Archive for the 2012 Presidential Election Category

If Israel Attacks Iran, Options Get Worse!

Posted in 2012 Presidential Election, Iran, Israel and the United States, Middle East and US Election, Middle East Peace, Obama foreign policy with tags , , , on February 10, 2012 by whatafteriraq

Scenarios about the growing possibility that Israel will attack Iran in was would very likely be a feckless attempt to destroy the Iranian nuclear weapons program and more or less permanently to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapons capability were discussed in this space earlier this week (“Israel, Iran, and the United States”) and generally concluded both that such anattack was becoming increasingly likely and that it does not serve U.S. interests. This column takes the analysis a step forward, with the purpose of trying to answer the hypothetical (at least for the moment) question of what happens after such an Israeli strike occurs. As the title suggests, the attractiveness of post-attack options for the United States are unpromising.

The heart of the speculation that follows is what does Iran do in response to an attack? In a literal sense, of course, we do not and cannot know in advance, and neither do the Iranians or the Israelis, which is why it is an exercise in speculation. The reader can disagree with the premises here, and I cannot refute them with facts not in hand; the same is true for my arguments against counter scenarios.

Two things seem safe to presume, however. First, if Israel attacks Iran, the Iranians will respond, almost certainly violently. They will have no choice for both domestic and international political reasons, and whatever they do will receive less criticism than their policy actions before such an attack occurs. Second, the nature, severity, and reactions to an Iranian counterattack will depend on the nature, extent, and effects of an Israeli raid. The more extensive and, presumably, effective an Israeli attack is, the larger the probable responses by the Iranians will likely be.

If it cannot restrain the Israelis in the first place (the fairly clear intent of the Obama administration), the United States will not have many options in dealing with Iranian responses. There will be international sympathy for the Iranians that does not exist now, because they will have been the victim of aggression under the provisions of the UN Charter, and the more dead Iranians (especially civilians) the raid produces, the more widespread sympathy will be, even among Arabs who the Israelis maintain actually approve of the general idea of punishing the Iranians and defanging their nuclear potential. The American post-attack position is thus conmpromised in that support for Israel in effect sanctions an illegal act of aggression that results in the deaths of innocent Iranians. The degree to which the United States will further be compromised depends on how complicit this country was in the attack in the first place: the more we were involved, the more we will fall within the blanket of condemnation. Possibly the most we can do is to warn eveyone–especially Iran–quietly that their retaliation cannot threaten Israeli existence. Doing so will not, of course, please either the Israelis or their more dogmatic supporters in the United States.

If an attack occurs, the Iranians will have several response options, depending on how extensive the attack was. The sronger the response, of course, the less it serves U.S. interests.

1. If the attack is small and the effects minor (in other words, if it fails from an Israeli viewpoint), they can simply complain about the act of aggression and use it as leverage to lift international sanctions against it. In the process, they will almost certainly blame the United States for helping to plan and execute the raid, with reminders of U.S. perfidy toward Iran in cases like Operation Ajax (the 1953 CIA operation that overthrew Iran’s only popularly elected government) and the shoot down of an unarmed Iranian commercial airliner in the late 1980s.

2. Since the Israeli attack is likely to be more successful than that (or the Israelis wouldn’t do it), then the responses begin to escalate. At a minimum, they would include additional resources to Hezballah in the form of additional rockets that will coming raining down on Israel. The Israelis will complain that these are unprovoked, and hardly anyone will believe them internationally (escept the political right in the U.S.). An Israeli raid equals more “terrorist” attacks against Israel.

3. Depending on the level of success the Israeli attack achieves, there are two additional actions the Iranians can contemplate. The first would be retaliatory air strikes against the Israelis. Such a response would possess symmetry to the Israeli raid, and given that they were responses to the original Israeli action, regimes that normally do not support Iran (such as Jordan) would likely not object to Iranian overflight to reach Israeli targets. The Israelis would, of course, object loudly both to the provisions of those rights and the attacks, raising the prospects of escalation to a broader conflict that could involve the region.

4. Ultimately, Iran could begin a retaliatory campaign intended or with the side effect of causing an escalation to general war in the Middle East against Israel. Hardly anyone wants to see this or argues it is very probable, but once the dogs of war are unleashed, they are sometimes hard to control.

