Powered by WebAds

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

No time for diplomacy

While Nero Obama fiddles, Iran is leaving no time for diplomacy (Hat Tip: The Corner).
While the administration is fixated on the Palestinian problem, Iran is changing the strategic map of the Middle East in its drive for regional hegemony. In fact, the Palestinian issue is rapidly becoming an extension of Iranian ambitions. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak noted archly that Tehran's considerable support for Hamas means that in practical terms Egypt “shares a border with Iran.” Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal has decried Iranian support for non-state actors like Hamas and Hezbollah. At this point no peace with Israel will be possible without Iran's permission, and the Arab states would be happy to see this issue go away.

While we would prefer a diplomatic rather than military solution to the Iranian problem, time is running short and the United States is losing its ability to shape events. Other states will act if the U.S. does not. The Israeli source told us that a nuclear Iran would be an existential threat to Israel, and that Israel cannot allow the Iranians to have the bomb. “We take seriously their statement to wipe Israel from the map,” our source said. “Given our history we take it very seriously.”

Nor do we suspect Israel will be acting alone. Saudi Arabia faces its own existential threat from Iran. Tehran is seeking to undermine the legitimacy of the Saudi regime and establish a protectorate over Mecca and Medina. The notion of Persian Shi'ites in Mecca is far more alarming to the Arab Sunni states than Israeli control of Jerusalem. The depth of the schism between Iran and the Arab states was evident during the recent Gaza War when most sided with Israel. We presume that Israel can count on their assistance if military action against Iran becomes necessary.

Some believe that Iran will stop short of weaponization, that Tehran will be satisfied with the deterrent effect of having the building blocks for nuclear weapons without actually assembling them. But that is a naïve suggestion; in fact it would be more destabilizing than actually having a working bomb, because Tehran would be under constant threat of attack with no credible response. Also dismissible is the idea that should Iran go nuclear the Cold War-era deterrence model would apply, with Israel and Iran achieving a sustainable balance of terror. This assumes of course that Iran's millenarian mullahs are as rational as the Soviet Politburo, a risky assumption at best.


The United States approaches this issue as though it can control events, but Iran, Israel and other countries in the region will not wait for the stately processes of American diplomacy. The strategic map in the Middle East will change with us or without us. The time is rapidly approaching when there will be no best-case scenarios, only a dwindling number of very hard choices. Meanwhile, Iranian arms continue to kill U.S. troops in Iraq, and there are reports of weapons from Tehran surging into Afghanistan. The Obama administration's “grand bargainers” seek an opening to the Islamic Republic while a confident President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sneers at “childish” U.S. sanctions and has declared Iran a space power and nuclear power. “You take your decisions, and we do our work,” he said. “You are too small to block our path.” The Obama administration has yet to prove him wrong.
Two points worth noting. First, while the Middle East generally operates by a rule that 'my enemy's enemy is my friend,' I highly doubt that Saudi Arabia or any other Arab country will actively support an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. It is far more likely that they will cheer us (and our taking all the risks and suffering all the consequences) silently. No, we cannot count on their assistance. That has never happened and never will.

Otherwise, I believe this editorial has gotten it right. The naivete of the Obama administration's approach to Iran is appalling. It's the approach of Israel's Left, which believes that because it wants 'peace,' the other side must also want peace even if the other side insists over and over again that it wants war. 'We want it to be that way, so it must be that way, and we will ignore any facts that suggest otherwise.' It's an approach that doesn't surprise me when it comes from Israel's Left. But I never thought the United States government would adopt so unrealistic and foolish a worldview. How the mighty have fallen.


At 8:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 8:16 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Israel has nothing left to give away. The other side has said it wants to see Israel destroyed. How do you negotiate with someone who wants to kill you? Its absurd!

At 9:46 PM, Blogger Butchie! said...

I do not know why so many people assume that the Obama administration is simply naive. The establishment deserve more respect than that. Their policies are deliberate, and the effects of their policies can easily be predicted.


Post a Comment

<< Home