Tuesday, May 27, 2003
Now for Iran:

Carl, first, it is not exactly right to say Iraqis did not resist. The country had an army that was not worth calling so. In the last ten years, almost all weapons of the US went thru two generations of changes. Iraq did not have much scope to find spares even (though,, by all accounts, they did get a few here and there). And yet, Basra held out for two weeks.

Coming to Iran itself, well, in the beginning, the same was the tone of the Bushies with Iraq. Back then, I thought this was all a good bit of sabre rattling to get the inspector in and keep them there. And Bushies did spring a surprise by actually going the whole hog. After that experience, it would be folly to believe that they are just doing it to shoo the Iranians off Iraq.

I am mighty worried precisely because of two reasons:
1. this conflict can derail one of the nascent moderate movements in Islamic world. A backlash, if it occurs in Iran, will surely evaporate the Khatami class. We would lose one great precedent for the future.
2. India's predicament would become pathetic if there is a conflict. We will have to choose then between Iran and Us-Israel, by all means, a Hobson's Choice. If US does succeed in Iran, and we have one more Karzai there, our entire stategy of containment of Pakistan would derail. India is struggling hard, doling out a lot of freebies to keep the Afghans within a grasping distance. Iran joining that list would be disaster for us.

As much as I want peace with Pakistan, I do not think the situation nowhere close to us going bhai-bhai. Till that happens, we need to hold on to smart strategic doctrines.


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