Senators Chuck Hagel and Barack Obama are politicians who support the sensible strategy of opening a dialog with Iran. They better step up that effort before it is too late. President Bush and VP Cheney’s effort to demonize the Islamic Republic is paying big dividends. They didn't have to break new ground. The duo just dusted off the Iraq playbook and changed the letter "q" with an "n."
A Gallup poll released Halloween finds that Americans consider Iran the greatest threat to world stability. The Iranians, in fact, are thought to pose almost twice the threat of the 1.2B Chinese. That's a scary finding.
Iran, a nation with an economy equal to Finland, was cited by 35 percent of respondents. That towers over a legitimate threat to the world, Pakistan, a country at war with militants eager to get their hands on its nuke weapons. Newsweek’s Oct. 29 cover branded Pakistan the most dangerous place in the world. Things have gotten so bad that its former leader Benazir Bhutto, who almost got blown up during last month’s "triumphant return," has high-tailed it back to Dubai. Pakistan was cited by a mere two percent of Gallup’s respondents. Go figure.
When are Americans going to wake up and listen to either a statesmen like Hagel or a fresh voice like Obama? Hagel sees disaster and utter isolation for the U.S. on the world stage if the present "demonize Iran and march to war" policy continues. The New York Times today gave Obama a huge front-page platform to sketch out his view of a “new relationship with Iran.” [Revived Obama has had a good week. The Times article follows the Illinois Senator’s strong performance against archrival Hillary Clinton, who has her own Iran problems, in the Drexel University debate.]
The U.S. has its hands full trying to keep the 27M Iraqis in check. Imagine controlling Iran, a nation with 65M people.
Hawks urging a surgical campaign to “take out” the Iranian Government argue that the bulk of Iranians will rise up and greet Americans as liberators. That’s pure nonsense. U.S. troops in Baghdad are still waiting for those promised flowers and candies from grateful Iraqis freed from Saddam’s rule.
The Gallup poll of Americans has another very interesting finding. Eight percent of respondents say the U.S. is the greatest threat to world security. That’s twice the four percent scored by Russia, which grows more bellicose each day under the leadership of Vladimir Putin. Israel, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia each registered one percent.