Peace with Iran!

Iran’s ties with American allies continue to expand.  Iran, whose conventional forces have consistently recognized international borders (unlike Russia) can be a pillar of the peace in the Middle East. It is useful in Afghanistan and Iraq, and potentially useful in the Caucuses and Central Asia.

War with Iran at this point benefits only Iraqi insurgents, the Taliban, and Russia.  Peace with Iran benefits the global Peace, and helps us with many other objectives.

Iranian president has said that Tehran is ready to increase its trade exchanges with Turkey to $20 billion within the next four years.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad expressed hope that Iran and Turkey will expand their relations in energy and transportation areas.

“We consider progress and security of Turkey like our own and we know that Turkey will also be happy with Iran’s development,” Ahmadinejad told Turkish President Abdullah Gul in Istanbul on Thursday.

“Cooperation between Iran and Turkey within the framework of the Group of Eight Developing Islamic Countries (D-8) and the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) paves the way for enhancement of bilateral ties,” he said.

President Gul, for his part, said President Ahmadinejad’s visit to Turkey has opened a new chapter in ties.

Press TV – Iran eyes $20bn trade with Turkey.

Those alergic to this may consider simply giving suitcase nukes to Saakashvelli’s special forces, along with the governments of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Belarus, Mongolia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and other states that Russia may conceivable threaten.

I support the more peaceful method of embracing Iran.

Fighting Tehran simply is not a priority.

25 thoughts on “Peace with Iran!”

  1. Well, when you are in the voting booth, think of who made up this little jingle: Bomb Bomb Booomb…Bomb Bomb Iran.

    Call my criticism overreaching, but imagine if McCain was setting in office when he said that.

    Oh, and I guess I didn’t kept my word, I couldn’t help myself.

  2. Jeffrey,

    You don’t express knowledge of the difference between serious statements and self-satire.

    You do raise a serious point, however, of what sort of President is best for dealing with Iran. Is this an area where a domain-expert or a novice would do better?

    I have mentioned before that, with regards to some issues, an uninformed middle-of-the-road approach may be better than an informed, knowledgeable ones [1]. I do not think that is the case with Iran. We have a history of distrust and covert intimidation with each other, so throwing in someone who does not know what he is talking about [2] is probably dangerous.

    Two good historical analogies that come to mind are how much progress Kennedy and Nixon made in dealing with the communist bloc.


  3. “You don’t express knowledge of the difference between serious statements and self-satire. ”

    Really? Well, of what little I do know, I don’t think Iran would have taken such self-satire as a joke.

  4. Dan
    Niall Ferguson, who has been advising McCain, made the same McCain to Terhan analogy during a recent speech to the Hoover Institute [1].

    Presumably, a person who works/has connections to and sympathies for, the campaign wouldn’t say such things in front of a convervative think tank unless he was failry sure that the candidate was on his side.


  5. Welcome to the “dark side,” Dan. This is a refreshing change of thought from your earlier stance of war with Iran being, effectively, a “wash.” It’s high time we cut through the nonsensical rhetoric and truly look at Iran for what it is and not what some obnoxious talking heads would have us believe it to be.

    Brent Grace, I’ve very recently come upon fora and found it to be a very enlightening non-traditional media source.

  6. re iranian rapprochement,

    sweet! now if we can just wipe the &%$# jews “off the map,” the whole world can live in peace and harmony. 🙁

  7. “now if we can just wipe the &%$# jews “off the map,” the whole world can live in peace and harmony. ”

    This is the obnoxious talking head nonsense I was referring to.

  8. i don’t know why it has to be an either/or. let’s make it a two-fer. the scaremongers are all over the internet quaking like it was the 70s and there was a rough parity between us and them. everyday, in every way, our military gets better than theirs. the army and marines could stay in their present assignments, and the USAF and USN could “do” both the iranian and russian air forces, navies, and the big pieces of their ground forces while EBOing their countries back into the 19th century. “i’m not sayin’ we wouldn’t get our hair mussed,” but if we need to be scared of the russians and persians, then they need to be $#!&$#ing their pants thinking about us.

    re fora: excellent find, thanks for the link

  9. Fearless Doug,

    You might want to find out where the Russians get their pants cleaned, unless you are counting on having a good job working for the psychopathic organgrinders who have totally usurped the government of the United States ( and that includes both Republicans and Democrats). Are you paying any attention to the rapidly building Police State right here in the good ol’ Homeland?? Have you noticed the increased police thuggery against unarmed citizens? The building of hundreds of detention centers (started under Ollie North and now under contract to Halliburton). Have you noticed the frequent military exercises being conducded in U.S. cities (most recently Denver and Indianapolis)? By the way, Denver has a wonderful new warehouse facility for the convention, chainlink fences topped with barbed wire and everything–and I’m just surmising now–enough police provocateurs to make sure the facility doesn’t go to waste. Boy Scout motto, “BE PREPARED!”. And the Fusion Centers–gotta get all those potential “terrorists” registered with Big Brother. The putsch toward martial law is not an urban myth. One of the first “lab experiments” in preparation was the handling of the Katrina disaster. This was not incompetence on the part of Homeland Security and FEMA. It was a martial law exercise under the cover of “incompetence”. One more clue (there are so many)–In 2003, the former head of the KGB, Primakov, and the former head of the East German Stasi, Markus Wolf, were hired as consultants by Homeland Security. Now just what would have been their function at Homeland Security?? Perhaps the Freedom of Information Act would be of help, but I doubt it.

