I posted a response to an article at cfr/foreign affairs regarding the ongoing mess with Iran. I thought it was a good article and a good response, so I’ve copied it here as well.
Thanks to the author for a great and timely article,
I think I agree with the gist of this article.
Just as they did with Saddam Hussein, concerned governments have implemented economic sanctions, diplomatic isolation, and low-level violence to weaken the Iranian regime and prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons, with the long-term objective of regime change.
If you were one of the scientist’s wives, sisters, brothers or children assassinated by clandestine services you wouldn’t call it “low-level”. I suppose all things are relative, but I did want to point this out.
They believe that they are facing a covert war.
Two years ago, Iran agreed to a Brazilian-Turkish fuel-swap proposal under which Iran could develop nuclear power without accumulating raw material for nuclear weapons. Last year, Russia put forth a plan imposing a number of restrictions on Iranian enrichment and facilitating more intrusive IAEA inspections.
Neither proposal was supported by the United States, as the Obama administration’s top priority was to intensify international pressure on Tehran.
Thank you for pointing out what is really going on here. Even when the IRI concedes and offers to address the world’s concerns regarding nuclear weapons, USG rebuffs the offer. This is because USG is following its decades old modus operandi of foisting false choices on undesirable foreign governments. The issue here is one of frankness, transparency and honesty.
Now, given Iran’s progress toward building the bomb, any new proposal should include an intrusive monitoring system with an early-warning mechanism inside Iran’s nuclear establishment. Such a requirement would help prevent a breakout program, as Iran would recognize that evidence of such activities would lead to military strikes and additional severe economic sanctions. The agreement would also have to be accompanied with a list of clearly defined steps that Iran could take to achieve the lifting of sanctions.
I agree with you on this point, however, isn’t that thematically the same thing Russia was trying to do when USG rejected it?
The failed talks this spring and summer illustrated that when the West has nothing to offer, Iran withdraws.
This is the “false choice” paradigm of U.S. foreign policy. They react this way because their choices are not really good choices. Saddam Hussein, as noted in this piece, faced the same kinds of false choices when USG demanded that he be removed from power. It merely guaranteed Hussein would stand belligerent, which is what USG needed to invade.
The U.S. general policy of foisting false choices on undesirable regimes so that USG can remove them from power is a policy based on deception. My concern is that this won’t work anymore as information is flowing more and more freely since the advent of the Information Age and the general public is now much more sophisticated when it comes to matters like this. USG, imo, should seek other strategies that do not rely as heavily on deception.
imo, USG must prevent the IRI from acquiring nuclear weapons – or – change the regime to something a bit more secular. Iran is not Iraq and any invasion of Iran will be very, very costly. USG should simply state plainly what it’s issue really is: the IRI is an Shia theocracy whose ability to reason and cooperate with the world is compromised by its obligations to its more traditional adherents. Therefore, USG wants it to go bye, bye and USG should not be shy about removing it. But not by an invasion but by more aggressive, larger scale clandestine means. The Iranians are perfectly capable, as a people, of cooperating with the West for everyone’s benefit. The problem is that Iran is being run by a minority of extreme, brutal traditionalists out of Qom.