Let me start by praising Glenn Greenwald for keeping the Iran crisis on Salon's front page. The United States is on the verge of waging war against another Islamic tribal society thousands of miles from our borders; When Likud attacks, the Iranian military will see our hand. The phrase "mowing the lawn" is laughable; This conflict will cost millions of lives and probably a few would be ours. Look what happened to the Brits when Thatcher declared war in the 80s on the isolated, impoverished Catholic nation of Argentina.
Unlike Iraq, the Nation State of Iran has not attempted to invade another nation , never committed genocide against its people and has not suffered a huge military setback. Unlike Nam, there is no resistance, no "South", many allies and no alternatives beyond political competition-No one is threatening Russia for holding a rigged election. President Obama will own this conflict, just as W. did Iraq and LBJ Vietnam; But that's where the similarities end. The United States will not survive this conflict as a democracy.
I am not interested in causes, blame, Israel or God; We must reach for a solution to this problem by asking a different question: What does Iran really want? Iran wants to become a "superpower"; How does a culture accustomed to centuries of conquest view this? A superpower is a nation that rules over others; We must make Iran an offer it cannot refuse- Afganistan as an offering of honor.
Let me make a few quick points:
- This will cost us cash. Iran won't want this "fixer-upper" without a substantial and ongoing bribe. The good news is that their cost of imperialism will be a lot less than ours. Even better, maybe this will stop the war.
- If we acually had a business person in our political discourse, he or she would be able to use their innovative ablility to propose a solution based on needs. Mitt Romney is a rich guy who got lucky in Wall Street's Vegas; What happens there goes all over the world.
- Our State Department will present this as a blatant appeal to traditional Islamic & Hebrew culture; As such, it will have broad support in Afganistan and even in Israel. It will be more than a distraction for Iran-This bargain must be presented as a vision for national greatness.
- There are no military solutions that offer any greater guarantee of compliance from Iran. Aggression cannot stop knowledge; What does Israel call "crippling sanctions"? Afganistan is more than a failed modern state: It is the house at the end of the road in a Gothic novel.
Iran sees its natural resources as property; In America gasoline is the basis for our primary mission in life: We will pay anything for mobility. Do not Americans see Afganistan as "ours" purchased with blood and treasure?; Administration of another country can be a mission in traditional Islamic culture.