Monday, May 5, 2008


Michael Axworthy makes several good points at HNN, of which this is one:

The fundamental problem with Iran is not that the Iranian government is stuffed with fanatics (for the most part, despite the rhetoric, Iranian foreign policy has been pragmatic, notably in helping to get rid of the Taliban and set up a democratic regime in Afghanistan), nor that it is hell-bent on getting a nuclear weapon (important Iranian religious leaders have declared that nuclear weapons, and all weapons of mass destruction, are immoral and unacceptable). The problem is the dysfunctional US/Iran relationship. If that were resolved, the other problems (nuclear, Iraq) would fall away.

Ms. Clinton could use such an advisor.


Cheryl said...

You know, our government is stuffed with fanatics too, and we have the bomb.

s said...

it would be very welcome for someone like this bloke to get HC to tone down her rhetoric and smarter engagement is obviously the best thing to do (perhaps alongside getting money to the right opposition people, although i admit if you go for smart engagement that necessarily means - likely - ignoring opposition voices for pragmatic reasons, perhaps?), but i fear his article is a little misrepresented by the pull-out quote.

i am glad he acknowledges some of the many failings of the vile Iranian regime in the article.

the pull-out quote featured here is a bit too kind on the Iranian leadership but it is clear in the rest of the gentleman's article he is not blind about the mullahs.

(i am under the impression Khamenei's fatwa is unwritten and not on his official list of fatwas, and therefore non-binding at best? i also recently read that Hojjat ol-Islam Gholam Reza Hasani once said nuclear weapons were a top priority. the recent parliamentary committee's rejection of a Russian plan for security guarantees in exchange for Iran halting enrichment is also worrying.)

i suppose at the end of the day you can find one group of Iranians saying one thing, and another saying another.

from an American pov i'm certainly not demurring from the central thrust of your post, about softening stances toward Iran, to see what it brings.

and i know the post is flagged up as linking to an article that makes 'several good' points, not just the one that is chosen as the pull-out.

s said...

i should add that the pull-out quote - particularly with regards to Afghanistan and the characterizing, rightly, of the relationship between Iran and the USA as "dysfunctional" - is not something i am saying i think is wrong, it's just i wished i shared his view of the final sentence (the other problems falling away).

it goes without saying i hope that i am completely wrong here and Mr Axworthy is totally right.