20 Jan '16     home | previous

Iran and Wisdom, from the RAND Corp to Sarah Palin

Yesterday a blog out of the RAND Corporation, a think tank that claims objective analysis, proclaimed:

The nuclear agreement with Iran, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is working. Yet some U.S. lawmakers continue to oppose the deal and have been promoting legislation to defund the deal's implementation and impose new sanctions on Tehran. If Congress continues on this path, the chances that the deal will succeed and lead to a nuclear free Iran will be diminished.

Today, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appeared to move toward better relations with Saudi Arabia by condemning the attack on the Saudi Embassy in Iran by angry Iranians on January 2. He said the attack damaged the country, and he gave his hardline Revolutionary Guards something. He thanked them for briefly detaining US sailors last week.

Regarding Iran's intentions, an article in today's New York Times sounds almost like some Republican candidates for president. The article reads:.

The world is watching Iran for signs of change, hoping it will evolve from a rogue revolutionary state into a respectable member of the international community. But Iran, rather than confronting the isolation it has created for itself, opts to obscure its dangerous sectarian and expansionist policies, as well as its support for terrorism, by leveling unsubstantiated charges against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.... The Iranian government’s behavior has been consistent since the 1979 revolution. The constitution that Iran adopted states the objective of exporting the revolution. As a consequence, Iran has supported violent extremist groups, including Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen and sectarian militias in Iraq.

The Saudi's have announced that there will be no war between them and Iran. Most people in the US, it seems, do not favor war with Iran. But some, without being specific about alternatives, think the Obama administration has been insufficiently tough on the Iranians. Sarah Palin, not highly respected as a foreign policy expert, has described Iran as terrorist, and you don't negotiate with terrorism, she says, you kill it. Her preferred Republican candidate for president, Donald Trump, has spoken against the Iran deal, saying "Iran has suckered us." Another candidate for president, Senator Marco Rubio, speaking against the Iran deal, said two days ago,

When I become president of the United States, our adversaries around the world will know that America is no longer under the command of someone weak like Barrack Obama.

With his rival, Senator Cruz, Rubio has referred to President Reagan as an example of toughness with Iran, of Reagan winning the release of hostages – although It had been President Carter who had won release of the 52 hostages, in exchange for the unfreezing of Iranian assets and an American pledge not to meddle in internal Iranian affairs.

Candidate Bush said yesterday that he would not have done the Iran deal. Yesterday, former Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State Robert Gates, selling his new book, complained that the US was “out-negotiated” on the Iran deal.  (Some of us remember that bad end of the 1991 Gulf War that Gates supported while he was a National Security advisor).

President Obama also plays to concerns for sufficient toughness. He pledges to counter vigorously Iran's "destabilizing behavior" across the Middle East.

With the fuss over whether the deal with Iran is working, as RAND Corporation says it is, little is said by our more hawkish Republicans what war would be like if a war with Iran becomes necessary, or how much of an occupation would be required to cement a victory there, (The Romans never did conquer the Persians, and in the seventh century it took Islamic Arabs decades to conquer non-Islamic Iran.)

Campaign rhetoric comes easily from those advocating greater hostility toward Iran – while some might wonder whether they are wiser regarding Iran than were the superhawks regarding the future behavior of the Soviet Union.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia, Iran, the US and many others have in common hostility toward the Islamic State, and the world watches not expecting an end to disagreements with Iran but hoping that hostilities between Saudi Arabia and Iran and between the US and Iran will dampen down.

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In the New York Times on January 21, 2016, "Does Iran Remain a Threat?" – six points of view. http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2016/01/21/does-iran-remain-a-threat?ref=opinion

Copyright © 2016 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.