Can we talk?

It is truly amazing that people who were in positions of authority during the Clinton administration continue to lecture President Bush on how to handle national security problems that are a direct result of their failed policies.  The latest to continue this tradition is Robert E. Hunter, who is a senior advisor at the Rand Corporation, and who was the US ambassador to NATO from 1993 to 1998.  In a piece in the Los Angeles Times, Hunter counsels against military action against Iran's expanding nuclear program, and instead recommends that

Iran needs to understand that it would not be attacked if it gave up the bomb, that regime change is not a U.S. precondition for a changed relationship and that Iran's rejoining the international community — economically and politically — is possible if it takes a series of clear, precise and reasonable steps, especially an end to support for terrorism.

In short, we just need to talk this over with Iran, and if they play nice, then we won't attack.  Of course, we won't take action against the Iranian regime either; we'll just assume they will do what we ask.  This kind of non—policy is precisely how we got into this mess in the first place.  During the time Mr. Hunter was US Ambassador to NATO, the Clinton administration ignored Iranian initiatives to secure  and dominate the strategic waterways in the Central Region.  He now believes that more of the same will solve this decade—old problem, in addition to convincing Iran to give up its nuclear aspirations.

Hunter's main concern though, appears to be that we did not have enough discussion prior to the Iraq war, and that we must now have a thorough debate in the public forum about Iran.

Americans must have the debate about Iran that we did not have about Iraq.  It needs to center on choices about long—term strategy toward the Middle East.

This is truly an incredible statement, coming from a man who worked for an administration that had absolutely no long—term strategy in the Central Region, other than the flawed policy of  'engagement.'  Perhaps Mr. Hunter can explain how successful this policy was in preventing Iran from out—maneuvering the US in the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea during the 90s.

If this is the best Rand has to offer our decision makers, I hope he isn't currently on a government contract to think this stuff up.  If he is, we need to get our money back.

Douglas Hanson is our military affairs correspondent

It is truly amazing that people who were in positions of authority during the Clinton administration continue to lecture President Bush on how to handle national security problems that are a direct result of their failed policies.  The latest to continue this tradition is Robert E. Hunter, who is a senior advisor at the Rand Corporation, and who was the US ambassador to NATO from 1993 to 1998.  In a piece in the Los Angeles Times, Hunter counsels against military action against Iran's expanding nuclear program, and instead recommends that

Iran needs to understand that it would not be attacked if it gave up the bomb, that regime change is not a U.S. precondition for a changed relationship and that Iran's rejoining the international community — economically and politically — is possible if it takes a series of clear, precise and reasonable steps, especially an end to support for terrorism.

In short, we just need to talk this over with Iran, and if they play nice, then we won't attack.  Of course, we won't take action against the Iranian regime either; we'll just assume they will do what we ask.  This kind of non—policy is precisely how we got into this mess in the first place.  During the time Mr. Hunter was US Ambassador to NATO, the Clinton administration ignored Iranian initiatives to secure  and dominate the strategic waterways in the Central Region.  He now believes that more of the same will solve this decade—old problem, in addition to convincing Iran to give up its nuclear aspirations.

Hunter's main concern though, appears to be that we did not have enough discussion prior to the Iraq war, and that we must now have a thorough debate in the public forum about Iran.

Americans must have the debate about Iran that we did not have about Iraq.  It needs to center on choices about long—term strategy toward the Middle East.

This is truly an incredible statement, coming from a man who worked for an administration that had absolutely no long—term strategy in the Central Region, other than the flawed policy of  'engagement.'  Perhaps Mr. Hunter can explain how successful this policy was in preventing Iran from out—maneuvering the US in the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea during the 90s.

If this is the best Rand has to offer our decision makers, I hope he isn't currently on a government contract to think this stuff up.  If he is, we need to get our money back.

Douglas Hanson is our military affairs correspondent