Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sending Kerry to Iran? A Thoroughly Bad Idea

By Barry Rubin

The story of the United States and Iran regarding sanctions and pressures reminds me of Woody Allen's joke in the film "Sleeper" after he awakes following 2000 years asleep: My analyst was a strict Freudian and if I'd been going four times a week all this time I'd be cured by now.

The proposal to send Senator John Kerry to Iran is one more signal that the Obama Administration seemingly will do anything to avoid, or at least postpone, increasing sanctions on Iran because of that country's nuclear weapons' drive. Such a move can only be taken by Tehran as further proof--in its eyes--of American cowardice. Obviously, this gambit would gain nothing.

In addition, the choice of Kerry is a very bad one. Despite his distinguished appearance and unearned reputation for international sophistication, Kerry is known in the Senate as one of its dumbest and least accomplished members. In 30 years, he has not initiated a single idea, piece of legislation, or even memorable speech.

And, of course, he would be eager to make some—almost any--deal for his own personal glory and reluctant to be really tough lest he, and the Obama Administration which he supports, would appear to be a failure.

This is a terrible choice and it sends a dangerous signal. Hopefully, Iran's regime will reject it. Nowadays we are reduced to hoping that our enemies' arrogance and intransigence will force democratic governments to get a backbone.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). To read and subscribe to MERIA, GLORIA articles, or to order books. To see or subscribe to his blog, Rubin Reports.

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