City of Brass

Daniel Larison has a February 11th/22nd Bahman post-mortem:

The case for real, sustained engagement with Tehran is more compelling now than it was before. Nothing has better demonstrated the lack of U.S. influence than the meaningless debate here at home over how best to aid the Green movement when the U.S. has no leverage and no means to help them. Cutting ourselves off from Iran has achieved none of our government’s goals, it has failed to alter the Iranian government’s behavior in the slightest, and it deprives the opposition of the political and economic oxygen that such movements need to flourish.

While everything Daniel says above is true, it should be noted that actual engagement has also achieved precisely nothing.

It’s time to accept that Iran is going to be a nuclear power. No one can fault the Obama Administration now for not having tried enough diplomacy. Sanctions against Iran are inevitable and will further isolate the country, further suppress the Green Revolution (sort of economic collateral damage) and do nothing materially to impede Iran’s progress towards nuclear capability.

Attacking Iran (as favored by the Palin/Pipes axis of Insanity), whether a limited an aerial campaign or a full-scale invasion larger than Iraq, is not going to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear state. The only thing that might persuade it not to go nuke would be for two impossible events to occur: the US and the other nuclear powers sign a genuine non-hypocritical nuclear agreement (as per India’s concerns) and the Middle East become a truly nuclear-free zone, by concensus. As I said, this isn’t going to happen (and I’m not sure it should happen anyway, but my general skepticism of the Global Zero ideal is a topc for another day).

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