U.S. Policy Toward Iran

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
July 9, 2008
Iran Missile Test

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Today, before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William J. Burns testified on U.S. policy toward Iran. We thought DipNote's readers would be interested in what Under Secretary Burns said:

"...I have no illusions about the grave dangers presented by the behavior of the Iranian regime, or the difficulties of changing that behavior. I am convinced that we cannot do it alone, and that a strong international coalition is crucial. Hard-nosed diplomacy, backed up by all the tools at our disposal and as much leverage as we and our partners can muster, is also an essential ingredient. As Secretary Rice said earlier this year, 'America has no permanent enemies, we harbor no permanent hatreds. Diplomacy, if properly practiced, is not just talking for the sake of talking. It requires incentives and disincentives to make the choice clear to those with whom you are dealing that you will change your behavior if they are willing to change theirs.'

That is the kind of approach that helped produce significant breakthroughs with Libya several years ago, including its abandonment of terrorism and the pursuit of nuclear weapons. It is the kind of approach that is beginning to produce results in our multilateral diplomacy with North Korea. It may or may not produce results on Iran, with whom we have had a relationship burdened by deep-seated grievances and suspicions, and a long history of missed opportunities and crossed signals. But it is important for us to try, bearing in mind that our audience is not only the Iranian regime, but also the Iranian people and the wider international coalition we are seeking to reinforce. At a minimum, it seems to me, it is important to create in this Administration as strong an international diplomatic mechanism as we possibly can to constrain Iranian behavior, on which the next Administration can build. Our choices are not going to get any easier in the months and years ahead, but they will be even more difficult if we don't use all our diplomatic tools wisely now."

Comments

Comments

Arnold K.
|
New Jersey, USA
July 10, 2008

Arnold in New Jersey writes:

The comments of Under Secretary Burns are indicative of decades of the "Carrot & Stick" approach in dealing with our adversaries.

I have the deepest respect for Ambassador Burns who has a distinguished record of service to our nation. He articulates US policy very clearly. He is an asset to the US.

I would just like to point out the fact that our policy towards Iran has many problems built in. First, we will never gain serious long term cooperation with Iran because our policies are based on coercion, interfernce in their internal affairs, judgmentalness, self-righteousness, demonizing, hypocrisy, bullying and denial.

Does the government actually believe that anyone friend or foe would warm up to these policies? This behavior looks like the parent trying to control their child by offering them lollipops or a beating. It is a major form of controlling behavior.

We can't run around doing this with any government whether we like them or not. It expands hostility and resentment which there is already too much of.

What is needed is respect, magnanimity and the willingness to take responsibility for our 55 years of US mistreatment towards Iran. We seem unable to face the fact that we did things that harmed many people in Iran.

Just like today we are seeking to impose our will on them. We hear little about this. We are condemning them. It is provocative and counter-productive.

They have serious greivances but no one seems to want to own up to that fact.

Some will say that we will do X if they will do Y. Why should people who have been harmed in so many ways have to do anything other than accept apologies and amends?

Webster defines diplomacy as, "A skill to solve problems without arousing hostility." Our policies reflect the opposite.

We wonder why people hate us so much. This is one key reason why they do and why we find it so hard to gain the cooperation we need.

The risk of eventually gaining cooperation through bribery "carrots" or threats and coercion "sticks" is that people sooner or later want to retaliate or break agreements. To avoid that you have to either keep threateniing them or keep bribing them.

We need to respect people and communicate with sincerity without hostility or hypocrisy to gain their cooperation.

There are specialized programs today that support breakthrough behavioral change. We need this today more than ever.

We are always our own worst enemy.

Lewis
|
Japan
July 10, 2008

Lewis in Japan writes:

Interesting article about the photo used for this article- apparently, many news reports used a version that was digitally-altered (via a lousy photoshop job) to add a fourth missile. Good to see the DoS was not similarly duped!

http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/07/10/in-an-iranian-image-a-missil...

Syrian P.
|
Syria
July 10, 2008

SNP in Syria writes:

We told Mohammad Najjar where he can shove these flying tree trunks. Anyone afraid of these worthless trinkets is either acting it up for a strategy or in needs of a technically better informed Defense establishment. Saddam was producing similar flying poles for decades, by the hundreds, the damage he inflicted with it, including the 39 he sent west in 91, is negligible from strategic term. This is hardly a deterrent no an offensive capability worthy of note.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
July 10, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Arnold, before you toss a pity-party for the leading state sponsor of terrorism, and try to justify Iran's actions over the past 30 years....

The numerous Coalition deaths and injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan sustained from Iranian supplied weapons to Iranian trained "special groups" could be in and of itself considered "casus belli" to take more than simply diplomatic action targeting the financial sector in what Sen Lugar was not quite willing to define as "economic warfare", but suggested a close definition of that was in effect.

In fact we are in a declared conflict with Iran in the sense that Ambassador Crocker made very clear that no Iranian agent opperating in Iraq would be safe, as our military is in process of assuring the Iranians this to be the case.

