Monday, February 1, 2010

Fisted Iran

President Obama's policy of offering an open hand to clench-fisted regimes was plausible, to my mind, if it strengthened the sinews of determination, not if it allowed the clenched fist to intimidate. It always had to be clearly temporary; if by a given time the fist was still clenched it would be met accordingly. If the Iranians were arming because they felt threatened, they might desist if they felt respected; if however they were arming because they're truly bellicose, it will still be possible to stop them, one way or another, once this has become clear. The determination to stop them will be strengthened by the comprehension of their bellicosity and the inevitable need to curtail it.

It was a policy with two targets: the Iranian hawks were to be encouraged to loosen up; and the Western doves were to be shown - if need be - the necessity of being resolute, even to take hawkish actions, convinced that the nicer options had failed.

Obama said the crucial date would be September 2009; he finally began acting at the end of January 2010, so the Iranians got an extra four months. Whether his actions will be effective remains to be seen; the amount of Iranian nuclear development completed under cover of the year given to them is also not yet publicly known.

What is clear, however, is that at least some of the home-team doves have no intention of being swayed by the exercise. For them, any saber rattling by the Americans is wrong, always:

In Iran, after 12 months in office, Obama has got nowhere by making nice. He didn't try that hard. He didn't try for that long. And now it seems the US is reverting to type.

Yes, the Guardian. How did you guess?


Anonymous said...

it is not only the Guardian, it is also this guy George Friedman who poses as a clear-headed geo-politics-expert
- btw last year he was paddling his wares as the great and unfallible predictor, this year he still says the financial crisis is only a hick-up - but makes no claim of 99 or so percent infallibility this year

- the most outspoken stuff on Iran is in the Q&A

- for me the problem with him like with a lot of others is, that their mal-ware is embedded in a lot of interesting seemingly strictly rational unbiased stuff, like in this talk in a very round-about-way: if the US will go after Iran, Israel will kind of inadvertently have forced her to it.
- of course I misunderstand him completely ;-((((


Barry Meislin said...

The European democracies, ultimately, had nothing that they could offer Hitler that Hitler would accept.

Israel, ultimately, has nothing it can offer the Palestinians that the Palestinians can accept.

The Western democracies, ultimately, have nothing they can offer Iran that Iran can accept.

(But one really mustn't/shouldn't/can't/is not allowed to say such things, is one?....)

And the results (unless one relies on deus ex machina) should be clear for all those who wish to see.

Anonymous said...

As for "not trying that hard", this was the period in which the Iranian regime perpetrated election fraud and repeatedly and violently suppressed reasonably peaceful demonstrations demonstrations by its own people.

The home-team doves don't care about that. They just want to oppose anything in the US interest, no matter how stupid or obscene the enemy is.