by Cheryl Rofer
First, an Islamic Republic of Iran with nuclear weapons capability would be strategically untenable. It would threaten U.S. national security, regional peace and stability, energy security, the efficacy of multilateralism, and the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) regime.Well, thank heavens for that last. But going into any negotiation with the first four expectations pretty much sets the stage for the fifth.
Second, we believe the only acceptable end state is the complete cessation of enrichment activities inside Iran. We foresee no combination of international inspections or co-ownership of enrichment facilities that would provide sufficient assurances that Iran is not producing weapons-grade fissile material.
Third, while a diplomatic resolution is still possible, it can succeed only if we negotiate from a position of strength. This will require better coordination with our international partners and much stricter sanctions. Negotiations with Iran would probably be ineffective unless our European allies sever commercial relations with Tehran.
Fourth, so that Israel does not feel compelled to take unilateral action, the next president must credibly convince Jerusalem that the United States will not allow Iran to achieve nuclear weapons capability.
Fifth, while military action against Iran is feasible, it must remain an option of last resort.
Who are these people?
The report from which these conclusions come is a project of the Bipartisan Policy Center, the directors of which are former Senators George Mitchell, Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, and Bob Dole.
The steering committee for the project includes Ash Carter, Ford Foundation Professor of Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School of Government; Admiral (ret.) Gregory “Grog” Johnson, former Commander of United States Naval Forces, Europe; Founder, Snow Ridge Associates; Ed Morse, Chief Energy Economist, Lehman Brothers; Steve Rademaker, Vice President, Barbour Griffith & Rogers International, former Assistant Secretary of Arms Control and Nonproliferation under President George Bush and former National Security Advisor to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist; Dennis Ross, Counselor and Distinguished Fellow, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and former Middle East envoy in both George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton Administrations; Henry Sokolski, Executive Director, Nonproliferation Policy Education Center; General (ret.) Chuck Wald, Vice President of International Business, L-3 Communications, and former Deputy Commander of U.S. European Command; and Ken Weinstein, Chief Executive Officer of Hudson Institute.
Daniel Coates and Chuck Robb, both former Senators and authors of the Washington Post op-ed, were the co-chairs.
All of the arms control people are on the hawkish side. Dennis Ross is very protective of Israel. I'm not sure anyone believes anyone from Lehman Brothers these days. And the Hudson Institute is definitely on the conservative side of things. So it looks like the deck was loaded from the start.
And why are they doing this?
It looks like this is, bipartisan or not, another attempt to sound the alarm for our next president and lock in a "preconditions first" Iran policy.
There's nothing new here. George Bush or Donald Rumsfeld could have written the recommendations.
Since the Bipartisan Policy Center seems to be a landing place for former senators, we can wonder if this is indicative of the views of sitting senators, who presumably speak to their old colleagues. It's bipartisan in that its makeup seems to be equally of Republicans and Democrats, but, at least in this project, not in terms of worldview.
Update: Glenn Greenwald tells us more about the steering committee and their helpers.