    We could also get into the weaponization of the Avian Flu and the 1918 Spanish Flu, which has been touted as a simutaneous threat along with the illusive Al CIAda. The detention centers will also come in handy for mass quarantine.

    I’m sure you can dismiss this as “fearmongering”, but I’m not going to count on our broke-ass economy and broke-ass military to deter anything.
    It’s the NUKES, baby. If anything, our military will be deployed domestically to aid in the Roundup. I should let you get back to “the Grand Chessboard”. Cheers.

  10. Now, more than any major public figure, I am not against Iran. I think we are in the wrong when it comes to recent actions re:Iran. They are, to the best of anyone’s knowledge, in compliance with the NNPT, and yet we still insist they stop enriching uranium for energy.

    But to embrace them?

    I wish we had done more (1997-2005) when Khatami was the President. And I think the election of Ahmadenijad was, in part, a feeling by the Iranians that it doesn’t matter if they elect a (relatively) pro-Western President, we are still going to treat them badly. If they don’t get anything for playing nice, why should they play our games at all?

    Support for terrorism, in part, comes from this senseless anti-Iranian sentiment.

    I’d prefer to see nothing done against them, and nothing done for them, or to increase ties. Maybe we are in a position where we owe them the first beneficient overture, fine.

    But that’s still tentative, not embracing.

  11. Brent,

    Excellent link! And very well said!


    And thanks for the post on your blog! [1] 🙂

    As long as Putin appeared to be a slow-motion economic Deng, it made sense to view Russia as essentailly a partner and made an Iran war a wash. Now that countermeasures [2] are needed against Russia, Iran is too potentially valuable.


    There’s no parity between us and Iran, as there was no parity between us and China in the 1970s.

    Rather, both the late Mao administration and the present Islamic Republic are too useful against Russia to focus on in a vacuum.


    Excellent self-satire.

    Josh SN,

    The client-server architecture of international relations is sensible. It escalates serious problems to the top, while allows lower-level handling of lower-level issue. Rocket attacks on on Israel by unconventional forces Israel are presently both dealth with by Israel acting unconventionally.

    Russia’s war against the peace [3], by contrast, is much more dire.


  12. Dantdaxp:

    I really appreciate the compliment. It’s fairly obviously that we do not share the same priority of concerns. Hey, I’m an elitist, too, but I recognize that I at least stand with what Kissinger refers to as the “useless eaters” from which pool he draws his legions of “cannon fodder”. So again, thanks! I can only hope that my “self-satire” gives my concerns a fraction of the resonance of the “self-satire” attributed to John McCain. I detect that not everyone on this site comes from the same mold. I am so grateful for your indulgence!

  13. dan, didn’t mean to suggest anyone currently has parity with the US. how would we co-opt iran? interesting idea but i think the cost/benefit risk/reward wouldn’t pan out — what am i missing?

  14. I’m with Soob here on your change of heart. Indeed, Iran has become far more valuable, not only to us, but seemingly out allies, particularly Turkey, who no longer being able to rely on revenue from the BTC, and not wanting to rely so much on Russian energy exports, will eventually shift more to getting more of these from or through Iran.

    This week, due to geopolitical factors, involving US disapproval of Ahmedinejad’s visit to Turkey, the Turks had to sub him on an energy deal (US voiced disapproval of Ahmedinejad’s visit and Turkey compromised by saying they would snub his energy deal), but if things get worst in Georgia, look for the Turks to change their stance.

  15. MLK,

    If you are interested in a conspiracy theory view of politics, the blog Dreaming 5GW [1] (where I sometimes contributes) attempts to explore the logical forms and necessities of conspiracy-based warfare, which there is called 5GW (the Fifth Gradient of War).


    This week, due to geopolitical factors, involving US disapproval of Ahmedinejad’s visit to Turkey, the Turks had to sub him on an energy deal (US voiced disapproval of Ahmedinejad’s visit and Turkey compromised by saying they would snub his energy deal), but if things get worst in Georgia, look for the Turks to change their stance.

    Indeed. The news you describe is important. Your great posts are helping to explain obscure parts of the conflict to everyone. I’ll quote a portion of the most recent post [2] below, but really everything you are doing is top-notch.

