Monday, December 7, 2009

The game is for real

Sometimes fiction tells you more than does reality. Last week Harvard University hosted a game about the challenge posed by Iran. Nicholas Burns, former undersecretary of State, played President Obama; Dore Gold, former Israeli ambassador to the UN, played President Netanyahu; and Gary Sick, former NSC official, played President Ahmedinejad. So how did the scenario play out?

-- The United States tried to get Israel to agree to seek permission before it attacked Iran, and threatened a rupture of ties if Israel went ahead on its own;

-- The United States wanted at all costs to avoid a military conflict. It focused almost exclusively on sanctions, fraying ties with allies while not upsetting the Iranians in the least.

-- Gary Sick saw the situation as 'win-win' for Iran. Nothing the United States proposed had any impact on the Iranian regime's two primary goals: developing nuclear weapons while repressing internal dissent.

So now you don't have to bother keeping up with the news on this item. For the most part, you know how it will turn out. The only questions: will the Israelis actually attack Iran and, if so, will they succeed? And how did the United States let its policy get into such a dead-end? It would be easy to blame this on President Obama, but he's only continuing policies set by his predecessors. (Thanks to Daily Alert.)

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