WHEN IS IT NOT TIME TO BOMB IRAN?

John Bolton has a very important op-ed in The Washington Post today:

Those who oppose Iran acquiring nuclear weapons are left in the near term with only the option of targeted military force against its weapons facilities. Significantly, the uprising in Iran also makes it more likely that an effective public diplomacy campaign could be waged in the country to explain to Iranians that such an attack is directed against the regime, not against the Iranian people. This was always true, but it has become even more important to make this case emphatically, when the gulf between the Islamic revolution of 1979 and the citizens of Iran has never been clearer or wider. Military action against Iran's nuclear program and the ultimate goal of regime change can be worked together consistently.

Bolton mocks those who are in favor of continued engagement as "theologically committed" to such a course, even though he's certain it won't lead anywhere. Robert Farley and Matthew Yglesias have both expressed skepticism about whether meaningful engagement is possible with Iran post-crackdown, but it doesn't necessarily follow that bombing is in our interest, given our continued involvement in Iraq and the devastation a bombing would cause. It also probably wouldn't work; the consequences of a failed bombing would be pretty catastrophic both for the people of Iran and our relationships in the region, and it would reinforce the legitimacy of the regime at a time when it is struggling to maintain it.

Of course, "theologically committed" could also describe Bolton, who has expressed support for bombing Iran for years now, so it's hard to take seriously his proposal that now is actually the opportune moment to bomb Iran. At the very least, we've come to see an addition to the GOP policy agenda, which for a while was simply "cut taxes." Now we have:

1. Cut Taxes

2. Bomb Iran

 Can't wait for the white paper.

-- A. Serwer

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