(This is a follow up to Part 1)
This is where I really wish we had some of the competent diplomats that usually come along with a Republican administration in Washington. I think the egg head neocons have walked us straight into a Chinese trap, and we're going to have to work like hell to get out of it. Was Sun Tzu's The Art of War not on the reading list for the University of Chicago? For years, we have put a lot of stake in the idea that making China a partner would take some of the bite out of their teeth. I think they have been playing us.
Because of the ineptitude or downright neocon fantasy-land that dominates the political leadership of the American international relations community and diplomatic corps, we have ignored a great deal of what has allowed us to prosper: the fact that the rest of the world can't stand the rest of the world. There were two things that kept them from teaming up against us: 1) they had no leading nation to organize resistance and 2) we were very careful not to make so many violent enemies at once without bringin' the whole posse with us.
But, today we ignore that.
The best example is our current flash point: Iran. For some reason, the West has failed to get Iran on our side when numerous opportunities have presented themselves. There was, of course, Operation Ajax, which poisoned the waters. The next pro-democracy revolution was also hijacked, this time by Khomeinists.
So began the time of calling Americans ifidels and of driving Israel into the sea. Even then, we could have overcome that rhetoric with a little diplomatc shrewdness.
The Islamic Republic of Iran is a majority Shi'a Muslim nation. The rest of the Muslim world is heavily Sunni Muslim. Their relationship is somewhat...strained. Like the Protestants and Catholics of the not-too-long-ago-West, Sunni - especially Wahhabi Sunnis - seek to destroy the Shi'a. Iran, surrounded by a sea of religious enemies (not unlike Israel, as a matter of fact), decided (rationally) to do something that would keep other Muslim nations from teaming up and destroying them: attack the percieved enemies of all Muslims - Israel, both rhetorically and militarily. How could Saudi Arabia, Afganistan & Pakistan team up against an ally against a common enemy?
Our nation has a long history of keeping the peace by playing powerful enemies off one another and the longstanding enmity and distrust that existed between the Soviet Union and Red China is testament to that skill. It would seem rational for us to exploit the rift in the Muslim world and keep a more palpable tension between Shi'a and Sunni factions (that sure could have saved a lot of Israeli lives). Instead of exploiting this rift to our own advantage - and that rift is still very much alive today, neocons arrived on the scene in the '80's. With their coming of age, we cast our entire lot in with the Wahhabist Saudis and the brutal secular dictator in Saddam Hussein. We cast all of our dice against Iran, and we cast it against all Iranians, ignoring the deep internal divisions within Iranian society.
Iran is an island, and the only rational ways they can defend themselves is to keep up the rhetoric against Israel and the United States until they develop a nuclear bomb. If I was an Iranian leader, I'd be racing towards a nuclear bomb and I'd be racing to ally myself with China and Russia. They are a nation acting rationally to defend themselves in a sea of enemies.
Besides, what happens when Iran tells the rest of the world that they "will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of [their] country?"
I guess we'll have to find out. Let us hope calmer heads prevail so we don't have to find out the hard way.