"All things are wearisome, more than one can say." - Ecclesiastes 1:8

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Don't attack Iran (redux)

It's not that I think this is likely, just that recent events in Iran have tended to reinforce my view that a military confrontation with Tehran would be highly undesirable.

Those presently talking up this possibility are doing what Ahmadinejad's rhetoric is designed to do; distracting from the fact that internally, Iran's President, after less than two years in office, has been an abject failure.

He was not elected to confront the West but on a promise to address Iran's economic woes, specifically the chronic unemployment which few oil-rich countries seem able to avoid. Not only has he failed to do this, his attempts to do otherwise have stoked an inflation that hurts disproportionately the poor that Ahmadinejad pledged to help in the first place.

I'd imagine conservatives like Rafsanjani fear further sanctions rather than military confrontation but understand that in any event the Iranian economy, and by extension the regime, would be unlikely to be able to withstand either.

But even if those whom Rafsanjani represents were able to avoid both, they would be incompetent to deal with the problems that led to Ahmadinejad's election in the first place.

This is why military confrontation with Iran would be undesirable. In terms of incubating international terrorism, both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia pose a greater threat than Iran, so intervention would not be justified on those grounds. In terms of a threat to the region, Iran faces oblivion in any form of military confrontation - something that the bureaucracy grasps, even if Ahmadinejad does not.

But while the bureaucracy may be capable of avoiding the immediate catastrophes of sanctions or intervention, they cannot cope with a country that has experienced both Western-sponsored secular dictators and a revolutionary regime founded on religious zeal - and found both of them wanting.

Iran has the internal conditions of regime-change and the possibility that this might follow from the experience of a bankrupt clerical bureaucracy that shows signs of collapsing under the weight of its own obscurantism is a prize that anyone who believes in liberty and equality should earnestly desire.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

"...Iran faces oblivion in any form of military confrontation..."

Erm, what about the Iran-Iraq war of the 80's then?

Shuggy said...

Erm, what about the Iran-Iraq war of the 80's then?

Ah yes - that'd be the one that wasn't against either the United States or Israel?

Shuggy said...

Erm, what about the Iran-Iraq war of the 80's then?

Ah yes - that'd be the one that wasn't against either the United States or Israel?

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