Brzezinski focuses us on the essential dynamic we face
with this renegade president ...
If the United States continues to be bogged down in a protracted bloody involvement in Iraq, the final destination on this downhill track is likely to be a head-on conflict with Iran and with much of the world of Islam at large. A plausible scenario for a military collision with Iran involves Iraqi failure to meet the benchmarks; followed by accusations of Iranian responsibility for the failure; then by some provocation in Iraq or a terrorist act in the U.S. blamed on Iran; culminating in a "defensive" U.S. military action against Iran that plunges a lonely America into a spreading and deepening quagmire eventually ranging across Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
This is the hinge on which everything now turns. Bush doesn't want to be to blame for the mess in Iraq. So it has to be Iran. There's a bright line leading from the crisis of accountability to the next stage of strategic disaster.