One good thing that might have come from the debacle in Iraq is that it may have forced the adminstration to deal more realistically with Iran and North Korea.
Not too long ago, the Bush administration started banging the war drums and rattling their sabers at Iran. Many conservatives were ready to jump on the Bomb Iran Bandwagon. But the logistical nightmare we are facing with most of our military resources currently bogged down in the Iraqi quagmire made such a move not just unwise (which would not have been enough to stop this administration) but practically impossible.
So now we find the administration pursuing an Iran policy that is very similar to the one the Clinton administration
used in regards to North Korea. Amazing how that works. We are actually forced to use diplomacy, rather than military muscle to push Iran in the direction it needs to go to stay in good graces with the rest of the world. I’m quite certain that if President Gore or President Kerry were pursuing this exact same policy with Iran today, conservatives would be absolutely hysterical.
What this reminds me of is the conservative’s “Starve the Beast” policy with regards to domestic politics. The idea there is that by allowing the federal deficit to balloon out of control, lawmakers are forced to stop spending money on new domestic programs and cutback on funding current programs. Could it be that the Bush administration has inadvertently created a “Starve the Beast” situation with regards to U.S. foreign policy by miring our military in the Iraqi tar pit such that we cannot use them to address other world crisis’ as they crop up? This could be both good and bad. Good if diplomacy is the most desirable option and this situation forces administration hawks to go that route. Bad if such diplomacy requires a credible threat of force which is now lacking because people can see that our military is pre-occupied with the mess in Iraq.