Saturday, December 09, 2006

Let's Take Annihilation Out of the Equation

In reviewing candidates and issues for the 2008 Presidential Election, the Iraq situation - as distinguished from the fight against international terrorism - is and will be the leading topic, even if it's in hindsight. Here's my thinking:
  • Nothing dramatic is going to happen in Iraq except a steady slide downward.

  • Democrats and Republicans will go along with the Iraq Study Group's 79 proposals and negotiate with President Bush and new Secretary of Defense Gates some semi-satisfactory actions that will slowly take effect.

  • As Senator Feingold recently said: "Unfortunately, while the Iraq Study Group's report recognizes that the Administration's policy is not working, it doesn't correct the myopic focus on Iraq that has so dangerously weakened our national security."

  • Israel is likely to continue it's paranoid policy of self-preservation at any cost, periodically signaling their neighbors to seriously worry about being attacked.

  • Iran is getting a free ride (and it's fervent wish to merge all Shiites into one region) while all of this is going on and making the most of it by outrageous provocations, threats and proclamations.

  • Hezbollah is progressively taking over (and likely to succeed at taking over) the entire government of Lebanon.

  • No leader anywhere - within the U.S., at the UN, or worldwide - is passionately proposing a solution... any solution.

  • There's no chance of Congress withholding funding of additional Iraq expenditures so the saga will continue, properly funded. Perhaps with more attention to veteran's costs and benefits.

  • The King of Saudi Arabia is worriedly saying that the region is ready to blow up. What he didn't say is that in addition to Wahhabism being the State Religion of Saudi Arabia, it was he and the previous King that started, funded and provided instructors for the 15,000 +/- religious Madrases schools that populate the Muslim world and provide a breeding ground for worldwide radical fundamentalists.
Everyone is threatening everyone with annihilation, often nuclear annihilation. So... what would happen if we took annihilation out of the equation? What if some passionate statesman somewhere - perhaps at the UN, perhaps here in the US - were to make a comprehensive suggestion that Iran AND Israel get rid of their nuclear weapons and that the UN not only verifies the removal but also promises to secure and protect both countries and the surrounding region? Imagine an Al Gore-type statesman presenting and proposing his Iraq solution with similar passion, data and clout.

If the nuclear alternative were eliminated, would people then have no choice but to sit down at the table and honestly talk?

Every candidate for president, Rep, Dem or whatever, I look for that passion, that plan, that suggestion or set of ideas, that intensity and strength of character to pursue this goal until it or something better actually happens. Senator Feingold has dropped out of the race; Howard Dean isn't going to run either... I've got to admit that nobody thus far qualifies. But I'm hopeful. Perhaps naively so.