(Author’s note: this piece was written around 5:30 a.m. on Wednesday. Events may have changed between then and its publication, but I remain sadly convinced it is simply more “cheat and retreat” tactics.)
With Iran’s President Ahmadinejad’s letter to President Bush — the first official communication between his country and ours in at least 20 years — a lot of folks are hoping that this is a sign that the current tensions can and will be resolved peacefully. Me, I’m not so sure.
As several others have pointed out (most notably Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch, who knows his stuff), the letter very closely follows the Koran’s required steps before waging war: a call for the other side to accept Islam. To the devout, only once that offer has been made and rejected is it permissible to wage war. And Ahmadinejad is very, very committed to his faith. (Hat tip to Rodney Graves of the Wizbang Bomb Squad.)
Also, Iran and the world have been reminded that Israel is very much an Old Testament kind of nation, and doesn’t put much stock in Jesus’ “turn the other cheek” style of foreign policy. Recently, Israel’s Vice Premier Shimon Peres did the unthinkable and answered Iran’s belligerence in kind. Peres — long considered one of the more dovelike Israeli leaders — apparently got sick of Iran’s declaring that Israel “should be wiped off the map” and would suffer the first blow should the United States or any other nation strike against Iran.
“They want to wipe out Israel … Now when it comes to destruction, Iran too can be destroyed [but] I don’t suggest to say an eye for an eye,” Peres told Reuters. “Israel would defend itself under any condition but we don’t look upon it as an Iranian-Israeli conflict exclusively… [Iran] is basically a danger to the world, not just to us.”
(Hat tip here to Meryl Yourish)
And now Iran is threatening to formally withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty if its non-compliance is brought before the UN Security Council. As others have so ably described it, Iran’s position seems to be “if you try to force us to abide by the treaty and play by the rules, then we won’t play!” The practical translation: we’re going to do it; we can either pretend not to and stay signed on to the treaty, or we can get rid of the tereaty.
I really hope that there can be a diplomatic solution to Iran’s nuclear ambitions, but I don’t see many options. Many times, diplomacy boils down to three options: carrot, stick, and compromise. And I don’t see how any of those three could work.
Carrot: Offer Iran something it wants more than nuclear weapons, or at least will accept in lieu of them. There really isn’t much we can offer them that is anywhere near as enticing as the respect (well, “fear” might be a better term) they will enjoy for possessing nuclear weapons, short of destroying Israel for them and completely withdrawing from the Middle East — and that ain’t gonna happen.
Stick: Demonstrate to them that we can force their compliance through punitive measures, such as trade embargoes, economic and diplomatic solutions, and military force. They’ve already shown that they don’t give a tinker’s damn about the first two, and the third has been quietly tried — and found wanting. They simply don’t think we have the ability or the will to carry out any threats.
Compromise: Each side gives a little to get a little. The problem is that possession of nuclear weapons is like virginity or pregnancy: there’s no kinda-sorta, yes and no answer. Iran might propose that we let them have just a couple of nukes, and they promise to only use them on Israel, but that’s about the only compromise I can see them accepting.
Now, I’m no trained diplomat or great political scholar or noted historian. But those are the options I see before us, and I don’t see any of them working too well. Instead, I see Iran playing a variant of Saddam’s decade-long “cheat and retreat” dance, taking two steps forward and one step back, until they actually have nuclear weapons (presuming they don’t already) unless somehow stopped. And once they possess them, I doubt they will suddenly be overcome with sanity and responsibility like India and Pakistan were.
I really, really don’t want to see the United States involved in yet one more front on the War On Terror. I sincerely hope that we can find a way to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of the Iranians — who I have little doubt would promptly use them on Israel, most likely triggering a nuclear exchange across the Middle East, leading to the deaths of millions. But I see few signs of that happening peacefully.
Dear racist moron- Charles or whatever,
You are too insignificant to be hated by me. In fact I really like you, you make it so much easier for me to point out what the problem really is.