In the hearing testimony it was asked of Mr. Burns what the nature of the relationship between al quaida and the Iranian government was like. "Wariness" does not preclude cooperation among them, and I found Sen. Biden's "unholy" commentary to be rather enlightening, as he obviously alluded to aspects of that relationship not covered in open session.

One can look at the timing of these missile launches like an Iranian diplomatic hissy-fit in response to the p5+1's offer, which really doesn't suprise me or anyone else apparently. As Sec. Gates put it, "There's a lot of signalling going on."

Well, one thing's for sure, this is not due to as lack of diplomatic effort and good will on America's part in coordination with the UN and member nations.

Nor is it lack of communication.

If diplomacy has failed to produce results, and more importantly if it fails to bring the Iranians to the table at the place they left it originally when they declared their enrichment opperation would no longer be suspended, then one has to realize that diplomacy without teeth is a toothless beggar.

The failure is not in the diplomacy among nations, it is in that we arn't speaking in a language understandable by radical extremists and religious tyrants.

They flat don't understand "reasonable", and look upon it mistakenly as weakness.

So, If the answer is ultimately "No, we will not comply."

Then the offer should be withdrawn and a firm international commitment to ensuring peace and security should be put in no uncertain terms.

"Comply or die." Because therin the language of stark choices lies the only possibility of achieving "behavior change" with a government that has proven over time to have never entered negotiations with any sincerety, save to prolong their ability to develop WMD programs and delivery systems.

My idea of a "diplomatic effort" would be to offer the Mullahs the chance to go back to the mosque and abhor politics forevermore, to preach peace so they could live in peace, or suffer serious concequences.

And so Sen Biden's eloquent argument for "unconditional" bilateral negotiations between the US and Iran is problematic from the standpoint that even if we were willing to, entertaining any illusion that this approach may somehow bring non-existant "moderates" out of the closet in Iran is not sound premis for a change in US policy, with nothing to be gained in terms of changing Iranian behavior.

Any approach carries with it an element of calculated risk, as time is not on diplomacy's side in this case. A lot of patience has been invested, to no avail as yet.

If the final tally of pro's and con's are summed up in decision making by the intent to save lives; as to whether the international community can afford to allow this abysmal excuse for a government to continue to exist...period..as a continued threat to global peace and security....Then let us hope we have the common sense and purpose to ensure the quickest, most effective regime change ever executed via force of arms and diplomacy.

I mean everybody. Russia, China, NATO....be the first time in 60+ years we've stood on the same side against terror and tyrany. Funny how things can come full circle sometimes, naturally, and of necessity.

And in this I fully agree with Sen Biden that "We can't do this alone."

Yeah, "Iran isn't ten feet tall", but regarding the known uncertainty whether they have working WMD (including biological) deliverable today, obtained by hook or crook by any method over the years...that's the key issue. There's no way the intelligence community can assure me (or the American public)they don't have that capability to deliver them at a time of their choosing.

And we must proceed as if they did, for it would be exeedingly unwise to discount the level of probability that exists.

Joe
|
Tennessee, USA
July 11, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

1. Civility is generally needed for compromise. Civility leads to flexibility for a greater purpose. You cannot have an open discussion with a bully or a Hitler. If you believe this, then let me remind you of Benito Mussolini, who trusted Hitler. Even between two bullies, there can be no trust. No trust, no diplomatic solution. Mussolini called Hitler the biggest liar of all time. He reaped the diplomacy rewards of the same type of personality as President Ahmadinejad. Want to base deplomacy on history and personality profiles?

2. It is NOT the US who has damaged their citizens, it started with Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He separated a growing business partnership with the US, seeing the new involvement as evil. It was not evil, but would limit his religious power and those of the cleric base. In 1977 they formed the Combatant Clerics Association, which became the foundation for the Islamic Republic Party. At the same time, a business group in Iran even built a structure to provide a US embassy just off shore to show its sincerity with ties to the US. A magnificent structure with marble floors, etc. It is the Leadership and Government who restrained open free trade then and even today. It is and has always been about POWER there. If the people have money, they have freedom, which is power the Clerics did not and still do not want to share.

3. Power is now a shared commodity there by State and Religious leaders, neither of which have the actual concern of the citizen in mind. They only fear personal loss of control. The psychological profiles of the leadership cannot be disputed. 1997, Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, a high-ranking cleric and scholar once designated successor of Ayatollah Khomeini, criticized Khamenei's rule, calling the supreme leader incompetent. Khamenei immediately placed the cleric under house arrest for five years. So, there is a history of dictatorship in leadership within even the Religious community. How do you feel this is the result of US policy?

4. Alteration of such personality decisions can only be altered externally. As the power is already in hand, why should they change? This is what leads to the Pavlovian approach to diplomacy...or what you refer to as a carrot. You have leaders in power who simply do not have the capacity to be leaders.

