Thursday, September 27, 2007

The demon we need

Jeff Wells in Rigorous Intuition:
Ahmadinejad's rise and role in Target: Iran reminds me of the drive to privatize water in a city like Detroit. Seemingly oddly so, but not actually, as both have been directed by much the same interests.

Would there be such fatalist expectation of a strike on Iran if Mohammad Khatami were still president? Try as Fox might, the reformist advocate of a "Dialogue Among Civilizations" could not be made to put on the Hitler mustache. If the United States wanted a diplomatic solution and a rapprochement with Tehran, he was their man. But it didn't, and he wasn't. In 2003 the Swiss ambassador to the US carried a proposal from Khatami to negotiate a resolution to all outstanding issues, including Iran's nuclear program and a two-state solution to Israel and Palestine. Washington's reaction was to censure the Swiss ambassador.

In Detroit, as in many cities and nations ruled by kleptocrats who are aliens to their own citizens, infrastructure has been starved of public funds, and tens of thousands have found themselves without water. Why? To make circumstances so dire that any solution offered will be taken as an escape from institutionalized misery. And the only solution the rulers offer is privatization.

Spurning Khatami's overtures and the season of conciliation from Iran toughened its hardliners, but it wasn't a missed opportunity for Washington. It was the last thing they wanted, while Ahmadinejad is just the devil they needed. ("US Focus on Ahmadinejad Puzzles Iranians," reads a New York Times headline today. “The United States pays too much attention to Ahmadinejad," an Iranian political scientist is quoted. “He is not that consequential.”) Why? To sharpen the tensions to such a point that opinion makers determine the situation cannot be allowed to continue. And the only solution the rulers offer is violence.

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