Matt Duss at Think Progress picks up on Carnegie Endowment expert Karim Sadjadpour‘s Financial Times piece yesterday to point out that military containment won’t work against as a strategy against a country — Iran — that garners regional clout through political maneuvering.
Duss also takes note of another great point from Sadjadpour: Just as neoconservative Iran hawks can’t have it both ways — boosting the Green movement and calling for bombing Iran — those Arab leaders who call for a U.S. attack on Iran probably don’t care a whit about democracy in Iran either. (And why should they? Their countries aren’t exactly democracies nor do they care what their own citizens/subjects think).
In fact, a democratic Iran would probably be bad news for these Gulf dictatorships.
Sadjadpour (emphasis by Duss):
The WikiLeaks revelations make clear that Arab officials believe Iran to be inherently dishonest and dangerous. The feeling is probably mutual. But they hide perhaps a more interesting issue, namely what type of Iranian government would actually best serve Gulf Arab interests.
President Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad and the Islamic Republic may be loathed, but equally the advent of a more progressive, democratic Iran would enable Tehran to emerge from its largely self-inflicted isolation and begin to realise its enormous potential. In the zero-sum game of Middle Eastern politics, a democratic Iran would pose huge challenges to Persian Gulf sheikhdoms.
The irony that someone like Benjamin Wienthal, who’s at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, doesn’t recognize this in his National Review post says something about how the hawkish agenda drives neoconservatives — and not utopian notions of freedom and democracy.
While Arab states such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, and Oman have long privately conveyed such warnings to diplomats, they never had the courage to flex their muscles in public.
Right! And that’s because these are dictatorships, and these Arab leaders are wildly out of step with their publics.
Neoconservatives, being neoconservatives, will gather allies in their campaign for war with Iran wherever they can find them.