5. This leads to implementation of imputes...policies... which cause the citizenship to push for change. What more can the US and International community do, I do not know at this juncture beyond working with the Business community in Iran.

6. I honestly believe that if the last measure were to be implemented, the business base of Iran would not care, if done in a minimalistic manner. The money factor in Iran would not involve itself. It was Iranian businessmen who wanted to install a refinery in America, it is their government who is restraining them.

7. Perhaps it is time for a last measure given the history, personalities and the continued threat Iran leadership poses. This is not to imply the People of Iran who are simply pawns. I personally still feel that GH Bush was correct lonnnngggg ago. We would not have this problem today...in fact perhaps this is the War that should have been fought which was not due to a Congress who wanted diplomacy. Just think of Iran as a democracy today and what it would have lead to.

John
|
New York, USA
July 10, 2008

John in New York writes:

Can Audrey Hepburn tell us something about Iran? In Wait Until Dark she was a young stay-behind wife, spunky though blind, and calm and mannerly even when a burglar broke in. When he threatened rape, however, she slung kerosene everywhere and retreated behind the refrigerator with a box of matches. Had she gone crazy? Yes, crazy like a fox. Bravo, we cheered. Iran's enemies announce (and have demonstrated) that they may attack without warning or explanation. As Malcolm Gladwell hinted in other contexts, we don't need better information here, we need better sense. The blind Audrey Hepburn could light what we can't see. Wait until dark.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
July 10, 2008

Eric in New Mexico:

@ SNP, if what you say is accurate, then your statement regarding Iran ties in with this, if the report linked below is also accurate.

http://www.washtimes.com/news/2008/jul/10/signs-pointing-to-damascus-bre...

An interesting development if it has stong diplomatic legs.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
July 11, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Sen. Biden expressed the opinion in his opening remarks that freedom was not on the rise in Iraq, but that Iran was as a result of our actions.

Interesting perspective. If that's the case, we're not talking about a "village square test" for democracy, but a "rabid dog running around the village square-test."

Seems a fitting description for the "special groups" Iran has sent into Iraq.

I see DOD is dealing with them in an appropriate manner, and rightfully so. Time to put those puppies to sleep.

Syrian P.
|
Syria
July 11, 2008

SNP in Syria writes:

SNP has no authority to speak or comment on Behalf of the Syrian Government. The shift in SNP strategy is not correlated to President Assad reported readiness to distance Syria from Iran, rather it is independent and SNP interests related. At the start of the Iraq war we promoted and supported the President in seeking Iran's strategic alliance as part of a strategy to help defend Syria and Lebanon achieve a -Balance of Power- in the Levant region. It was very effective strategy and has fully succeeded in the prescribed goal. Syria and Lebanon today, even Iraq, has maintained territorial and State integrity, Clean Break stratum defeated. The Status Quo is maintained.

The goals were and still are the same as SNP defined them from the start, Peace, Prosperity, Progress. The United States were deceptively promoting slogans while conspiring to bring about Iraqizaton of the entire Middle East. Israel as well, was still looking for Greater Israel fantasy. The alliance proved effective in halting the Machiavellian design for the region.

Not much hoped for, in term of accomplishment or were expected from Syria, they are ruled by Arab Baathist Socialists Party, what combination of ideologies? huh. We thought by strengthening Iran militarily and economically (since America's slogans proven scams and unreliable ally) we can benefit from the alliance in Syria and Lebanon in terms of economic and modernization benefits, in addition to improving security and defense of the region by helping Iran balance out with Israel. That can be accomplished by helping Iran to prove publicly, for real, its ability to defend the alliance and the region by demonstrating ultra high tech defense technologies and taking certain strategic steps. The end game is that Israel has no choice but to sit on the negotiating table and resolve all outstanding issues with not just Syria, but Iran and the rest of the Arab/Moslem world, if it wants to be incorporated into the greater regional development.

After 4 years, neither economic, nor defense and neither the strategic options matirliazed despite incredible efforts by SNP to impel Iranians to do so. Although, to some extent it was effective strategy, it has become very evident that the end goals could not ever be reached by relaying on Iran. In fact it has become evident that the strategy reached -a point of diminishing returns-. Syria should go it alone and Lebanon should follow in its footsteps, if they can forget the atrocity and war crimes committed by the Israeli in 06. We simply can not spend another 60 years waiting for Iran when we have already spent 60 years waiting for Arab leaders to resolve the serious problems facing the region. Granted, that In Syria, the Baath policies are to blame, those problems are extreme and intolerable to the millions of Syrians. We think President Assad as well views these problems with concerns and he is maybe eloping in a bid to resolve them. SNP do not believe without the President sincere effort to modernize Syria, the Baath administration will manage these serious issues no matter what the World helps in this effort. The change has to come from President Assad first and foremost.

Palestinians / Hezbollah. The Palestine issue has been resolved and I think a Palestinian President is installed, there is a government as well, so let them deal with it, we have helped them for 60 years, now we have to help ourselves in Syria and Lebanon.

