In today’s Daily Beast, Leslie Gelb opines that what the West is doing with sanctions and threats against Iran is “drawing ‘red lines’ that are backing [Iran’s]leaders into untenable and dangerous corners… what [the West is] not doing is leveraging these economic and military pressures with a negotiating proposal that can curtail Iran’s nuclear-bomb-making capabilities without war.” Gelb further recommends offering a deal: “Iran keeps its uranium facilities but with capabilities to enrich, reduced to levels fit only for civilian use. Tehran also agrees to the tightest international verification procedures. The West lifts sanctions gradually as Iran complies with both reconfiguring its nuclear plants and accepts the necessary verification.”
Ha! Ha! Ha! As if no one tried this before. In fairness, Gelb admits that similar proposals have failed in the past, then, after explaining why the Iranian regime would remain intractable, he seems to suggest the West should do more of the same. And the solution that Gelb offers: “I’d like to see President Obama show the courage of offering a solid peace proposal instead of just drawing chest-thumping red lines. Meantime, he doesn’t have to withdraw any sanctions or any “red lines.” Just cut the usual diplomatic and political baloney, and try.”
Woaa! What’s that? Is there something new here? Sure, boys, let’s just give it the old college try. For the life of me I have no idea why this puff piece is out there, unless it is to keep Gelb’s name in the fore. I don’t drastically disagree with him, but he’s saying nothing new, absolutely nothing.
Personally I doubt we or Israel will actually go to war with Iran. That would only unite the population behind the ruling clerics. Most likely we will continue or increase our covert anti-nuke actions along with tightening sanctions. This will not make the current regime back down on the nuke issue, but it will increase the split between a suffering population and an unresponsive, self-serving, corrupt and oppressive government. Future elections may then be less likely to suffer the fate of the 2009 election stolen by Ahmadinehad and Khamanei. A bit idealistic? Perhaps, but certainly less banal than giving it the old college try.