June 2, 2006 2:27PM

You Heard It Here First

The award for obvious headline of the day goes to this offering from AP:

Analysis: Iraq war ties U.S. hands on Iran

But in the article, there’s a startling admission from Kenneth Pollack of the Brookings Institution:

“The Iraq example coupled with the North Korea example probably is part of the motivation for some in Iran to get a nuclear weapon,” and do so quickly, said Ken Pollack, research director at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy.

Iran absorbed the lessons of those other two nations that President Bush linked as a three‐​way “axis of evil,” Pollack said.

“We didn’t invade North Korea because they had a nuclear weapon. We did invade Iraq because they didn’t have a nuclear weapon but we thought they were trying to get one. If you’re Iran, what is the logical lesson?”

Of course, you could have gotten this analysis way back in January 2003 from my colleague Ted Carpenter, who wrote in the Los Angeles Times:

In his 2002 State of the Union address, President Bush explicitly linked both North Korea and Iran to Iraq in an “axis of evil.”

It would hardly be surprising if Pyongyang and Tehran concluded they would be next on Washington’s hit list unless they could effectively deter an attack. Yet neither country could hope to match the conventional military capabilities of a superpower.

The most reliable deterrent — maybe the only reliable deterrent — is to have nuclear weapons.

In other words, U.S. behavior may have inadvertently created a powerful incentive for nuclear weapons proliferation — the last thing Washington wanted to occur.