Little Red Blogger

This blog looks at radical politics(with a libertarian socialist slant), music and culture. Marx to Mises, Girls Aloud to Steve Reich...

Location: Wiltshire, United Kingdom

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Fear and Loathing in Tehran, Persians Play Politics with the West

While watching the news it seems that the public is being pre-prepared for some kind of military action against Iran. The tenor and tone of the news stories are all slanted towards the idea of Iran having nuclear weapons being unthinkable. Iran is being painted as an alien, alienated other all hints of the ordinary Iranians humanity and complexity being leeched from the discussion. Like much of the media coverage of the crisis it does (as ever) serve to obscure the brutal statist realpolitik of the underlying issues behind the current round of brinksmanship.

There are a number of factors pushing towards a military confrontation with Iran, the Israeli insistence that it be the only nuclear power in the Middle East, American calculations concerning security of oil supply and leverage over neighbouring friendly regimes. Russia also has large commercial interests in Iran, alongside large Chinese investments in Iran’s energy supply. Iran brings to the fore major international tensions concerning security of energy supply and the corresponding influence of the great powers over the Middle East. The coming confrontation and strikes on Iran may lead to ever greater and more deadly confrontations in future.

Aside from the wider geopolitical picture there is the question of what kind of response the US will have to Iran’s alleged nuclear ambitions. The Iranians having learnt from Iraq’s reactor being bombed in 1981 by the Israeli air force have secreted their nuclear facilities deep underground to guard against easy air strikes and beyond the reach of most conventional weapons. The US has rather conveniently developed a new class of sub-kiloton level nuclear weapons specially designed for penetrating and destroying well hidden targets. In addition to this the majority of US ground forces are tied up next door in Iraq and thus a perceived threat from Iranian nuclear weapons would under new US strategic doctrine compel a pre-emptive strike.  The logical endpoint of all these developments is then the use of these newly developed nuclear weapons against the Iranian targets.

This would of course be a horrifying development; the breaking of the international taboo against using nuclear weapons would unleash horrifying new developments with the bar against their use being perilously low. Once one kind of nuclear weapon has been used then it becomes very hard not to justify using them in other circumstances as long as the cost benefit analysis sticks….It is to be hoped that some soft of compromise with the Iranians is cobbled together by those in positions of power and influence otherwise our children may come to regret the dalliance with delusion indulged in by those wishing for a final, deadly reckoning.