The media speculators have returned, pondering the likelihood of an attack by the U.S. or Israel on Iranian nuclear weapons sites. Every week, the Beltway spins forth another series of articles quoting anonymous State Department officials, a pontificating general or two, or a terse national security adviser. The phrases "growing fears" and "new war" punctuate the political science jargon.
Wake up, world, and grow up, Washington. Iran's mullah-led regime is already at war. It is at war with Iraq. It is at war with Israel. In historical terms, the descendant regime of the Ayatollah Khomeini has been at war with the United States since, oh, 1979? Moreover, the corrupt dictatorship is fighting a civil war in slow motion with the Green Movement, the hodgepodge Iranian opposition coalition that reflects the disenchantment of an estimated 70 percent of the population.
The phrase "new war" is diplo-speak for an American or Israeli raid on Iranian nuclear weapons production facilities. The raid would really be a new battle in this complex, long-running conflict. The Khomeinites in Tehran would portray the raid as escalation, an attack by the Great Satan on the Islamic Republic and ultimately all Muslims. The Israelis would portray the raid as genocide prevention -- and a warning to anyone labeling Israel a "one bomb state."
The Obama administration would portray the raid as ... as ... well that is not (yet) quite clear.
The blame for the Obama administration's Iranian policy conundrum begins with the president himself. The "no pre-conditions" to negotiations pledge Barack Obama made to the mullahs and his Cairo apology to the Islamic world have proven to be what Obama's critics called them: fillips to the "Blame America" habitues of the American left. In terms of forging an effective policy capable of coping with the dysfunctional regimes afflicting the Middle East, however, they were naive, myopic and culturally ignorant gestures. Dictators interpret apologies and kowtows as weakness. The smug thugs in Tehran touted Obama's apologias as a triumph for the Khomeinists' revolution.
Green Movement protests after Iran's troubled June 2009 elections revealed the regime for the failure it is: hideously corrupt, internally despised and domestically violent.
Austin Bay is the author of three novels. His third novel, The Wrong Side of Brightness, was published by Putnam/Jove in June 2003. He has also co-authored four non-fiction books, to include A Quick and Dirty Guide to War: Third Edition (with James Dunnigan, Morrow, 1996).
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