Iran: False Dilemmas
In my New Atlanticist post, “Iran: China 1972 or Russia 1987?” I summarize the key points made by the participants and then conclude,
I find that one rarely goes wrong taking the most pessimistic assumptions of both sides and assuming they’ll come true.
Ledeen is almost certainly right that the United States and Iran are simply too far apart to come to an amicable general accord. It would be great if Iran would help us solve all our myriad problems in the region but they’ll only do so in those cases where they can’t afford to do otherwise.
But I agree with Leverett that the implosion of the Islamist regime is a neocon fantasy. We’ve been counting on the “Iranian moderates” since Ollie North and the gang cooked up their elaborate arms for hostages deal and been continually disappointed. The Green movement that has Americans all a-Twitter is not the rise of a Jeffersonian democratic movement but the backers of a competing regime-approved Islamist candidate. Hard evidence or no, I’m pretty sure the last election was stolen. Hell, I’m pretty sure the one before that was stolen, too. But, at the end of the day, the Iranian president is a hood ornament. Iran is run by the ayatollahs, not the suits.
At the same time, Ledeen is almost surely right that bombing Iran isn’t an option. (And I only qualify with an “almost” because Chuck Wald, who knows a little something about air operations, disagrees.)
Sadly, this means that we’re likely to see not only the continuation of the mullahs in power in Iran but, ultimately, will have to accept the “unacceptable” reality of seeing that regime armed with nuclear weapons. But, if we can’t talk, wish, or bomb that outcome away, that’s where this road leads.
More at the link.