Winners and Losers of the National Intelligence Estimate

The National Intelligence Estimate reported yesterday that Iran isn’t pursuing the nukes the Bush administration once thought they were. Predictably, the candidates quickly blasted out statements celebrating the news. But politically, not all of the candidates should be ecstatic.


Rudy Giuliani: Rudy’s foreign-policy platform is based on “staying on offense” against terrorists, a category into which he often lumps Iran’s government and military. Giuliani has a stable of neocon foreign-policy advisers, including Norman Podhoretz, who tried to convince President Bush to bomb Iran. As Fred Kaplan noted yesterday , staying on offense against Iran might not be such a great idea if they don’t have any bombs.

John McCain: Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran ” isn’t going to shoot up the Billboard charts anytime soon.

Hillary Clinton: That vote to declare the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist group isn’t looking too good anymore. Having a nuclear bomb has little to do with whether they’re terrorists (Iran’s assistance to anti-American forces in Iraq is the United States’ main grievance), but now Clinton’s opponents can say that she was being overly hawkish on Iran despite a lack of evidence. ( Cough— Iraq authorization vote— cough .)

Doomsday paranoiacs: Are we still on the precipice of World War III ? Not so much.

Suddenly, the network doesn’t look so bad for not taking a single question on Iran in the CNN/YouTube debate last week. Oh, right, they didn’t take any questions on global warming, health care, or Iraq, either.

Joe Biden: Before the NIE came out, he had been calling for Bush’s impeachment if America bombed Iran. Now that stance seems even sounder.                 

All of us: Let’s take a moment to realize that Iran doesn’t have any nuclear weapons. This means we can all sleep a little easier at night, breathe a little more freely during the day, and only freak out about the half-dozen other states that have a nuclear bomb.