Iran: To Engage or Not To Engage... That is Not the Question

Posted by Sean McCormack
October 10, 2007
Iranian Nuclear Program

One way the mainstream media breaks down coverage of Iran policy is to place people (both inside and outside government) into two neat categories – those who want to engage Iran and those who want to isolate Iran. Admittedly, there are other ways to create camps on the Iran issue – use of force vs. diplomacy, for example – but the engage vs. isolation dichotomy is the one I most often read about those at State purportedly chomping at the bit to negotiate with an Iranian, any Iranian. Let me offer another way to look at the issue.

I’ll start with a simple premise: diplomacy without incentives and disincentives (carrots and sticks) is just talking. Put another way, diplomacy without the proper mix will accomplish nothing when dealing with an adversary. The question then becomes one of establishing both sides of the equation – incentives and disincentives -- before any negotiation. So those who want to divide the world into engage vs. isolate camps are missing the point. In fact, it is not a binary choice. Instead engagement and isolation are two different sides of the same coin.

Experience tells us that without creating significant leverage, you will fail in a negotiation – unless of course you face a weak or unthinking opponent. So, unless the U.S. creates the right conditions for successful negotiations with Iran, we won’t get anyplace. For example, part of creating the right conditions is to make clear to friends and the Iranian government that the U.S. has interests in the Gulf it does not plan to abandon. Carriers in the Gulf and building strong military relationships with allies in the region are one way to demonstrate the seriousness with which we take those interests, and our readiness to assist our friends against any threats. Arms sales are just one element to building those strong relationships; we are now working with Congress to gain approval for sales to bolster our allies. Going after Iranian-backed networks targeting our troops with sophisticated improvised explosives is yet another way in which we show our determination to defend broader interests, as well as protect our troops.

On the diplomatic side, Secretary Rice met September 28 in New York during the UN General Assembly with Foreign Ministers from China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom—the so-called P5+1 (easier than writing out the names of each country when talking about this group). They repeated the 2006 commitment to a dual track diplomatic approach to Iran. Basically, this translates to increasing pressure (vias sanctions and other diplomatic means) on Iran to come clean with the world and meet its UN and other obligations, while at the same time offering Iran direct talks on the nuclear issue if it suspends its nuclear enrichment activities. The offer to Iran also includes the prospect of assistance with the development of a peaceful, civil nuclear program if it agrees to comply with its international obligations and come clean with the international community regarding its nuclear past and generous economic incentives for Iran, including support for Iran’s ascension to the World Trade Organization. The P5+1 proposal remains on the table. It is also worth noting that we have made it clear that the Iranians can also bring up whatever other topics they wish in these talks. We will certainly be prepared to bring up other issues of concern to us. The group’s only condition for starting talks is that Iran suspend its uranium enrichment work; for our part, we will suspend UN Security Council sanctions for the lifespan of the negotiations. We have even been flexible in considering the duration of negotiations/suspension.

Until that point, we will continue working with the Treasury Department and key international financial institutions to ensure that Iran does not abuse the international financial system to fund its proliferation and terrorism activities. We are joined in efforts to pressure Iran outside of the UN framework by allies such as France, which recently announced its support for imposing broader EU sanctions on the Iran.

I hope that gives you an idea of how we are working to establish both sides of the equation – incentives and disincentives. In our view diplomacy still has a lot of legs left, but in order for it to succeed we need to keep working both sides of the isolation/engagement coin.

Comments

Comments

Ron
|
Kansas, USA
October 12, 2007

Ron in Kansas writes:
@ Kenneth in Canada --

Sir,

As you state you are a historian and as such are unabashed by propositions of equality which fall short of your well versed opinion; I have a question for you.

How would you equate the current world struggles for freedom, democracy, and aristocracy, dictatorship with the transitional periods in the Greek, Roman, and Ottoman empires?

I have always found it amazing how easily the "ignorance is bliss" tends to allow those who purportedly know the answers to comment on things without ever sharing their vast knowledge as to what the better way is and what if any the expected results would be.

