Thursday, September 15, 2011

In Response to S.A.: Thirty-Two Years of the Same Plan

S.A. writes about possible tactics in halting Iran's nuclear quest. These tactics, although reasonable, are no different from talks of the last decade on responding to Iran. Suggestions that rogue attacks from Israel, supporting of insurgencies and regime change through economic sanctions and violence, and the inciting of Iran's domestic opposition is no more insightful, than these proposals would be effective. An old saying goes that if you keep doing the same thing, while expecting different results, this is the definition of crazy. Yet, this has been the approach of U.S. policy-makers for decades.
This is not to say that these ideas are not grounded in what was once solid thinking, in a world where competition was state to state, ancd coercion was simple based on military means. The facts have changed though, agressors must now fight assymetrical battles against: terrorism, strategic undercutting of a state's resources, while the globalized world creates a sphere in which interests are not as easily defined, and security is more relative.
I want to speak upon a few of the issues I have with these proposals. First and foremost is the idea of regime change. While reading "Just and Unjust Wars", it is clear that simple intevention to liberate the people of another state should not be portrayed as a movement to free its people. Our sense of "freedom" may very well not be their same perception. Democracy imposed, is not democracy at all, but a quasi-forced system in which people really did not choose their governance. A rigged regime change, although encouraging for U.S. interests, may not be the true system the Iranian people want, and if so we have done them a diservice by interferring in an organic movement which the Green Movement represents, and could be quite capable of instituting. Further, our intervention to erect a new regime may only hurt a positive partnership that could have occured with a unilateral Green Movement. What will the collateral damage be for regime change, how will the people of Iran react? The desire to fund and support in S.A's proposal is vague, and "quiet/ covert intervention" is still intervention.
Secondly, the idea of providing arms for insurgencies fuels two problems, one of which is the obvious violence that will incur, not just against government, but against the people in response by the government, as well as in the cross-fire. Thus, U.S. interest may want violent insurrections, but the populations of those respective ethnic groups who are "OK" with the status quo, but are retalliated against by the Iranian army, well those lives are on the U.S.' conscience. Within this insurgency tactic is also the problem, that mere regime change is not the only goal of insurgencies, they want independence. While the U.S. goal may be a halt to Iran's nuclear program, the outcome may very well be long bouts of civil war within Iran, all groups vying for power and resources. A supposed nuclear Iran, turns into a civil war, which may in turn make the region even less stable for U.S. interests (read Iraq and Afghanistan), especially in contract to Iran possibly handing over its program to the IAEA as it had suggested it might recently.
Finally, S.A. comments that he knows this may be a "bloody war", and in some ways I see this as an immoral action to take then. Let me explain this further. Walzerman goes to explain that soldiers are somewhat mercenaries in effect, that they do not get to choose the wars they fight in, thus a comepelled action into combat is thus unjust in the sense that armed forces cannot stop fighting in a cause they do not believe in. More so though, I have always found it unbearable that individuals recommend war and aggressive tactics, ones in which they do not take part in themselves. If one supports a war, one should fight in it, not merely attend graduate school classes to propose them. It is always easier to order somebody else's life into battle, it's like gambling with house money in Vegas.
Overall, S.A. states "we cannot expect a miracle for Iran's clerics from puruing nuclear capabilities." We do not need a miracle at this point, lets save the short supply of miracles for really dire predicaments. It is time to think outside of the box, let go of anachonistic viewpoints and brave a new approach to the same old problem. Let me be clear when I say that I agree with S.A. that we should not expect a miracle, but that is only because this problem needs to be handled more tactfully with diplomacy, not U.S.; nor divine intervention.

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