None of these options, and counter responses to them, serve any visible U.S. interests. The cessation of the Iranian nuclear program would serve such an interest, but it is one of the most unlikely outcomes, and only becomes less implausible as the scale of the Israeli attack and thus the likely virulence of the Iranian response expands. The larger that response becomes, the more difficult the problem of U.S. responses becomes. Success on one objective makes other objectives (e.g. regional stability) more problematical.

Israel and many of its supporters seek to deny what Iran will (or may) do in reaction to an Israeli attack, and they may be right. No one can know for sure, but it is counterintuitive to believe that a chauvinistic, paranoid, authoritarian Iran will take an attack lying down. They will respond somehow, and one or more of the options suggested here seems reasonable. Each option puts the United States in an increasingly untenable position of defending Israel from a retaliation many around the world (including many who dislike Iran and oppose their nuclear weapons effort) will feel is either justified or understandable. In these circumstances, the U.S. can shoulder-to-shoulder with Israel, or it can side with the rest of the world. It is not a happy set of options.

The only way to avoid something like these dynamics is to avoid and, to the extent possible, prevent an Israeli attack in the first place. That is what the Obama administration is doing, and the radical right is condemning this as limp-wristed and inadequately supportive of our ally Israel. They are wrong!


Israel, Iran and the United States: All Options Are Bad!

Posted in 2012 Presidential Election, Iran, Israel and the United States, Middle East Conflict, US Domestic Politics, US Values and Freign Policy with tags , , , , on February 7, 2012 by whatafteriraq

The growing confrontation between Israel and Iran over the Iranian nuclear weapons program is spinning perilously out of hand, and it has within it the seeds of the most potentially dangerous threat to international peace since the Cold War ended over 20 years ago. What we are witnessing is a verbal ran-up to a military conflict between the Middle East’s only nuclear power (Israel) and its most militant, populous state (Iran). It is a conflict that would serve no one’s interests, would only result in a worse situation–possibly catastrophically so–for all parties, and in which the extremely emotional basis of the conflict is driving all sides, including the United States, to consider essentially irresponsible acts that endanger the country’s national security interests in dangerous way. All of this is occurring in a presidential election year (probably no coincidence) in which cool analysis and action is undermined by hot electoral rhetoric aimed at grabbing votes at the possible endangerment of this country’s interests and safety. It needs to be stopped now, before it gets any worse.

Consider the situation in terms of three steps and their possible consequences. The steps are the pre-war confrontation, the Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities (an event which, if it happens at all, will almost surely occur before the November election in the United States), and the Iranian response. All put the United States in an untenable, negative sum situation where, regardless of what we do, we will come out on the short end of the stick.

Start with the pre-war present. There are two salient features to consider. The first are Israeli threats that demand, in essence, that Iran stop and reverse its alleged weapons program (which, of course, the Iranians deny exists) before it proceeds any closer to a weapons outcome. The Israelis argue that if the Iranians get a nuclear weapon, they will use it against Israel, making the threat a truly existential one against them. Their assessment may be right or wrong, but there can be no doubt that the Neyanyahu government believes this scenario to be the case and from that perspective, a preemptive strike against Iran can make sense. That its consequences could be dire to Israel matters less from this perspective because Israel will suffer in either case. An attack is essentially taking an eye for an expected eye, and national existence is the stake. No Masada this time; the Israelis will go down swinging, if they go down.

This puts the United States, as the protector and guarantor of Israel, in a terrible position that the campaign rhetoric is only making worse. The Obama administration says it is “working” with Israel to defuse the crisis, which effectively means they are trying everything they can think of to try to keep the attack from occurring, at least partly because they recognize that if the Israelis launch a raid, all regional bets are off and that the worst case is a general Middle Eastern war that serves no one’s interests, and especially not the interests of the United States. GOP presidential contenders, on the other hand, are falling all over themselves and one another courting the Jewish vote in the United States by favoring unrestricted support for whatever Israel  decides to do. The most extreme view is held by Newt Gingrich, who summons the Holocaust to argue that anything less would be immoral.

