March 19, 2008

The Man Who Would Be Shah

Many seem dazzled by the dawn of tactical reason in counterinsurgency in Iraq, but Josef Joffe,  the astute editor of Die Zeit,  has let his eyes adjust to the darkness at the end of the tunnel. Taking the long vu , he discerns a shift in the regional balance of power, drawing this post-Straussian conclusion :

” If you don’t will the means, don’t will the end. To this Kantianism, let us add pure homily: Look before you leap. The tragedy of American power in the Middle East, the most critical arena of world politics, is that the United States ended up working as the handmaiden of Iranian ambitions.

By destroying Saddam’s armies, the United States flattened the strongest bulwark against Iranian expansion. By empowering the Shiites, it opened the way to an ideological alliance between Najaf and Qum, the two centers of the faith on either side of the Iraq-Iran border. And by entangling itself in an open-ended war in Iraq, the United States squandered precisely those military assets that would have kept Iran in awe.

Would the Ahmadinejad regime grasp so boldly for nuclear weapons if U.S. power and credibility were still intact?”

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