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WHO'S IN CHARGE HERE?
Magpie is a former journalist, attempted historian [No, you can't ask how her thesis is going], and full-time corvid of the lesbian persuasion. She keeps herself in birdseed by writing those bad computer manuals that you toss out without bothering to read them. She also blogs too much when she's not on deadline, both here and at Pacific Views.

Magpie roosts in Portland, Oregon, where she annoys her housemates (as well as her cats Medea, Whiskers, and Jane Doe) by attempting to play Irish music on the fiddle and concertina.

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

US, Iran keep wagging that dog.

The conflict between the US and Iran over the existence of an Iranian nuclear energy program — and, allegedly, an Iranian nuclear weapons program — is a sign that the leaders of both countries are in trouble, says Mideast analyst William Beeman. Both Dubya and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have extremely low public support in their countries, and the current confrontation allows both leaders to call attention away from the domestic political and economic difficulties. The problem with the path that both leaders have chosen is that the consequences of their posturing could be dangerous indeed.

U.S. and British officials when pressed admit there is no hard evidence that an Iranian nuclear weapons development program exists. They also admit that Iran's nuclear energy development program is their right under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty....

Iran's posturing, which included an amusing set of festivities on April 11 with folkloric performers dancing while hoisting vials of enriched uranium against the backdrop of hundreds of flying white doves, conceals the fact that Iran is years away from producing enough nuclear fuel to power a generator, much less in the quantity and purity level that would allow it to construct a nuclear weapon....

This makes American and Iranian assertions and counter-assertions appear rather ridiculous. Indeed, the danger in this situation could be dismissed if there were other leaders in power. However, in both nations the leadership needs this conflict. President Bush and the Republican party face defeat in November without an issue to galvanize the voting public behind their assertion that they are best able to protect the United States from attack -- the only point on which they have outscored Democrats in recent polls. President Ahmadinejad also needs public support for his domestic political agenda -- an agenda that is paradoxically opposed by a large number of the ruling clerics in Iran. Every time he makes a defiant assertion against the United States, the public rallies behind him.

This creates what political scientist Richard Cottam termed a "spiral conflict" in which both parties escalate each other's extreme positions to new heights. It is entirely possible that Iran could goad President Bush into a disastrous military action, and that action would result in an equally disastrous Iranian reaction.

And those reactions, warns Beeman, could easily have effects far beyond Iran's borders.

Via Pacific News Service.

| | Posted by Magpie at 1:44 PM | Get permalink




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