McNamara hits at ‘very dangerous’ US policy on Iran and N Korea (Financial Times)
For Mr McNamara the bottom line is simple: lacking viable military options, the only weapon the US has to engage North Korea and Iran is diplomacy.
“[President George W.] Bush says no option is off the table, but in my mind the military option is off the table,” he says.
An attack on North Korea, he believes, would result in a devastating retaliatory attack on South Korea. He says invading Iran is inconceivable for different reasons.
“We don’t even have enough soldiers in Iraq,” he says. “Where would we get troops for Iran?”
He says the US should provide Kim Jong-il, North Korean leader, with more than just a guarantee of non-aggression by declaring it is not pursuing regime change.
“I don’t see any reason that the US shouldn’t make clear that regime change [in North Korea] is not our objective,” says Mr McNamara. “That’s the way we settled the Cuban missile crisis,” he adds, referring to the US guarantee that it would not attack Cuba. Mr McNamara says that while Pyongyang is very difficult to negotiate with, the US has to “understand what motivates them”. “We have to address their fundamental concerns, which are associated with regime change.”
Of course, as Rove has said that trying to understand the enemies of the USA is akin to being a traitor, this is not a viable option for Bush’s White House, is it?
Diplomats are “liberals”. You must not show weakness or understanding. Don’t you understnad this, Bob?
According to Mr McNamara, Iran poses a more complicated problem. Under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, it is entitled to enrich uranium to levels required for power generation. But many countries, including the US, are concerned that if Iran can complete the fuel cycle for nuclear energy, the country – which last week elected as its president Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, regarded by Washington as a hardline conservative – would be only a step away from the ability to develop a nuclear weapon.
Britain, France and Germany have been negotiating with Iran since last year on eliminating its nuclear programme. While the US has come around to supporting the Europeans’ efforts, it has refused to engage in direct talks with Iran. Mr McNamara argues that this has to change.
The former defence secretary sees two solutions: either the US guarantees Iran a supply of nuclear fuel, or it permits Iran to develop fuel by allowing it to enrich uranium to the level required for power generation. He says International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors should be enlisted to make sure it does not enrich uranium to levels necessary to build a nuclear bomb.
Again, diplomacy, compromise, giving something to the enemy. Bob is a traitor. And he is supporting the eurowimps? Shame on him.
Mr McNamara says the US needs to change tack with its diplomacy. In his 1995 autobiography In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam, he wrote that US generals opposed pauses in bombing North Vietnam – which some officials believed would provide an opportunity to open negotiations with the regime – because it would be interpreted as a sign of weakness. Today, he says the administration has the same problem: it is “scared” to negotiate with countries such as North Korea and Iran for fear of being seen as weak.
That’s the thing with being tough that he does not understand. No need for diplomacy, no need for compromise. No need for results. Being tough is an end in itself.
Why does McNamara hate America?