"How did it come to pass that an opposition's measure of a president's foreign policy was all or nothing, success or "failure"? The answer is that the political absolutism now normal in Washington arrived at the moment--Nov. 7, 2000--that our politics subordinated even a war against terror to seizing the office of the presidency." - Daniel Henninger - WSJ 11/18/05
"the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts." - George Orwell

Monday, April 02, 2007

15 for 698,230,970 – Iran, the Middle East and the Rest of us

Lessons, lessons, lessons! I’m tired of the experts saying we should do this, that or the other thing to teach Iran a lesson. It’s quite possible that I have actually used this word as well (although obviously I am not an expert); but that said, I wouldn’t want to use it again because at this time I am tired of it.

Now obviously Iran has learned lessons so it is not inappropriate to use the term. Provoking with “peaceful nukes,” threatening the destruction of Israel and on and on; what’s the lesson learned? Obviously that they can tweak the West with impunity and we will back down, they will earn prestige points with radicals and they will just repeat the activities. I do not personally care if they learn a different type of lesson at all. Forget about lessons, do something for the sake of doing it because it is necessary for a change on the Wests point.

Iran now holds 15 British sailors and royal marines hostage. Analysts say:

Iran's tough stance in the the standoff over 15 captured British sailors is a demonstration of the power of hardliners unafraid to confront the West.”

Further, Iran has brushed aside:

“diplomatic overtures from the SEARCH
European Union
, Japan and Turkey in recent days. And hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has taken a higher-profile role, declaring in his most extensive comments on the crisis that Britain and its allies were "arrogant and selfish" for not apologizing over what he called the Britons' incursion into Iranian waters.”

Britain and its allies are “arrogant and selfish” because they won’t apologize according to Momo Ahmadinejad. Momo and the Mullahs wouldn’t be considered arrogant and intransigent for taking 15 hostages and parading them on Iranian TV in a propaganda extravaganza intended to increase their prestige in the M.E. right?

Tehran is finding that the British are starting to come around or at least not speaking back to them militarily, which was likely expected or at least hoped for by the Republics leadership.

Responding in writing to Iran:

“in response to a note from Iranian officials, Britain agreed to consider discussions about how to avoid similar disputes in the future, said the British official. Britain's response — most of which has been kept secret — may have prompted the report Monday from Iran's state-run radio.”

Speaking tough, an anonymous spokesman in the know on government policy:

"The Iranians know our position; they know that stage-managed TV appearances are not going to affect our position. They know we have strong international support."

No, “stage-managed TV” will make no difference, nor will “strong international support.” Lessons that we should have learned is that “support” internationally is like a jock strap with no cup in place. International support is talk. Tehran is not concerned with talk as all the advantage and victory is theirs to manipulate.

Someone that could perhaps be considered a counter-part of mine and many others with my likeminded opinions might be Mahmoud Jafari, a 37 year-old Iranian teacher that said:

"For years, Britain has been doing whatever it could against Iran in various fields, such as the nuclear issue. They have to learn that it costs something."

Jafari is not a blogger, though if he were he certainly would not be one that would dare say anything anti-Iranian, because that would not be acceptable in that nation.

So here we are, roughly two weeks from the date that the 15 people were taken hostage by Iran. Britain does not want to escalate things beyond their control or ours; unfortunately, regardless of what is done is beyond everyone’s control, to think otherwise is naïve as far as I’m concerned.

I do not look upon the 15 people in captivity as being non-entities or of having no importance to themselves, family or anyone else that may be concerned. But Britain’s and the international community’s tepid response; other than playing into Tehran’s hands, is effectively placing the importance of 15 lives above and beyond that of, (to just quote a few numbers) from CIA.gov:

England – 60,609,153

France – 62,752,136

U.S. – 298,444,215

Italy – 58,133,509

Spain – 40,397,842

Germany – 82,422,299

Iran – 68,688,433

Iraq - 26,783,383

Numbers all estimates as of July 2006

There are those that will/would consider my points as the actions that would imperil us all; and rightly so, as there would be repercussions to my suggestions, just as there are and have been repercussions to doing nothing. The numbers I quote are in an effort to illustrate that not doing as I and others might suggest could have the exact same effect, only slower over time that would have quite the eventual up tick when we all decide to wake up and open our eyes.

A very interesting and thought provoking post from "Prose before Hos" with "Inside Iran: Picking through the complex US-Iranian Relations," which requires more time and patience but good brain food - good stuff

Previous posts regarding the hostages or recent developments, from this site:

Iran – When Can We Talk?

The Iranian Gambit – Ours and Theirs

Escalation by Britain Raises the Stakes with Iran

A Civilian Chicken-Hawk Warmonger on Iraq, Iran, the U.S., Britain and 15 Hostages

In Defense of a Chicken-hawk and 15 Hostages

Iran, One More Step to be taken and “We Can Talk” – British Illegal Entry into Iranian Waters

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