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Bob Schoultz
Naval/Academic leader

Bob Schoultz

Captain Bob Schoultz (U.S. Navy, Ret.) directs the Master of Science in Global Leadership at the University of San Diego's School of Business Administration.

High-Stakes Chess

How does one deal with a clever and menacing adversary, and what is the proper mix of boldness and toughness vs. patience and accommodation?

I look to Machiavelli in answering this question. He teaches us to deal with the world as it is and to assume that, whether we recognize it or not, there will always be people like Ahmedinejad who will maneuver to undermine us and our goals, and manipulate the environment to meet their own limited, selfish, short-term objectives at our expense.

It is a contest of power and intelligence. We deal with these people by understanding their motivation, process and tactics at least as well as, and preferably better, than they do. We maintain our moral center with a broader view of "our own advantage" than people like Ahmedinejad, or Chavez, or Qaddafi. Understanding our adversary -- his strengths and weaknesses, motivations and objectives -- is fundamental to protecting ourselves from being outmaneuvered or becoming their victims.

I doubt that sanctions will impress Ahmedinejad, nor do I believe threats will have the desired impact; instead they will help him posture himself as standing up to "the Great Satan." I would seek to achieve our objectives outside the public eye, unless we see it to our long-term advantage to create a moral or political stand-off. I don't see this as a choice between bold or patient, or between tough or accommodating, but rather a challenge to find imaginative ways to be all of these things.

This is a chess match, and while he's paying attention to our rook, our knight should be maneuvering into position to help us get what WE want, which all things considered and from our perspective, is clearly better than what he wants. Back to Machiavelli (and Clausewitz) - we deal with menacing and manipulative adversaries by finding ways to use our strengths against their vulnerabilities, seeking the most efficient path to the source of their power and then undermining it, while they are unaware.

It is clearly better to be feared than to be loved in this case - being loved appears not to be an option anyway. My sense is this will take more patience than boldness, but certainly some of both, and that information warfare and the internet are the keys to meeting our long-term objectives with Ahmedinejad and Iran.

By Bob Schoultz

 |  September 29, 2009; 11:15 AM ET
Category:  Leadership personalities Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Captain Bob Schoultz argue that menacing and manipulative adversaries should be fought by finding ways to use American strengths against their vulnerabilities, seeking the most efficient path to the source of their power and then undermining it, while they are unaware. Mr Schoultz reminds me of a person called Brutus who by pretending friendship lured his way close to the victim to put the knife in his back. Also it is better the world are scared of USA rather than love it. Well, rest assured that the world is scared stiff of USA, who would not be scared having a nuclear armed lunatic state running amok around small democratic states and treating them with annihilation if not the obeying the masters voice. US have already used nuclear weapons against a beaten adversary, Japan, and have in the past hinted of using atomic weapons in Korea against the Chinese and in Vietnam in the 60ies and would probably have loved to use it against Iraq 2003. The big twitt Adlai Stevenson in a speech in UN challenged the Soviets to a nuclear war during his appointment 1961-1965 but returned to UN a few days later, apparently after being urgently brief by Pentagon, that nuclear war was out of the question due to its terrible effects on mankind and not least USA. Someone should have briefed him before he started bragging with open mouth.

Posted by: clark010 | September 30, 2009 7:54 AM
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Doesn't Bob realize that all we need to do is have President Obama engage in dialog with Iran and they'll realize what a smart, quick-witted person he is and simply do what we want? Don't they realize that now that Obama just wants to talk that they'll change their tune entirely?

What we should just do is admit we were wrong to Iran, tell them we're really sorry, let them know how much we respect them as a people, beg for their forgiveness for all our past sins and they'll suddenly see the light and become our friends?

And then we should dismantle Israel give the land to Iran, get out of Iraq, high-tail it out of Afghanistan and then the entire region will respect the United States for respecting their sovereignty.

We'll sit down at the Table of Nations and embrace in the brotherhood of man, all the middle-eastern terrorist will stop, and frankly there will be a renaissance in the region - *ALL BECAUSE OUR PRESIDENT SHOWED THAT YOU JUST NEED TO SIT AND TALK WITH THESE PEOPLE AND GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT*.