The U.S. has essentially three options if an Israeli attack decision is unavoidable. None of them is especially good. They are:

 1. Full support for any attack the Israelis carry out, which can include actions of differing severity. The U.S. can participate in the raid in varying ways, such as providing air cover for the Israeli bombers heading for Iranian nuclear sites; we can provide satellite reconnaisance (which we undoubtedly already do) for the Israelis, including warnings of Iranian countermeasures; we can supply special ordnance (deep penetrating bombs) to the Israelis to penetrate underground facilities (the Israelis do not themselves have such a capability); or, at the greatest extreme, we can participate with U.S. bombers dropping bombs. The more involved we are, of course, the more we will be caught up in the wake of international reactions to the attack.

2. We can acknowledge Israeli plans, say we understand but don’t fully support their actions on any of a variety of grounds, BUT warn sternly that we will not allow a response by Iran that would endanger Israeli existence. We would still be blamed for not preventing the attacks, but the criticism would be more muted, and we would uphold our pledge to guarantee Israeli existence. Critics, however, would argue that is not enough.

3. We can tell the Israelis, very publicly, that they are on their own if they attack, although we will protect them from an existential response. This option, regardless of its merits, would be political suicide in an election year (part of why the Israelis, who realize this, will probably act before the November election).

Options 1 and 2 are the only really domestically viable options, but both of them tie the U.S. to the Israeli attack, and that has consequences. Rationalizations notwithstanding, an Israeli strike would be an act of military aggression–an act of aggressive war–that is illegal under international law and the UN Charter, which Israel signed, making the action illegal under Israeli law as well. Calling it “preemptive” does not aid legality, because acts of preemption are only justifiable under IL when a hostile act that they prevent is imminent ( enemy’s army massing on your border); the Israeli attack does not rise to that level. Thus, the United States indirectly supports violating international law by supporting the Israelis. The U.S, has, of course, done so in the past–the invasion of Iraq in 2003, for instance–but the world will at least rhetorically line up against an aggression. Moreover, the Russians and Chinese will undoubtedly co-sponsor at Security Council condemnation of the aggression, and the U.S. will be left with the unpleasant choices of supporting Israel in the face of overwhelming global disapproval or, as it did in 1956 at the time of the Suez War, of condemning the action of a close ally. Once again, electoral politics may require thumbing our noses at the world. Moreover, if the Israelis do attack, they will not be able to take out the Iranian program entirely, instead only setting it back, while Israeli attacks will take its toll in civilian casualties (collateral damage) that will only add to condemnation of the attacks. Anyone who can see some good in this for United States interests beyond some votes in the presidential election, is seeing something this observer does not.

As if that was not enough, an Israeli attack will trigger some very violent form of Iranian counterattack with equally or even more dangeous potential consequences for the U.S. and the region. Those possibilities, none of which are desirable from a U.S. viewpoint, will be the subject of the next column. All the options are bad!

The Rebirth of President Putin

Posted in 2012 Presidential Election, Diplomacy, Russia, Russian-American relations, US Values and Freign Policy with tags , , , , , , , , on September 25, 2011 by whatafteriraq

Vladimir Putin announced yesterday that he will trade places with current president Dmitry Medvedev next year, running for the presidency while Medvedev settles for the number two spot of prime minister. Under revisions to the Russian constitution, the presidency has been lengthened from a four-year to a six-year term, and presidents can run for re-election once. Twelve more years!

The announcement was hardly a surprise, of course. Despite appearances and titles, Putin has largely been running the show in Moscow even since Medvedev formally became the country’s chief executive in 2008, and virtually no one is surprised that Putin will seek to regain his formal status as president next year or that he will, in all likelihood, be elected overwhelmingly by the Russian electorate in reasonably free and open voting. Unless he either becomes ill or Russia experiences a great downturn during his first six years, he will dutifully be reelected in 2018. If all goes according to plan, Putin will remain in power until he is 72. Speculation about anything past 2024 is not worth making.

While exhibiting the beauty and inevitability of a mud slide (an analogy I crib without permission from an old University of Alabama dean), this is not particularly good news for the United States or the region, at least in term of promoting greater democratization and independence for the countries and peoples there. Russians apparently do not care terribly about such matters; what they care about is what Putin delivers.

Putin is attractive to the Russian (and especially ethnic Russian) majority in the federation. A robust and charismatic figure, Putin has three obvious sources of attraction. First, he is a dynamic and forceful leader who, particularly in the minds of Russians, projects an image of strength and importance of their country in the world. Just as we are entreated not to “mess with Texas,” the image of Vladimir Putin is that you had better not mess with Russia either.

