"Iran must be free. The dictatorship must be destroyed. Containment is appeasement and appeasement is surrender."
Thus does our Churchill, Newt Gingrich, dismiss, in dealing with Iran, the policy of containment crafted by George Kennan and pursued by nine U.S. presidents to bloodless victory in the Cold War.
Why is containment surrender? "Because freedom is threatened everywhere so long as this dictatorship stays in power," says Gingrich.
But how is our freedom threatened by a regime with 3 percent of our GDP that has been around since Jimmy Carter was president?
Fortunately, Gingrich has found a leader to bring down the Iranian regime and ensure the freedom of mankind. "In our country that was George Washington and ... the Marquis de Lafayette. In Italy it was Garibaldi," says Gingrich.
Whom has he found to rival Washington and Garibaldi? Says Gingrich, "Maryam Rajavi."
Who is she? The leader of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, or Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, which opposed the Shah, broke with the old Ayatollah, collaborated with Saddam Hussein, and, until 2012, was designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. Department of State.
At the NCRI conference in Paris in July where Gingrich spoke, and the speaking fees were reportedly excellent, John Bolton and Rudy Giuliani were also on hand.
Calling Iran's twice-elected President Hassan Rouhani, "a violent, vicious murderer," Giuliani said, "the time has come for regime change."
Bolton followed suit. "Tehran is not merely a nuclear weapons threat, it is not merely a terrorist threat, it is a conventional threat to everybody in the region," he said. Hence, "the declared policy of the United States of America should be the overthrow of the mullahs' regime in Tehran."
We will all celebrate in Tehran in 2019, Bolton assured the NCRI faithful.
Good luck. Yet, as The New York Times said yesterday, all this talk, echoed all over this capital, is driving us straight toward war. "A drumbeat of provocative words, outright threats and actions — from President Trump and some of his top aides as well as Sunni Arab leaders and American activists — is raising tensions that could lead to armed conflict with Iran."
Is this what America wants or needs — a new Mideast war against a country three times the size of Iraq?
After Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen, would America and the world be well-served by a war with Iran that could explode into a Sunni-Shiite religious war across the Middle East?
Bolton calls Iran "a nuclear weapons threat."
But in 2007, all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies declared with high confidence Iran had no nuclear weapons program. They stated this again in 2011. Under the nuclear deal, Iran exported almost all of its uranium, stopped enriching to 20 percent, shut down thousands of centrifuges, poured concrete into the core of its heavy water reactor, and allows U.N. inspectors to crawl all over every facility.
Is Iran, despite all this, operating a secret nuclear weapons program? Or is this War Party propaganda meant to drag us into another Mideast war?
To ascertain the truth, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee should call the heads of the CIA and DIA, and the Director of National Intelligence, to testify in open session.
We are told we are menaced also by a Shiite Crescent rising and stretching from Beirut to Damascus, Baghdad and Tehran.
And who created this Shiite Crescent?
It was George W. Bush who ordered the Sunni regime of Saddam overthrown, delivering Iraq to its Shiite majority. It was Israel whose invasion and occupation of Lebanon from 1982 to 2000 gave birth to the Shiite resistance now known as Hezbollah.
As for Bashar Assad in Syria, his father sent troops to fight alongside Americans in the Gulf War.
The Ayatollah's regime, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Basij militia are deeply hostile to this country. But Iran does not want war with the United States — for the best of reasons. Iran would be smashed like Iraq, and its inevitable rise, as the largest and most advanced country on the Persian Gulf, would be aborted.
Moreover, we have interests in common: Peace in the Gulf, from which Iran's oil flows and without which Iran cannot grow, as Rouhani intends, by deepening Iran's ties to Europe and the advanced world.
And we have enemies in common: ISIS, al-Qaida and all the Sunni terrorists whose wildest dream is to see their American enemies fight their Shiite enemies.
Who else wants a U.S. war with Iran, besides ISIS?
Unfortunately, their number is legion: Saudis, Israelis, neocons and their think tanks, websites and magazines, hawks in both parties on Capitol Hill, democracy crusaders, and many in the Pentagon who want to deliver payback for what the Iranian-backed Shiite militias did to us in Iraq.
President Trump is key. If he does the War Party's bidding, that will be his legacy, as the Iraq War is the legacy of George W. Bush.
Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, "Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever." To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.