Monday, September 20, 2010

Calm Iran

Foreign policy realist Josef Joffe lists all the problems that a deal between Israel and the Palestinians won't solve, beginning with Iran's bomb:
The nuclear program goes back to the Shah. Iran was then Israel’s closest ally in the Middle East, and the last item on Reza Pahlavi’s far-flung agenda, if it was there at all, must have been Palestine. Today, Tehran is reaching for the bomb for the usual reasons: as deterrent, as badge of great-power status, as keystone of regional supremacy. Will the Khomeinists really ditch their nuclear venture once the Israeli oppressors have been driven from the Temple Mount, with its Al Aqsa Mosque? Of course not.
And yet it's refreshing (and reassuring) to read that Iran is rationally promoting its interests rather than engaging in a mad, apocalyptic, unstoppable anti-Jewish jihad. And if that's really the case, then the new Palestinian state would have the same interest as its neighbors in deterring Iranian aggression. If Iran's regime is rational, then it's prudent and helpful to add more coherence and leverage to the world's effort to slow its nuclear program -- which is why a peace deal would help after all.

Not everyone agrees Iran's regime is rational, of course.

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