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Friday, June 18, 2010

What containment of Iran would require

Cliff May describes what it would take to 'contain' a nuclear Iran and why it cannot be done (in much briefer terms than that Bret Stephens article I blogged earlier in the week).
Applying a containment strategy to Iran almost certainly would necessitate stationing U.S. troops indefinitely in Iraq, to Iran’s west, and Afghanistan, to its east. In response, Iran would back anti-American forces in those countries — as, in fact, it has been doing for years, though both the Bush and Obama administrations have ignored that so as to avoid having to do something about it.

Containment would mean that the U.S. would fight low-intensity conflicts for a long time and in many places. Americans have limited patience for such conflicts. Iran’s strategists get that.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was created, in large measure, to bring together those nations that believed the Soviets needed containing. NATO still exists, but it is unlikely that it can be refashioned to address the threat posed by a nuclear Iran and the regimes and terrorist groups Iran controls. Were NATO to make such a transition, it would almost certainly have to eject Turkey, the alliance’s only Muslim-majority member, whose current government is openly Islamist.

Nuclear deterrence also was a key component of containment. It was effective because the Soviets, as materialists and atheists, saw death as highly undesirable. It is not clear that deterrence can succeed with religious extremists who regard life and death differently.

“A nation that excels at dying will be blessed by Allah with a life of dignity and with eternal paradise,” said Muhammad al-Baltaji, deputy secretary general of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s parliamentary contingent and a passenger on the flotilla that recently attempted to land in Gaza. (Thanks to MEMRI for the translation.) Similarly and famously, Khomeini said: “We do not worship Iran, we worship Allah. For patriotism is another name for paganism. I say let this land [Iran] burn. I say let this land go up in smoke, provided Islam emerges triumphant in the rest of the world.”

Those who hold such views cannot be engaged. Attempts to isolate them have been unsuccessful. The notion that a warmed-over Cold War policy will somehow “contain” them is ludicrous — especially once their fingers are on nuclear triggers. To make “containment” the mainstay of American national-security strategy is to undertake an experiment whose results are entirely predictable — and will be very painful for America and what we used to call, in more confident times, the Free World.


At 7:04 PM, Blogger nomatter said...

containment is BS. To really contain Iran would require Iran not the free world to be in charge.

If provoked the wrong way Iran will use that bomb on Israel to show the world who means business. In the mean time it would be hell to pay!

Think of a little CONTROLLING kid doing the worse temper tantrum possible. See the parents rushing like slaves to the child to calm the temper they know only creates more temper.

Now multiply that by a trillion

I kid you not, not only the state of Israel becomes paralyzed by Iran but the rest of the world. But I hate to tell you if the HEAT BECOMES TOO UNBEARABLE, the free world would let go of Israel!!


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