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Thursday, July 28, 2005

Armscontrolwonk on the power of bureaucrats

We're now occupying one member of the Axis of Evil, and engaged in frustrating six-party talks with another. But the third member of this dark triumvirate, Iran, has been negotiating largely with Europe; thanks to Jeffrey Lewis' sharp eyes, we have an insight into this front in the GWOT/GSAVE - and it's possibly positive.

If the very fact that organized negotiations among international institutions and domestic Iranian institutions caused the Iranians to moderate their own bureaucracy towards international comity then it seems pretty clear: the further Bush/Cheney are from a problem, a problem, a problem, the better. That's what coalition building and international institutions can sometimes do for you Mr. Bolton.


Blogger strategery4 said...

Well, this is a bit weak. My understanding is that it's the implicit threat of tougher U.S. action that is helping keep the mullahs at the bargaining table with the Eurotrash. (How credible that threat is in light of how bogged down we are in Iraq, I don't know.)

The truth is you generally need both elements -- diplomacy and the threat of force -- working in tandem. We were doing a reasonably good job of that in Iraq until early 2003. Perhaps this was unintentional -- supposedly the hawks in the Admin thought Saddam would reject inspections, I guess because he "obviously" had so much to hide -- but work it did.

Of course, if we'd let the inspections run their course we could have avoided this whole mess. My understanding, based on no insider info, was that the UN inspectors were going to the places the U.S. said they should look based on all our great intel . . . and finding bupkus. Nevertheless we went in.

Why this is not a bigger stink now I have no idea either. The whole argument seems to be (1) you lied about the intelligance and (2) no we didn't, everybody thought he had WMD even the Dems. (And the MSM basically seems to cover it that way, in the interest of "balance.")

That (point (2)) was true in the fall of 2002. By the spring of 2003, though, we had better info. Acting precipitously THEN was the key mistake, not sexing up the intel before that. What was lied about, if anything, was the inspection results. There, I said it.

7/28/2005 10:38 PM  
Blogger cornhuskerblogger said...

i agree with point 1, but i think the lies extend far beyond merely the results of inspections. Even just on the inspections, the WH and W have repeatedly lied -- arguing that Saddam threw them out of country when in fact they were yanked by a war-hungry administration eager to get its guns on. Agreed that the threat of force adds a measure of efficacy to negotiations, but i don't think iran ever thought it was in the clear by defying international community. the point is, a good one i think, that non-violent engagement has its rewards even with evildoers. and your point about the MSM's coverage of the issue, for the sake of `balance,' i think is head-of-the-nail accurate. makes me want to cry, or cancel my subscriptions in a bout of rage.

7/29/2005 7:24 AM  
Blogger strategery4 said...

Yeah, I don't think we really disagree here that much. On the inspectors, though, didn't they get "kicked out" in 1998? I think that characterization is historically accurate. To which war-hungry Administration were you referring (snerk)?

7/29/2005 4:43 PM  
Blogger cornhuskerblogger said...

definitely need to be more specific. so many war mongerers running around. i can't keep track myself.

7/29/2005 5:27 PM  

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