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July 30, 2007

Comments

JimPortlandOR

Although Robin Wright has done fine work in the past in bringing together the threads of thought on international problems, I too am sceptical of her reading of the Iran situaiton. It is grounded in the idea of a long-term confrontaton similar to the cold war, but Bush and Cheney have a much shorter time frame in mind, IMO.

There is one central flaw that can't be ignored by the Bushies: Being against Iran and for the Shia-dominated Iraqi government is not possible as a consistent principle. Or put another way, Iraq cannot be a bulwark against Iran (nor can the highly unstable Afghan). So containment (or green curtains) won't work there, and as Wright points out, the other Shia strongholds in Lebanon and Palestine offer no place for a curtain.

My guess is that Cheney only sees this as resolvable if Iran is brought down as a regional power. He and his team are not ascendent at the moment, but he is persistent and fights an effective battle within the policy bureaucracy. He gets Bush behind him by playing the savior-of-the-world messianic good/evil card which Bush can't resist.

Another factor why the Cold War analogy doesn't seem plausible. Our EU and other allies (including India) don't see Iran as the source of all evil like BushCo does. There is no united front in the west.

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