Tom Friedman lays out the case for engaging Iran in today’s NYTimes. The piece suffers from his usual oversimplifications, but it raises some good points:
Country A actively helped the U.S. defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan and replace it with a pro-U.S. elected alliance of moderate Muslims. Country A regularly holds sort-of-free elections. Country Aâ€™s women vote, hold office, are the majority of its university students and are fully integrated into the work force.
On 9/11, residents of Country A were among the very few in the Muslim world to hold spontaneous pro-U.S. demonstrations. Country Aâ€™s radical president recently held a conference about why the Holocaust never happened â€” to try to gain popularity. A month later, Country A held nationwide elections for local councils, and that same president saw his candidates get wiped out by voters who preferred more moderate conservatives. Country A has a strategic interest in the success of the pro-U.S., Shiite-led, elected Iraqi government. Although itâ€™s a Muslim country right next to Iraq, Country A has never sent any suicide bombers to Iraq, and has long protected its Christians and Jews. Country A has more bloggers per capita than any country in the Muslim Middle East.
Former neo-con Francis Fukuyama: The neocons have learned nothing from five years of catastrophe:
The US is hardly in a position to invade and occupy yet another country, especially one three times larger than Iraq. An attack would have to be conducted from the air, and it would not result in regime change, which is the only long-term means of stopping the WMD programme. It is hard to have much confidence that US intelligence on Iranian facilities is any better than it was in the case of Iraq. An air campaign is much more likely to build support for the regime than to topple it, and will stimulate terrorism and attacks on American facilities and friends around the globe. The US would be even more isolated in such a war than during the Iraqi campaign, with only Israel as a certain ally.
None of these considerations, nor the debacle in Iraq, has prevented certain neoconservatives from advocating military action against Iran. Some insist that Iran poses an even greater threat than Iraq, avoiding the fact that their zealous advocacy of the Iraq invasion is what has destroyed America’s credibility and undercut its ability to take strong measures against Iran.
BRUSSELS, Jan 30 (Reuters) – Iran’s schools are nurturing a siege mentality in children with textbooks showing preparations for war and depicting Israel and the West as the enemy, an Israel-based think tank said on Tuesday.
One textbook gave 13-year-olds a basic overview of light arms while one early reader book depicted the murder of a Palestinian toddler by an Israeli soldier, a survey by the Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace (CMIP) found.