Originally Posted by Jayhawk
Turn your touchy-feelie question around and you have the answer: you need resolve not skill sets to deal w/ dynamic situations like we face in the ME.
I'm starting to think this is horseshit as well. I don't think any smart Islamofacist doubts our resolve. What they know
, is a form of political Judo, whereby our strengths are turned against us.
By positioning America as the great Satan, and themselves (and all like them) as humble innocents, they've strung the instrument of hate with the finest pity.
In such a scenario, there is no downside. Every movement results in beautiful music. Pushed one way ('peaceful' nuclear power), the instrument yields the cheers and support of those favoring the "underdog". Pulled the other way (U.N or western sanctions), the instrument yields the increasingly loud, perfect song of fascism - the masses riled up in support of their common plight and outrage at the imperialism of the Great Satan.
If we do nothing, it's clear that Iran will obtain nuclear weapons capabilities eventually, and use them to blackmail (or just plain exterminate) everyone who isn't Muslim.
If we try to nip it in the bud (via economic means or by force), we cause the region to become suddenly united in their hatred of us - in spite of what differences they may have. Ergo, "My enemy's enemy is my friend" or "Nobody picks on my brother but me".
I have one suggestion. It's not my idea, but I like it.
Speak directly to the Iranians (and all Muslims), and let them know that we're not out to colonize them or change their religion. There are rules people have to play by, and your leaders aren't doing it. Rise up against them, and we will support you on your journey to freedom.
It's true that history repeats itself. Given that, there are a few ideas for the speech that we can cop from a fellow Republican: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1982reagan1.html
While we must be cautious about forcing the pace of change, we must not hesitate to declare our ultimate objectives and to take concrete actions to move toward them. We must be staunch in our conviction that freedom is not the sole prerogative of a lucky few but the inalienable and universal right of all human beings. So states the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which, among other things, guarantees free elections.
The objective I propose is quite simple to state: to foster the infrastructure of democracy, the system of a free press, unions, political parties, universities, which allows a people to choose their own way to develop their own culture, to reconcile their own differences through peaceful means.
This is not cultural imperialism; it is providing the means for genuine self-determination and protection for diversity. Democracy already flourishes in countries with very different cultures and historical experiences. It would be cultural condescension, or worse, to say that any people prefer dictatorship to democracy. Who would voluntarily choose not to have the right to vote, decide to purchase government propaganda handouts instead of independent newspapers, prefer government to worker-controlled unions, opt for land to be owned by the state instead of those who till it, want government repression of religious liberty, a single political party instead of a free choice, a rigid cultural orthodoxy instead of democratic tolerance and diversity.
Well, the task I've set forth will long outlive our own generation. But together, we too have come through the worst. Let us now begin a major effort to secure the best -- a crusade for freedom that will engage the faith and fortitude of the next generation. For the sake of peace and justice, let us move toward a world in which all people are at last free to determine their own destiny.
-Ronald Reagan's speech to the House of Commons, June 8, 1982.