Iran, A Psychopathic State, Can't Be Coddled
Pfeffer draws the proper conclusion about British policy in the wake of the kidnapping.
"How can the British keep the Iranians off balance and stop them from achieving their aims," he asks. "First of all, by acting out of character and not playing the incident down and opting for quiet diplomacy.
"Blair's government has to realize that Iran has a lot of cards to play, and has a lot to lose. If the British keep that in mind, they may manage to turn the situation around to the West's benefit."
It is to be devoutly hoped that Britain will not, in these circumstances, adopt the weak policy of President Jimmy Carter when confronted by the kidnapping of the Americans in 1979. Carter sent the crazy radical Ramsey Clark to "negotiate" with Khomeini, and the result was the hostages were not released until Carter had lost the Presidency and Ronald Reagan was about to come to power. The Iranians calculated that Reagan would not be the milquetoast that Carter had been, although later on, even Reagan foolishly tried to trade arms with the Iranians in exchange for the release of kidnapped Americans in Lebanon (the Iran-Contra scandal).
The weak Carter policy toward Iran also may have been taken as a green light by the Russians to invade Afghanistan in 1980, a move we are still paying for today.
On the other hand, when Hezbollah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers last year, the Israelis did not turn the other cheek. They promptly invaded Lebanon, with the aim of destroying Hezbollah, and while the war was difficult, Israel made some gains. Hezbollah has been unable in its aftermath to either repair the war-damaged areas, or take over the Lebanese government. And Hassan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah commander, has declared that had he known the Israelis were going to react to the kidnappings as they did, he would not have ordered them.
Now, we come to the present, and already the weak minded Westerners who believe Iran and its allies can be successfully appeased are taking the position that Britain should use only quiet diplomacy to respond to the kidnapping of its Navy personnel. The former U.S. Secretary of State in the Clinton Administration, Madeline Albright, was saying that on CNN the other night, and British military historian Max Hastings said that in an Op Ed piece in the New York Times.
My own view is that these commentators are wrong and that Britain, backed by the U.S. should instead take a very hard line position to punish Iran for its criminal behavior.
What could be done? Certainly, Britain might break off relations with Iran and intern Iranian diplomats in London until the sailors are released. Iranian assets could also be seized, Western banks prevented from any dealings with Iran, and Iranian oil shipments interrupted in the Persian Gulf.
The Iranian conduct, which is also adversely affecting the war in Iraq, must in short be militantly resisted, and sanctions stepped up to stop its development of a nuclear weapon.
In dealing with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's regime, and the fanatic Muslim mullahs behind him, we are dealing with psychopaths, and psychopaths are encouraged, not discouraged, by weak acceptance of their crimes.
Ahmadinejad is already today saying that Britain is behaving arrogantly by not apologizing. But Ahmadinejad is no more innocent than the kidnapper of the Lindbergh baby, and, ultimately, he is going to have to be treated the same way.
Please ignore the religious claptrap in the first comment posted on this blog.
Labels: Terror attacks