Tuesday, April 04, 2006

More Iran Rumors

Kevin Drum passes along a stark warning from skeptic Joseph Ciciniore [FP link: sub. req., easily bypassed with bugmenot.com], that the internal logic of Washington decision-makers is moving inexorably towards a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.

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!
2. if we'd only not been lied into the Iraqi quagmire, we could've invaded Iran; we're subjunctively hard-core, biatch!
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?

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.
--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.
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.

[Cross-posted at HoCB.]


Post a Comment

<< Home