Hezbollah is no longer needed for defense and security of Lebanon, its arms stockpile simply stands no chance if the Israeli wanted to fight for real with modern weapons rather than limits the conflict. Hezbollah, is responsible for atrocious carnage on Lebanon in 06, and of approving and installing U.N. mandate back in Lebanon, after this country won it's independence from this evil agency. It is biggest offence, is permitting the installation of U.N. forces and monitors along the boarder with Syria and of permitting the establishment and exchange of Embassies between Syria and Lebanon. Basically, accomplishing the Clean Break goals willfully, after SNP spend 4 years defeating it. The only resistance now for Hezbollah is showing is the one against Sunni Moslems in Lebanon and Syria, to usurp power from them, and to degrade Lebanon to that of a SOFA-SHIA / MOU-SHIA. If you do not want Sunnis of Lebanon to arms themselves with much more effective weapons than what Iran supplied Hezbollah, and the parties start waging a Civil War (a profound interest of US/Israel) then better off that Hezbollah hands it guns to the Lebanese Army and go back into the Shia Charitable business. Sunni Moslems in Lebanon are not going to tolerate the Shia forces pointing arms at them at street corners.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
July 11, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Lewis in Japan -- Here's the audio...(unofficial transcript)

"Anybody got a light?""I haven't seen anybody sir, there's too much dust.""I need a light!""Would you like one of my tailor-made American cigarettes along with that sir?""Maybe later Ali, when our commander has us before a firing squad for becoming an embarasment to the revolution. Now go get me a light! The fuse went out.""All my matches are wet, sir.""We're doomed.""Perhaps not sir, see that photographer over there? He's been bugging me for smokes all day.""I see you were never cut out for Martyrdom, Ali.""Indeed not sir, I must confess that I believe the infidel Robin Williams to be correct sir.""Don't tell me about the Virginians again Ali! I might as well have that cigarette now... after all this you're going to get me hanged from a crane for blasphemy.""Would you like a 'picture perfect launch' to give to the commander? I'm sure he'll pardon the both of us.""You think that will work, Ali?""You can do anything with photoshop sir."

---

And the rest is Dipnote history....(chuckle).

JOE
|
Tennessee, USA
July 11, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

My end was that President Ahmadinejad of Iran will not be as easily moved as Kim was due to the countries natural resources. While Kim is benefiting from the new Industry in the South, Iran is not as desperate and has a lot of allies surrounding them, so the same sanctions and international leverage will not be as effective. Combine that with todays Russian announcement that they will match all US efforts of missile installations, giving Iran a solid major power to really on. This anouncement on the heels of the US-Checz agreement and Irans launching is standard Political retoric of the old Cold War era. This time more chess pieces are on the board.

What leverage can be used beyond inducing a business agreement with the business leaders of the country and work for displacement of a non productive leadership?

JOE
|
Tennessee, USA
July 11, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

I will quote Thomas E.... The best way to never solve a problem is to overcomplicate it...

The answers that worked then, may well work now.

Zharkov
|
United States
July 11, 2008

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

Iran's revolutionary government began war against the US in 1979 by taking hostages and it still proclaims that America is the enemy, so a bombing run is long overdue.

The attitude of the ayatollahs who will make the final decision to end nuclear enrichment, and their beliefs and doctrines, are more hostile than any previous enemy. Iran's revolutionary government has a vile, evil reputation:

1. They held our diplomats and embassy employees hostage;
2. They allow ayatollahs to execute people for trivial offenses;
3. Their religious oppression is without conscience;
4. Their propaganda against America advocates murder;
5. They have assassinated Iranian citizens living abroad;
6. They confirmed on many occasions that nuclear enrichment is non-negotiable;

Regardless, if we are to justify an attack on Iran's alleged covert nuke program we need to negotiate with Iran to the point of exhaustion but take no military action until Iran tests an A-bomb, because war is no internationally-acceptable alternative in the absence of proof. Citizens of other nations feel insecure when US forces attack on faulty information and that makes our version of democracy appear questionable at best, or a sham at worst.

Once Iran has tested an atomic weapon, their government will have violated the Non-proliferation Treaty and we can drop our objection to Israeli military action. As long as the US military can neutralize retaliation and terminate ayatollah control of Iran's government, there is no reason to object to Israeli attack when negotiations fail to end enrichment.

Our agreement with North Korea occurred after their nuclear test proved that their A-bomb existed. If there is irrefutable evidence that a nuclear weapons program exists, international consensus will arise for a solution. Iran is not quite there yet, so there is no real consensus.

Russia and China do not believe Iran is a threat and much of Europe agrees with them. When they see for themselves that Iranian government denials have been lies, their objections become unsustainable.

