Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Random Thoughts About Foreign Policy With Iran

This is going to sound really basic from me, but I am a bit happy that it seems like the push to set up a new round of sanctions on Iran is going away. The claim that these sanctions are just another attempt to keep the pressure on the White House and the government of Iran doesn't make sense to me, and I agree with the idea that more sanctions as a threat would make things rather worse.   What I am exceptionally opposed to is a kind of foreign policy reductionism that assumes that some countries must be "kept in line" by regular punitive measures, as a kind of behaviorism experiment in dissuading certain activity by enforcing negative outcomes.

If one was so negative as to reduce the foreign policy once again from the language folks actually use, it's like we're talking about a carrot and stick approach, where the economic sanctions are a kind of stick, and lessening them is a kind of carrot. But even if we were talking about foreign policy on that stupid a level, asking for a new round of sanctions this close to any kind of agreement is like saying "Look, Iran, we've determined all you understand is sticks, and we are fresh out of carrots."

Am I peculiar in thinking this is no sane or rational way to deal with actual human beings living on this planet? I would even maybe go so far as to say that no one would treat other people this way without an entire load of bias, and the assumption that said people were also kind of dumb and would just accept a future of eating dirt for the satisfaction of the people so generous as to spoonfeed it to them.

I don't think Iran is a nation of stupid people. I think if they were subject to unending sanctions no matter what they did, they would no longer feel particularly apt to deal with any of us as honest brokers, and would follow up any general statement of "fuck all'y'all" with a stepping up of their nuclear programme, under the right assumption that, tactically speaking, as an offensive weapon, it is the very best defense any beleaguered nation could ask for. Because it would bring leverage back.

Thus making the whole embargonnagetya folks' assumptions about what motivates people altogether rubbished.

What if we assumed, just for fun, that Iran was a country with sensible people in it with whom we could speak? How would we act? Why don't we? I am curious to know. The alternative, as recently experienced, is not satisfactory.  (Do read that Buzzfeed link. This is a TL--b DR (Too long, but do read.) and a reminder that belligerence leads to war and war is kind of the worst. It just is.

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