O’Hanlon Grades Bush On Iran: ‘I Would Give Him A Gentleman’s B’

In 2003, Iran sent the White House a detailed proposal for comprehensive negotiations to resolve bilateral differences, including an offer to suspend nuclear enrichment. The White House rejected the offer out of hand, going so far as to “reprimand the Swiss ambassador for having delivered” the message.

Over the next few years, the Bush administration had no formal Iran policy, and only recently embraced high-level talks with Iran to discuss the future course of Iraq. But even as it has slowly embraced engagement with Iran, the White House’s policy has been marked by war-mongering threats.

The National Intelligence Estimate revealed that the White House was trumpeting false threats about Iran’s nuclear program. Most recently, the administration has resorted to fear-mongering over the alleged “provocative and dramatic” encounter between five Iranian speedboats and three major U.S. warships in the Strait of Hormuz. For all this, Brookings “scholar” Michael O’Hanlon awards the Bush administration a “gentleman’s B” for its handling of Iran:

Michael O’Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said he was not convinced Bush should be blamed for failure with Iran.

He said the Bush administration has done a “reasonable job” supporting European diplomacy and gradually tightening sanctions “as hard as it is to get Russia and China along.”

“It has not been a dramatic failure,” O’Hanlon said in an interview. “I would give him a gentleman’s B.”

O’Hanlon doesn’t stop there with his praise for Bush’s foreign policy. In an op-ed in yesterday’s Washington Times, he gave the recent de-Baathification reform a “grade of B+.” Recall, those reforms passed by the Iraqi parliament “could actually exclude more former Baathists than it lets back in.” The Washington Post reports the “law could set off a new purge of ex-Baathists.”


It’s no surprise that O’Hanlon is eager to show his affinity for President Bush. What is surprising is that he restrained himself from giving the President straight As.

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