Thursday, January 10, 2008

Deal With Iran

Farideh Farhi makes what I think is the spot-on point regarding Iran (get the pdf here).
Today, Tehran is possibly stirring a return of strategic thinking to American foreign policy, even if the lethargic Bush administration is unlikely to take up the challenge. But the reduction of the Iran question to “the bomb” and “chaos” misses the basic question that is implicit in the NIE report and Bush’s successor has to face regarding Iran: If the regionally ascendant Islamic Iran, with or without an actual bomb, is here to stay, would U.S. interests in the region be better served through a friendlier, even if not trouble free, relationship with it, or further antagonism that pushes Iran to act as a spoiler in the region and look for tactical and strategic alliances to the East to counter to American belligerence?
Although the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions have rightly occupied most people's minds, and the neocons have been irresponsible saber-rattlers for the past seven years, I don't think the extent of the harm of Bush's belligerent foreign policy has been fully grasped. The "Iran problem" is, in some ways, manufactured by this belligerence. And, although the Bush presidency is mercifully drawing to a close, the belligerence continues unabated. We see it still at work in the recent Iran-US confrontation in the Persian Gulf and likely also in the developing policy towards Pakistan.

UPDATE (1/11/08):

See also this interesting piece today by Helena Cobban.
The agility of the Iranian government's information capabilities has protected the US from what could well be an attempt by some moles deep within the Pentagon to jerk our country into a broad and extremely damaging military conflagration with Iran. Now-- as during that the worryingly similar Gulf of Tonkin Incident in 1964-- the US Congress needs to react....


jenhargis said...

It is my belief that Iran is a nation who is not against taking terroristic action (many would say neither is the U.S.). I don't have any idea how to deal with this type of situation, I'm not specifically in agreement with being friendly to them, nor do I feel it necessary, at this time, to be any sort of aggressor. Ignoring them is not an option either. This is why I am not president, and why many who have been (or are currently) shouldn't have been.

troutsky said...

Speaking of Presidents, the discourse of the latest batch of wanna bees is indicative of the damage already done to any notion of Grand Strategy.Good vs Evil is about as nuanced as they get.

CKR said...

Congressional investigation of this particular incident, I don't know.

Our problem is that we can no longer believe anything from our government. We have the technology to place cameras everywhere, but that same technology makes faking the pictures much too easy.

We've had dissimulation from too many presidents, from the Gulf of Tonkin through a highly nuanced definition of the word is through whatever it is Bush is saying today.

So what can we believe?

More than just one investigation, we need a group of politicians who will make some sort of commitment to transparency (not even truth, that's too much for us to believe now) and will stick to it through at least one difficult moment.

The media could help with this, instead of trying to reconstitute the term "running dogs."

Am I optimistic? No.

helmut said...

Agreed, Cheryl. Just a wee little bit of transparency would be a radical move at this point.