April 13, 2006


Don't get belligerent about Iran: As a signatory to the non-proliferation treaty, Tehran has every right to exploit nuclear energy for civilian use (Brent Scowcroft, April 13, 2006, The Australian)

What is needed is an international guarantor so countries that lack an indigenous fuel-enrichment cycle would always have access to nuclear fuel. Indeed, it may be in the interests of the leading nuclear states (perhaps under the auspices of the G8) to subsidise such a program, so that no country would have an economic rationale to defy the ban and proceed with developing an indigenous fuel cycle, on the grounds that relying on the international system might prove too costly.

Could this proposal serve as the basis of a workable settlement with Iran? It could certainly stymie the Mahmoud Ahmadinejad approach, which has relied on using the nuclear issue - and the perception that Iran is being denied its legitimate rights - to stir up Iranian nationalism to distract the population from the pressing domestic problems of the regime.

Having the international community - and the US in particular - take at face value Iran's claims that it needs a civilian nuclear energy program to reduce reliance on diminishing hydrocarbon reserves and cut down on a growing pollution problem caused by fossil fuels places more pressure on the Iranian Government to demonstrate its good intentions.

A US-led international front that starts out by recognising that Iran has legitimate rights and concerns can go far in depriving the present regime of its ability to use Iranian nationalism in this crisis.

And should the Iranian Government reject an international proposal that implicitly recognises and safeguards its rights to a nuclear energy program under the NPT, it would become easier to convince other leading states of the need for sanctioning the regime.

Iran's strategy remains predicated on the assumption that no united front is possible, that even if the US, the EU, Russia and China all agree that a nuclear-capable Iran is undesirable, disagreement over the tactics will preclude any effective action.

What does it say about the state of Realism that the Iranian assumption is more accurate than General Scowcroft's?

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 13, 2006 7:38 PM

You'd think that a former U.S. National Security Advisor would be more concerned with the national security of the U.S.

Posted by: Mike Morley at April 13, 2006 7:49 PM

The embodiment of everything that was wrong with Bush 41's administration.

This guy isn't qualified to manage the security of the local McDonald's franchise.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at April 13, 2006 7:58 PM

From: Chamberlain's Perspective Lives On

Today, in the U.S., politicians question preparations to deter conflict, including strategic defenses, as if we had not learned
what Chamberlain failed to grasp: Not everyone may share our view of war's deadly disadvantages -- and absent realistic signs of
our determination, rulers whose regimes are based on force mayview our respect for law, diplomacy and negotiation as a sign of
weakness and not of strength.

Chamberlain was fascinated with the personal touch, something shared by many journalists and many politicians. His belief that
misunderstanding, not aggression, causes conflict -- his second great misjudgment -- was reflected in the dogged devotion to the
virtues of shuttle summitry and face-to-face assurances of good will and friendship: "The message ... from Signor Mussolini was
of a friendly character." "Herr Hitler ... said, again veryearnestly, that he wanted to be friends."

As naive as these remarks now sound, they are based on Chamberlain's belief in the utility of trying to "understand the mentality" of Britain's adversaries. But the outcome of his failed international social work was more than disillusionment
and personal betrayal. The outcome was national policy confusion and disaster -- and everywhere a double standard regarding the
international behavior the democracies had a right to expect.

Thus, in February 1938, Foreign Minister Anthony Eden [1895-1977] resigned his post after insisting that Britain should
not engage in talks with Italy until Mussolini took certain specified actions to prove his respect for international
agreements. Chamberlain disagreed: British preconditions would signal "a spirit of suspicion," alienating the Italians. "If
there is going to be bad faith, there will be bad faith, and no assurances beforehand are going to alter it."

But just seven months later, at Munich, when the question was how far Britain and its allies should go to meet totalitarian
demands, we find him rising to the bait of Hitler's calculated anguishings by reassuring Germany of British and Allied good
faith. "I should tell the House," Chamberlain reported to the Commons, "how deeply impressed on my mind ... is [Hitler's]
rooted distrust and disbelief in the sincerity of the Czech government."

Chamberlain's efforts to minimize his adversaries' "suspicions" led him to renounce justified British suspicions;
his efforts at "understanding" his adversaries' claims led him to misunderstand their ambitions. Most tragically, both attitudes
led Hitler to misunderstand Allied determination to resist.

Again, we can learn a profitable lesson: However distasteful cynicism and suspicion may be, tough-minded diplomacy is a
precondition to peace. Chamberlain's view of the impossibility of general war,
combined with his belief that mutual understanding would avert conflict, reinforced his fiscal view of the wastefulness of
investing in defense -- his third mistake.

Although he believed in the necessity of arms as a backup for British diplomacy, he
frequently expressed his distaste for the "spectacle of this vast
expenditure" as "folly," a "senseless waste of money," "hateful and damnable." Such a view slowed the pace of rearmament in the
face of the burgeoning Nazi military machine -- the delays Churchill so feared and criticized.

Just as corrosive was Chamberlain's reluctance to use force to halt the slow erosion of European liberty. "Everyone knows," he
said, that British forces "are not going to be used for aggression." That he was reluctant to use them at all must have
seemed equally clear. Like today's "anti-war" advocates, who say they support a nuclear deterrent yet seek a U.S. pledge to
renounce its use -- assuring any aggressor that he need not fear U.S. power -- Chamberlain repeatedly assured the enemies of
freedom of their freedom from British force. By the time ofMunich, if Hitler had any remaining doubts, Chamberlain removed

Speaking over British radio, in words that again ring familiar, Chamberlain called the Czech issue "a quarrel in a
faraway country between people of whom we know nothing," and observed that "however much we may sympathize with a small nation
confronted by a big and powerful neighbor, we cannot in all circumstances undertake to involve the whole British Empire in
war simply on her account. If we have to fight, it must be on larger issues than that. ... War is a fearful thing."

Posted by: Peter B at April 13, 2006 8:05 PM

Just another case of where the son has to pick up for daddy Bush's mistakes.

I f@rt in Brent Scowcroft's general direction.

Posted by: Brad S at April 13, 2006 8:34 PM

Scowcroft: "I didn't think that calling the Soviet Union the 'evil empire' got anybody anywhere." Yeah? Well you thought wrong, pal.

Scowcroft had his chance--and he blew it. His legacy is the massacre of Kurds, Shia--and 9/11. He's more reliably pro-dictator than Teddy Kennedy. And I've attended 'Mothers Against Drunk Kennedys' meetings.

Posted by: Noel at April 13, 2006 8:55 PM

this guy makes custer look like a genius.

Posted by: toe at April 13, 2006 9:15 PM

I pointed out to someone that "the world" didn't allow US to finish off Hussein in 91 - someone responded it was Scowcroft's doing.

I think it's in his book.

Posted by: Sandy P at April 13, 2006 10:16 PM

Scowcroft seems to be doing his best to follow Scott Ritter into the darkness. I wonder why.

Posted by: jim hamlen at April 14, 2006 12:26 AM

Jim - because that's where the $$$ are. Big money in flea powder for itching ears.

Posted by: Randall Voth at April 14, 2006 4:19 AM

And one more thing. Iran has some of the largest natural gas reserves in the world. They don't need "civilian" nuclear power.

Posted by: Randall Voth at April 14, 2006 4:20 AM


No one needs nuclear power.

Posted by: oj at April 14, 2006 6:29 AM
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