Friday, February 07, 2003

Josh Marshall makes an excellent point in assessing Saddam's future behavior. I have always contended that Saddam's best move would be to make a show of giving up his unconventional weapons. The heat mounted against him by the international community would quickly evaporate, his regime would remain in power, and the Bush regime's lust for a war would be frustrated. He could even pull a NorK move and start a brand new unconventional weapons program after the rest of the world gets distracted to some other crisis. Only this time he would have fewer, if any, sanctions to contend with. Furthermore he could clandestinely expand his embryonic relationship with al-Qaeda and use them as a proxy through which to mount attacks on the US. He could even supply them with unconventional weapons and still have a mechanism for deniability.

Yet, so far, Saddam has failed to avail himself of the opportunity. I agree with Marshall in that this failure points to a potentially fatal flaw in Saddam's thinking. And that undermines the proposition that he is indeed a rational actor who can be deterred. Saddam, you must be getting rusty in your old age.

Update: Mark Kleiman gets it. There seem to be few others out there that do. Pity, that.

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