Thursday, July 20, 2006

Whither Bush Doctrine?

Andrew McCarthy pulls no punches excoriating the seemingly quiet death of the Bush Doctrine.

On May 31, 2006, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made the startling announcement that the United States would end a decades-old policy of refusing to engage in direct negotiations with the Islamic Republic of Iran. The shift appeared to run directly counter to the “Bush Doctrine” first articulated by the president in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

That doctrine, highlighted with great moral clarity a year later in “The National Security Strategy of the United States,” asserts that: “The United States will make no concessions to terrorist demands and strike no deals with them. We make no distinction between terrorists and those who knowingly harbor or provide aid to them.”....

By this explication, there can be no worse enemy of the United States than Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. No nation, then, is more worthy of pariah status — no negotiations and no deals. Iran, after all, has scoffed at the Bush Doctrine. It has continued to pull the strings of Hezbollah, the terrorist organization it owns and coordinates with Syria — the terrorist organization which works with al Qaeda and which, like al Qaeda, has a history of bombing American embassies and American military installations, in addition to kidnapping, torturing and murdering American government officials...

It was thus puzzling, to say the least, that the administration would choose to reward this heinous behavior with a seat at the negotiating table — certainly absent an unambiguous, verifiable foreswearing of terror promotion.
The proposal is a desperate petition, calling on the mullahs and Ahmadinejad only to abandon their quest for nuclear weapons. There is nothing about terrorism. And the overture is surely futile. Russia and China have exhibited no stomach for meaningful penalties if the blandishments fail to do the trick. Quite apart from that, though, why would Iran accede to demands when its intransigence has already resulted in the abandonment of what was purported to be a foundational tenet of U.S. foreign policy during the war on terror?
Remarkably, it would make verification of what would be Iran’s reciprocal obligations to end enrichment activity and other nuclear-weapons development totally dependent on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). For a sense of what a fabulous arrangement that would be, this story from Die Welt is instructive. It recounts how the Iranian regime systematically obstructs inspectors from performing their work. More significantly, it reports that IAEA’s leader, Mohammed El-Baradei, who is notoriously hostile to the Bush administration, bowed to Iran’s demand that the chief IAEA inspector in Iran be forced out. (Not surprisingly, the IAEA is said to have attempted to suppress publication of the story.)

[T]he underlying logic of the Bush Doctrine was that rewarding terrorists and their rogue state benefactors with negotiations and concessions inevitably encourages more of their barbarism. Firmness is the only language they understand. As top terror recipients of Iran’s largesse wage war with Israel, it’s worth asking whether we’ve forgotten that.

Deeply saddening.

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