April 17, 2006
Yesterday, the Scotsman newspaper published an article triumphantly announcing that Tony Blair's Britain will refuse to join any military action against Iran. But what I find fascinating is how the stated rationale for the refusal hinges on the crackpot idea that Iran can be negotiated into democracy by clever diplomats:
While the sense of crisis over Iran has been escalated by the fiery rhetoric between Tehran and the West - particularly Washington - many within the British government are now convinced that the impasse can be resolved by repeating the same sort of painstaking diplomatic activity that returned Libya to the international fold.
But would such "painstaking diplomatic activity" have had any effect at all, absent the invasion and overthrow of Baathist-occupied Iraq and the capture of Saddam Hussein? Do these diplomats recall that those events only occurred because the United States defied the same international diplomatic bodies that object just as vehemently today to a strike against Iran?
Yes, Col. Muammar Qaddafi did finally agree to give up his nuclear weapons programs, after the United States and Great Britain conducted secret talks with Qaddafi beginning in March of 2003; but those talks were going nowhere until December 19th of that year. Not-so-coincidentally, American troops had captured Saddam Hussein just six days earlier.
But the connection between the overthrow and occupation of Iraq, and especially of the capture of Hussein himself, and Libya's surprise announcement seems to have fallen down the rabbit hole, as far as Tony Blair's "favourite think-tank," the Foreign Policy Centre (FPC), is concerned:
"The only long-term solution to Iran's problems is democracy," said Alex Bigham, co-author of the FPC report. "But it cannot be dictated, Iraq-style, or it will backfire. Iran may seem superficially like Iraq but we need to treat Iran more like Libya. Diplomatic engagement must be allowed to run its course. There need to be bigger carrots as well as bigger sticks."
Bigger sticks? Since, in the same breath, the FPC takes all possible "bigger sticks" off the table in favor of negotiations alone, what they actually appear to suggest is a massive bribing of Iran -- a policy former President Bill Clinton followed to rather unfortunate effect.
It is not, I suspect, purely coincidental that four liberals in the U.S. Senate -- Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Evan Bayh (D-IN), and Dick Lugar (R-IN), the last being chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a leading RINO in the Senate -- chose this moment to issue a call for the United States to reject the military option, cease demanding sanctions, stop saying nasty things about serial assassin and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad... and instead to initiate bilateral talks between the Iranians and us [free registration required to read the Los Angeles Times story].
Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.) and three Democratic colleagues called for direct U.S. talks with Iran to defuse political tension about its nuclear capability and address global concerns about energy supplies.
Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California, Evan Bayh of Indiana and Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut also endorsed talks.
Ever since the Clinton administration, "bilateral talks" has been considered code for offering Iran monetary and political concessions in exchange for the promise to cease nuclear-weapons research. But such agreements from Iran, as from North Korea, are "pie-crust promises," as Mary Poppins might say: "easily made and easily broken." (The Israelis could tell us something about that approach.)
It appears to be a full-court press: liberal American senators urge us to drop everything and offer bribes to Iran for the promise of peace; while at the same time, our best allies in the world, the British, tell us that we're on our own; they won't aid an attack on Iran in any way.
Despite all the forces arrayed against us, and unlike the guys at Power Line, I believe we will attack Iran's nuclear sites if it becomes clear that the internationales have no intention of stopping Iran by any other means. We have three great advantages that cannot be neutralized: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and President George W. Bush.
Time is on the Iran's side, but the "tide in the affairs of men" is on ours. Let us take that tide at the flood.
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, April 17, 2006, at the time of 5:43 PM
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The following hissed in response by: Eg
There seems to be a point which is getting widely overlooked. Specifically this part of the article,
But, in the midst of international opposition to a pre-emptive strike on Tehran, and Britain's military commitments around the world, the government maintains it cannot contribute to a military assault. "We will support the diplomatic moves, at best," a Foreign Office source told Scotland on Sunday. "But we cannot commit our own resources to a military strike."
The Brit’s had a hard enough time trying to come-up with the forces they’d committed this year in Afghanistan. IIRC, that was 1000 troops. Their ‘out’ - gone, committed…there are none to be had without stripping the country bare. I’m still unsure if the other Euro/Nato states were able to make their own commitments. The Euro’s were also to have taken control and replaced UN forces in Bosnia last year, as far as I know they still haven’t been able to fulfill that commitment. We won’t even talk about Africa….
Simply put…the Euro goose’s are cooked. Oh…but I guess it should be mentioned that the French will use their nukes.
The following hissed in response by: bpilch
The only military action that I foresee in Iran is airstrikes on the nuclear facilities. I don't think the Brits are needed for that, whatsoever. As for diplomacy, Bush is giving the multilateralists as much time as anyone could demand, although noting at the same time that it is not likely to be successful. Why would we do bilateral talks? So, that if they fail they are our fault? No talks will be successful, Iran wants a bomb. Talks are only their cover for getting there. I agree. Thank god, for Rice, Rumsfeld, and most of all Bush. Can you imagine Clinton putting up with low approval numbers to do what he thought was best for the country?
The following hissed in response by: MTF
Just taking out the nuke facilities without changing the regime would be stupid on a colossal level. What if there is a second, third or fourth or eighth array available to the Iranians? What if the stories about most of the research occurring at Revolutionary Guard educational buildings, instead of plainly marked government facilities, is true? The “what ifs” go on ad nauseum.
The only answer is to change the government. My preference is that impetus for change in government be from within, and to that end I think it is almost sickening that we aren’t spending big resources organizing a government in exile, non-stop radio and TV broadcasts, touring puppet shows…whatever it takes! Regime Change Iran has been all over this concept for a long time, but those folks at the White House have been a little preoccupied lately and may have taken their eyes of the ball on this one.
If I don’t get my wish, I’d choose to aim my cruise missiles at any and all Iranian government figures I can find, most especially Khameni and any 12th imam mystics we can locate, rather than the nuclear facilities.
The following hissed in response by: MTF
One more thing: all this talk of "diplomacy" is just a code phrase for "don't get us into another war". The press for war isn't in our hands to start with, so these politicians are aiming their hand-wringing in entirely the wrong direction.
If you had to choose, would you blow up the buildings first, or blow up the scientists involved and the heads of government? To me, it's a very easy call.
The following hissed in response by: cdquarles
Not only that, but Iran committed an act of war with the storming of the US Embassy and holding hostages for some 18 months, IIRC. They declared war on us in 1979. We simply have decided not to respond in kind so far. It is, IMO, now time to seriously bring their war to them on their soil, and nuke 'em if necessary (though I'd hope it won't come to that, but the Iranian government is acting like Hitler and deserves Hitler's fate).
The above hissed in response by: cdquarles at April 18, 2006 11:54 PM
The following hissed in response by: MTF
The disturbing news of the day is the continuing Russian unwillingness to help us, choosing instead to help Iran. How their national interest is best served by watching Iran conduct nuclear tests in Tel Aviv or the Green Zone is beyond my comprehension. Is Putin just stuck in a cold war time warp? What is his gig anyway?
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