PS: Speaking of bankruptcy (Democracy,Communism) which one's usually go broke first?

Kenneth T.
|
Canada
October 12, 2007

Kenneth in Canada writes:
@ Ron in Kansas -- It must have slipped your mind, because the more things change, the more they remain same. That is my answer to your question.

Freedom struggles, democracy, aristocracy and dictatorship are the result of laxness on the part of citizenry. If we sit back on our laurels, we are sure, to have bad things happen. Thus the watchwords of every citizen should be, keep an eye on government, it can fail you when you least expect it.

Speaking of bankruptcy Communism & capitalism (not democracy) which one usually goes broke first? Have you not heard of the great depression of 1929 in the U.S. when people jumped out of the windows of New York Skyscrapers. That was a Capitalist failure, was it not? You jumped to the conclusion that democracy was capitalism, it is not!

But, I must add further, that neither is the pseudo-communism of the Soviets a form of democracy.

Kenneth
|
Canada
October 12, 2007

Kenneth in Canada writes:
I am glad that you people are testing me out. Because, I have not had such an interesting discussion in a long time. So I appreciate it.

But, this I must tell you. I have crossed the world six times. and every time I did, I learned something new.

Not being of a mind to sit down in one place, gave me the opportunity to travel, but more than that, I was able to absorb everything that came my way. I cannot imagine myself sitting down at a desk, because that would kill my spirit. I began to realize that I had the capacity to retain anything that I read or told. In time my friends thought that I was a computer. That was something that never entered my head. Now, I write articles on journeys and on varied subjects. They do make a difference. Because most of them are published, and that also in many languages worldwide. I am also an artist, which is only by the way.

I have been following the political world and have written on that subject as well.

So, anyone who wants to, may fire away

Kashif
|
United States
October 12, 2007

Kashif in America writes:
Hey let me ask you guys why you think democracy is the solution to all of life's problems. I mean if you think about it rationally all democracy is, is the ability of the majority of a population to impose it's will on the minority similar to what Nazi Germany did to it's population. SO what may i ask will democracy do when someone you people obviously hate like Ahmadenijad gets elected or Hamas and you try placing sanctions on it for being elected democratically. The argument for a Bill of Rights universally is a stronger and more important step for equality then the spread of democracy which has elected officials that in my opinion are just another dime a dozen politician that promises their people the moon, simply ridiculous what politicians will say to get elected and then get elected and give nothing they promise the people. Call me cynical and pessimistic as you inevitably might but some people call people with opinions like mine realists.

karl
|
Canada
October 12, 2007

Karl in Canada writes:
This thing with Iran has nothing to do with WMDs or terror or anything else but what lies under the earth in that region.
This is a chess game that the U.S. cannot win because they want to play football!!!

Susan
|
Maryland, USA
October 12, 2007

Susan in Maryland writes:
Neither U..S nor any nation has the right to tamper with Iran's economy. That is economic warfare, it's immoral, and it doesn't work. In "Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capital," Naomi Klein spelled out just what's going on when the US Congress, perversely influenced by neoconservatives, voted for HR 1400. Ed Royce gleefully described the hoped-for effect of the legislation: it will create hyperinflation in Iran, and will strangle Iran's ability to process natural gas, "hopefully," says Royce, causing riots among the Iranian people, that will lead to regime change.

Klein explains that a crisis is required to enable the creation of a "blank page" to get "Shock Doctrine" rolling. Neoconservatives see a crisis such as the collapse of the Iranian economy as a brief window of opportunity for which neoconservatives are prepared to go in swiftly, before the victims of the crisis are able to recover from the trauma of the crisis; deploy the irreversible policies of their choice, such as Bremer did in Iraq; and stand back and admire their handiwork.
Klein explains that such practices cause rage in the people on whom they are imposed and, she argues, the neocons ought to know better: Keynes pointed out in 1920 in "The Consequences of the Peace," that disregarding the wishes of the people and imposing on them onerous policies not of their own devising is dangerous; the people will react with rage, like that preceding WWII.

