Friday, April 06, 2007

# Posted 1:58 PM by Patrick Porter  

INTERPRETING THE HOSTAGE CRISIS: It seems that pundits are vying to use the hostage crisis to vindicate their pre-existing world view.

Depending on your stance, it illustrates the need to apply pressure after failed diplomatic gestures; that diplomacy is all we have; that pragmatic conciliatory engagement (UK style) is the only effective way to deal with Iran; even that it reveals the weakness of toothless multilateralist dialogue.

Personally, I can see the case for two conflicting approaches:

on one hand. the need to apply sanctions, deny materials and deter the Iranian regime from 'going nuclear' while hoping for internal change;

on the other, the potential benefits of a bold new policy: detente, Bush goes to Tehran, offers aid and economic assistance in return for strategic partnership against Al Qaeda and restraint on nuclear proliferation. Most of all, we divide our enemies.

Maybe its time to drop the rock in the pond, so to speak, and change the whole configuration in the Gulf. Or is this just naive speculation?
(2) opinions -- Add your opinion

I vote against all of these interpretations of the hostage crisis. My gut sense is that Iran decided to return the hostages for domestic political reasons that had nothing to do with Western actions.

One possibility is that their original intention was only to hold the hostages briefly. Another is the commonly suggested hypothesis that one Iranian faction authorized the detention, but couldn't persuade the others to go along with it. A third hypothesis, also noted elsewhere, is that an overly aggressive local commander created a problem the leadership never wanted.
The rock has been dropped. That was Iraq.
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