Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow and prominent neoconservative Max Boot has surfaced on Foreign Policy magazine’s website this week, bemoaning the unpopularity of the Bush Doctrine despite its disastrous results in Iraq.
Taking advantage of hindsight, Boot says that if only the world had taken seriously warnings about Hitler’s Germany and later al Qaeda, the catastrophes that they created could have been avoided. Boot then refers to two bipartisan congressional reports that have issued stern warnings regarding terrorist and nuclear threats from Iran and Pakistan. Claiming that diplomacy is failing in Iran and the “current approach” in Pakistan’s tribal areas is not working, Boot concludes that only one option remains — attack:
For all the empty talk of “tough diplomacy,” the uncomfortable reality is that there is only one option that in the short term is likely to forestall Iran from going nuclear: airstrikes on its atomic installations. [...]
“Preemption lite” — the current approach of picking off terrorist leaders [in Pakistan] with armed Predator drones — can help to weaken and slow the jihadists, but it can hardly defeat them. That would, in all likelihood, require an invasion of western Pakistan, perhaps accompanied by preemptive airstrikes on Pakistan’s nuclear installations.
Recognizing the enormity of his plan, Boot backs off slightly on Pakistan, calling his idea “unthinkable” and one that would “make even the most hawkish of analysts turn dovish.” But recalling the threats ignored from Hitler and bin Laden, he adds, “we lack the imagination to see the costs of inaction.”
Given that Defense Secretary Robert Gates (whom President-elect Obama has asked to stay on in his administration) has said that war with Iran would be “disastrous” and “the last thing we need,” it is probably safe to assume that he feels the same way about attacking Pakistan’s nuclear facilities.
Nonetheless, it’s also probably safe to assume (thankfully) that no one in the Obama administration will be taking advice from a guy (Boot) who once erroneously claimed Iran was training Al-Qaeda in Iraq, compared walled Baghdad to gated American communities, supported the Pentagon’s war propaganda program, thinks “bellicose aura[s]” achieve peace, and just knew (how, no one knows) that Iranian leadership hoped that Obama would win last November.