On another level, the entire direction and purpose of the plan McCormack describes is a rehash of the same policy failures the West has been pursuing since WWI and should be rejected. It's so childish that he should be embarrassed to be bruiting it about. The US has not yet figured out, nearly 70 years into its involvement with the Middle East, that attempting to play one power off against another will backfire sooner or later, more likely sooner. Trita Parsi argues articulately and with uncompromising rationality in "Treacherous Alliance - The Secret Dealings of Iran, Israel and the United States," that it's time for the U.S. to deal maturely with the entire Middle East, recognizing that each state actor has interests that demand respect and consideration. Not only is the zero-sum game the wrong--and unjust-- game to play in the Middle East, the US has squandered its moral authority and financial and military ability to enable it to lead that power play.

The U.S. maintained relations with Iran as a buffer against Russia until 1979. Israel stepped into the vacuum at that time, and Israel is eager to retain the favored status it has enjoyed over the last 30 years. But as Walt & Mearsheimer pointed out, that relationship is no longer protecting the interests of the U.S. and should be adjusted: Israel should be treated the same as any other actor in the international community, and dealt with consonant with American values of rule of law and fundamental fairness, not guilt-induced indulgence. Newton's laws ought to be the model for the centrist position the US ought most beneficially to take with respect to all the states in the Middle East.

Back to the drawing board, Mr. McCormack; stay out of Iran's affairs; deal honestly with states who own resources that the US needs; deal morally with Israel, which is oppressing Palestine.
And save the carrots for the salad bar but try the tuna: it stimulates the brain.

Kenneth
|
Canada
October 13, 2007

Kenneth in Canada writes:
This is for Sean McCormack:

When I read about the carrot and stick proposition, i wanted to laugh. Because, only a donkey would be taken in by such a trick. In the case of Iran you are dealing with humans, and therefore the carrot and stick proposition will not work. What you need to do, is think outside the box.

I do not believe that Iran will come round to the American way of thinking, but that is to be expected. Let's not blame the Iranians alone, because some of the blame lies with the U.S. I wonder if you remember the deliberate shooting down of the Iranian Airline Airbus 300, with some 297 passengers aboard, by the USS Vincennes, on orders of U.S. President Ronald Reagan? If you not, then first study it and tell me that it was right.

Before going any further, I have been in touch with a member of the board of inquiry of the PanAm Airliner blown up over Lockerbie, Scotland and wrote on the issue. A member of the board of inquiry contacted me, after reading my article, and said that I had done a good job of explaining the double standards of justice. If you would like to get a copy of that message, please try to contact me, and I will furnish you with a copy.

The issue of Iran is not something that can be settled without many overtures, that the U.S. should make. Remember the first step to peace, is not by the cannon, but by the dove. Every country reacts to issues differently. Thus you will solve the Iran issue immediately. But, there must also be resolve on your part to meet them halfway, otherwise this issue will not go away.

That does not mean that you should give up trying. But keep at it, and somewhere, somehow there is bound to be a breakthrough.

Do you really believe that countries want a war in that region? I do not believe that neither the Iranians, nor the Americans want a war, because it's too costly.

Schmetterlingtoo
|
District Of Columbia, USA
October 13, 2007

S in Washington, DC writes:

@ Kenneth in Canada -- "The issue of Iran is not something that can be settled without many overtures, that the U.S. should make. Remember the first step to peace, is not by the cannon, but by the dove. Every country reacts to issues differently. Thus you will solve the Iran issue immediately."

Uh, Kenneth, don't you think you've contributed enough to this forum? Methinks thou doth like to hear yourself speak too much over matters of which you have no, trust me, no experience. You are showing naivete, and are not knowledgeable on the subject matter of Iran. Take it from someone who has been dealing in law enforcement and intelligence matters for many years: Iran is the source, from which all terrorism flows, in some form, in some fashion, it all crosses through the Islamic Republic of Iran.

And as far as "dealing" and "overtures" to Iran. They are useless. This is not a country that compromises or does anything other than what the Revolutionary Guard and the mullahs dictate-and what they dictate is: terror.

