Iran Despises Weakness

[Sunday Times-UK] Henry Kissinger - Iran's nuclear program and considerable resources enable it to strive for strategic dominance in its region. Iran challenges the established order in the Middle East and perhaps wherever Islamic populations face dominant, non-Islamic majorities. Tehran sees no compelling national interest to give up its claim to being a nuclear power and strong domestic political reasons to persist. Military action by the U.S. is extremely improbable in the final two years of a presidency facing a hostile Congress. Understanding the way Tehran views the world is crucial. The school of thought represented by President Ahmadinejad may well see Iranian prospects as more promising than they have been in centuries. Iraq has collapsed as a counterweight; within Iraq, Shi'ite forces are led by men who had been trained in Tehran. Democratic institutions in Iraq favor dominance by the majority Shi'ite groups. In Lebanon, Hizballah, trained and guided by Iran, is the strongest military force. So long as Iran views itself as a crusade rather than a nation, a common interest will not emerge from negotiations. America will need to reposition its strategic deployments, but if such actions are viewed as the prelude to an exit from the region, a collapse of existing structures is probable.

2006-11-20 01:00:00

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