    As noted above, Azerbaijan being one third of the BTC pipeline, has already felt pressure from Russia. In addition, due to the Nagorno Karabakh dispute, Azerbaijan was on the receiving end of Russian military intervention. Given that history, and the shared ownership of the BTC pipeline, Baku and Tbilisi are not only economic but also strategic allies. Their interdependence was showcased following the bombing of the BTC pipeline in Turkey by the PKK, taking it off service. Azerbaijan, unable to rely on the BTC pipeline, was relying on Georgian ports and pipelines to ship its oil westward. According to Fariz Ismailzade at the Jamestown Foundation, both also belong to the GUAM regional security organization. GUAM is made up of Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova. The organization was established in 1997, and included Usbekistan who officially withdrew following the Andijan massacre. Since then, the organization essentially ceased operations, and was only revived in January 2007 with talk of forming it’s own peacekeeping and security forces. The January meeting was attended not only the original members but also Lithuania, Poland and Romania.

    During the middle of the Russian military counter-attack on Georgia, Azerbaijani sites, such as none of its most popular websites, came under Russian cyber-attack (much like internet sites all over Georgia). Additionally, during hostilities in Georgia, Russia targeted Azerbaijani populated areas of Georgia, apparently trying to foment strife between both nations. Instead, on August 11 50 Azerbaijanis gathered in Georgia’s Azerbaijani-populated provinces to go to war for the defense of their country.


    dan, didn’t mean to suggest anyone currently has parity with the US. how would we co-opt iran? interesting idea but i think the cost/benefit risk/reward wouldn’t pan out — what am i missing?

    First step would be to deconflict — determine who are mutual clients are, and dial down our punishment when our clients also work with Iran. This refers mostly to the Iraq political parties that have been with us since the beginning — PUK, KDP, Dawa, SIIC/SCIRI. My own impression is that this is relatively easy, because it makes like easier for everyone.

    Also important is the steps required to recognize Iran and begin economic exchanges. Even if Iran acts in a narrowly self-interested way, this still provides a method of transporting central asian oil and natural gas that is not through Russia. We will see how Iran’s regime responds to this in the next 20 years or so. Perhaps it will be successful like China, or perhaps it will fall back on itself like Russia.


  16. ATB,

    I agree, and many thanks!


    Your blog is just so insightful throughout all of this.

    Consider this bit from your recent post: [1]

    What’s troubling about this report, is the fact that as noted by Bandera, the last time Crimean separatism reared its ugly head, it was solely through the efforts of then Russian President Boris Yeltsin, that a wider crisis was avoided in 1995. The main problem now, is that Yeltsin is no longer in control, nor Russia as weak as it was back then.

    It’s one thing to talk of Russia’s evaporate soft power [2], but this is a concrete example: Yeltsin was able to act as a mediator, because of Russia’s generally favorable relation to various factions in Ukraine. Putin’s lost this ability.


  17. I agree with the thrust and to be fair to Dan, he has argued in the past that Iran is an natural ally for us. However, I have some concerns.

    First of all, Iran, is NOT a natural ally of some of our allies, namely Iraq and Afghanistan. The Arabs, particularly the Sunni Arabs who are nominally our allies are also quite wary of them. (I think the Gulf States would welcome a grand agreement, though).
    Second, Turkey is an unreliable ally. (I think Iran would be also). That being said, they both have the wild card to the north to deal with.
    Our long term interests lie with making some kind of peace/agreement; the current ‘argument’ between us is just a slow motion dance to finding a structure to some relationship.
    Iran has options, though. Besides Russia, India and China, who both rely on Iranian oil to a higher degree than we, or Europe, are ready to make peace.
    One of our greatest assets to offer them is trade and expertise. Iran’s economy is a mess. To describe it corrupt would be an understatement. It was in bad shape before the current President, but his economic interventions have made things worse.

    There is one final problem, Iran is hardly a single entity. Any embrace must come through the ayatollah, but even then, certain sectors of Iranian power may prove to be disruptive and certain large gas producing gap states will probably stir things up.

  18. ElamBend’s point about India and China are important. They rely on Iran much more than we do, and as long as Iran does not disrupt the global economy (as Russia has been trying to do), Iran is a force for good in the connectivity it provides.

    ElamBend’s also quite right that there is not a unitary Iranian government, so much as different powerful factions. The situation recalls Pakistan.

    Relatedly, Rice will be the first SecState in Libya since the ’50s. [1]


  19. ElamBend,

    Btw, do we accept a nuclear Iran?

    I would imagine so. Probably proliferation to Egypt and Saudi Arabia as well, for regional balancing. Turkey’s development of them probably depends on its EU accession status.

    This can happen on our terms, or against them. I’d rather be in on the process.

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