August 02, 2005

Regime Changers Unite!

Okay, I can see why conservatives might be skeptical of a new NIE review indicating that Iran's nuclear program isn't even up and crawling yet. (By the way, George Perkovich called this one months ago, and there's reason to believe that the IAEA has rooted out all the super-secret nuke programs the Iranian government was running.) Really, though, who knows? Not me. Neverthless, it's pretty clear that anyone in favor of regime change in Iran really ought to hope and pray that the CIA's skepticism is spot-on. As Ken Pollack has argued, the major reason why regime change was such a moronic idea was that Tehran's government would very likely get its mitts on nuclear weapons before it ever got overthrown, and at that point, overthrowing it would suddenly look like a very bad idea. Y'know, for all the reasons that forcibly unseating a nuclear-armed nation usually seems like a very bad idea.

But if the CIA's intelligence is solid gold and Iran is actually sitting years and years away from any sort of working nuclear program, then the case for aiding revolutionary groups, mullah assassination, or whatever other regime-changing options Michael Ledeen has in mind, just got stronger. I'm still don't think it's a good idea, but it would become a distinctly less bad idea.

update: More from ArmsControlWonk. Apparently the CIA's assessment isn't as new and stunning as the Post would have us to believe. Hmmm...
-- Brad Plumer 2:17 PM || ||