Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Muddled meddling

Richard Lugar appears to searching for some middle ground in the muddle of the occupation. I don't know enough about football to understand his analogy but he makes some sensible points. We do have to look outside of Baghdad and consider our strategy on a regional level. But whatever team our troops are supposed to be playing for right now, and I don't think that's at all clear, there's no mistaking whose side Lugar is taking.
At the center of this realignment is Iran, which is perceived to have emerged from our Iraq intervention as the big winner. We paved the way for a Shiite government in Iraq that is much friendlier to Iran than was Saddam Hussein. Bolstered by high oil revenue, Iran has meddled in Iraq, rigidly pursued a nuclear capability, and funded Hezbollah and Hamas.
Iran is perceived to be the winner? They are the winner because as Lugar rightly points out we installed a government that has strong ties to Tehran. Ahmadinejad would never have become such an obnoxious blowhard if he didn't perceive the strength of his position. And as to the White House talking point that he is meddling in Iran, I think Lugar should consult a dictionary. If anyone is meddling, I'm afraid it's us. We arrived without an invitation and made the regime change. Ahmadinejad has been invited in by the new Iraqi government we helped install.

Lugar's language is really loaded in that last sentence. He simultaneously bolsters Bush's case to get tough on Tehran while subtly chiding the European nations for not imposing stiffer economic sanctions. The trouble is, it's not that simple. The Europeans are resisting U.S. pressure to up the ante because it's their economies that are riding on the kitty. Easy for Bush to demand they play the game by his rules, but he's not the one who will face the consequences. He seems to forget that most leaders feel the need to answer to their people.

In any event, considering our current position, one can hardly blame the leaders of the free world for feeling a little skittish about allowing our Great Decider to be making decisions for them.
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do I care if Iran is a regional hegemon?

Is war with Iran really the thing working class americans need to make their lives complete?

we are not a nation of foreign policy geeks. screw these guys and whatever they are stressing. go by a ticket to iran and foment somehting if you want to bring the regime down so bad. include me out.

6:07:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

I'm afraid we don't have a choice. It's clear to me George is determined to start something.

8:35:00 PM  

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