The Bush Doctrine Targets Iran
Magazine or Newspaper Article, Nezavisimaya Gazeta
June 6, 2003
Author: Steven E. Miller, Director, International Security Program; Editor-in-Chief, International Security; Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom
Belfer Center Programs or Projects: International Security
In its campaign against terrorism, rogue states, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the United States has already used force to overthrow two regimes, in Afghanistan and Iraq. There is little question that the Bush Administration would welcome regime change in the two remaining members of the “Axis of Evil,” North Korea and Iran. From the perspective of the Bush doctrine, regime change is the best solution to those states thought to pose intolerable threats: it is complete and enduring.
Military action, however, is not the only means of promoting regime change. Iran is, in the Bush Administration’s eyes, every bit as bad as Iraq. But it is a considerably larger and more powerful state and hence not as vulnerable to the application of military power. Iran’s vulnerability appears to be political, deriving from the divisions and political frictions within its own society. Though regime change in Iran is not yet official US policy, there are clearly those in Washington who wish to weaken Teheran and promote regime change by exploiting Iran’s perceived internal fragilities. The instruments for such a campaign would be covert action (launched perhaps from now-liberated Iraq), financial and political support for opposition groups, encouragement and assistance for Iranian exile groups, and relentless diplomatic ostracization aimed at isolating Teheran and damaging its economy. This would be the preferred route to regime change. But it is an integral component of the Bush doctrine that the threat of force is lurking in the background; Iran’s nuclear facilities may be ripe targets for future attack.
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