Former national security advisors Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski weigh in on a prospective Iran deal with the letter below, sent to Senator Durbin and key members of Congress. Republicans now have before them a pretty clear-cut choice, between the views of the man who helped guide George H.W. Bush’s foreign policy and those who counseled his son. Bush 41’s term was, of course, a mixed bag, but included overseeing the fall of the Berlin Wall, the break-up of the Soviet Union, the reintegration of East Germany into Europe, and a war kicking Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait, paid for by a broad international coalition. The record of his son in office is, to put it gently, less impressive. But W’s key foreign policy advisors are, for some mysterious reason, still extremely prominent in the Republican Party foreign policy circles. While a few (David Frum?) have tip-toed around expressions of remorse over the Iraq war, most have not. To the contrary, they are trying hard to destroy negotiations with Iran, with war once again their preferred option.
It would be nice to see just one Republican senator take note of Scowcroft’s sterling record, his wisdom about Iran here, and the fact that he was prescient about the sheer stupidity of attacking Iraq in 2002.
Below is the Zbig-Scowcroft letter:
Majority Whip Dick Durbin
711 Hart Senate Bldg.
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Majority Whip Durbin,
We support President Obama’s decision to seek a first phase understanding with Iran to limit Iran’s nuclear program now. The agreement under discussion would slow crucial elements of the Iran program, make it more transparent and allow time to reach a more comprehensive agreement in the coming year. The apparent commitment of the new government of Iran to reverse course on its nuclear activities needs to be tested to insure it cannot rapidly build a nuclear weapon. Such an agreement would advance the national security of the United States, Israel, and other partners in the region.
For nearly two decades American Presidents with the strong support of the US Congress have worked on a two track policy of building ever more forceful sanctions against and pressure on Iran. combined with a willingness to turn to diplomacy when opportune. It now seems possible that this dual track approach could achieve our goals of preventing a nuclear armed Iran.
The United States has had the unprecedented cooperation of its allies and virtually the entire international community in this two track strategy. Should the United States fail to take this historic opportunity, we risk failing to achieve our non-proliferation goal and losing the support of allies and friends while increasing the probability of war.
Additional sanctions now against Iran with the view to extracting even more concessions in the negotiations will risk undermining or even shutting down the negotiations. More sanctions now as these unprecedented negotiations are just getting underway would reconfirm Iranians in their belief that the US is not prepared to make any agreement with the current government of Iran. We call on all Americans and the US Congress to stand firmly with the President in the difficult but historic negotiations with Iran.
Zbigniew Brzezinski, Former National Security Advisor
Brent Scowcroft, Former National Security Advisor