Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Obama Administration on Iran: They're ready to come out with their hands up!

By Barry Rubin

A “senior administration official,” which is codeword for a secretary of state or one of the top two levels below speaking on background, told reporters regarding Iran:

"The government's domestic political capital has been seriously eroded," said the official, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the topic. "That may lead to willingness on their part to engage more."

It should be stressed that this did not come from a leak or rumor but a direct briefing. Obviously, the senior official said this to show that the administration is responding to the crisis in Iran and, at the same time, its pre-crisis strategy still makes sense, even more sense.

Does the Obama administration really believe that the Khamenei-Ahmadinejad regime (which is what we should start calling it) has been so shaken by the upheaval in Iran that it is more likely to make a deal with America?

That may be how Western governments think (We’re weaker so we’d better make concessions).

It is not how Middle Eastern dictatorships think. Good grief! Haven’t these people ever heard of:

Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser (We’re weak? Let’s threaten to wipe out Israel and send our army into Sinai and see what they’ll do then!);

Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat (We’re surrounded! Let's raise our demands!), or

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein (Retreat from Kuwait! Hah! I have the Americans just where I want them!) And many others.

No, the Tehranical regime cracked down on people at home to show its strong. It got rid of the moderately extreme extremists and enthroned the most fanatical, risk-taking leader since Idi Amin of Uganda. The regime has staked its future on an extremely extreme strategy and leadership.

And this is seen at the top levels of the Obama administration as a great opportunity for diplomacy?

One can only resort to the exclamation of Joseph Conrad’s character in “Heart of Darkness”:

The Horror! The Horror!


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