Saturday, August 20, 2005

Thoughts on Iran

Republican Senator Chuck Hagel would like the United States to initiate talks with Iran. Last week, President Bush was talking tough, and said that "all options are on the table" with regard to Iran. Obviously, this is meant to imply that military action is an option for dealing with an Iranian government that seeks to develop nuclear weapons.

Uriah Kriegel ponders a different strategy, and asks, "What would Karl Marx do?" Really.
Karl Marx wasn't right about much. But one thing he did get right is the social dynamic leading to political revolution. Genuine revolutions, Marx noted, do not take place in a friendly environment amenable to gradual and piecemeal reform. They are the result of widespread dissatisfaction so strongly suppressed that it eventually erupts, like an overblown balloon, in acts of revolutionary violence and fervor.

In a wonderful historical twist, this piece of Marxist-Leninist wisdom may be the key to the undoing of the Iranian theocracy. But to make it so, the US must play it clever and ignore the Iranian government's repeated provocations.
The Iranian government is unpopular with its own people, especially with the younger generation. The new Iranian rulers seem to be intent on strengthening the enforcement of Islamic law. By provoking the United States and other Western nations, the mullahs can cause a confrontation that can shift the focus of their people from internal matters to a foreign threat, and U.S. led sanctions, if it came to that, would hurt the population more that it would the government.
Our best bet is to ignore the Iranian provocations altogether: not even issue a formal condemnation. We should put our faith in the Marxian mechanism of boiling, seething internal unrest and its revolutionary outburst. Once the Iranians are left alone, left to turn inward and focus on the scope and depth of their own illness, nothing good can happen to the ayatollahs.
Kriegel argues that an Iranian nuclear threat is still far off, which would allow the time to use this approach, while still leaving the military option open if Iran is someday on the verge of having a nuclear capability.