The outstanding success in Libya was possible because of Khaddaffi's personality, eccentric at times but quite intelligent and introspective. Contrast that personality with Iran's ayatollahs spouting crazy slogans and death fatwas against anyone they dislike, including cartoonists and book authors. What worked with Libya will not likely work with Iran. After extensive negotiations, we may conclude that nothing except bombing Iran's Ruling Council into paradise could change their minds but it takes considerable diplomatic effort to ultimately reach that conclusion. We are not there yet and we have not proven to UN members that Iran has a nuclear weapons program or that we have exhausted all diplomatic effort. A logical military decision is to do nothing until Iran provides a rope with which to hang itself, in the form of a prohibited act under the NPT.

Arnold
|
New Jersey, USA
July 12, 2008

Arnold in New Jersey writes:

@ Eric in New Mexico -- Eric in New Mexico wrote the following...

"Arnold, before you toss a pity-party for the leading state sponsor of terrorism, and try to justify Iran's actions over the past 30 years....The numerous Coalition deaths and injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan sustained from Iranian supplied weapons to Iranian trained "special groups" could be in and of itself considered "casus belli" to take more than simply diplomatic action..."

Eric: You seem to forget that the U.S. invaded both of Iran's neighbors. What would our government do if Iran was able to invade Mexico and Canada and did so unprovoked? We wouldn't just send some weapons across the border.

Eric, I appreciate your conventional comments. I am sure you will get lots of agreement. Many people see the world as you do. But it is conventional thinking that has gotten us into chronic conflicts over the last 230 years.

We, as individuals and nations, are plagued by minimal levels of self-awareness. Thus, we do not recognize the "cause and effect" between our thinking and actions and the way people respond to us.

In psychological circles, they call it playing "victim". Individuals and groups of individuals called nations or governments are not free of this human failing. It is inherited when we are born.

Have you forgotten about U.S. support for Saddam Hussein in his invasion and 8 war with Iran? A million people died!

If you were an Iranian whose son died on the battlefield by Saddam's chemical weapons and knew that Saddam attained serious support from the U.S. how excited would you be to cooperate on anything with the U.S.?

Have you forgotten that the U.S. was responsible for the Shah being put in power and being kept in power while his opposition was jailed in Savak prisons and tortured? I had a friend who heard people being tortured there while he was in their custody.

In the last 55 years our government has never taken serious responsibility for these things and many more. It is insane to think we can do such things to others and then expect cooperation, love and respect!

I am sure you have a lot more compassion for people than you are expressing.

Eric, you also wrote...

"Well, one thing's for sure, this is not due to as lack of diplomatic effort and good will on America's part in coordination with the UN and member nations. Nor is it lack of communication. If diplomacy has failed to produce results, and more importantly if it fails to bring the Iranians to the table at the place they left it originally when they declared their enrichment operation would no longer be suspended, then one has to realize that diplomacy without teeth is a toothless beggar. The failure is not in the diplomacy among nations, it is in that we aren't speaking in a language understandable by radical extremists and religious tyrants.

They flat don't understand "reasonable," and look upon it mistakenly as weakness."

Eric... Let's get this straight. Once again, Webster defines diplomacy as, "A skill in solving problems without arousing hostility." Webster further defines coercion as, "To achieve by force or threat." Diplomacy doesn't fail because one side is good and the other bad. It fails because neither party is communicating on the same channel. Without effective and true communication diplomacy will always fail as it frequently has. We are rarely ever diplomatic with adversaries. Its mostly coercion.

As long as we see everything in terms of "good-guys" and "bad guys" and refuse to see how we source our own troubles like we have for 230 years, then we will continue getting into endless conflicts, with the "blame-game" still intact.

Eric... You also spoke of the need to "change" Iranian behavior. Why do you think it is anyone else's job to change their behavior?

We can't seem to change our own. Our government be they Democratic or Republican have gotten us into many armed conflicts because we chose to change others versus ourselves.

How would feel if I tried to change you? No one wants to be changed by others. We all have to change ourselves for the better. Then, maybe then will others respond positively to us.

@ Zharkov in U.S.A. -- Zharkov... You wrote on this blog the other day a long condemnation list of Iranian misdeeds. I won't dispute the accuracy of your comments one way or another. But, I would suggest that you put together a list of the misconduct of our government and our allies. Then compare.

But even this is secondary to the fact that no one will cooperate with people whose only way of relating seems to be through condemnation, demonizing, coercion and threats.

This is why we are where we are.

Joe
|
Tennessee, USA
July 12, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

Why it is that no one can see the extended implications here?

1. Russia ordered the launch, not Iran. This can be supported by the timeline response mechanisms of the Russian proletariat.

2. Not only did Russia make a clear pronounced position stance they showed their ability to strike an indirect economic threat against the US.

3. This launch indirectly and directly caused the fall of a major bank and devaluation of the U.S. dollar due to speculation.

The only history needed is:

Putin was the initiator of the think tank behind the Wheat Futures deal in the 70s which put the US off the Gold Standard and is an Economic major...

