David Frum demonstrates a remarkable refusal to be distracted by logic as he zeroes in on the neoconservative target: war with Iran.
Some may sigh with relief at the release of the captives: "Well, at least we averted the risk of war."Some might point out a third option: quiet diplomacy - which, in fact, actually worked. But then some people are constrained by the earthly laws of empiricism and logical deduction. David Frum is not one of those mortals.
My fear is that we have now moved closer to war than ever. The EU response to the detention of the capitves makes clear that there is almost zero hope of gaining European cooperation for an effective sanctions regime upon Iran. If they won't impose comprehensive sanctions after an act of piracy like this, they sure cannot be expected to do it merely because Iran has moved another step closer to completion of a nuclear bomb. By refusing to consider meaingful nonmilitary pressure, the Europeans have steadily reduced the number of peaceful options. As things are going, those options will soon be reduced to two: acquiesence - or air strikes. That is not success.
Had the British followed the American example, once the sailors and marines were seized, they could have escalated the conflict by pursuing the matter more forcefully at the United Nations or sending additional naval vessels to the area. Instead, the British tempered their rhetoric and insisted that diplomacy was the only means of resolving the conflict. The Iranians received this as pragmatism on London’s part and responded in kind.
The United States, meanwhile, has pursued its policy of coercion for two months now, and one is hard-pressed to find evidence of success. Beyond even the symbolic move of apprehending the British sailors, Iran’s intransigent position on the nuclear issue remains unchanged. To underscore that point, Iran has scaled back cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency and released a new currency note adorned with a nuclear emblem.