Rumsfeld’s statements on Iran and Syria are a few days old now, but in case you missed them, here’s one:

“These deliveries pose a direct threat to the lives of coalition forces. We consider such trafficking as hostile acts, and will hold the Syrian government accountable for such shipments,” Rumsfeld said.

And there are others–Condoleezza Rice and John Bolton (undersecretary of state for arms control)–in the administration intimating that Iran is next.

Now former CIA chief James Woolsey says we’re at the start of World War IV (The Cold War was WWIII in his view). According to CNN’s story (I can’t find the transcript of the speech) Woolsey apparently argues that we’re actually at war against three countries: Iraq, Iran, and Syria. Here’s a cheeful quote from Woolsey:

“This fourth world war, I think, will last considerably longer than either World Wars I or II did for us. Hopefully not the full four-plus decades of the Cold War.”

Here is his message for recalcitrant regimes:

“We want you nervous. We want you to realize now, for the fourth time in a hundred years, this country and its allies are on the march and that we are on the side of those whom you — the Mubaraks, the Saudi Royal family — most fear: We’re on the side of your own people.”

So maybe the order is Iraq, then Iran and Syria, then Egypt, and then Saudi Arabia. The problem is that If we use our military might to install true democracy in all of these countries, who do you think their citizens will then elect? The neocons say that in a surge of freedom and gratitude, they will elect pro-Western leaders. But it could just as easily go the other way–countries whose citizens already dislike the US may be even more anti-West after Woolsey’s WWIV and, being democracies, elect leaders who act in ways consistent with the (anti-American) will of the people. Are we then prepared to accept the actions of those democracies when they go against US interests? The reactions in the US to recent actions by Turkey, France, Germany, and to a lesser extent, Canada and Mexico, suggest not.


UPDATE: Matt’s got a bit on this too.