Proving once again that being demonstrably and disastrously wrong on the most important national security questions of the day is no barrier to influence in American politics — provided, of course, that one is always careful to err on the side of war — the Washington Post gives Richard Perle yet another opportunity to be wrong again, this time on Iran.
Echoing the manner in which he calmly assured us of the threat represented by Saddam Hussein’s non-existent WMDs, Perle asserts that “the Iranians… are relentlessly building a nuclear weapons program.” Perle attacks Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for placing too high a value on “coalition building” in dealing with Iran’s nuclear program:
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.
While the above statement is particularly funny coming from the guy who claimed that “we have already won in Iraq” because “Saddam will not be sharing WMD with anyone,” it’s interesting that Perle’s jeremiad against multilateralism is delivered on the day that President Bush essentially acknowledged he had the wrong approach on North Korea for years. Perle now makes the same argument for Iran that people like John Bolton made for North Korea.
After years of ineffective bluster that only allowed North Korea to develop and test a nuclear weapon, today’s step forward on addressing North Korea’s nuclear program proves that tough diplomacy and engagement with adversaries can make America safer.
And the last five years of the Iraq debacle prove that Richard Perle is to be ignored at all costs.