How to frame Iran


There is much discussion and consternation in pragmatic progressiveland about how to frame Iran, and stay relevant in the national dialogue leading up to the Congressional elections in the Fall. Clearly, for the saber rattlers in the White House, the fear engendered by Iran's bragging about their nuclear developments, is an opportunity that will be worked until the cows come home.

The conventional wisdom seems to be there is no easy answer for what to do with Iran. There is a lot of fear of falling into the weak, not-willing-to-protect-America trap. The tried-and-true of diplomacy will likely be ignored by Iran, and US diplomacy is all stick and no carrot anyway.

That Iran is a terrorist supporting state calling for the destruction of Israel seems factual. Yet, bombing Iran seems ludicrous on its face (but then so was invading Iraq). But for the record, warring on Iran would likely send terrorists around the world to do dirty work, launch attacks regionally, and we'd find ourselves in horrible slog of a land war, especially since Iran is not in the terrible shape Iraq was when we invaded.

There is sympathy for the notion that a middle-sized country like Iran is not irrational for wanting the bomb, when neighbors have it, and especially given the fact the Bushies have thumbed their nose at our own obligations to reduce nuclear weapons under non-proliferation treaty.

But in the world of real politik, while that's a sane position, it is a non-starter, since the bellicose mainstream media and the conservative echo chamber will hammer away at the traitor theme -- even if another country has valid security interests -- and many Democrats will not likely venture very far from the Republicans.

One argument is that there are no good options. Progressives don't need to have a position -- make Bush come up with it. That approach worked with social security, where Bush offered various plans that made little sense, and he killed it himself.

So for now, the dialogue continues. But for sure there needs to a push to get lots of people better educated on what is at stake and what the current myths are ...especially promoting the fact that a nuclear bomb for Iran is far away -- maybe ten years, maybe more. For that Juan Cole is a good read...

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