Thursday, 1 October 2009

"Forget the Nukes: The Most Fruitful Target Is Iran's Weakening Regime"


Kagan the morally & physically courageous neocon, on spilling Iranian blood for (NOT Us interests!) Israel's sake!
Robert Kagan in the WaPo/ here

" ... In such situations, an autocratic regime's biggest fear, well-grounded in history, is that domestic opponents may gain the support of powerful foreign patrons. The toppling of dictators -- Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines, Anastasio Somoza in Nicaragua, the Polish Communists -- has frequently been aided, sometimes decisively, by foreign involvement, through support to opposition forces or sanctions against the government. One of the main fears of Chinese leaders in 1989 was that students carrying replicas of the Statue of Liberty might gather support from abroad. It is obvious from the show trials in Iran, where the accused have "admitted" being part of various American plots to overthrow the regime in a "velvet revolution," that this is the clerics' principal fixation.

The regime's overriding goal since the election, therefore, has been to buy time and try to reestablish and consolidate control without any foreign interference in its internal affairs. In this Tehran has succeeded admirably.

But it has also had help. The Obama administration has, perhaps unwittingly, been a most cooperative partner. It has refused to make the question of regime survival part of its strategy. Indeed, it doesn't even treat Iran as if it were in the throes of a political crisis. President Obama seems to regard the ongoing turmoil as a distraction from the main business of stopping Iran's nuclear program. And this is exactly what the rulers in Tehran want him to do: focus on the nukes and ignore the regime's instability.

It would be better if the administration focused on the regime's instability and ignored the nukes.

This ought to be the goal of the "crippling" sanctions the Obama administration has threatened. Sanctions will not persuade the present Iranian government to give up its nuclear weapons program. Ahmadinejad and Khamenei see the nuclear program and their own survival as intimately linked. But the right kinds of sanctions could help the Iranian opposition topple these still-vulnerable rulers........

....... Americans have a fundamental strategic interest in seeing a change of leadership in Iran. There is good reason to believe that a democratic Iran might forgo a nuclear weapon -- just as a democratizing Russia abandoned long-standing Soviet foreign and defense strategies -- or at least be more amenable to serious negotiations. Even if it is not, we have much less to fear from a nuclear weapon in the hands of a democratic Iran integrated into the liberal democratic world than from a weapon in the hands of Ahmadinejad."

Posted by G, Z, or B at 10:30 AM

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