right.

At 5:27 AM, Blogger FluffResponse said...

what will be shown to be unforgivable was the acceptance of the Pakistani bomb.

a "war against terrorism"? silly. it should be a war against agressive jihad; and the implication for how to deal with muslim states should be obvious.


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