- Peace Garden: A Gift for the New Administration?

A Gift for the New Administration?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Confronting Iran?
INTERVIEWED Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter's national security adviser and now foreign policy mentor to Barack Obama, before the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran was published.
But it did not go into print until this month (in World Policy Journal in the US, Prospect magazine in Britain, Global Affairs in Russia and the Arab News in Saudi Arabia, among others). I asked Brzezinski if he wanted to re-write his apocalyptic scenario for Iranian-US relations. He didn't. "Some people with good reason fear an Iranian-US military clash before Bush leaves office in 12 months time", he says.
"There are still some people in the administration of neo-con persuasion who seem to be tempted by what I believe is a suicidal inclination to compound the Iraqi problem by some sort of military action against Iran."
Brzezinski's fear is that the Iraqi war instead of winding down could be enlarged before Bush's departure. "War is inherently dynamic", reasons Brzezinski. "There maybe some collisions, flashes, provocations, a clash with Iran, perhaps some terrorist act in the US, which can credibly be blamed on the Iranians. Al Qaeda has stated not long ago that such a collision between America and Iran will be very much in its strategic interest."
Brzezinski worries that the US risks becoming "a huge gated community self-isolated from the world... One of my indictments of Bush is that he has fostered a culture of fear in this country rather than diminished it."
Why start or provoke a clash? Ego? End of World dreams? Crazy, delusion visions of some sort of Christian only world? Trying to put more blood money in friends' pockets?
The Middle East experts, Vali Nasr and Ray Takeyh, attempt to answer that question in the current issue of Foreign Affairs. "For the Bush administration containing Iran is the solution to the Middle East's various problems", they write. Its officials "seem to feel that in the midst of disorder and chaos lies an unprecedented opportunity for reshaping the region so that it is finally at ease with US dominance and Israeli prowess." That such a scenario is built on what most of us would regard as a fantasy seems not to bother them.
Yet there is no sign that Iran, as it did under the Shah, is seeking to become the pivotal state in the region. It is not creating disorder to fulfil some misread scriptural promise. Nor is it by nature an expansionist power. Iran has not begun a war for over 200 years. When Saddam Hussein's Iraq attacked Iran, Iran was clearly the innocent party.

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