Caroline Glick disputes the notion that our inability to deal with the threat posed by Iran is the result of the loss of support by the world community due to our presence in Iraq. According to Glick, our difficulties in confronting Iran have much more to do with “the administration’s early misunderstanding of Iraq and of Iranian and Arab interests.”
The administration’s core misunderstanding, says Glick, was its failure to grasp that “the enemy of your enemy is not necessarily your friend.” Specifically,
The administration’s failure to grasp that just because Shi’ites and Sunnis are rivals doesn’t mean that they will join forces with the US to fight one another, or won’t join forces with one another to fight the US, has caused the Americans no end of difficulty.
By the same token, she argues that it is misguided now to believe that, because Sunni states in the region fear the rise of Iran, they will become our allies in a meaningful alliance against Iran. According to Glick, the best we can hope for from states like Saudi Arabia is that they will play the U.S. off against Iran.
Glick concludes that instead of looking for “silver bullet” solutions in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East — e.g., Iraqi elections (per President Bush) or a grand bargain with Iran (per James Baker) — we need to persevere with the military course we’re now taking in Iraq and with hard line measures towards Iran. In pursuing this course, it makes sense to play our enemies off against each other when the opportunity arises, as the Saudis do, but not to expect them to do our work for us.
Glick thinks the Bush administration is learning from its mistakes and moving in this direction. The problem, though, is that by now the American people want a silver bullet, and the Democrats are more than willing to sell it to them.
Via Real Clear Politics.
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