America does have an Iran challenge.
Senator John McCain is not wrong in thinking that there needs to be a smarter strategy that gets Iran off of what many believe to be a nuclear weapons and/or large-scale full fuel cycle course.
Years ago, I know that Senator McCain was the type of person to pull experts together in his office along with Senators and House Members from both sides of the aisle to think through a tough challenge. Years ago, I was impressed with how Senator McCain approached issues like normalization of relations between the US and Vietnam — which was hugely controversial at the time — or worked through cautiously various Vietnam scenarios.
However, he is setting up a false metaphor for dealing with Iran in which he is the Churchill figure — and just about everyone else except Joe Lieberman and Sarah Paliin is Neville Chamberlain. That’s not a way to solve the Iran problem.
Sanctions alone will not move Iran. Bombing will actually have an adverse effect on the long term chances of keeping Iran nuclear weapons free. So, what are the other credible options? I have lots of thoughts — as do numerous thoughtful policy experts in Washington and around the nation.
It would serve Senator McCain well to convene some of these folks — and rather than using it as an opportunity to keep talking about a blunt bombing campaign that doesn’t consider consequences — he might turn it in to a learning moment where he tries to consider serious alternatives.
I spoke with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC’s Countdown last night about John McCain’s “pull the trigger” comments about needing to get to the task of bombing Iran.
— Steve Clemons