Oh and by the way why do you hate me? Because the richest people in UK are Muslims and Indians? Because Harrods belongs to an Arab? Or the richest man in UK is Indian or because Arabs and Indians own the most expensive houses in UK? Do you know who runs Vodafone and Orange? Or were you too busy in Soho? Do not feel bad, we will employ YOU as our plumber or maybe if we feel nice we might even invite YOU to our weddings so that you can eat free food. Most Brits are nice people, just a bit drunk and rowdy in their pubs, but that’s fine
Oh and yes please think that all of us ride camels, 10 years down the line we could probably outsource your brain to India or China, I mean you don’t really have to think do you? .
Outsourcing will help you out, oh and please don’t call your ISP because the person there is Indian. And so is the guy who speaks to you when you call Barclays or Natwest or British Airways. I feel so sorry for you poor little extinct imperialist stuck up colonial racist puppy dog. Harrods owned by a Muslim? That is so evil.
“You are too insignificant to be hated by me.”
In other words, “I got caught being racist, so I’m going to predtend I wasn’t.”
You could be the richest man on the planet, but you are no Englishman.
You could give more alms than the rest of the world combined, and still suffer poverty of the soul.
You could be a deluded follower of a cult founded by a brigand, theif, rapist, and despoiler of virgin barnyard animals, and fit right in.
It might interest you to know I’m not British. I am an American. It might also interest you to know that I don’t care if you like me or not. What is important is that I don’t like you.
As for who owns the most expensive houses or which businesses, that is imaterial. What is material is that you had to move out of your country of origin to be able to own a house at all.
India is a backward nation with pockets of affluence but the majority of it’s people live in abject poverty. Many citizens are considered untouchable not because of anything they did or because of a contageous disease they may have but because of who their parents are.
Muslims are even more backward than Indians not because of economic reasons but because of a religeon that has locked them into a time warp that holds them in the dark ages. Muslims cannot be trusted, their religeon teaches duplicity and they smell bad.
Again, fuck you and may your camel disgrace himself in you face.
Religeon? Is that how it is spelled? You people ( I am referring to only these bunch of racists and NOT all Americans or Brits) make me laugh. Is “fuck” the only word you learnt? Grow Up, we didn’t even use that in kindergarten. Camels? WOW you sure play a lot of X-Box to not know too much about how fast the rest of the world is growing. Do you know about places known as China, Dubai, Bangalore, Malaysia ?
Oh pockets of affluence in India? You mean like 300 million people (fine that’s only like 30% of them) but it’s still bigger than UK.
Oh so that means Indians and Muslims are so smart that even though they are immigrants in your country they still employ you as their plumber.
Oh and do you hate me? Just because I am a Muslim? Didn’t you go to school? Didn’t they teach you what a racist is? Or were you too busy smoking pot and getting indoctrinated by a group of skinheads?
I love you man , keep hating me. You give us all a reason to laugh at your puny intelligence levels.
P.S.: Oh and please stay away from my blog ( To all you racists!) , you wouldn’t understand anything there. It’s a bit too difficult for people like you.
Given the smoke you have contributed to the disucssion here I don’t think you’ll be enjoying the surge of attention you seem to long for.
“…the letter very closely follows the Koran’s required steps before waging war…”
Traces of weapons grade, highly enriched uranium have been found in Iran. Perhaps this means that Iran already has the bomb.
There are renewed reports that the US military is getting in place for an attack on Iran. Bush announces Oval Office speech on immigration for Monday.
Is it possible that this is a cover story to announce the bombing of Iran’s nuclear facilities.
I guess we’ll find out Monday. I just wanted to get the connecting of the dots on record.
Neville Chamberlain was a man of peace.
He had the papers to prove it too!
ANyone that thinks Iran is the one at fault here should put down the apple pie and take their head out of the dark. They know that Bush plans to attck them no mater what. Just like Iraq! Those that agree with bush make me sick. We stood down the russians. The north koreans have nukes. I think most of you people are very dumb, naive and uninformed. Iran is trying to trade oil in euros. Just like Iraq. Russia is now talking about it. SO is Venezuela. The world is tired of america bulying them. Our econmy is going to take a huge hit. That will suck. Maybe if we acted better towards the rest of the world, they wouldn’t want to see us fall. Thank that to bush and his dumb neocons. They have no idea of what diplomacy is. Greed of bastards like cheney will kill this country.