Thursday, April 20, 2006

Steve Clemons on Iran

Steve Clemons of The Washington Note has had a couple of posts over the last two days about Iran. Foreign policy is his area and it's worth reading what he has to say. I'm not sure I agree with a couple of things he says but the second part of this post has a lot of merit:
...One of my worries is that Bush's team is attempting to negotiate with Iran indirectly through the media -- demonstrating resolve and willingness to do the unthinkable, even unleashing tactical nukes, as a way to compel Iran to stand down. Iran won't step down in my view unless we engage in direct negotiations -- which according to a former senior national security official who worked close to Bush, "Bush is loathe to do."

Some other thoughts to keep in mind about Iran.

First of all, those intelligence-blind war planners who are advocating a hot action against Iran (particularly in the Air Force and VP Cheney's office) need to consider what will most likely be the most damaging outcome of such a bombing action: there will be a very high probability that China and Russia will exploit America's action against Iran as a way to generate a Russia-China-Middle East Oil Nation Block that is designed to constrain American power and choices.

Secondly, there are many options between war and appeasement. One of these involves a calculation of whether Iran will eventually acquire nukes if it really, really wants them. If one believes that despite the course of action Sy Hersh has written about that Iran will one day end up with nukes -- then a pissed-off, hostile-to-America, democratically legitimate, nuclear weapons nation is the worst outcome. What are some of the better outcomes?
Steve goes on to mention some better possibilities. The whole post is worth reading. The post refers to an earlier post on Iran that should be read for his full view. No matter what Bush does or doesn't do, Iran and foreign policy in general are going to be an issue this year. The Democrats in Congress and those Democrats running for Congress have their work cut out for them.

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