The Persians do not "negotiate"- they are not like the Sunnis-Sunnis are, for the most part, rational, reasonable people, they do compromise, they are part of the world order, and their word can be trusted. This is not true of the Persians. The Islamic Republic does not "conduct" foreign policy-that's only an illusion, a superficial not to make people think that iran is part of the world order-it is not-it is only the Persian way, or the highway.

And because of that, the Islamic Republic must be divested of the ability to construct nuclear weapons, it must be divested, and deconstructed-the sooner, the better-it must be done to bring some measure of stability to the world, and this country is the only country that can do that-and it will have to be done by force, there is no other way with the Persians: The Islamic Republic of Iran has got to go.

Kenneth
|
Canada
October 14, 2007

Kenneth in Canada writes:
@ S in Washington -- Don't forget, that this is the same Iran, that in 1953 you in the U.S. used as a buffer against many Middle Eastern countries, by setting up your own puppet, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi as the Shah-in-Shah of Iran. Thus, the naivete is not on my part, but yours.

I beg to differ. Being knowledgeable, and dealing with law enforcement and intelligence, does not make you any expert on Iran either. Again, I see your typical American attitude takes over as being someone of authority. I think its time you put that theory away. These certainly are not the days of Teddy Roosevelt's gun boat diplomacy. Because, there are a lot of people who carry guns nowadays.

Secondly, Persia became Iran in 1927, so why are you still stuck in that time period of history? It was General Pahlavi, the father of the 1953 puppet who ousted the real Shah-in-Shah of Persia, and renamed the country after the Plains of Iran, where he hailed from.

Kenneth
|
Canada
October 14, 2007

Kenneth in Canada writes:
@ Susan in Maryland -- What you have written is very clear with regards to non-intervention of one nation into the internal affairs of another. If people would only take the time to think out the situation, we might get somewhere. Be that Iran or any other nation, there are areas that are exclusive, in which there should be no interference by the U.S.

If anything, there are fanatics on both sides of the equation. Those who judge Iran, should also judge their own actions, both past and present. All, I see is a one-sided approach, which creates even more resistance from the other. If, some other country were brought in, that was neutral, we might just see a difference in Iran's attitude. Otherwise we are caught between a rock and a hard place. Only cool head can solve problems.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
October 14, 2007

Eric in New Mexico writes:
@ S in Washington -- I would agree with you in all aspects save one, and from one who has worked a very long time helping bring some of the issues out of the dark, and working w/ the many democratic, republican and monarchist opposition groups to help them have a voice in the matter I can say for a fact that they would be highly insulted at your use of the word "Persian" in your post.

See, they, real "Persians" consider themselves an "occupied country" by political Islam, and the radical thuggies practicing it. Once you understand that, then you'll understand why I've told the powers that be in this gov. that we've utterly failed to tap into the greatest ally in the war on terrorism. The Iranian people and their thirst for freedom from theocracy, and ethical infants.

It's true that diplomacy without teeth is a toothless beggar. This isn't a choice between diplomacy and bombs, diplomacy doesn't stop when bombs fall, but it is said to have failed upon them falling on someone's pointy little head. There is no purely diplomatic solution, nor is there a purely military one. Today we are engaged in both.

The Iranian government uses the word "enemy" to describe the US. Undersecretary Burns recently described U.S. viewpoint thus:

(Interview on The Charlie Rose Show, October 1, 2007)

CHARLIE ROSE: Are they our most extreme enemy?

UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: Enemy is a strong word.

CHARLIE ROSE: OK, that`s why I`m using it.

UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: I think they`re an adversary of the United States, an
adversary because .

CHARLIE ROSE: The Iranians are not an enemy of the United States.

UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: Well, enemy, adversary. Usually you think about an enemy
.

CHARLIE ROSE: Yes.

UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: . as a country that you`re fighting in strict diplomatic terms. You are fighting in an armed conflict. We`re not doing that with Iran right now, but they are a country that is absolutely opposed to everything that we are trying to accomplish in the Middle East, from Iraq to a Palestinian peace, to stability in Afghanistan.

