The Contrarian Solution for Iran


Time for some Saturday politics.

Almost everyday there's a story on the news about Iran and the showdown that the media is hoping will happen over Iran's nuclear ambitions. Meanwhile, Pakistan is the elephant in the room. The media ought to start asking Presidential candidates what they'd do about Pakistan, not Iran.

Ironically, what we're doing in Pakistan is probably the right course (in broad brush strokes): we're engaging them, connecting them, working to bring them more fully into the world economy. Maybe that's why the media's not asking about Pakistan, but I'd still like to hear what Presidential candidates would do.

This is the same course we should take with Iran. We should move to establish diplomatic relations with them (something we haven't had since 1979, I believe) and work with our European and Asian allies to open up to them as much as they'll allow. The real answer in Iran isn't to isolate them, but smother them with love--or at least positive attention.

If any of the current Presidential candidates are espousing such a course for Iran, I'm unaware of it. It's easier and more popular to spout the "get-tough" line.

Israel would love nothing more than for the US to fight their war with Iran for them, but this does not serve America's long term interests. I'm not even sure it serves Israel's long term interests.

Nearly three decades of trying to isolate Iran have done little to influence them. Continuing in that vein is likely to result in a more, not less, dangerous threat in an already threatening part of the world. Maybe it's time we looked to the contrarian solution.