Second, Putin is committed to restoring Russia’s place as a major power in the region and the world. This determination, which is related to the first source of his attraction, rings very much true to the Russian electorate. One of Russian history’s major themes is the quest for status as a world power. While most Russians do not look back at the old Soviet days with much poignancy, they do remember favorably the fact that the Soviet Union was an acknowledged, even feared, superpower which held sway within its region and was, for many purposes, the major peer of the United States. Russians want to return to that status; Putin, by word and deed, offers them what they believe is the best chance to do so. This perception stands in stark contrast with the image of the affable Medvedev, who appears much too bland and compliant for Russian tastes. Think Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.

Third, Putin is a consummate politician. His rise to power happened to coincide with Russia’s emergence as the world’s second largest exporter of oil and largest exporter of natural gas (especially to Europe, which is highyl dependent on Russian supplies), and he turned this windfall into two advantages for himself and his country. Internally, Putin has skillfullyused energy revenues essentially to “buy off” the voting public with the largesse of government disbursements that have improved the material conditions of many Russians. He became, during the 2000s wshen he was formally in the presidency, one of the two particular experts in what Thomas L. Friedman calls “petrolist” politics, using oil revenues to bolster support and, not entirely coincidentally, to erode democracy. It is a Faustian bargain of sorts, but one the Russian people have accepted as a necessary tradeoff for their own prosperity and sense of national resurgence.

Internationally, energy exports give Russia leverage they have lacked since the end of the Cold War. While Russia retains a nuclear force roughly equivalent to that of the United States, that is not enough to insure Russian prestige and acceptance as a”super” power: to many, it is still a “Third World country with nuclear weapons.” Oil and natural gas change that, since the world is hungry for energy, and especially for energy that does not come from the unstable Middle East: Russia may still be a Third World country, but energy makes them more consequential, and Putin both knows this and how to exploit it.

Will Putin return to his old ways when he returns to office? There is no reason to think he won’t. What will this mean for the United States? The answer somewhat depends on how the US government decides to treat a new Russian regime, but it will detainly dampen American enthusiasm for Russian movement toward “normal” status in the region and world and dim any hope that Russia will soon evolve into a full-scale western democracy. It will also mean a more assertive Russian stance toward the “internal abroad” (those ethnically non-Russian parts of Russia that seek autonomy or independence–think Chechnya and Dagestan) or the “near abroad” (the former Soviet republics on itrs periphery–think Georgia). Russia will almost certainly act in ways of which the United States disapproves, and the results will almost certainly return greater strain to those relations.

Russia still has its problems, which Putin cannot wish away. Russian demographics are still horrible, and population decline will continue and hamper Russia’s return to major status. The rate of exploitation of Russia’s oil reserves cannot be sustained long before they begin to become depleted. Russia needs to be looking toward new bases of influence beyond energy, and buying off the population only serves short-term, not long-term goals. These are Russian realities that face any Russian leader.

As yesterday’s indicates, Valdimir Putin is back. He never really went away, but in March, the Russian public will put him back in the driver’s seat, while his understudy, Dmitry Medvedev, will be consigned to the rumble seat. It is not particularly good news, but there is not a whole lot that can be done about it.

Congress and the Cutter’s Blade

Posted in 2012 Presidential Election, U.S. defense budget, US Domestic Politics, US Values and Freign Policy with tags , , , on August 28, 2011 by whatafteriraq

After a month’s respite, in which the major political events have been the emergence of Cowboy Rick Perry in the GOP race and some sniping at President Obama for spending a week at Martha’s Vineyard, Congress will return to Washington in a week or so. Like everyone else, I can hardly wait. Neither can your friends and neighbors at the Pentagon, where the power point presentations must be gathering furiously.

The “highlight” (lowlight?) of the resumed session will be the fight over the budget. Most of the activity will concentrate on 2012 election year posturing, of course, but the Congress has set itself up by including the provision for draconian cuts to be triggered automatically after Thanksgiving unless the Supercommitte does the unexpected and comes up with a viable compromise solution to bringing the deficit under control. Given the constituency of the committee, one should not hold one’s breath on that one, especially given that all six GOP members have signed Grover Norquist’s “no new taxes” pledge and that virtually every responsible adult in the United States understands that the process cannot possibly achieve anything like balance without additional revenues. The only chance is that the committee can come up with some convincing euphemism by which new taxes and are called something else, but even the ideological fanatics of the right will probably see through that. The prospects for the system working this out are, in other words, not very good.

