Beers on Iran

Here's a portion of an email that went out from Rand Beers:

Military action against Iran is unwise

There is widespread agreement that although some within the administration may be pushing for war, a strike on Iran would run significantly counter to U.S. interests in the current environment. Military action would spark even greater anti-US violence in Iraq. Iran might also escalate violence in the wider region and attack American targets using its own agents or Hezbollah. There would almost certainly be a negative public reaction from the Islamic world, and that reaction would circumscribe the ability of Arab governments to work with us on issues of common interest such as Iraq or the Middle East peace process. Further, we cannot guarantee that an air strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities would effectively set back the nuclear program. Based on the current state of that program, even a successful military operation sustained over many days might only set back the program by as little as two to four years.

Tough, no-nonsense diplomacy with Iran is working

This administration’s choices have often been more about posturing and rhetoric than effective engagement. Sadly, these actions are also inadvertently or consciously escalatory, possibly pushing America down a path toward a conflict that we neither want nor need. Following Ahmedinejad’s humiliating defeat in the Iranian elections in December, he was ferociously attacked (including in newspapers associated with Supreme Leader Khamenei) for having brought down sanctions on Iran. There is now a vigorous debate in Tehran over whether Iran’s nuclear program is worth the risk of additional international opprobrium. The diplomatic “carrots and sticks” seem to be working. Unfortunately, the administration’s ham-handed military posturing and rhetoric risk torpedoing these efforts and offering Ahmedinejad a reprieve. We should be fostering this debate with a mix of sanctions and diplomacy, not undermining it.

Beers, we'll recall, has worked on the National Security Council under presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush. Nevertheless, Ken Baer keeps assuring me that there are no experts out there who think airstrikes should be off the table.