--end excerpt--

Seems to me if our military is openly tracking down Iranian agents responsible for blowing our countrymen up in Iraq, then we are in an "open" military confrontation, if not in an undeclared state of war with Iran.

All semantics aside, I think it's about time folks understood that while we may not ( or the Dept of State may not) consider this the acts of an enemy of the United States, THEY DO.

Nor should anyone pin hopes on any "reformers", "behavior change" , or engagement policy unless it involves the early retirement of ethical infants, at the hands of the Iranian people.

The choice to "go back to the mosque, preace peace, so one may live in peace" should be offered as "carrot" before the big "stick" out of a B-52 drives the point home.

Regards.

Brad
|
Florida, USA
October 14, 2007

Brad in Florida writes:
Mr. McCormick:

Unfortunately, you're going to have to moderate comments more strictly ... otherwise, it's going to turn into the type of spitting match we see all over the web.

Unless I'm mistaken in believing you're aiming for a coherent, civil discussion of policy, that is.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
October 15, 2007

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Kenneth in Canada -- "What makes you Americans think that you can order the world around?

If and when you attack Iran, I hope that the Russians and the Chinese launch a preemptive strike on the U.S. This will carry a message to the American people, that to every move, there is a counter move. If one plays chess, one learns that.

For the last five years, I have been urging the Chinese and Russian Governments to re-arm, and be ready to attack the U.S. itself. No country since World War II, has been more involved in the overthrow of foreign governments than the U.S. Thus, steps must be taken to bring it under control by whatever means is necessary.

The world of today, does not need a rogue cop, like the U.S. to deal with its problems. Sometimes it becomes very necessary to imprison the rogue cop. Right now, I do not see any way out, without a direct attack on the U.S. itself. Enough is enough. Let us have an end to the madness that the U.S. has exported to a peaceful world." Posted on Wed Oct 10, 2007

-end comment-

Kenneth,

The Dept of State has posted your comment and let it stand in the great American tradition of freedom of speech..or as we in the wild wild West of my country sometimes interpret thusly: "That when a fool wishes to hang himself with his own words, we'll gladly supply the rope."

As a private citizen of this nation that you have sought to have preemptively attacked by nuclear powers, there are certain responsibilities I have as a citizen to "protect from all enemies, foreign and domestic."

You should now be duly informed of the ramifications of your solicitations to commit global genocide by nuclear war (for that would be the inevitable result should anyone actually think your insane advice worthy of implementation.) on a most personal of levels.

1. You are in standing violation of Article 3c of the Convention on the Prevention of Genocide. "public encitement to commit" You may access this doc. on the UN's website if you wish.

2. As a private citizen of Canada, The Canadian government, should it be informed of your above post on this site, may choose to persue this matter with you in a court of law.

3. You have sought to bring grevious harm upon my children and family, and now it's personal with me.

4. Your post will be forwarded by me to the Canadian Ambassador to the US with a formal complaint attached, as is my right as a US citizen to do so.

5. You may have violated Canadian laws as well as international law in seeking to influence foreign governments to take action that would result in utter disaster upon Canada and it peoples. ( something that must have escaped your reasoning apparently)

6. Don't complain to me, don't bother to appologize, I'm having none of it. Yes, every action has its reaction...but this is no game of chess, this is the real world, and you live with the concequence of your actions in it.

Now I believe I have addressed this issue with you in as civil a manner with as much grace as humanly possible under the circumstance.
But one thing you should also know is that my grandfather helped build the very first a-bomb, so if you have any illusions that I make idle jest here Kenneth, that should erase any doubt you have of my seriousness in this matter.

( To moderator: please pardon the off topic subject matter, it was in the interest of global peace and security)

Susan
|
Maryland, USA
October 15, 2007

Susan in Maryland writes:
Sean, Your response to Kenneth piqued my curiosity.

Please tell us more about your extensive background in law enforcement & intelligence. Where did you go to college? What did you study? How long have you been with the State Dept?

