Monday, October 29, 2007

Iran...the next Iraq in the on going War on Error?

As the California wildfires slowly burned out into cold embers the world's attention has, once again, been redirected to the United States' apparent desire to respond to a long perceived threat, Iran, for their continuous pursuit of enriching uranium and meddling with our affairs in Iraq, like training and funding militias who are (according to intelligence reports and military personnel) killing our troops, despite the potential risk involved in an aerial attack or, less likely, ground invasion, which could ignite a larger regional conflagration in the Middle East.

The war drums have been a slow and steady, but persistent beat, which isn't surprising to me, since it seems the entire Iraq invasion was premised on eventually taking out the Iranian regime--a long sought after but apparently unattainable goal of the US administration. The strategy behind the overthrow of Hussein was part of the project of a New Middle East, which would be based on the shining economically and politically successful, and US assisted, example of Iraq. The plan, however, was slightly derailed when, following the invasion and takeover of Baghdad, the Iraqi army was disbanded, Hussein's regime and statue was toppled, (a beautifully staged media extravaganza), and chaos, insecurity, and instability gradually and then exponentially ensued. Iran was thus temporarily out of military toppling sight and the burdens of occupation, a historically unsuccessful endeavor, began to emerge and grow like a cancerous tumor on the US' foreign policy strategy.

But the US administration never removed regime change in Iran from its rhetorical arsenal, as was shown when Iran was lumped in with Iraq and North Korea in the "Axis of Evil." And I would just like to point out, since it seems obvious to me, the blatant lesson Iran learned when we invaded Iraq (a country without nuclear ambitions), but proceeded in peaceful negotiations and diplomacy with North Korea, who was pursuing and had even tested its nuclear capabilities. So to me of course Iran is going to want to continue to pursue, what it sees as, nuclear protection/insurance from a US invasion.

Another question...Did we not expect Iran, who we declared to be a part of the axis of evil, to meddle in our affairs in Iraq, a country right next to its own borders...? I mean the US literally has Iran geographically surrounded. Imagine if Iran or Russia invaded Mexico or Canada, and imagine the US was a weaker state, a state like current day Iran, would you not expect the US to still get involved and meddle with the invaders affairs in a neighboring country?

How can we threaten a country with punishment for behavior, or a particular reaction, that is a predictable state reflex?

I mean its almost like a doctor saying "If you jolt your leg, it means you slept with my wife, and I am therefore going to punch you in the groin" and then proceeding to whack you, helpless patient, on the knee with that cruel triangle-shaped hammer, causing a reflex, which justifies the doctor's claim and his belief in the right to enforce his threat of punishment. This is how absurd I think the current US stance towards Iranian behavior is, but maybe I just don't understand international politics and US foreign policy...perhaps solutions, which take into account predictable state reflexes, are not, de facto, the main focus of attention and resources...(certainly not for the US at least).

The US needs to realize that it currently has its military right hand tied behind its back in Iraq and Afghanistan, but its left hand of diplomacy is still free and certainly worth playing. I can only hope that the US exploits and plays its free hand with Iran, because if we do decide to strike, not only will it be a limited and all-together unsuccessful strike on Iran's capabilities in the long term, it would be (to carry this analogy further) a self-inflicted amputation of the aforementioned free left hand of diplomacy, which would leave us, obviously, with no hands of use at all.

Washington can point its finger at Iran all it wants, but if it does point the finger of blame at Iran, then I would just like to remind Washington that "he who points a finger at another, will have three fingers pointing back at himself."

Here's a recent debate between Neocon Norman Podhoretz, Rudy Giuliani's foreign policy adviser and Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria on The Newshour: (courtesy of TPM)

And Farideh Farhi has a post up on Informed Comment that's certainly worth reading. Found here

And lastly, Gary Samore, vice president, director of studies, and the Maurice R. Greenberg chair at the Council on Foreign Relations, gave an interesting nuclear presentation on Iran, though it seemed to have pretty strong pro-tactical-strike against Iran undertones, last month at the New America Foundation, but I thought the presentation accurately showed how little of a case we have against a tactical strike on Iran and moreover the limited setbacks to Iran an invasion by the US would ultimately have.

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