Converting the Ayatollahs

(New York Times) David Brooks - Western diplomats have continually projected pragmatism onto their ideological opponents. They have often assumed that our enemies are driven by the same sort of national interest calculations that motivate most regimes. They have assumed that economic interests would trump ideology and religion - that prudent calculation and statecraft would trump megalomania. They assumed that Islamic radicals could not really want to send their region back into the 12th century. The Obama administration is making a similar projection today. It is betting that Iran can turn into a fundamentally normal regime, which can be counted upon to put GDP over ideology and religion and do the pragmatic thing. Obama has made a series of stunning sacrifices in order to get a nuclear agreement. All of this might be defensible if Iran is really willing to switch teams, if religion and ideology played no role in the regime's thinking. But it could be that Iran finances terrorist groups and destabilizes regimes like Yemen's and Morocco's for a reason. It could be that Iranian leaders are as apocalyptically motivated, paranoid and dogmatically anti-American as their pronouncements suggest they are. Do we really want a nuclear-capable Iran in the midst of all that? If the Iranian leaders believe what they say, then U.S. policy should be exactly the opposite of the one now being pursued. Instead of embracing and enriching Iran, sanctions should be toughened to further isolate and weaken it. Instead of accepting a nuclear capacity, eliminating that capacity should be restored as the centerpiece of American policy. Instead of a condominium with Iran that offends traditional allies like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel, the U.S. should build a regional strategy around strengthening relations with those historic pillars.

2015-02-27 00:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive