Thursday, March 29, 2007

No way out










While some self-described "realists" continue to fantasize that the Bushies are moving towards dialogue with Iran and are preparing under Condi's leadership to launch peace negotiaitons between Israel and the Palestinians, I remain convinced about the inevitability of a war with Iran. Robert Baer seems to agree in a very interesting column in Time which he concludes with the following anecdote:
I called up an Arab Gulf security official and asked him what he thought about it all. He said the view from his side of the Gulf is that if Iran does not soon release the Brits, a war between the U.S. and Iran is in the cards. "I for one am taking all the cash I can out of my ATM," he said before he hanging up.
Tony Karon is less certain:
Much will depend on the actions of both sides in the coming days. Thus far, the temperature of reaction in the West suggests little appetite for confrontation. Indeed, despite passing a mild increase in sanctions over the nuclear issue, the Europeans and the rest of the international community are pushing hard for a return to negotiations with Iran, in search of a grand bargain on the nuclear issue. But should the Iranians, perhaps motivated by domestic balance of power considerations, resort to grandstanding demagoguery — by, say, carrying through on their threat to put the captured Brits on trial — they would be playing into the hands of Dick Cheney and the party of war.
It seems to be that what may be tilting the balance of power in favor of the pro-war group in Washington are the clear signs that the House of Saud are sending a message to the House of Bush that unless they "do something" about Iran they'll move to make a deal with Iranians. As I explained in Is Washington Being Sidelined on the Middle East?, the Saudi position, reflecting the erosion of U.S. power in the Middle East, is making it also less likely that we will see any movement in the Israeli-Palestinian front. So...put yourself in Bush's shoes, under political seige at home and with a growing sense that America is starting to loook like a "has been," wouldn't you be more inclined to bomb Iran?