Saturday, April 15, 2006

The Bleak Outlook on the US-Iran Matter: Part I

I made my usual Saturday trip over to Watching America to see if the rest of the world was as concerned with the growing conflict between the US and Iran as I was. It is. There were quite a few stories dealing with this issue. The Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad presented one of the more typical views of the problems facing us all.

Iran has succeeded in creating a nasty dilemma for the rest of the world: it has successfully enriched uranium for the first time. That could be the first step toward the production of nuclear weapons. It appears that the United States is pursuing the wrong solution to this problem: a military attack. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the nuclear “watchdog” of the United Nations, is in danger of being pummeled between hardliners in both Teheran and Washington. A diplomatic solution - highly preferred in this situation - is becoming ever more elusive, as divisions are increasing within the U.N. Security Council (responsible for setting policy in this conflict). It is in this way that this train keeps racing forward, with an unpredictable fanatic as the conductor, a ticket checker that wants badly to prove himself, and agitated and concerned passengers. The chances for a bad result are high.

...Warren Christopher, the former U.S. Secretary of State, has argued before that even America cannot sustain and win two wars at the same time. But regardless: it is a bad idea to force Iran back into the fold by using military force. The repercussions will be negative, inside Iran as well as throughout the Islamic region. Relations with Europe, including Great Britain (it is against military action), would be seriously tested. And then we are not even talking about Iran’s partners-in-oil: Russia and China.
[Emphasis added]

The metaphor of a coming train wreck is an apt one. As long as both Iran and the US continue to shake their fists as each other, little in the way of resolution short of war is possible. What is so disconcerting to the world is that both Iran and the US sound confident of victory in such a scenario, and neither seems terribly concerned with the consequences to the immediate area and to the rest of the world.

Unless both nations are restrained long enough by their respective citizens and world allies, war seems unavoidable. Needless to say, the November elections here in the US now loom even larger.


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