If you extend your thought to a world platform, the only common denominator is money and business to alter allies. Business does much better in a democracy, Putins weak hand is how he rained in the money from free enterprise in Russia. This is our leverage for peacefully dismantling the present regime in Iran and elsewhere.

Its not about Iran. Iran is only a piece on the Game board.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
July 14, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Arnold in New Jersey -- Arnold, I suggest you talk to some Iranians about the history, and let them provide you with some perspective.

http://activistchat.com/phpBB2/index.php

You're new 'round here, and I've had plenty to say on this over the years. I don't feel like repeating myself in rebuttle. There's too much "in the now" that has more relevance.

"oppie"

Zharkov
|
United States
July 14, 2008

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

@ Arnold in New Jersey -- Arnold in New Jersey raised good points regarding past US policy, but we cannot give Iran a free pass on nuclear weapons merely because we had meddled in Iran's politics in a past era - that is ancient history and not a license to kill.

A nuclear strike on Israel does not compensate anyone for the conspiracy deposing Mossadegh. It is not equivalent at all. Allowing Iran a nuclear first strike on Tel Aviv is not the way to even the score.

Iran must be judged for what it is today, not for what it should have been. My view is that we need proof of an actual attack before declaring war. A "Gulf of Tonkin" guessing game does not meet the standard we should require.

If "preventative war" is to be our doctrine, then we need proof of a clear and present danger - a real threat not an imagined one.

So far, we have nothing. Uranium enrichment is ambiguous and could mean civilian use or mere research rather than a weapons program.

Israel can attack Iran with only a moment's notice, so by waiting until Iran proves it has lied about a weapons program with hostile intent, an Israeli attack will not appear to be unnecessary aggression against a peaceful neighbor.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
July 14, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Zharkov, with 70% of Iran's population under 30 years old, most wern't even born when the shah was alive, let alone old enough to remember cold-war influence in Iran by the major powers...or the Soviet puppet you referred to.

Fact is, most could care less...25% inflation, heavy restrictions on personal freedoms, dress, speech, they will tell you in no uncertain terms that the revolution has failed them.

So use the link Zharkov, you might discover something new.

If the US took a policy position of engaging in diplomacy based on not whether the Iranians have WMD yet, but based on the probability that thay do. It would simplify the equasion and be able to remain consistant in the face of "red-lines" like a nuclear test.

What would such a policy look like implemented? Very much like what we see today actually, and does not involve knee-jerk military action as an automatic response to "red lines". Leaving all options still on the table.

If war is to be, it will be because the Iranian government wanted it to happen. Thinking it might cause the people to rally behind them in support. I think that to be dangerously wishful thinking on their part.

Stay tuned for more excelent adventures of Ali and Mahmood, and their commander Hakim, "the Three Missilleers" as they bust out of Evin Prison....(chuckle).

I'm getting bored with all the regurgitated talking points that contribute nothing new to the equasion, and a little satire might make this topic a little more "readable" and entertaining.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
July 14, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Doesn't make any sense to spend billions on enrichment for reactors that don't exist, arn't being built, and when you already have Russia completing the fuel delivery and recycling for the one that has been built.

How do you explain that Zharkov?

The Iranians certainly have not.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
July 14, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Here's a peek inside the asylum...

http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID=10622C9E-1364-4C87-9...

(excerpt)
Daioleslam: There are two distinct views about the Iranian choices and the path it will eventually take. There are those who believe that the regime is in such a weak position that it will finally surrender to the international pressure. Ibrahim Yazdi for example said:

"At the end of the war with Iraq, Iran was in such a bad position that finally accepted the UN resolution. We are in the same position now because the catastrophic political and economic situation will force the regime to surrender to internal exigencies in much worst conditions. Briefly, if we take into account the two experiences of war with Iraq and the US embassy hostage taking, we should be concerned that the regime would eventually surrender to the UN resolutions in such bad terms that the national interests would be jeopardized."

There is also another view which I personally believe will dominate. This point of view is that the regime cannot or should not retreat. Any retreat is like a breach in a dam and will only stop with the regime's total surrender. This is the dominant belief among the Iranian leadership. As Rafsanjani has recently declared: "if we retreat on this issue, we will allow our enemy to interfere with all the issues of our country."

FP: Ok, so some critics argue that, because of this situation, there may be some flexibility from the Iranians on the nuclear impasse. The deal that the West is offering Tehran is very sweet and might be hard for them to turn down.

Daioleslam: Let me explain this further. In order to understand the Iranian regime's dilemma, we should go back to 2002-2003 when the regime passed a fundamental turning point. The result was the emergence of the Revolutionary Guards as the dominant force in Iran, symbolized later by Ahmadinejad's ascendance to power. That turning point is the root cause of the actual gloomy conditions in Iran and the mullahs' incapacity to accommodate the demands of the international pressure.

FP: Elaborate on this please.

