George W. Bush, Iran, And Democracy

Interesting revelation in a recent Donald Rumsfeld interview when he discusses how George W. Bush handled the possibility of Iran getting nuclear weapons:

The pressure was to move diplomatically, not militarily, and the Bush administration during that period was, on some occasions, trying to generate support from other free nations in the world to put pressure on Iran and the Iranian government to behave in a manner, and discontinue their nuclear program. It was with minimal success. And the administration, you know, would blow hot and cold as to how they wanted to handle it. Sometimes, they would avoid negotiations. Other times, they would have Americans actually talking at various venues with the Iranians.

As you may recall, the right used Obama's willingness to negotiate with Iran as a cudgel during the 2008 election. This exchange about the rationale for going to war in Iraq is of interest too:

Hugh Hewitt: How much was this democracy movement on President Bush’s mind before the war began, Secretary Rumsfeld? And how much of that is a make good when the WMD weren’t found?

Donald Rumsfeld: That’s hard to answer. I don’t recall the idea of bringing democracy to Iraq as being part of the discussions in the National Security Council during the period with a build up towards the conflict with Iraq. It is, as you suggest, that, those words tended to become more prominent after the war had, major combat operations had been completed, and the subject of WMD had not been found in the kinds of supplies that had been anticipated, although there were certainly people capable of that. And the Duelfer report shows that Saddam Hussein indeed had maintained his capability to rapidly increase his weapons of mass destruction.

Hugh Hewitt: So you don’t recall deputy secretary Wolfowitz making that argument?

Donald Rumsfeld: I don’t, and I don’t recall the President doing it, or Secretary Powell.