Monday, January 23, 2012

Democracy Fans the Sparks of War

Much can be said about the U.S/Israeli conflict with Iran, and unfortunately much--way too much--is being said. The most important thing for the security of all of us right now is to take all the hot air with a grain of salt.

The conflict between the U.S./Israel and Iran is a complicated affair. Security fears, proliferation concerns, clashing ambitions to "run" the Mideast, and of course a host of personal career ambitions in all three countries add up to a real challenge for even the smartest of decision-makers. Then there's that other level: democracy. Each country not only has leaders with constrained abilities (no one is perfect) but a host of legislative branch loud mouths with little foreign policy expertise but a dangerous penchant for talking without thinking. Why is this dangerous? Simply put, they speak as individuals but are all too often heard overseas as representing their government.

Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, an Iranian legislator, has just pontificated that "In case of threat, the closure of the Strait of Hormuz is one of Iran's rights." Presumably, Falahatpisheh is an expert, at least in his own mind, on international law.Ros-Lehtinen, an American legislator, recently pontificated that "the Administration must not fall into the regime's trap and again pursue the failed policy of dialogue and engagement. Presumably, by "the failed policy of dialogue and engagement" Ros-Lehtinen must be referring to a decade of U.S. and Israeli threats of aggression against Iran backed up by the U.S. naval armada in the Persian Gulf, Israeli nuclear-capable submarines cruising off (or in???) Iranian Indian Ocean waters, and the new string of U.S. military bases along Iran's Iraqi and Afghani borders, along with the anti-Iranian terror campaign that has now murdered five Iranian scientists. Danny Dannon, an Israeli legislator, recently pontificated that only two legitimate options exist "crippling sanctions" or "military action," i.e., war or war. Now that is a man with a real imagination.

Isn't democracy wonderful?

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