Monday, September 14, 2009

Everybody Has To Ride The Peace Train

Stumbleupon took me to this moving slide show of everyday scenes in Iran, with Yusuf Islam singing his classic "Peace Train." I assume it was made as sabers were being rattled against Tehran in 2007 and early 2008. Leaving aside the unlikelihood of President Obama attacking Iran (Israel is its more likely adversary), there remains the impossibility of Iran possessing nuclear weapons while its president boasts about the impending destruction of Israel (or any nation). Perhaps some of those pictured here tried to do something about it in the recent election only to be muzzled by their government, which remains the largest stumbling block to peace because of its hatred of Israel and Cold War-style fear of the U.S.

This "Asia Times" article is a good primer on the current situation. Though still hopeful that his outreach to Iran will work, Obama is being pressured by Israel as well as U.S. politicians and organizations to step up sanctions against Tehran. So far Iran's trading partners and friendly rivals in Moscow have made a united front impossible. More about Russia's unhelpful current opposition to sanctions is here.

Some experts believe that Iran could be ready to make a nuclear device by the end of next year. The slide show quotes former Reagan defense official and Iraq war promoter Richard Perle as acknowledging that means other than war might have been just as effective against Saddam Hussein. If so, there would have needed to be a consensus in the international community that his tyranny had become intolerable. The same may also be true to avoid a military conflict with Iran. If Obama doesn't want to have a war, he'll have to be a relentlessly effective diplomat. To really be that, of course, he has to be willing to have a war if necessary (or at least able to convince others that he is).

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