Everybody knows that IF Iran developed nuclear weapons, and IF Iran put them on missiles, and IF Iran fired them at Europe, jet bombers would turn Iran into a howling wilderness of radioactive dust in short order. So why on earth is Bush insisting on placing anti-ballistic missile systems in Eastern Europe to "protect" Europe from an Iranian attack?
Everybody in the world also seems to know that President George W. Bush's proposed "missile defense" for Poland and the Czech Republic is nothing more than an aggressive attempt to gain strategic advantage and enhance the United States' first strike ability in the Middle East and elsewhere. The Dick Cheney maniacs want the capability to launch a first strike on Iran and then shoot down whatever surviving missiles Iran might be able to get off the ground with missile defense systems.
When Secretary of State Condi Rice and Secretary of Defense Bob Gates traveled to Russia recently they found themselves deservedly upbraided by President Vladimir Putin. After keeping them waiting like school children for about 40 minutes he harangued them with a good scolding about all the belligerence and bluster that Our Dear Leader has unleashed in his part of the world.
The loud yelps for an attack on Iran coming from John Bolton, Joe Lieberman, Ben Netanyahu, and a thousand other right-wing fanatics have finally sparked a stern rebuke and diplomatic warning from a major power. "Stop the saber rattling and military threats for a minute and please try to start behaving like a civilized nation," seems to be what Putin was saying. Then Putin jumped on a plane and headed straight for Tehran. "We should not even think of making a use of [military] force in this region," Putin said during his summit meetings with the highest leaders of Iran. "Not only should we reject the use of force, but also the mention of the use of force as a possibility," he added.
Bush has finally succeeded in pushing his belligerent foreign policy to the point of creating a countervailing reaction from Russia. During the Cold War there were real checks on the U.S. ability to wage war and inflict violence around the world because no U.S. president wanted to spark World War III. The logic of the "Bush Doctrine," which is simply a return to the law of the jungle in international affairs, pushes threats and saber-rattling and preventive war to the forefront. Those neo-cons and others who are cheerleaders for an attack on Iran should take pause because Putin has made it clear that Russia will have none of it. The Russians have always been excellent chess players and Putin just checked Bush's game.
I still have a standing bet with a colleague that Bush will attack Iran by the end of his term. Now that the Russians seem to be stepping up to put an end to this madness, I hope there is more of a chance that I will happily lose that bet.
But we still have 460 days, 12 hours, and 29 minutes of the Bush presidency left and everything is "on the table."