Pointless ‘tough talk’….
LabourList has this rather appalling post by Luke Bozier who seems to have mistaken the traditional festive season emblem as not being doves and partridges but in fact hawks. Bozier’s cause for concern is a report in The Times which claims to have received confidential information showing that Iran has plans to test a neutron initiator.
Now, regardless of the state of play in Iran’s nuclear game of poker with the West we can make a couple of immediate comments about Bozier’s article. Firstly, there is no acknowledgement that non-proliferation is a spectacular failure as a policy because that would automatically lead onto the conclusion that either the proliferation of nuclear weapons must be accepted or the only way forward is radical disarmament. Secondly, the point of the article is called into question by the patently unrealistic nature of his own demands as is tacitly acknowledged;
So far it would seem, the Iranians have been skilful in taking advantage of relative weakness in the US, the UK and other major powers, due to the collective reluctance to intervene so soon after tiring efforts in Afghanistan & Iraq, and with an ongoing war in Afghanistan drawing on the resources of Western armed forces and finance ministries.
You also have to remember the massive credibility problem that this government would have persuading the British people to accept anything like a new military escapade; frankly, I think this is so bad that even if Iran were to admit it had a nuclear weapons programme the level of support the government could count on would still be questionable. It might also be reasonably argued that the interventions in both countries have not just been ‘skillfully manipulated’ but have, in fact, been instrumental in allowing Iran’s rise as a regional power and one able to put itself in this position.
Thirdly, nowhere are the Iranian people mentioned which is a shame because they are by far the best hope we have of a new regime in Tehran. Significantly, doom-laden though Bozier’s article is it does not consider the consequences a military strike by either the West or Israel would have on this movement because it would most likely doom this movement and entrench the power of Iran’s ruling elite.
Bozier’s article shows how the internationalism that is considered key to the Labour Party’s identity can mutate in a totally chauvinistic way into the creed which we call ‘liberal interventionism’ but in many instances has come to mean campaigns of careless conquest. This is what enabled Tony Blair to sleep-walk the Party into war as he successfully steamrolled opponents by presenting them (largely falsely) as appeasers of what is admittedly a barbarous regime.
I doubt Gordon Brown could repeat a similar trick; indeed, as Mike Smithson points out he will have his hands full with convincing a rightly sceptical public that we should still be in Afghanistan but if he did then I doubt he would find the British people ready, willing or able to entertain the idea of more ‘interventionism’ in Iran.