On Point: Obama's Iran Conundrum


by Austin Bay
March 17, 2010

The media speculators have returned,pondering the likelihood of an attack by the U.S. or Israel on Iranian nuclearweapons sites. Every week, the Beltway spins forth another series of articlesquoting anonymous State Department officials, a pontificating general or two,or a terse national security adviser. The phrases "growing fears" and"new war" punctuate the political science jargon.

Wake up, world, and grow up, Washington.Iran's mullah-led regime is already at war. It is at war with Iraq. It is atwar with Israel. In historical terms, the descendant regime of the AyatollahKhomeini has been at war with the United States since, oh, 1979? Moreover, thecorrupt dictatorship is fighting a civil war in slow motion with the GreenMovement, the hodgepodge Iranian opposition coalition that reflects thedisenchantment of an estimated 70 percent of the population.

The phrase "new war" isdiplo-speak for an American or Israeli raid on Iranian nuclear weaponsproduction facilities. The raid would really be a new battle in this complex,long-running conflict. The Khomeinites in Tehran would portray the raid asescalation, an attack by the Great Satan on the Islamic Republic and ultimatelyall Muslims. The Israelis would portray the raid as genocide prevention -- anda warning to anyone labeling Israel a "one bomb state."

The Obama administration would portraythe raid as ... as ... well that is not (yet) quite clear.

The blame for the Obamaadministration's Iranian policy conundrum begins with the president himself.The "no pre-conditions" to negotiations pledge Barack Obama made tothe mullahs and his Cairo apology to the Islamic world have proven to be what Obama'scritics called them: fillips to the "Blame America" habitues of theAmerican left. In terms of forging an effective policy capable of coping withthe dysfunctional regimes afflicting the Middle East, however, they were naive,myopic and culturally ignorant gestures. Dictators interpret apologies andkowtows as weakness. The smug thugs in Tehran touted Obama's apologias as atriumph for the Khomeinists' revolution.

Green Movement protests after Iran'stroubled June 2009 elections revealed the regime for the failure it is:hideously corrupt, internally despised and domestically violent.

It is also internationally dangerous.Khomeinist Iran, though no global power in the traditional sense of economic,political or military might, is globe-girdling in terms of involvement incontroversy, revolution and armed conflict. This flows from the AyatollahKhomeini's claim Iran would lead a global Islamist revolution.

While the ideological appeal has paled,the associated violent troublemaking hasn't. By one count, the regime isinvolved in at least 17 international conflicts, most of them in the MiddleEast or Central Asia, but its tentacles even touch South America.

This foul regime seeks nuclear weapons.Yes, a nuke would strengthen its hand domestically, playing to a certain typeof nationalist sentiment. A nuke serves a defensive purpose, a form of regimeprotection. These are, however, narrow truths all too easily abused asarguments for inaction. The broad fact: A nuclear Iran tilts the entire MiddleEast toward further violence.

Obama minions have said as much, and wehear that Iran will not be allowed to get nuclear weapons. Tough economicsanction talk is one thing -- actual sanctions another. Right now, the U.S.can't get Brazil to support harsh sanctions. We also hear Beltway gossip thatcontends Obama is already resigned to containing a nuclear-armed Iran. What wedo not hear articulated is how the regime would be contained.

Iraq is the best base for executing anycompetent containment regimen. Obama, however, failed to support the U.Sliberation and democratization of Iraq, which are the predicates to anIraqi-U.S. alliance against the Khomeinists. He still insists on an acceleratedwithdrawal of U.S. combat units.

Now the Beltway spin turns to "newwar." Why? Because it must. The Khomeinists are 15 months closer topossessing nuclear weapons. A successful democratic revolt in Iran would getObama -- and all of us -- off the terrible hook. Obama, and the rest of us,however, cannot bank on such fortune. In its own awkward, benighted and belatedfashion, the administration of the American messiah of perpetual peace hasbegun preparing for "the military option" -- massive air and specialoperations strikes on the mullah's nuclear arsenal. 

To find out more about Austin Bay and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

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