Thursday, October 27, 2005

A belligerent President and Israel

So he is belligerent, offensive and provocative and chances are that Mr. Ahmadi Nejad is unlikely to get a posting to the Washington Institute anytime soon. And the Israelis are justifiably annoyed because of his diatribe.

Having said that, don’t you find it curious that those who make a living peddling the notion that there is not a single straight bone in an Iranian body are always the ones most inclined to want to believe every threatening statement simply a signal of actual intention?

What I intend to do, then, in this post and the next, is to argue that the representatives of the reigning imbecility in Iran are now ready to talk. They will want to directly engage the United States and short of regime change, everything will be on the table including the question of recognizing Israel.

It will involve some more posturing, but at the end of the day, it is time for some serious soul searching. It will be up to the authorities in the West to decide how they will want to tackle the problem. It is either talk soon and talk directly or there will be war.

The problem, of course, might lie in my assumptions. So I am going to outline them openly in this post first. And I am perfectly willing to reevaluate them. So if you have anything to say, don’t be shy about it.

Some of them have to do with my reading of the Islamic regime’s maneuvers in its negotiations with the Europeans. I have written before about why I object to Iran’s pursuit of nuclear technology and what the authorities might have aimed to accomplish by their initial defiance vis-à-vis the IAEA.

So give it a read if the spirit moves you.

Some of the other assumptions have to do with our attitude as the opposition to the Islamic regime. If you think the Mullahs have been driving the international community mad, just imagine how frustrated some of us have been feeling given the past 27 years.

As a general rule, we tend to think ourselves highly intelligent, educated and cunning. And obviously our rulers are a bunch of low octane clowns who are provincial, dumb and superstitious! So with that attitude, try explaining why it is that despite our best efforts, they have managed to survive for so long.

And if you think that mere brutality has been the sole factor, then add up the numbers who have been killed or imprisoned in the last 15 years in Iran and compare to what goes on in some of the neighboring countries. Heavy-handedness alone has never guarantees relative stability for any ruling regime.

So we have been reduced in our approach to either overt humoring of those in power—nothing to be sneezed at, mind you, for it is therapeutic—from the shape of their noses to their beards, accents and clothing to their IQ’s and some of their sillier practices, or we see conspiracies everywhere.

Thus, we have proven constantly inaccurate in our prognostications about this regime. From day one, every little disagreement within the ruling class was a sign of its impending doom. Every one of the many power plays by quite the numerous factions that had a falling out was viewed as a harbinger of the regime’s impending implosion.

The latest example, of course: remember how we were seeing signs of a rift between the “Supreme Leader” Mr. Khamenei and that wily Rafsanjani? And then what happened? Ahmadi Nejad might now be reporting to the man he beat!

So there is more to these folks than meets the eye, I have concluded. This doesn’t mean that the regime is not vulnerable. It does not mean it can not be changed. But so long as we continue to deal with caricatures, they will continue to rule to exact a heavy price on us all.

So I am done with this confessional for now. In the next post, I’ll try to articulate why I see this latest talk of fire and brimstone as yet further signs of Iranian regime’s readiness to negotiate.

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