January 13, 2008


Two U.S. enemies excel at bumbling: Chavez, Ahmadinejad are dangerous, but both have suffered setbacks. (Mark Bowden, 1/13/08, Philadelphia Inquirer)

The Iranian president is the inadvertent (but predictable) victim of the recent U.S. National Intelligence Estimate, which found that the country's secret nuclear-weapons program had been suspended in 2003.

There is a wonderful lesson in this. The estimate contradicted the Bush administration's warlike rhetoric about Iran. This no doubt caused some red faces in the White House, which had been selling a wholly different story, but it had the additional and inadvertent effect of pulling the plug on Ahmadinejad, whose game for the last four years has been provoking the United States in order to raise his stature at home.

It worked like a judo move. The sudden and unexpected removal of pressure from our side caused Ahmadinejad to fall on his face. He has found himself without The Great Satan as a foil for his rhetorical nonsense. My hopeful guess is that Iran's leadership will tilt back in a more moderate direction in coming years, and Ahmadinejad will go back to making trouble with his Revolutionary Guards.

There is a persistently juvenile quality to him and the guards that dates all the way back to the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979, an act that has done more to damage Iran's standing in the world than any in modern history. The deadly game of chicken with the U.S. Navy in the Strait of Hormuz on Jan. 6 was more of the same. Ahmadinejad and his ilk are dangerous, but mostly to themselves and Iran, a fact that at long last may be dawning on even the mullahs in charge.

When your enemy is paddling toward falls, just wave.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 13, 2008 11:07 AM

The "danger" of Iran is not that we have smart and determined enemies, it is exactly what Bowden says - that the nation is led by juvenile 'punks'.

Of course the episode in the Gulf is virtually meaningless, except that it shows the juvenile and fractured nature of the Iranian 'government'. The attacks in Argentina reveal the insanity even more. The danger from Iran is that every part of the government is rogue, and that no one really controls or knows what future insanity is planned.

That is why the mullahs and their minions have to go.

Posted by: jim hamlen at January 13, 2008 5:01 PM