Daioleslam: Ok, I will try. Let's start with a question. Why in 2005, did the Iranian leadership replace Mohammad Khatami, a smiling and internationally greeted president with a radical and repelling personality as Ahmadinejad? Note that in Iran, despite the masquerade of elections, presidents are selected rather than elected. It is naive to believe that Ahmadinejad's triumph was the result of a popular democratic process. The 2005 elections were particularly rigged. For the first time in the three decade history of the Clerical rule, all the candidates (except the lucky winner) publicly talked about massive intervention of the Guards and organized cheating.

So, the question is why the Iranian regime underwent such a radical transformation. Why was there a need to unify the power under the Guards' control?

FP: Are you suggesting that Ahmadinejad was Tehran's answer to a challenge?

Daioleslam: Exactly. In 2002- 2003, the Iranian clandestine nuclear program was uncovered and the regime was under immense pressure. At the same time, Iraq was invaded by the coalition forces and Tehran was faced with US massive presence. These two new elements were on top of the most important threat that regime was facing: the internal unrests and a growing social and political dissent movement.

To face these three challenges, regime had two choices: First choice was to come clean in nuclear dossier, get along with new regional geopolitics and finally liberalize the political atmosphere inside the country. We know that Tehran did not follow this path. The Ayatollahs opted for the second choice:

---end---

All the research I've done over the years would fully support the conclusion that we've been winess to a soft-sell military coup, and that indeed the regime has dug such a deep political hole for itself that it is incapable of taking the exit option offered by the p5+1.

The leadership is faced with the choice between losing face and internal power base if it "surrenders" its position, and the internal destabilization of the government would result.

With the alternative being that it may be removed from power by externally applied force if it fails to. And will certainly face further economic strangulation via international isolation and sanction.

So when folks say that we have a lousy choice to make between war and letting the regime have nuclear weapons, you have a real good idea why that is the case when the Iranian's self made political dillema is examined objectively.

Zharkov
|
United States
July 15, 2008

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

@ Eric in New Mexico --

Iran either violated the NPT or it did not. There is no "assume". The NPT is a treaty and became our law when our president signed it. Evidence is required before we accuse a treaty signatory of violating the treaty. Otherwise we are negating the treaty by de facto abandonment. If we act as if evidence of treaty violation is irrelevant and attack Iran on mere suspicions because we want to, the Non-proliferation Treaty is dead.

America has no "Department of Pre-Crime" and we do not accuse nations of treaty violations until we have conclusive proof. Israel may have different standards, but America must respect the law or lose credibility.

Arnold
|
New Jersey, USA
July 15, 2008

Arnold in New Jersey writes:

Eric wrote....

"Arnold, I suggest you talk to some Iranians about the history, and let them provide you with some perspective.

You're new 'round here, and I've had plenty to say on this over the years. I don't feel like repeating myself in rebuttle. There's too much "in the now" that has more relevance."

Eric... Perhaps I did not make myself clear. I am not committed to defending Iranian misconduct in any way. But human nature is such that people are known to hold grudges.

When they feel extremely abused or were extremely abused and do not recognize their own culpability, the rage and resentment can continue indefinitely.

There are no limits to this. Without some serious slate cleaning, current issues will not be resolved. No one wants to submit to demands.

As much as we would all like to put the past in the past, that is not likely given human nature. You cannot discount this.

Two wrongs have never made a right. We could at least take responsibility for what "we" did.

Arnold
|
New Jersey, USA
July 16, 2008

Arnold in New Jersey wrote:

Zharkov wrote...

"Arnold in New Jersey raised good points regarding past US policy, but we cannot give Iran a free pass on nuclear weapons merely because we had meddled in Iran's politics in a past era - that is ancient history and not a license to kill."

Zharkoz....Thanks for the positive comment. Just to clarify.....

1-I am not suggesting that anyone give anyone else a free pass on doing anything potentially destructive.

2-We didn't just "meddle" in Iran's politics. Our actions put a dictator in power who negated the rights of millions. The Shah and the CIA set up their secret police Savak which imprisoned people and tortured them. A friend was there and had first hand knowledge of what they were doing in their prison.

3-US behavior in Iran caused tremendous hatred. That and other events contributed to the taking of the hostages at the American Embassy in Tehran. Note: I am not defending the taking of our hostages. That was a criminal act. But, our actions were also.

During that time neither "Nightline" and any other major TV show said anything about all the things that preceded that event just as they say nothing now about the events from 1953 to 1988. They say nothing about our actions in supporting Saddam Hussein in the 8 year Iran-Iraq War.

Its pretty naive to believe you can write off 55 years of abuse. People are not that magnanimous.

A nuclear strike on Israel does not compensate anyone for the conspiracy deposing Mossadegh. It is not equivalent at all. Allowing Iran a nuclear first strike on Tel Aviv is not the way to even the score.

Iran must be judged for what it is today, not for what it should have been."

Zharkov
|
United States
July 15, 2008

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

Iran's ayatollahs gave us a dilemma of our own making.

The NPT should have provided for international inspection of all uranium processing facilities, verification of treaty violations, required disclosure of the locations of all facilities, provided a penalty for deceit, and authorization for entry, removal or destruction of covert facilities.

