The Washington Post yet again manages to produce an op-ed only fit to wrap fish in, as neocon Michael Rubin - ex of the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans, the Office of the Secretary of Defense as an advisor to Rummie, political adviser to the Coalition Provisional Authority and unpaid hack for propaganda articles produced by the Pentagon's PR firm, the Lincoln Group - blames Joe Biden for eight years of Bush administration foreign policy failure in a desperate attempt to label Biden as "Iran's favorite Senator".
Here's how Rubin's logic works, as explained by Ilan Goldenberg of Democracy Arsenal:
Rubin makes a convoluted and nonsensical argument that A. Joe Biden supported engagement with the reformist Khatami government of Iran during the late 1990s and first half of this decade. That B. During that time trade between Iran and the EU increased. That C. A National Intelligence Estimate found that Iran had stopped working on its nuclear weapons program in 2003. From this he deduces that it's Biden's fault that Iran has moved ahead on its nuclear weapons program because it used increased trade with Europe to fund a nuclear weapons program. What???
... Rubin basically takes a bunch of unrelated facts and uses them to conclude that Iran must have spent 2000 to 2003 working furiously on its nuclear weapons program and that it did it with money from Europe that somehow Joe Biden was responsible for. Yup, putting those rigorous analytical skills that he learned that the Office of Special Plans to work.
Rubin also forgets to mention little details. Like the fact that under this Administration trade with Iran has actually increased ten-fold and is at its highest levels since before the Iranian revolution. Or the fact that the 2007 NIE concluded that Iran did in fact stop working on its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and was still years away from building a bomb.
Rubin then claims that Biden's vote against Kyl-Lieberman was partisan politics because Biden said that he didn't trust this Administration. Ummm.... Trying to prevent war with Iran is not exactly a partisan activity. It's not partisan to fear that an administration that has a track record of escalating conflict and misleading the American public might do it again. That is in fact the exact opposite of partisan if you believe that war with Iran is against America's interests.
But Biden was correct to advocate engagement with Iran's more moderate political elements - as long as it wasn't the Bush administration doing it. They poisoned the well by their bellicose statements. The Wonk Room's Matt Duss takes up the argument:
What could have happened between 2000 and 2005 that might have undermined Iranian moderates, strengthened Iran’s own neoconservatives, and convinced the regime that a greater investment in military and nuclear program was prudent? Well, there was President Bush’s casting of Iran as a member of the “axis of evil,” which came three months after Iran had aided the U.S. against their mutual enemy the Taliban in Afghanistan. According to Ismail Gerami-Moghaddam, a member of Iran’s moderate Reformist Party, “Including Iran in the ‘axis of evil’ led the Iranian people to grow increasingly skeptical of American slogans”:
Our political rivals … attacked us. They said sympathizing with a country that puts us in the “axis of evil” will take you down a dead-end road, and they were actually correct.
And then later, of course, there was that thing where the U.S. invaded and occupied Iran’s neighbor Iraq.
The administrations (and McCain's) bellicose statements are still working against US national interests now. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's utter failure on the Iranian economy, with runaway unemployment and inflation had left him very vulnerable. Despite moderates making serious inroads on his powerbase by attacking him on domestic issues, despite the received wisdom as little as a year ago that he wouldn't manage to get re-elected, Khamenei has now backed him for a second term. And guess what his reasoning was.
Without referring to foreign states by name, the supreme leader accused "some bullying and brazen countries and their worthless followers [of wanting] to impose their will on the Iranian nation".
"The president and the government have stood up to their excessive demands and moved forward," the ayatollah said.
If Bush and his neocon WormTongues had listened to Biden, the US could have been looking forward to a relatively moderate Iranian president in 2009 as Ahmadinejad got buried under a landslide of domestic bad news. Instead, their bad judgement has meant he's very likely to serve a second term. Unless, of course, it wasn't bad judgement at all and their intention was always to help preserve his position. Nothing wins Republicans votes like a little Axis of Evil fearmongering and that would be harder without Ahman-nutjob.