Mission Viejo, California — The current U.S. policy in dealing with Iran’s nuclear ambitions has only one unavoidable outcome: Iran having a nuclear weapons much sooner than most would like to believe. Unfortunately, that’s the good news!
The bad news is that in pursuing this bizarre policy, the process itself will yield more serious long-term threats to the U.S. national interests than Iran’s nuclear bombs.
Most political “pundits”, including some in the current administration, appear amazingly ignorant to history’s tectonic forces. Their concept of world history barely stretches back past World War I, and the new paradigms of “globalization” exhilarate them into a Utopian vision of world peace through a universally shared shopping experience at Wal-Mart while watching MTV on big screens.
Such shot term, delusional and wishful approaches can not be any more dangerous when dealing with a country that has survived Alexander the Great, Genghis Kahn, and over 200 years of Arab occupation, still maintaining her proud identity, keeping her exclusive language (Farsi), and creating her own modified interpretation of Islam (Shiite).
America made the wrong historic turn in her relations with Iran in 1953, mostly unavoidable due to the pressures of the Cold War, when a CIA sponsored coup toppled the duly elected and beloved government of Dr. Mossadegh. However, CIA did similar things in Chile, Indonesia, and many other places, not to mention the U.S.-Vietnam war with results known to all. All those countries are now enjoying mostly normal relations with America. Iran, having received the least amount of damage from such “American intervention”, is still on a hot collision course with the U.S., with ramifications for regional, or even global, conflicts. Is it oil? That’s a very simplistic way of looking at the problem.
Russia and China, probably the two most anti-religion governments in the world, are now best friends of the world’s most notorious theocracy. And America, the bastion of freedom of thought, speech and religion, is considered as the “Great Satan” by millions of people of faith in Iran and beyond. Something is fundamentally wrong with this picture, and our contemporary policy toward Iran, dating back to President Eisenhower, has a lot to do with this outcome.
America has still not learned to deal with Iran in a post-Cold War environment, and the Russians are masterfully manipulating the U.S. policy confusion, with China now joining the club as a prelude to exercise her power beyond her immediate neighborhood.
How America handles the delicate current situation with Iran will ultimately decide the geopolitical balance of power between the U.S., Russia and even China. And that, by far, is more important to the long term strategic interests of the U.S. than Iran’s nuclear bomb.
Among the “allies” who are supposedly helping the U.S. with the diplomatic efforts are Germany and France, both of whom in their subconscious national psyche, may enjoy a demise of American power as the Soviet threat apparently no longer exits. No surprise that the French Prime Minister categorically dismisses any military action! Russia and China are both openly opposed to any meaningful effort which leaves no doubt about their ultimate goal of actually assisting Iran to build the bomb, regardless of their public statements.
It is time for a new approach to Iran.
Nixon was the only President with anti-communism credentials who could go to China. Without his vision and success, the Cold War would have taken a completely different course. President Bush is facing a similar historic opportunity to not only solve the current nuclear challenge, but change the course of relations among U.S., Iran, Russia and China for decades to come. Nixon understood and masterfully used the fundamental disparities in the different brands of Marxism practiced by Soviets and Chinese. Unfortunately, the current administration seems unable to either fully understand or effectively manipulate the deeper differences between Shiites and Sunnis, Arabs and Persians, by simply branding them all under the umbrella of “terrorism”.
Nonetheless, President Bush needs to take one of two bold steps: he must either lead a joint military action to wipe out all Iran’s nuclear facilities soon, or engage in direct talks with Iran even sooner.
Mao’s threats and humiliating words against America did not deter the Nixon/Kissinger duet, and the current harsh rhetoric from Tehran should be treated with the same candor.
If the current administration has a long term vision for the greater Middle East that prevents the President from taking this historic bold step, then he needs to take the other tough road, albeit bearing some very unpleasant consequences, and use force to halt Iran’s nuclear developments before it’s too late. The dire consequences of this approach will be far less severe than confronting the problem after Iran’s possession of the bomb.
One can only hope that the direct engagement alternative will be the chosen path. Nonetheless, either approach is better than the current practice of absentee landlord delegating protection of America’s strategic interests to the others.
Iran is the key to the stability in the Middle East, and regardless of the outcome of these crisis, she may also serve as the cornerstone to a long overdue post Cold War American foreign policy doctrine.