January 27, 2007

Slower, Please

The New York Times Magazine has published a long article on Iran, which describes the divisions in Iranian politics and the increasing isolation of extremist President Ahmadinejad:
By mid-January, Ahmadinejad’s isolation even within his own faction was complete: 150 of 290 members of parliament, including many of Ahmadinejad’s onetime allies, signed a letter criticizing the president’s economic policies for failing to stanch unemployment and inflation. A smaller group also blamed Ahmadinejad’s inflammatory foreign-policy rhetoric for the United Nations Security Council resolution imposing sanctions on Iran. As if that were not enough, an editorial in Jomhouri Eslami, a newspaper that reflects the views of the supreme leader, accused the president of using the nuclear issue to distract the public from his failed policies. Ahmadinejad’s behavior was diminishing popular support for the nuclear program, the editorial warned. The Iranian political system seems to be restoring its equilibrium by showing an extremist president the limits of his power. But is it an equilibrium that can hold?
In this environment, a U.S. (or Israeli) attack on Iran would very likely evoke patriotic fervor, damp down these differences, and strengthen the existing régime.

The crazies, like Caroline Glick of the Jerusalem Post are beating the war drums:
A proper Israeli foreign policy would serve to check and undermine Iran's international maneuvering. It would work to bring about Iran's delegitimization and isolation in the international community. It would work to dry up Iran's bank accounts and so unravel the stability of the regime and then act to overthrow it through popular insurrections. An effective, coherent foreign policy would be aimed at building solid international coalitions in which Israel could be part of an international military effort to destroy Iran's nuclear installations. Or, at the very least, it would prepare international public opinion for a unilateral Israeli military campaign against Iran.
It would be too much of a digression to parse Glick's mad politics. Suffice it to say that follow the advice of the Glicks of the world on this matter would be a disaster.

Slower, please.

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