No, stupid. If you read anything except cereal boxes, you might've known
that the creep is even less popular in his own country than he is here, and
it's important to let him blather and hang himself in front of the whole
world. When leaders show their stupidity, perhaps their people learn to vote
more carefully next time around. We're in the same predicament, and you put
Did you notice how much the guy babbles? Even Iranian clergymen are
gradually trying to muzzle him. He was elected with about a 1/3 majority in
a runoff against another candidate who was considered far worse by Iranians.
He has no real mandate.
Let him self destruct. Sadly, George Bush doesn't realize this, and in one
last effort to give himself a woody, will probably order military action
Think harder, professor.
The New York Times
March 30, 2007
Iran, the Vicious Victim
By MAX HASTINGS
TONY BLAIR has been talking tough about Iran’s seizure of 15 British sailors
and marines on the Shatt al Arab, the waterway between Iran and Iraq. Mr.
Blair is deeply reluctant to apologize, as Tehran is demanding, for Britain’s
alleged incursion into Iranian waters. Global positioning data shows that
the British naval patrol was more than a mile inside Iraqi waters. It is
gall and wormwood for a leader already politically crippled by Britain’s
commitment in Iraq to find himself now also engaged in a confrontation with
As international incidents go, this is unlikely to prove a very serious one.
After extracting every possible propaganda advantage, the Iranians will
probably free their captives. But for the British, this is a painful lesson.
It is rash to expose potential hostages to one of the most reckless and
erratic regimes in the world.
Plenty of people in Washington would say that violent provocation of this
kind shows that diplomatic engagement with Iran, as favored by Britain and
other European nations, is wasted motion; that only harsh sanctions backed
up by the threat of force can influence the wild men of Tehran, headed by
the Holocaust-denying President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Yet it is hard to punish masochists. The problem for policymakers is that
Iran’s leadership positively welcomes Western threats. Almost certainly, the
Castro regime in Cuba has lasted a generation longer than it would otherwise
have because of the state of siege imposed by Washington. So, likewise, Mr.
Ahmadinejad’s power, and that of the clerics who rule behind the scenes,
depends upon sustaining confrontation.
The United States and Britain have suffered a disastrous erosion of moral
authority in consequence of the Iraq war. The Blair government has been
dismayed to perceive the indifference, or worse, with which its European
partners have treated the seizure of its naval personnel. Britain has been
obliged to water down the draft resolution that it is circulating at the
United Nations Security Council, because some members rejected its original
What should be regarded as an unanswerable case of armed aggression by a
rogue state is instead being viewed by many nations as the sort of
embarrassment the British should expect, given the dubious legitimacy of
their presence on the Shatt al Arab.
The Iranians know all this, of course, and it fortifies their intransigence.
The game they play with considerable skill is to project themselves at once
as assertive Islamic crusaders, and also as victims of imperialism. They
crave respect and influence. Their only claims to these things rest upon
their capacity for menacing the West, whether through international
terrorism, support for Palestinian extremists, or the promise of building
It is often suggested that support for President Ahmadinejad is waning amid
his disastrous economic stewardship. Yet whatever Iran’s internal tensions,
there is little prospect that people committed to normal relations with the
West will gain power any time soon.
In assessing American and allied options, there seems only one certainty. It
is entirely counterproductive to respond to Iranian provocations with
military threats. It is impossible for the world, and indeed for the
revolutionaries in Tehran, to believe that President Bush can either launch
air strikes against their nuclear operations with a likelihood of success or
take ground action.
The only realistic course, even after the latest insult represented by the
British sailors’ seizure, is to sustain the policy of engagement, however
thankless this seems. Privately most European governments, including the
British, assume that around the end of the decade Iran will achieve its
purpose of building nuclear weapons. Even the so-called moderates in Tehran
are committed to this objective.
For all the hard words coming out of Jerusalem, it seems as difficult for
Israel as for the United States to find credible military means of stopping
the Iranians. A veteran British strategist, by no means a soft touch, said
to me with a sigh this week, “It looks as though we must accept that however
painful are the consequences of living with a nuclear-armed Iran, this is
preferable to the consequences of trying to stop such an outcome by force,
In the eyes of many Americans, such words represent characteristic European
pusillanimity, indeed appeasement. But some of us suggested when the 2003
Iraq invasion was launched that it could result in a drastic diminution of
the West’s ability to address graver threats from Iran and North Korea. So
it has proved.
We must keep talking to the Iranians, offering carrots even when these are
contemptuously tossed into the gutter, because there is no credible
alternative. Even threats of economic sanctions must be considered
cautiously. Their most likely consequence would be to feed Iranian paranoia,
to strengthen the hand of Tehran’s extremists. A state of declared Western
encirclement could suit President Ahmadinejad very well indeed.
No sensible Westerner, committed to the pursuit of international harmony,
could welcome any of this. Iran represents a menace to the security of us
all, not to mention what it must be like to live under that reprehensible
regime. But, in the wake of the Iraq catastrophe, never has the overwhelming
military power of the United States seemed less relevant to confronting a
large, relatively rich nation that enjoys considerable grassroots support in
the Islamic world for its defiance of the West.
No matter how it ends, the seizure of the British sailors is likely to be
viewed by most of the world as an Iranian victory. Thus it is unlikely to be
Iran’s last affront to us. It is not the American way, but only patience,
statesmanship and a refusal to respond in kind to outrageous behavior offer
a chance of eventually persuading this dangerous nation to join a rational
Max Hastings is the author, most recently, of “Warriors: Portraits From the
On Wed, 26 Sep 2007 01:45:38 GMT, "JoeSpareBedroom"
I don't know the details, but either he is not in charge or he is only
in charge of part of the government. There is someone else who is
(also?) in charge who doesn't get as much press. Maybe it is like
other countries that have a president and a prime minister. In which
case he would be the president, which I think is what they call
ibidibidab. (Pron. ibi-dibi-dawb)
He's watched over by a number of clerics who are capable of reining him in
from time to time, and have already done so.
More perspective on Iran, from a conservative source:
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