Also, have you discussed Iran with Trita Parsi? or Vali Ansari or Ray Takeyh? Have you read Herodotus on Persia, where the father of history reports that the Persians are the most honest people he had ever encountered, and that honesty was not only a virtue but a practical matter in the Persian world view?

Do you consider Dr. William Polk and Zbigniew Brzezinski to be more or less knowledgeable than you with regard to the Middle East?

You say "Iran is the source of all terrorism," and that Iran will not negotiate but the Sunnis do." Do you completely disregard Dore Gold's thesis, that Saudi Arab (Sunni) Wahabbism is the source of radical Islam that motivates Osama binLaden, Al Qaeda, and jihadists?

Sen. Jos. Lieberman asserts that Iran is responsible for the death of 170 US soldiers in Iraq? Who is responsible for the deaths of the other 3,650 US soldiers who have died in Iraq?

How are we to understand Iran's release of the British sailors and of the Iranian-Americans: are those actions emblematic of a government inimical to "dealing and overtures?"

Did Iran torture those people or, for that matter, the 444 embassy hostages? Did the US torture any captives it has taken recently? How about America's ally, Israel, which levelled half of the sovereign state of Lebanon rather than negotiate for 3 soldiers; Israel, whose Mossad trained the SAVAK that terrified Iranians under the shah such that Iranians chose otherwise hated Islamic leaders rather than continue to live under a shah?

@ Brad in Florida -- Who would you silence: those who agree with Nicholas Burns and Sean McCormack or anybody who sees larger realities and facts and draw conclusions more critically than doMessrs Burns and McCormack?

Kenneth
|
Canada
October 15, 2007

Kenneth in Canada writes:

@ Eric in New Mexico --

I am very glad that you have taken me to task. But, what I did was scare the hell out of those who think being bigger gives them a right to threaten other nations. To keep you informed that others also have their fingers at the button, not the U.S. alone. It was a warning to those who use threats to get their own way against smaller nations. If you continue down the dark road of naked aggression you will end up like Nazi Germany.

The fanatics, are no diffent today, to those who ran America during the McCarthy era, and they are just as viscious to boot. All I ever heard them say, is that we can wipe out this or than country. They have this unique outlook that only they exist in the world today, and can do as they very well please. Be careful what you ask for, you may get it.

As for attempting to put fear in me, about my treatise, is a futile attempt, because, it will not scare me. You people think that everyone is scared of your power, I beg to differ. There are those of us, that fear very little, because we came through hell already.

As for your family, I am rather taken aback. I have not even mentioned them. It actually means that you are now aware of the consequences of any nulcear war, by attacking any country. Thus, we can all sit back safely, knowing that it will not happen in our lifetime.

If what, I said, was said in the early 1930s, the Nazi Germany would not have taken a chance, but stopped in its tracks. Millions of lives would have been saved by such actions, but there were not many fearless individuals to openly threaten Adolf Hitler.

Have you lost anyone in World War II? If you did, you would not be so gung ho about attacking any attack any country. Because the results are still with us today. I am glad that those fanatics that want war, are not in the drivers seat. Because, as funny as it seems, I abhor war and its results. Even the loss of life in Afghanistan and Iraq, make me sick. The useless blood letting will in the end serve no useful purpose. Families are destroyed and innocent children suffer. If anything, I am very glad to have written that message, because, it seems to have woken you to the reality of war and its consequences.

You see, I visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and saw its results. And you think, that I want a war? You have to be joking. When you have seen what I have seen, you too, will follow the ways of PEACE. If one person dies as a result of war, it is too much. When a nation is attacked, multiply that a thousand times over. Are you willing to allow that sort of carnage to happen and sit back feeling very smug? I am afraid, that I am not going to allow another war to happen, my lifetime has already seen the death and devastation it his brought millions.

So Eric, keep a stiff upper lip, and take care of your family. God keep them safe from all danger, especially from man's madness, which is war.

Oh by the way, in case I forget, I belong to a group that wants nuclear disarmament for the whole world. You see shock treatment has its merits!

schmetterling
|
United States
October 15, 2007

S (Schmetterling) in U.S.A. writes:
I have the strong impression that Sean McCormack and the rest of the Public Affairs staff at State are really having a big laugh over some of the comments found in DipNote-Dips there are!

