Iran, and Why Michelle Malkin is Going to Destroy The Right

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

So today, I am a total whore for ripping-off stuff from Balloon Juice, but Mr. Cole has some excellent stuff up there today.

I was torn. I wanted badly to type something up about the SCHIP fiasco, why I think Bush is evil for his veto and some House Republicans (some, not all) are totally spineless for trying...really trying to defend his shitty position. Not wanting a piecemeal care not being run by bureaucrats...bullshit. SCHIP needs expansion. And Malkin, that shrill mouthpiece of the totally misguided Right (versus the more responsible, if not compassionate, Right), totally screwed up the Frost family incident that could have turned into a positive for the Republicans on the SCHIp front. Read it here. Then read this from Ezra Klein's site about what has happened to the Right. Anything I could add would be paltry. These guys do it right.

But then I ran across this gem on Cole's site. It's about Iran. I have long wanted to post something coherent and cogent about Iran, how it plays in the Middle East and how it may come out of the Iraq War debacle.

Suffice it to say, Ahmadinejad is a dickhead. I can't say it any better than Columbia University's President Lee Bollinger. The link goes to a transcript of Bollinger's "introduction" of Ahmadinejad (which apparently I may be one of few poeple who thought it was a great thing what Lee did), as well as to Ahadinejad's incoherent remarks after that.

That's not what this post is about. We all know he's a jerk.

What it is about, and what the Balloon Juice article from John Cole is about, is Iran's role in the Middle East. This is really important stuff. Go read it. Then come back.

Seriously. Go read it.

Back? Good. Let's talk.

Listen to Trita Parsi's interview on the Diane Rehm Show, here (yes, I know some of you hate her voice, but Jesus she does a good interview). Very interesting insites.

Here's what I get out of his interview and thoughts on Iran: they are acting, as any country would, in their own self-interest. It is not in Iran's self-interest to allow Shiite-on-Shiite violence to continue. Equally it is not in their self-interest to allow the Americans to set up another Sunni government in Iraq. And Iranian intervention is helping to create a Sunni minority. As America leaves, it is in Iran's interest to manage the situation rather than break it down further. They don't want or need chaos. They need an ally.

So as John Cole puts it, "So if Iran isn’t a crazy suicidal state committed to destroying Americans at every turn, what exactly is it?" Conside the following points drawn from Parsi:

  • Iran’s and Israel’s interests more or less overlapped for most of recent history. Both countries feared Arab hegemony and supported the Kurds as a counterbalance to Iraq. For example, Israel intervened on Iran’s behalf while the revolutionaries still had American hostages.
  • Invading Iraq presented a serious problem for Israel and it offered a golden opportunity for Iran. Iran would certainly ally with Iraq’s now dominant Shiites, leaving Israel with few counterbalancing options that don’t involve violence. Stuck with an impoverished chess position, Israel’s best option now involved convincing the US to attack first and hope for a more friendly Iran when the dust settles. Overhyping the threat from IEDs, nuclear programs, military aid etc. all fit this strategy.

I have to say that I agree with Cole's conclusion as well; that the balance of power previously held in the Middle East with Iraq acting as a more moderate counterpoint between Israeli-Iranian power struggles was completely upset, more or less at our doing and Israel's request. The solution now is violence.

And as Cole, this is not to call Israel or the U.S. into question as good or evil, just nations looking out for their best interests. That's just diplomacy, folks. (There is a great book called On the Origins of War and the Preservation of Peace by Donald Kagan I read some time ago. It discusses diplomacy moving to and eventually becoming war as arising from one of three principle factors: Fear, Interest and Honor. We're seeing that theory at play here. How Clausewitzian: war is but diplomacy by another means).