Enter the Pentagon. If the automatic trigger goes into effect, the Department of Defense takes it in the knickers, as, of course, does everyone else. Defense planners have already stated that the additional cuts the automatic reductions would impose, about $.5 trillion over a decade or roughly $50 billion a year, will seriously compromise the national defense and thus must be avoided. The power point writers have undoubtedly been fervently at work building the case for the Apocalypse should this occur, and they can be counted upon to share their concerns with anyone who will listen.

In the past, DOD has been very successful in dodging budget bullets. Their key weapon, however, has been the existence of a reasonably clear and present threat that needed blunting. The Russian bear (or the Chinese dragon, or both) could always be dragged out of the closet to frighten the public and assure that Congress would not apply the blade to the DOD budget during the Cold War, and Osama bin Laden has provided the same kind of valuable service for the past decade. But the Russian bear is mostly a Mafiosi now, the dragon stocks our local Wal Mart, and bin Laden is dead. It is not clear who can play Freddie Kreuger and scare the bejusus out of us now to defend high levels of defense spending. The threats may be there, but they are more subtle, less convincing and, quite frankly, less compelling.

If one is defending the defense budget, this leaves one with four arguably Devil’s Choices. One can defend no taxes, high defense budgets, and thus really deep cuts in social services–a position that has traction with the GOP right that has been an historic ally of defense. The problem is that this solution attacks the large constituency who receives social benefits that get pared back radically under these solutions. This constituency is only beginning to become aware of the consequences of this strategy for them, and Democrats will help them fill in the details. When they figure out what Paul Rand-Ryan(Rand as in Ayn Rand) really has in mind for them, they are not going to be happy. And, by the way, they vote in higher proportions than just about any other voting group.

Second, they can play good soldiers, and accept the sacrifices of being full participants in deficit reduction without additional tax revenues. At the abstract level, this has some appeal. It seems patriotic, but it leaves the military with less than they truly believe they need, and playing their traditional guardian role requires resources: patriotism thus cuts both ways. Most military/defense intellectuals consider themselves conservative and thus lean Republican, but other than contractors, they are not among the uber wealthy who benefit the most from this solution.

Third, they can join the chorus that argues that some sacrifice is necessary, but deep cuts are unacceptable, and that the only solution is increasing taxes, some of the revenue from which will defray additional cuts in defense. From a strict calculation od self-interest, this is probably the optimal solution, but it is a tough one to swallow if one believes, as many defense types do, in very limited government that does  nothing opulently except for funding national defense. The problem is that no one is really pushing this position: it is essentially libertarian, but Ron Paul, the darling of the libertarians, is also an ardent isolationist (he of course does not call himself that) who essentially wants to withdraw to the shorelines, which can be defended at considerably smaller costs than now being incurred (which is one reason he favors that posture).

The fourth option, of course, is to continue things as they are: large budget deficits. While a short term case can be made for this solution, one thing the Tea Party right has successfully done is to take this option off the table. 

The net result of all this is to leave the defense establishment in a pickle of sorts. They believe in fiscal responsibility but generous resource allocation for defense. They generally oppose additional taxes, but they also oppose running what many of them join other conservatives in decrying as ruinous deficits. The problem is they cannot have it both ways. Anybody who believes that the outcome of this whole process is going to be the gutting of entitlement programs to defend an opulent defense budget must suffer from a dangerous belief in the Tooth Fairy: despite the wildest dreams of the Tea Party (which is almost certain to fade rapidly as the social consequences of  its advocacies are fully understood), this simply is not going to happen. Defense can only be resilient and funded at levels with which it is comfortable by raising taxes. It is really as simple as that, and anyone who tells you different is either a chronic liar or a delusional fool. While I understand this describes a large number of the current membership in Congress, it is nonetheless true.

Welcome back to Washington, Congress! Citizens, on the other hand, beware!

GOP Candidates and National Security

Posted in 2012 Presidential Election, US Domestic Politics, US Values and Freign Policy with tags , , , , on August 14, 2011 by whatafteriraq

Probably because it has been a generally slow week in the area of national security (other than the spike in Afghanistan deaths largely the result of the Chinook helicopter crash), my mind drifted to the 2012 election (a depressing topic, admittedly), and given the general focus of this blog, the national security implications of electing one of the GOP candidates in the race. The prospects are pretty dismal.

