24 September 2012

Quote for the day -- Obama and Iran

"To date, Obama’s response has been like Reagan’s: provide unprecedented military defense systems for Israel, deploy our best technology against Iran, inflict crippling sanctions, and yet stay prepared, as Reagan did, to deal with the first signs of sanity from Tehran. Could Obama find an Iranian Gorbachev? Unlikely. But no one expected the Soviet Union to collapse as Reagan went into his second campaign either, and it had not experienced a mass revolt in his first term, as Iran did in Obama’s. And yet by isolation, patience, allied unity, and then compromise, the unthinkable happened. I cannot say I am optimistic — but who saw the fall of the Berlin Wall in October 1984?"

Andrew Sullivan


Anonymous Marc McKenzie said...

Hmmm...Andrew Sullivan might have a point there.

When I was in high school in the late 1980s, I had a history teacher who told us that he would not live to see the day when the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact ceased to be. After those amazing days in 1989, he sheepishly admitted that he was very happy to be wrong.

24 September, 2012 09:52  
Blogger S.W. Anderson said...

Sullivan's last sentence doesn't track. I think he meant either foresaw instead of saw.

Few people seem to realize it, but Iran's leaders have reached out at least a couple of times to improve relations. The last time was just after 9-11. They offered to help track down and turn over those behind the attack. They made a public announcement to this effect, IIRC, and when that was ignored by the Bush administration they sent an emissary to Washington to make the offer in person. The emissary was at first ignored, then allowed to speak his piece to someone in the administration. But the offer was rejected out of hand. Never even considered.

There's reason to believe very little goes on in the Mideast that the Iranians don't know about. Their intelligence service is said to be among the best in the region.

I suspect Bush's coven of crackpot crusaders had plans for Iran, even in the first year of his administration. I suspect they still do.

24 September, 2012 22:24  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

MM: Around 1985 I actually wrote an article explaining why the Soviet Union was doomed to collapse and break up. Nobody would publish it because it was too unbelievable.

SWA: I do think we should avoid falling into the trap of accepting the present Iranian theocracy as permanent. That would be a betrayal of the Iranian people who have been struggling for, and deserve, something better. Deal with the theocracy as we can and must, but never lose sight of the ultimate goal of its downfall, whether by revolution or evolution. In this respect, Reagan also had the right idea about the Soviet regime.

25 September, 2012 06:25  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

I see here that the theocracy has again said that Israel is to be "eliminated", and has raised the reward offered for carrying out Ayatollah Khomeini's murder fatwa against Salman Rushdie. No one would like to see a Gorbachev-like figure arise there more than I would, but I'm not going to pretend the current crew of thugs is anything other than dangerous fanatics.

25 September, 2012 07:29  
Blogger S.W. Anderson said...

Don't get the wrong idea. I think no better of Iran's despot leaders than you do. However, I don't see them as irrational fanatics who would invite nuclear annihilation if they were to develop nuclear bombs. That seems to be the neocons' POV, or at least their meme.

25 September, 2012 11:27  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Unfortunately there's some non-trivial evidence that that's exactly what they, or at least some of them, are. Also, religious fanatics who revel in the idea of martyrdom might well be willing to take the whole society down with them -- especially if they fear it's rejecting their rule.

25 September, 2012 13:26  

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