Patterico's Pontifications


Unrealpolitik on Iran

Filed under: General — Karl @ 9:03 am

[Posted by Karl]

Roger Cohen’s latest apologia for the Iranian theocracy in the New York Times begins with International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei blaming former Pres. Bush for the IAEA’s manifest failure to detect, let alone control, Iran’s covert nuclear weapons program.  Cohen predictably argues that Pres. Obama must strike a “grand bargain” with the Iranian mullahs, which will necessarily means that “Obama will have to get tougher with Israel than any U.S. president in recent years.” 

Unfortunately for Cohen, Michael Rubin has a column in today’s Wall Street Journal, reciting the failure of European engagement with Iran and quoting Iranian officials publicly admitting that their diplomatic efforts are an insincere ruse, designed to dissuade the rest of the world from putting a halt to Iran’s nuclear ambitions:

On June 14, 2008, for example, Abdollah Ramezanzadeh, Mr. Khatami’s spokesman, debated advisers to current Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the University of Gila in northern Iran. Mr. Ramezanzadeh criticized Mr. Ahmadinejad for his defiant rhetoric, and counseled him to accept the Khatami approach: “We should prove to the entire world that we want power plants for electricity. Afterwards, we can proceed with other activities,” Mr. Ramezanzadeh said. The purpose of dialogue, he argued further, was not to compromise, but to build confidence and avoid sanctions. “We had an overt policy, which was one of negotiation and confidence building, and a covert policy, which was continuation of the activities,” he said.

Indeed, if Rubin had more space he could have undoubtedly written much more about Iran’s history of dishonest diplomacy.

The Bipartisan Policy Center’s most recent report on Iran’s nuclear program suggests that Cohen’s dream of a “grand bargain” is just that — a dream.  The report argues that diplomacy could be successful, but only if China and Russia can be brought aboard quickly to coerce Iranian compliance with any deal. 

That approach still seems like a long shot, given that the Obama Administration cannot get China or Russia on board for anything more than a weakly-worded note from the UN in the case of North Korea.  However, it is a more realistic approach than the brand of unrealpolitik advocated by Cohen, which seems less interested in our national security than in building The Narrative to blame Bush if Iran tests a nuclear weapon on Obama’s watch.  Unfortunately, it would require more work than making a YouTube clip for the mullahs’ amusement, so I am not holding my breath.


12 Responses to “Unrealpolitik on Iran”

  1. The most dangerous part of Obama’s fecklessness on foreign policy will come with Iran. If the mullahs really do get the bomb and really do seem to be targeting Israel, there will be a devastating war. North Korea is less dangerous because China will pull the leash if they start to get into a dangerous situation. China does not want war. Iran has no such limits and Russia, which is building the bomb for them, seems to be disinterested. The most likely scenario now is for Israel to start assassinating nuclear scientists in Iran and, maybe, Russia as they did with German scientists in Egypt under Nasser.

    Mike K (90939b)

  2. We, and those within the BHO Administration who actually care, can only hope that Bibi saves-the-bacon of The Childe President, and in the process, saves the EU Community from itself.

    AD - RtR/OS (040549)

  3. I love how Israel is forever being singled out as the convient whipping boy – US citizens who complain about the Israeli’s actions of self – preservation have no idea what life is like on a daily basis when you’re surrounded by terrorist states that have pledged to ensure your annihilation.

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  4. […] at Patterico, as I was as surprised as anyone that the Green Room went live […]

    The Greenroom » Forum Archive » Unrealpolitik on Iran’s Nuke Program (e2f069)

  5. Another nice job handling the spotlight duty, Karl. Here’s something I read today that looks at this from a slightly different angle for those interested in political geometry. Though somehow I don’t getting the feeling that Team Mullah is all that into triangulating, which Mike K succinctly detailed already.

    How mucha borax canna 20 mullahs haula?

    allan (d28edf)

  6. I blame Bush. Really. I mean it.

    JD (5e0805)

  7. Comment by JD — 4/13/2009 @ 4:15 pm


    AD - RtR/OS (040549)

  8. […] Meanwhile, the Democrat’s propaganda machine New York Times, runs a column asking for “Realpolitik on Iran“. Author Roger Cohen gets taken to school by the Wall Street Journal’s Michale Rubin. Via […]

    Chew on this: Pirates a GO GO « Chockblock’s blog (962ecf)

  9. This post has been linked for the HOT5 Daily 4/14/2009, at The Unreligious Right

    UNRR (9e1528)

  10. When will political hacks just go away. It’s time to start thinking logically and what is best for america. So far, obama has shown he’s not.

    ZAC D. (6ad574)

  11. Let me get this straight: for at least a decade, it has been Iranian El Baredei’s job to prevent nuclear proliferation in the middle east…

    …But, it is Bush’s fault, when Iran’s mullahs the bomb? Talk about shucking accountability. That El Baredei is a snake.

    All signs are, the UN’s nuclear regulatory agency is a joke. Here is a perfect example of where US dependence on an international body actually winds up constraining NPT enforcement, and in providing an opportunity for UN bureaucrats to tease and capitalize on ideological rifts in our populace.

    I wonder if Obama gets this.

    steveaz (4ee2bf)

  12. Oops!

    “[…] when Iran’s mullahs GET the bomb {…}”

    steveaz (4ee2bf)

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