Frequent IPS News contributor Barbara Slavin begins this C-Span discussion on Iran’s nuclear program by noting that she’s concerned about the trajectory the U.S. is on with Iran:
…it’s very easy to impose sanctions, and more sanctions and more sanctions, more pressure on the country, but to what end? If there isn’t a really sound diplomatic engagement strategy coupled with it, then you may be put in a position where Iran behaves more like a pariah state because it really doesn’t see any more options for itself. I think we had some indications of that with that strange business at the British embassy.
U.S. hawks agree that their country is going in the wrong direction with Iran, but for different reasons. Last week Max Boot of the Council on Foreign Relations declared that the “only credible option” for significantly delaying the Iranian nuclear program considering the U.S.’s “lack of success” with its sanctions policy would be a “bombing campaign”.
These words are coming from a man who famously made his “Case for American Empire” shortly after 9/11 by claiming that the U.S. needed to go to war with Afghanistan first, so it could take on Iraq. And what were his views on the false allegations that Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11? The truth doesn’t matter plus another unsubstantiated claim:
The debate about whether Saddam Hussein was implicated in the September 11 attacks misses the point. Who cares if Saddam was involved in this particular barbarity? He has been involved in so many barbarities over the years–from gassing the Kurds to raping the Kuwaitis–that he has already earned himself a death sentence a thousand times over. But it is not just a matter of justice to depose Saddam. It is a matter of self defense: He is currently working to acquire weapons of mass destruction that he or his confederates will unleash against America and our allies if given the chance.
Now Boot is claiming that the U.S. is suffering from a “failure of imagination” by failing to “face up” to the “growing threat from the Islamic Republic”. Given the history of Boot’s predictions, and the low premium he places on facts, we can only hope that policy makers will regard his apocalyptic predictions with the degree of skepticism that they failed to show in the case of Iraq.
Unfortunately the popular image of Iran as a country whose aims are apocalyptic, not strategic has created an environment in the U.S. where there’s no political cover or public support for engagement. Which leaves only the option of sanctions without diplomacy, whose lack of success will create an increasingly dangerous situation.
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