March 13, 2006

WAG THE DUCK (via Pepys):

Lame ducks can still bite back (Niall Ferguson, March 13, 2006, LA Times)

Members of Congress should beware of underestimating this president, as others have done in the past. They should remember that a second-term president is not necessarily a lame duck — he is also a man with nothing to lose.

So my guess is that Bush is going to bite back. And the obvious way for him to do this is over Iran. Last Tuesday, Vice President Dick Cheney declared: "We will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon." Remind you of anything? It was Cheney who set the pace four years ago as the administration prepared to confront Iraq, insisting that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. And the same sequence of events now looks set to replay itself. The U.S. is going to ask the U.N. Security Council to impose sanctions if Iran does not halt its program of uranium enrichment. The other permanent members won't agree. And then….

Well, when those missiles slam into the Iranian nuclear facilities, don't say I didn't warn you. In academic politics, the stakes are relatively low. But where the stakes are high — and they don't get any higher than American national security — the presidents are harder to roll over. The next time you hear the word "duck" in Washington, my advice would be to do just that.

The beauty is that the lower he goes in the polls the more domestic political sense it makes to go ahead and do Iran and North Korea--it makes geostrategic sense regardless.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 13, 2006 10:20 PM
Comments for this post are closed.