Monday, January 22, 2007

Ships in the night

The UK Times reports that supreme Ayatollah Khamenei will soften Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's bellicose policies in an effort to ease international pressure on Iran. "Alarmed by mounting US pressure and United Nations sanctions, officials close to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei favour the appointment of a more moderate team for international negotiations on the supervision of its nuclear facilities." But perceptions can differ depending on where one stands. The New York Times reported that Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, the new chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, on Friday sharply criticized the Bush administration's increasingly combative stance toward Iran.


The new chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Friday sharply criticized the Bush administration's increasingly combative stance toward Iran, saying that White House efforts to portray it as a growing threat are uncomfortably reminiscent of rhetoric about Iraq before the American invasion of 2003.

Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, the West Virginia Democrat who took control of the committee this month, said that the administration was building a case against Tehran even as American intelligence agencies still know little about either Iran's internal dynamics or its intentions in the Middle East.

"To be quite honest, I'm a little concerned that it's Iraq again," Senator Rockefeller said during an interview in his office. "This whole concept of moving against Iran is bizarre."

While it might be bizarre, it nevertheless seems to be true that certain factions in Iran have no compunctions about moving against the US. The UK Times article suggests that such belligerence is by no means unanimous. And they are probably correct. From anecdotal evidence there is no widespread anti-Americanism in Iran. But the Groundhog Day that Senator Rockefeller fears will only happen if we step off the learning curve, curl into a ball and reset everything. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with rebooting foreign policy for so long as the good threads pick up once everything is online again. But the challenge of dealing with the terrorist/state supporter combo is not one which the West has satisfactorily learned to deal with. Not in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan or Western Europe. One can readjust positions, but to think it is possible to opt out of the larger struggle is probably an illusion.

4 Comments:

Blogger sam said...

The United States will announce a substantial contribution to Lebanon at an international donors' conference this week as part of an effort to rebuild the country and strengthen its western-backed government, State Department officials said.

...

The U.S. contribution is expected to include an effort the U.S. announced last October to rebuild a vital bridge on the Beirut-Damascus highway, which is expected to cost about $20 million. Israeli jets bombed the structure during last summer's 34-day war against Hezbollah, the militant group backed by Syria and Iran.

The donors meeting comes amid efforts to buttress Lebanon's government, which is led by Prime Minister Fuad Saniora. Since Dec. 1, Hezbollah has staged street protests and sit-ins aimed at toppling Saniora's government.


Lebanon Revival

1/22/2007 04:01:00 PM  
Blogger Robert Schwartz said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1/22/2007 07:31:00 PM  
Blogger Robert Schwartz said...

Further proof, as if any were needed, that the Democrats think the real enemy is in the White House. Why Dingy Harry and Rocky think that they ought to protect Iran is way beyond me. Iran has been attacking the US and its allies for 28 years, can't we all agree that they are a big problem.

1/22/2007 07:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is nothing fundamentally wrong with rebooting foreign policy for so long as the good threads pick up once everything is online again.

By reboot, I hope you mean shuttering the State Department and making sure that the former employees are not allowed to handle anything more complicated or potentially more injurious to the US than a Big Mac. The State Dept of late has been nothing more than a shadow of its charter, full of spiteful menace to the Chief Executive.

But the challenge of dealing with the terrorist/state supporter combo is not one which the West has satisfactorily learned to deal with. Not in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan or Western Europe.

Aye, there is the rub. Though, Pakistan has been in a different, more "radioactive" category than the others.

It's a shame that the craven interest of the EU isn't more of a meme in this war on Islamists. The EUnchs would never wish destruction upon themselves now, would they?

1/23/2007 12:08:00 AM  

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