If uranium enrichment was supposed to be prohibited under the Non-proliferation Treaty, the treaty should have said so, and if it does not, then it should be renegotiated.

Of course, this would end nuclear power as we know it, so it will not happen, but it reveals how an ethnocentric view of the middle east can get us into trouble. Apparently, it never entered our minds that third world nations would begin uranium enrichment for fueling nuclear power stations. Now that we know they can and will, we must revisit the NPT to see how it might be redrawn.

JOE
|
Tennessee, USA
July 15, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

You are muddled down in details and irrelevant History. Everything is about now and tomorrow...not yesterday.

To think on that level is to fall into placidity of the hoi poi, which is being used at that end of the ladder.

Its the same old chess game...but this time Anti Democratic States have an economic edge.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
July 16, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Well you got the 'how did we get here's?' And the "Where do we go from here's?' and those that question reality itself in the quantum mechanics of the observer changing events of diplomatic history.

Frankly there's no reason to apologize, and I'm certainly not going to do so on behalf of my government because they are already fully capable of that without my help.

Arnold, I don't know what you think of the fact that our fellow citizens are geting killed by Iranian "special groups" in Iraq, but don't ask me to sing "Sympathy for the devil" as an ode to good relations.

But, I'm a fair guy, I think Zharkov will attest to that since I "outed" his history of blogging on Pravda, I thought it might amuse him to no end that I would "out" myself on an Iranian opposition websight....(chuckle).

The door's ajar, if the curious use the link into a different perspective one just might find a first person account of how to get a Crown Prince to use the word "please".

Goes way beyond "Simmian Diplomacy"...Lol!

(The things I've done on 24ft extention ladders....Que vida loca!)

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
July 16, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

If Diplomacy is to succeed, peace can only be won by a word and a pen, so some believe...

It occurs to me that half measures are about as welcome in war as they would be in love.

All being fair in both. Yet no one is satisfied.

You have your "limited" option creating conditions whereby this nation has had to go back a decade later to get the job done right, and some find that debatable if we have or not.

So? Totay 55 million have a chance, a little hope, with a little help from their friends, to create a completely different reality for themselves from what is, and what was...to what can be.

The US educated over 200,000 Iranian exchange students per year in the 70's.

Is it any wonder the population of Iran is western oriented and generally pro American, in diametric opposition to the policies of their current government?

The "great Satan"?? The people know it's a myth, a theatrical device used by the regime to demonize the West, the US in particular, and especially the influence America has on the world.

Haven't we seen this before? Been down this road? Been there, done that, lest we never forget?

"History never repeats itself, but sometimes it rhymes." -MTwain

The key to sucess is creating the conditions of total inconfidence within the revolutionary guard. One may need to arrange a bit of a demonstration in order to achieve a state of mind that would lead to diplomatic results.

If you convince the rev. guard they have no chance, either of surviving a war or retaliation in any form. Then folks might get somewhere diplomaticly.

Someone is going to have to convince them, and that's all there is to it.

And that won't be with words.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
July 16, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Good luck Mr. Burns, and safe journey. "Press the advantage" hard, will you? One may anticipate miracles.

"William Burns, America's third highest-ranking diplomat, will attend talks with the Iranian envoy, Saeed Jalili, in Switzerland on Saturday aimed at persuading Iran to halt activities that could lead to the development of atomic weapons, a senior U.S. official told the AP on Tuesday."
-CNN

Joe
|
Tennessee, USA
July 16, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

Seems the perception of How we got here, etc. is the deferment strategy of standard logistics used in Politics since the Roman Empire in argumentation. The US Congress has mastered that theology to accomplish nothing while looking like your doing something. The old, lets show everyone what we know by looking at it from all angles; which is fine if you remember what your objective is as being first, not last in decision making.

The objective is to know where you are going and how to get there. Yesterday is gone forever. It is irrelevant, it is an excuse hanger and imitator, not a solution. A myth application used by pseudo intellects to show what they think they know.

In the late 90s there was a symposium with past Russian dignitaries and representative from the Communist era in DC. The US dazzled everyone with their historical knowledge of Russia and the people. The Russians responded with: That is the problem with the United States; you think you know everything and everyone because you know their history. You think you are so much better than everyone else. The United States is over, on the decline and we will be a world Power again and you will not beyond your military?

Now explain to me how they knew then and we did not? After all, we knew how they got there?.we are smart folks now aren't we.

The United States has predictable thinking patterns in all its bureaucratic branches of government. It is a weakness.

What will pay our bullies this time?

We would be best suited to approach the business sector directly and eliminate the Iranian leadership...or it will be like Stalone said: ....if you aint bringing guns, your not going to change anything.

Syrian P.
|
Syria
July 17, 2008

SNP in Syria writes:

Did Mr. Burn take a baseball bat with him? or cake and Bible on Mcfarland advise.

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