My method was, in the case of the major candidates, to go to their campaign web sites and see what they have to say. It is not a very fruitful exercise. The most organized site is Mitt Romney’s, which it should be, since he has been running for president continuously since at least early 2008. Aside from the discouraging reality that all the time and money he has spent cannot get him past the one-quarter proportion of support among members of the GOP, his site is curiously short on the subject. In fact, in the section on issues on the web site, the choices one has to hear Romney on individual issues (including national defense) is cleverly covered by a shirt-sleeved picture of the candidate, and all one can glean is a general statement that he loves a strong America (now there’s a surprise). On the real and hard issues, apparently Nada!

The same is true for most of the pretenders. It is difficult to figure out what any of them is for, other than the opposite of whatever President Obama is for on any given issue. It is hardly a distinguished or distinguishable array. With Tim Pawlenty (the classic “who dat?”) out of the race, most of the rest has about the same likelihood of becoming president as I do (although that does not mean they cannot compete for the nomination), and the fact that they have no discernible credentials in this area is probably innocuous. Within that field of feckless wannabes (Santorum, Paul, Cain, Gingrich, Huntsman, Bachman), the only one who has any track record in the foreign policy/national security area is former Utah Governor John Huntsman, but he is too bland and not crazy enough on social issues to get run the nomination gauntlet successfully, and he is way too Mormon at that. If he were to move to Massachusetts and declare himself a Democrat, he might have a future. Being a Democrat in Utah is like being one in South Carolina (where I live); Utah, Mormon and Democrat do not fit together into any sentences that do not contain a negative somewhere. The only other candidate with any real chops on policy in any area is Newt Gingrich, but the former speaker has so much extraneous baggage from his personal life that the day he is inaugurated, a spontaneous snowball fight will break out in hell. Some may take umbrage over my consignment of Michelle Bachman to the dust heap, but I just don’t think she will hold up long, especially with Sarah Palin peering coylyover her shoulder; I could, of course, be wrong here.

That leaves Cowboy Rick Perry, the newest entry into the pack. Perry does not trumpet his foreign or defense policy expertise; his campaign web site limits itself to saying he is for a “secure border” (a pretty bold statement for the Governor of Texas) and that he “has not taken a firm stand on on foreign policy/national defense as of yet.” I personally can hardly wait. Instead, he is concentrating on demonstrating his social conservative chops (go to church, oppose gay rights, execute lots of criminals) and on job creation, for which he holds up Texas (low unemployment, high job attraction) as an example of his prowess. Presumably, his major advice to the rest of us is to find oil under our soil or, if applicable, under our continental shelf, and then to hop in bed with the oil industry.

 If none of the candidates has any real background and/or interest in national security beyond a desire to wrap themselves tightly in the flag and form the basis to call themselves patriots (the basic position of the Tea Party), then what can one expect? The current field contains sufficient cats and dogs that a Dwight Eisenhower-like figure (David Petraeus would seem the likely candidate) who has both the popular potential and foreign/national security credentials to make a distinctive contribution might yet emerge. If, however, the nomination goes to one of the current crop of national security neophytes, what could one expect?

Since presidential campaigns do not offer the peace and serenity for candidates to become experts themselves, they are going to have to accept the advice of outsiders. For Republicans, that means former members of the Bush administration and experts in the very conservative, heavily neo-conservative Washington think tanks. That is essentially what George W. Bush did, and I cannot see any candidate from the current crop doing much else. They simply lack the expertise and, based on what they have done so far, the interest to do something different. Among the also-rans, Ron Paul, the libertarian who wants to get the government out of almost everything, is the partial exception: he does favor ending the military efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq. What he is for beyond that is a bit murkier.

As Governor Perry’s name has been bandied about, one of the rejoinders has been whether the United States is ready to accept another Texas GOP governor as commander-in-chief: can Perry get out from under George W. Bush’s shadow? His people will certainly try to prove he is “not Bush,” which will create some interesting moments of its own. But there is another GWB shadow that may hang over the nominee, Perry, Romney or otherwise. That shadow is a likelihood of a return to the Bush national security strategy. Many Americans do not remember that experience so happily as to make it a plus. We will see.