Thursday, July 10, 2008

Obama v McCain on Iran

This article from the Wall Street Journal sums up why Obama's approach to Iran, specifically in light of recent missile testing, is better than McCain's:
Sen. Obama went on to say the missile tests demonstrate why the U.S. needs to engage in direct diplomacy with Iran. The Wall Street Journal writes, while Sen. McCain called for tough new sanctions and an anti-missile shield in Europe, and repeated his concern that Tehran is merely using negotiations with the international community to buy time.

"It's time for action and it's time to make Iranians understand that this kind of violation of international treaties, this kind of threatening of their neighbors, this kind of continued military activity is not without costs," Sen. McCain said at a campaign event in South Park, Pa., as the Associated Press reports. But he stopped short of saying he would call for military action against Iran if elected, the Journal notes.

Sen. Obama, meanwhile, repeated his call for "direct and aggressive diplomacy with the Iranian regime" saying the increased tensions with Tehran show that the current approach of isolating Iran isn't working, the New York Times reports. The Illinois Democrat said high-level U.S. engagement with Iran would bring more international support for military action "should Tehran prove unwilling to give up its nuclear activities," the Journal writes.

Exactly. Start with aggressive diplomacy because, if Iran proves to be an un-tamable threat, at least we can have international support.

1 comment:

John Maszka said...

John McCain is a great man who has served our country with great sacrifice. I have tremendous respect for him. I hope if he wins, he will realize that without engaging Iran, there can only be more conflict. As Colin Powell remarks in his insightful article “The Craft of Diplomacy,” we have to leave our enemy an honorable path of retreat.

While diplomacy with Iran may have its challenges, it should be pursued at every length. Iran has a conscription army and nearly 10 million eligible males between the ages of 18 and 32 (Posen, 2003). Iran's conventional military potential aside, US Intelligence assesses that Iran will likely have nuclear weapons capability within the decade (Select Committee on Intelligence, 2006).

“Je vois plus que jamais qu’il ne faut juger de rien sur sa grandeur apparente.” - Voltaire

We should be careful what we assume about Iran, or any country.

The United States needs to be very aware of Iran's growing political influence in the international community as well. In a sermon commencing the month of Ramadan 2007, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused the Bush administration of war crimes in Iraq, and of attempting to undermine Islam in the Middle East. Amidst chants from worshipers: "Death to America," Khamenei stated that he has a firm belief that one day this current US president and the American officials will be tried in a fair international court for the atrocities committed in Iraq.

American popularity worldwide has plummeted over the 2003 invasion of Iraq and Khameinei's words are falling upon a rising number of sympathetic ears. Any inclination the Bush administration has toward regime change in Iran should be given very, very careful thought. Ultimately, the situation confronting the United States regarding Iran is identical in many respects to the threat of terrorism itself:

A clash of cultures, a stubborn battle of wills, two very different ways of looking at the same reality, a global game of chicken in which neither side wants to back down. This of course is a gross oversimplification of a very complex problem, but there are some basic truths to the argument.

The United States and Europe are largely divided on their views of Iran, as well as their views of how best to counter terrorism. One of the greatest challenges facing the United States in its efforts to counter terrorism, is learning to understand those who resort to its use, and developing a coherent construct within which to address terrorism.

The same can be said of Iran. And few can argue that there is no small amount of testosterone in the air, and this stubbornness can be seen on both sides of the standoff. Henry Kissinger has aptly stated that so long as Iran views itself as a crusade rather than a nation, a common interest will not emerge from negotiations. But this observation is equally applicable to the Bush administration as well.

Puor bien savoir les choses, il en faut savoir le detail, et comme il est presque infini, nos connaissances sont toujours superficielles et imparfaites.

Unfortunately, what we do know is that the Bush administration cannot be trusted to do what it says. Iraq taught us that lesson. Many experts have long been predicting that Bush would invade Iran before he leaves office. But of course, the Bush administration would never admit to such a thing.

On ne donne rien si liberalement que ses conseils.

But it is the man who follows his own counsel, he’s the one that should lead.