More Iran Rumors
I'm starting to fear that there will be no public debate about our Iran policy until the diplomats have maneouvred us into a false either-or. And at that point, we'll probably be launching airstrikes and limited Special-Ops ground excursions: the kind of engagement Americans can support symbolically, ignore morally, and obfuscate economically.
Don't get me wrong: I think the consequences of an American airstrike on Iran would be disastrous on all of those scores. But the currently available Democratic positions seem to be
1. it's all a stupid electoral strategm, and I'm not listening, not listening, not listenign!!!1!Both of these approaches are deeply unsatisfying to me. Can't we find ways to pressure Russia and China into meaningful sanctions threats? Is it hopelessly utopian to hope that a serious diplomatic push couldn't start a dialogue between high-level Israeli and Iranian officials?
2. if we'd only not been lied into the Iraqi quagmire, we could've invaded Iran; we're subjunctively hard-core, biatch!
I know I've kept promising a post on Pollack's The Persian Puzzle, but I'm finding it very difficult to summarize, since Pollack himself is so ambivalent. Some of his axioms, however, include:
--Iranian elites always overestimate their importance to American interests.I'm afraid I have to recommend that everyone start reading up on Iran. Increasingly, I'm sensing that the Bush administration has learned the wrong lesson from the Iraq runup: they seem to think that the skepticism of the Iraq policy proves the public's unseriousness. I have always believed that if the policy were sound, most of the people would rally. So, the submerged Iran policy should worry us all.
--The Iranian people assume that the US is meddling in their internal political affairs.
--The Revolutionary Islamic Republic has not been concerned with oil revenue and sees it as a strategic rather than a vital resource.
--Iran has sought to protect its revolutionary government by arming and supporting minority Shi'ite populations in Kurdish Iraq, Syria, and the new urban underclasses across the desertified Arab monarchies.
--After Khomeini's death, determining final authoritory in governmental affairs has become more difficult.
[Cross-posted at HoCB.]