February 7, 2006


Making enemies friends over Iran (Dmitry Shlapentokh, 2/08/06, Asia Times)

An example of animosity between jihadi extremists and institutionalized regimes can be found on the Internet site of Chechen fighters against the Russians. They have increasingly become jihadi extremists rather than nationalists.

The site devotes considerable attention to Iraq and Afghanistan; it frequently quotes Taliban sources and elaborates in detail on American losses. At the same time, coverage of the Iranian standoff is minimal, and frequently without expression of any sympathy for the Iranians.

Yet extreme pressure on Iran, such as sanctions or even military action, would push these opposite forces into an odd alliance that, instead of increasing the overall security of the US, would actually lead to the opposite result. And of course it would increase instability in the Middle East, if not the global community.

Diplomacy is as essential in defending national interests as understanding the importance of the use of force. And the art of diplomacy is to turn one's enemies into friends - not to unite one's enemies against you.

The original Axis powers didn't have much in common either but were accidentally bound together by opposition to and from the West. Hard to see why defeating them all at once wasn't sensible. Indeed, the failure of WWII was in not defeating Russia too.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 7, 2006 8:27 AM

But oj, the "powers that were" before, during and after WW2 wanted the Soviets to win. That's why rather than defeat them, we defeated their enemies, condoned and legitimized their takeover of Eastern Europe, propped them up, fantasized their successes, buried their failures and to a large extent we're still doing it. The prime directive (a little Star Trek lingo) then, as now -- worldwide socialism.

Posted by: erp at February 7, 2006 9:18 AM

That's a really foolish statement. Diplomacy doesn't "turn" your enemies into friends. Nations, like people, pursue their own best interests. They'll be your friends if they want to be your friends, and if not not. Diplomacy to "turn" enemies into friends can only be bribery or thinly-disguised coercion, and the ones on the receiving end cannot possibly be described as friends.

Posted by: lisa at February 7, 2006 11:07 AM

Right on Wyatt.

Posted by: Genecis at February 7, 2006 11:39 AM

I am not bitting.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at February 7, 2006 4:12 PM