Does that then mean Iran purely and simply wants to destroy the U.S.? I am not so sure any more. I think they're just trying to best-position themselves as the seat of power in the new Middle East. Does that excuse Alleged Iranian-backed killings of U.S. troops? No. But it also doesn't mean it's us they're after per se. It's their own best interest. But with Bush's continual insistence, backed by General Petreaus's comments, that Iran's agenda is purely and simply anti-U.S., it puts us in a position where we have to use violence against Iran rather than figure out how we leverage each other's position for this "New Middle East."


steves 11:33 AM  

In regards to Iran, there are still some problems. Their nuclear development in defiance of the international community and their trying to position themselves as the seat of med-east power (like you mention). I don't know if either of these things are good. In fact, I am leaning towards bad.

What to do about it? I was watching an interview on Fox News and both experts claimed that an invasion or bombing was a bad idea. They stated that there is an active pro-west, progressive (by their standards) movement in Iran and we should do what we can to support them.

I had recently got into a lengthy debate on another blog about Rush Limbaugh. I really don't care for him, but I think that some of his statements are taken out of context and twisted to further an agenda. People like Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin seem to say so much BS, that if you give them enough rope, they will hang themselves. What is my point? I just can't figure out the obsession that many on the left have with these characters. Malkin probably has more libs and "watchdog" groups reading her site than conservatives. Media Matters has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to take out anti-Rush ads. I am not defending Ann et al, but do you really think that this is a good thing? Do you think the average person responds well to this?

Smitty 12:19 PM  

On the Malkin piece, Coulter is sensationalist which is an entertainer, as is Rush, but Malkin is indicative of the public communications arm of Neo Con politics. Read ezra's article I linked to. Malkin is what is wrong and I am frankly glad there are peple there to call her out...even if that means by calling her ouĊ£ the Left gives the Right the right message. Good. So caught up is she in spittig vehemence that she misses the point that is the real winner and instead goes for the easy, lazy one. From a political theory standpoint she is a detriment. The Frost family/SCHIP siuation is a great example.

On Iran: yeah. there are problems. My argument is not to de-vilify Ahmadinejad or Iran as an entity. It is to add my voice to a growing number of people showing that there is more at work in Iran than anti-U.S. sentiment or even simple self-interest. Looking at Iran, it seems Israel and the U.S. are compliciĊ£ so to speak, in where Iran is now and what its self interest may be. My post is more conversation and intellect- based and not just a bash at Bush policy. But given how we've reacted to other Mid East countries lately, I am justifably skeptical that we will do right with Iran.

steves 1:57 PM  

The more I read about the Frost family, the more I feel that both sides have been dishonest in regards to what is happening and what should happen. While it is nice to have the human element, the whole thing reeks of obfuscation. It would be nice to be able to discuss the pros and cons of what could be a critical program without this kind of shit. I can understand why Congress has an approval rating lower than Charles Manson's.

I am still not convinced that Malkin hurts conservatism. Maybe neo-conservatism, but that would be good if that movement just faded into history. I agree with your assessment of Iran. I think going to war with them would be a terrible idea. OTOH, their funding of terrorism is a concern that I hope can be met with something.

Smitty 3:16 PM  

It's the funding terrorism piece that really gets me. For as much as Iran is "proven" to be in collusion with terrorists, they have had very recent history of being in collusion with Israel! So does this make Iran an opportunist state, colluding with whom or whatever gives them an edge? Or does it make those who claim with certain vehemence the connection between Iran and terrorism...maybe a little shrill?

Again, I am not excusing Iran for any number of their transgressions, least of all the nuclear proliferation (though, when all your neighbors to the immediate East have them...I might be a little skittish too) thing. But maybe insight into Iran's various connections beyond what we think they are might give us a picture of what they want and need. We did, in the not too distant past, really want to work with Iran.

steves 7:01 PM  

I am not sure what you mean by putting proven in quotation marks. Do you doubt Iranian connections to terrorism? There is plenty more 'proof'.

I don't know if it is opportunistic or not, but it doesn't justify it any way you look at it. I don't know what they want. We have certainly been willing to resume normal relations with them.

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