Friday, December 01, 2006

Colin Powell chimes in again

I wonder what the Bush Administration thinks of Powell's most recent comments, that he forsees no circumstance in which the US would use military force against Iran. Sure, they can dismiss him because he no longer works for them, but there is the problem of the signals that this esteemed former general is sending to the 'enemy.'

Surely Iranian officials understand the fact that Powell does not speak for the administration, but I'm sure it also realizes the importance of his assessment. Could the fact that one of America's preeminent military minds thinks that the US will not under any foreseeable circumstance attack Iran cause Iran to take more brazen action?

On the other hand, is it also possible that the Bush administration could view this as a challenge to its "manhood" and act more aggressively toward Iran given the fact that Powell's comments could give Iran the ability to rest on it's laurels a bit?

I was wondering if anyone else thinks that such comments from influential, but currently powerless, Americans leaders could have either a positive or negative effect on the situation with Iran. Also, does anyone out there actually disagree with Powell's assessment of the situation?


Dr. Duke Nukem said...

The nice thing is that we still have some room in which to try out different approaches to Iran. If Colin Powell's speech encourages certain groups or leaders in the Middle East to try something new, that'd be great - that's what we've been trying with limited success to accomplish ever since we etch-a-sketched Israel into existence.

Because President Ahmedinijad has been manuevering himself to be a leading Middle East heads of government to voice a call for a stable, sovereign Iraq, it is unlikely that Iran will take any kind of aggressive action to further antagonize the Shia-Sunni conflict. It may encourage him to be more vocal about what Iran wants from Iraq, and what Iran plans to do to accomplish those ends.

Powell's assessment is the followup to his fears before the war began:
that Iraq would be destablized by the removal of Saddam and, without extremely skillful management, turn into a civil war in which it would be almost impossible to accomplish US objectives for a peaceful, democratic Iraq.

The Bush standpoint is, although they won't expressly admit it, completely in accord with Powell's assessment of the second stage - the inefficiency of the military occupation. On the third point - the rise of civil war - the Bush administration feels otherwise. The administration still uses the term 'Al-Qaeda' when they should say 'radical militant Islamic groups' or 'Islamist militants'. The Bush administration believes that these are the groups exploiting Iraqi dissatisfaction with Maliki's government and the US occupation, turning this dissatisfcation into armed conflict and suicide bombings. They also believe these radical groups are responsible for sustaining and worsening the dispute between Sunnis and Shias within the region.

Cavour said...

I think the Iranians already view this the same way Powell does. I suspect that they don't consider US military action a credible threat. If they really considered US military action a reasonable possibility, Ahmedinejad would be a bit less brazen.