I Started Running Again Last Night

It's bad for my knees but it'll make Boot Camp easier. And after reading David Ignatius column in the Washington Post, I'm going to see if I can start learning Farsi too...

The emerging confrontation between the United States and Iran is "the Cuban missile crisis in slow motion," argues Graham Allison, the Harvard University professor who wrote the classic study of President John F. Kennedy's 1962 showdown with the Soviet Union that narrowly averted nuclear war. If anything, that analogy understates the potential risks here.
Scary stuff. But the really scary observation made by Mr. Ignatius is that America's position in regards to Iran is very similar to the British position in the run up to The First World War. Nationalism, militarism, fatalism and constant framing of the problem in ways that make war more likely.
The impasse was summarized by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker, in a quote attributed to a Pentagon adviser: "The bottom line is that Iran cannot become a nuclear-weapons state. The problem is that the Iranians realize that only by becoming a nuclear state can they defend themselves against the U.S."
Let's not forget that along with the millions of deaths, World War I cost England her empire. Similarly, if the United States becomes involved in any war with Iran, especially a protracted occupation that would likely last decades, the United States place as the sole Empire and Superpower on this earth would dissolve. We would be condemned by the world. Any remainder of the moral authority and good will that allowed the United States to fashion the world to its wishes in the 20th century would be gone. Of course Bush pretty much ruined that anyway. We would become the equivalent of Europe - a powerful economy perhaps, but no longer the driving force in international politics. We would be replaced by the two rising stars of 21st century, India and China.

For as much as we should fear both winning and losing this seemingly unavoidable war in Persia, the piece of Mr. Ignatius column that I fear most is his observation about the decision making ability of our President.
Allison argues that Bush's dilemma is similar to the one that confronted Kennedy in 1962. His advisers are telling him that he may face a stark choice -- either to acquiesce in the acquisition of nuclear weapons by a dangerous adversary, or risk war to stop that nuclear fait accompli. Hard-liners warned JFK that alternative courses of action would only delay the inevitable day of reckoning, and Bush is probably hearing similar advice now.

Kennedy's genius was to reject the Cuba options proposed by his advisers, hawk and dove alike, and choose his own peculiar outside-the-box strategy. He issued a deadline but privately delayed it; he answered a first, flexible message from Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev but not a second unyielding one; he said he would never take U.S. missiles out of Turkey, as the Soviets were demanding, and then secretly did precisely that. Disaster was avoided because Khrushchev believed Kennedy was willing to risk war -- but wanted to avoid it.
I never met John F. Kennedy - I wasn't born when John F. Kennedy was killed - and even I know that George W. Bush is not John F. Kennedy.

If we are forced to rely on Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice to show the same sort of genius and leadership, foresight, creativity and wisdom as Kennedy, I better keep running...

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