Roger Chapin

The Iranians are fully mindful that a Republican president in 2013 could quickly move to destroy their nuclear capabilities while also attempting to engineer an overthrow of their radical government. This makes it all the more likely that they will very soon seize what could be their short window of opportunity for launching an EMP attack and “bring about a world without America” as Ahmadinejad has boasted. This very real threat to our own survival, even if only a 10% chance – I believe it’s closer to 50%, could open the door to an absolutely essential and very possibly nation-saving grand bargain in Washington.

For his part, the President will have a major problem in 2012 if the Afghan war is still going strong, particularly in that he is clearly not willing to do what it will take to prevail, as unfortunately is hardly anyone else. But the President will still need Republican cover if he’s to exit Afghanistan without being accused of cutting and running.

Far more critical, however, to America’s national security interests is preventing Iran from going nuclear. If the leaderless Republicans will regain their traditional instincts and make destroying Iran’s nuclear facilities a burning issue, they could mobilize huge grassroots support and possibly work out a deal with Obama in exchange for their playing ball on Afghanistan. In all reality, Obama would be doing himself a very big favor, because if he allows Iran to go nuclear the Republicans could use this with devastating effect against the Democrats in 2012.

The Republicans could sweeten the deal by also collaborating on substantial reductions in spending and the size of the deficits, which otherwise will again be extremely damaging to the Democrats in 2012. 5% annual, across-the-board spending cuts in the federal budget for each of the next two years would be a good way to start. Republican cooperation in reducing U.S. energy dependence is another area of critically important potential compromise.

While it’s true that in the jaundiced eyes of many hard-nosed Republican warriors such a grand bargain could deprive them of some ammunition in 2012; what good is an election if hardly anyone is still around to vote? But if there is an election, I would also argue that “just say no” Republicans better watch their backsides in the 2012 primaries.

The bottom line is – no matter whether you’re a Republican or Democrat, that this is a time of grave and unprecedented danger to our nation. Accordingly, the concept of a grand bargain deserves the most serious attention and a full-fledged national debate both in the new Congress and the media. Nothing less than the very survival of our beloved country is at stake. So hopefully the patriots will trump the pinheads.

Let the debate begin!

Roger Chapin

Roger Chapin has had a distinguished and varied career in both the nonprofit and entrepreneurial worlds.