Thursday, February 01, 2007

Iran: A demon of Bush's making

I've been remiss in not linking to this bit by Tony Shadid on Iran's ascendance in the WaPo. The silly thing is that calling Iran "ascendant" is really a misnomer -- Iran's absolute power really hasn't grown that much versus it's status in, say, 2001. What's changed is that Iran's two implacable enemies -- Taliban Afghanistan and Baathist Iraq -- have been destroyed, and the global hegemonic power is tied down in two wars and is unable to realistically stop any moves Iran makes. Even worse, the US has deliberately (if not consciously) made itself more vulnerable to Iranian retaliation by putting hundreds of thousands of soldiers within Iran's reach.

Which just shows us that the Realist school of International Relations is right -- it's relative power, not absolute power, that matters.

Meanwhile, the only thing Chirac's latest statement/embarrassment really shows is that a) he's still right about the Middle East, and b) the Right will never forgive him for being, um, correct about it.

Oh, and I guess c) it's still true -- a gaffe is when someone tells the truth.


Olaf said...


I'm confused... are you pro or anti- MTTM theory? You seem cautiously pro, which would be nice, cause I could really use a few allies on this. The theory hasn't really taken off as I had expected.

john said...

Well, when it comes to nuclear weapons I'm cautious about everything, including expressing my opinions. (Doubly so when it involves the Middle East.) I guess my question is are you pro MTTM or not? You seem to back off really quickly when a real-life example of nuclear deterrence is unfolding before us, like Iran.

While in principle I'm a committed nuclear abolitionist, in practice my thoughts are more or less summed up as "either negotiate with these people and find out what they want, or STFU." Iran has totally legitimate security grievances -- more legitimate than ever since Bush took office -- and Bush's refusal to bargain is driving any weapons program they have faster.

john said...

Sorry, let me give a second whack at that: I'm not sure I think a nuclear-armed Iran is going to make a safer middle east (which puts me opposed to a strict reading of MTTM) but I don't think it's going to lead to nukes falling on Haifa or some other apocalypse.