@ Susan in Maryland -- I do hate to disappoint you, given how steadfastly you hold to your beliefs and are so keen on the authors whom you like to cite as the gospel, but the "S" does not stand for "Sean" as in "Sean McCormick" by any means-LOL!

@ Brad in Florida -- I thought your posts were excellent-both of them. It has been my observation through the years that good lawyers tend to agree with each other, more often than they disagree! (smile)

@ Eric in New York -- Interesting observations-I can't disagree with your conclusion of course, but would add that there has to come a time, a cut-off point for the U.S. overtures towards Iran to cease (and those overtures that have been made and are being made by the U.S. towards Iran are substantial, as the "real" Sean McC has pointed out (smile). But ultimately, as Brad says, when one side refuses to seriously discuss settlement, and/or abjectly refuses to compromise at all on the terms of such settlement, then you have to go to trial, or in this case, war. The situation is complicated in Iran as there are forces at work (the Revolutionary Guard) who are more powerful even than the "democratically" elected president, Ahmadinejad. Ahmadinejad, (much as he wants the world to believe otherwise), is not really in control of the country, nor even are the mullahs-it's the terrorist Revolutionary Guard who are really calling the shots, and there are a LOT of dangerous rogue factions within that organization. So even if some within Iran wanted to make concessions in their position, the Guard is not going to allow it.

The consequences of Iran's failure to comply with the UN mandated conditions to cease uranium enrichment are too momentous for the future of the world, just to let it go with meaningless sanctions. When the P5+1 extends the threat of sanctions indefinitely, as well as the time period for Iran to respond, then obviously, Iran gets exactly what it wants, it has bought time to move closer to its goal of nuclear weaponizing, sanctions that ultimately will have little practical effect on Iran's daily operations.

The key is Russia-but if Russia is going to continue the above-described scenario of endless sanctions and negotiations, then the U.S. will at some point have to move on Iran with or without Russia-sooner, rather than later.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
October 16, 2007

Eric in New Mexico writes:
I wish the arms merchants of the world would invent a smart bomb that would wise people up.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
October 16, 2007

Eric in New Mexico writes:
@ Eric in New York --

Personally, I thought the litigation end of things (or "trial") was being handled in the UN.

I think your reference to war would be more accurately placed in the context of the sentencing phase of the "proceedings"....

After Iran's government is duly convicted(as it should be) for crimes against humanity against the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Argentina, Lebanon, Palestine/Israel, USA, UK, France, Russia, and several more that have suffered terrorism at the hands of the leading state spnsor of terrorism and its proxi.

Take all the various UN resolutions violated in the process and the threats to wipe nations off the map, cram them down the General Assembly's throat, and force a vote to revoke the Islamic Republic of Iran's membership to the UN.

Force the concept of "responsibility to protect" to be implemented in full, and without delay.

Then as it is in the common interest, may the U.S., NATO, China, Russia, and like minded nations make this the quickest and most effective regime replacement therapy ever concieved in combining force and resource, enabling the UN to manage an interim protectorate that builds the institutions of representitive government w/separation of mosque and state.

As long as the leading sponsor of terrorism exists as safe haven next door to the fledgling democracies we've helped establish over the last 5 years, no amount of troops, no amount of diplomacy, and no amount of money spent in nation building will change the dynamics of the instability created by those who want, and have been engaged in war with the U.S. over several decades.

That said, I am in full agreement with the President when he said,

"And the Shia extremists have achieved something that al Qaeda has so far failed to do: In 1979, they took control of a major power, the nation of Iran, subjugating its proud people to a regime of tyranny, and using that nation's resources to fund the spread of terror and pursue their radical agenda."
(Excerpt from speech-President Discusses Global War on Terror
Capital Hilton Hotel ,Washington, D.C.)

We don't want to give them the war they want nor expect....on their terms. We give them the war they are neither prepared for nor able to fight...on our terms.

Sun Tzu had it right.

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