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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

If it's not Working, Do More of it

There's seems to be a predictable line of thinking to the Bush administration's approach to foreign policy. I'd say it was a line of reasoning, but let's not aggrandize anything.

First, they come up with a course of action. This action generally involves being a hard ass. This is because the only people in the world who are fully adult are Americans and all anyone else understands is a spanking.

When whatever you're doing isn't working, the problem is that you're not being a big enough dick about it. If whatever you're doing isn't getting you anywhere, it's because you're not doing enough of it. This, after all, was the thinking behind the "surge" -- what we were doing wasn't failing because it was the wrong thing to do, it was failing because we weren't doing enough of it. The only problem with war in Iraq was that the war wasn't big enough.

And, so it is with Iran. The Bush administration's been freaking out about Iran for some time, using bellicose language and an approach to diplomacy that can only be described as "not diplomacy." As this approach failed to get anywhere, the obvious solution was to be bigger asses. When asked about Iran at a press conference last week, Bush answered, "I believe that the Iranian -- if Iran had a nuclear weapon, it would be a dangerous threat to world peace. It would -- this is -- we got a leader in Iran who has announced that he wants to destroy Israel. So I told people that if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from having knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon. And I take this very -- I take the threat of Iran with a nuclear weapon very seriously."

Here's a fun game, let's ask our man in Iraq, al-Maliki, what he thinks of Israel. You probably wouldn't get much of a different answer from him than you would from Ahmadinejad. Israel's not the most popular kid in that particular neighborhood.

Meanwhile, Dick Cheney's busy trying to be a bigger ass than he was before. As always, Dick made sure to spread some BS, saying that Iran wants to "to keep Iraq in a state of weakness to ensure Baghdad does not pose a threat to Tehran." That would be kind of crazy of Iran. Remember that election and those purple fingers of freedom? Yeah, they elected a pro-Iran government. I doubt the Iranian government is spending a lot of time worrying about the threat posed by Baghdad.

Dick had other crazy-assed things to say. For example, AP reports that Dick claimed "the ultimate goal of the Iranian leadership is to establish itself as the hegemonic force in the Middle East." I can see how that would make him mad; Iran has apparently stolen our plan for the region.

All of which makes this Agence France-Presse headline fun, "White House denies stoking Iran nuclear tensions."

You know, denying something is pointless when everyone can see you doing it right out there in the open. So, how well has the Bushie doctrine of always doing more of what's not working panned out?

Pretty much the way any normal, sane ten year old child would've predicted.


A change in Iran's top nuclear negotiator indicates President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and those who oppose any compromise in an atomic standoff with the West are winning the policy argument in the Islamic Republic.

Saeed Jalili, a close ally of Ahmadinejad, has replaced Ali Larijani, who had been backing a more pragmatic line in talks aimed at allaying the West's suspicions that Iran is seeking to build atomic bombs, a charge Tehran denies.

Brilliantly played, Mr. President. You've managed -- as you almost always do -- to take a bad situation and make it worse. There's a reason why there are no neocon Grandmasters in chess -- they fail to realize that other people actually think. With all their visions of nuclear missiles flying all over the place out of Iran, they never seem to ask themselves why this would happen. They don't seem to understand that nations do things for honest-to-goodness motives. For them, Iran is like Skeletor and only does the things it does to be evil.

When you don't think that other people are actual, full-fledged adult humans, you tend to fail to predict what they'll do. Worse, by treating Ahmadinejad as the greatest threat the US has faced since the Soviet Union, the Bush administration builds him up. When you want to face someone across a chess board, the last thing you want to do is hand him pieces that'll make him stronger. But that's exactly what the White House has been doing. Ahmadinejad, once an unpopular leader in Iran, is now seen as a pitbull. As Reuters points out, he's winning the argument at home -- in direct response to the US being such pricks about everything. Increasing our bellicosity is making things worse.

Of course, the Bush response will be to be even bigger pricks. I'm guessing that the recent uptick in stupid-assed statements from Bush/Cheney is an attempt to put the fear of God into the new negotiator, Saeed Jalili. Like I said, the White House's remedy for a failing plan is to do even more of what's failing.

It's hard to see how they can clear the bar set by Bush's "WWIII" comment, but these guys are pretty creative when it comes to the escalation of stupid statements.

They'll manage somehow.


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