Because in the end, all of these middle eastern countries and just peace-loving countries who just want the best for their people and the world, except the United States and Israel won't let them. It's all our fault!

I think this is just all obvious to "thinking" people, isn't it?

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | September 30, 2009 5:54 AM
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Its disturbing reading some of these comments pontificating on Irans lack of delivery capability therefore illogically a nuclear armed Iran is no threat. Beyond the regionally and potentially extra regionally destabilizing Shahab-3, and Sajjil-2, or nations friendly to Iran like North Korea and Brazil that are less than a step away from developing ICBM's that they have claimed they will sell to the highest bidder...

Have any of you pinko's apologizing for Iran considered that Iran thinks it is perfectly sound to train and deploy human personnel as suicide bombers for "tactical" gain? Do any of you pinko's even comprehend what that statement in fact means? Oh yeah, thats right, pinko's dont comprehend period.


Lemmie break it down for the less enlightened: A 'rowboat' with a nuclear bomb is a problem if the people rowing the boat are Allu Akbar down to blow that sucker up! Grow a brain, better yet stick to reading the latest issue of 'The Nation' and leave the thinking to adults.

Posted by: Homunculus | September 30, 2009 2:50 AM
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It is odd that the Post would ask to Report Offensive Comments when the editorials or often not only offensive to ordinary American non neo-con, Israeli commentators that have somehow become the ruling cast at the Post. The majority of reasonable readers in private, and, if possible, due to censor, in public believe that the biggest threat to U.S. is not Iran or its President, but Israeli and its supporters in the united states.
Amajenidan is wront about the Holocaust, and rediculously so, and completely correct about the origins of Israel and its terrorists activities in general. How do people like Schultz become openly engaged in un-american, pro-israeli propaganda is an urgent mystery to us all.

Posted by: drisco14 | September 30, 2009 1:36 AM
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The American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are going so well, indeed, why not make it three? The two quagmires the US cannot get itself out of now will pale in comparison to an act of aggression against Iran.

You'd think Pakistan would have provided a lesson in this regard... the US pushed Musharraf (flawed though he was) too far, and now he has been replaced by a leadership group we will ultimately be significantly less comfortable with than the last.

Before making the horrendous mistake of removing (or causing the removal of) a leader you like so little, first ask yourself "Who will replace him?"

The Al-Maliki and Karzai "governments" will collapse as soon as Western lives stop being spent in their support. Ultimately, we may face a leader in Iraq that is more hostile (and dangerous) to the west than Saddam ever was (the Cheney lies were just that. Iraq never had anything close to WMD's after the first Gulf war).

Nation building is more difficult than your government has lead you to believe. The best way to undermine the hatred much of the Arab world has for America (and the west in general) is to help them. Kandahar is a city of several million people, yet it has no sewage system. Think about life there.

If you want to disarm your enemies, you must help to lift them out of the crushing poverty and desperation in which they live. It won't end aggression overnight, but over decades it can. Violence suits those who have nothing to lose.

Bombing your enemies only ensures a ready supply of martyrs to the cause for generations to come. It isn't as though this nation hasn't tried it, and there is ample proof that it is not a solution.

Posted by: JohnBladen | September 30, 2009 1:24 AM
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I agree with you 100%. And what we need is , MORE double even triple dipping Pentagon rockheads like you in the Media, Academia, Corporate life and in Politics. You know the very same people like my namesake who have us in this State of Collapse.

And We'll need Bigger Planes, too . Maybe we can drop the whole lot of ya off in the Middle Tehran . Ya know, all Machiavelli and Clausewitz like...

Oh an Cap'n Crunch -- did you REALLY use the "chess game" metaphor?
Are you teaching High School Social Studies, too?
Unbelievable, This is what passes for Intellect and "Leadership" in the US?

Posted by: GOP-Nudist-Ideologue-With-Bongo-YouKnow-The-Party-Intellectual | September 30, 2009 1:16 AM
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Wapos propaganda is clearly in action. President Obama needs to shed the neocons and zionists that are currently on his team, as Israel is five steps ahead of Obama. Some of these "Team Obama" members forget they need to serve America, not Israel's interests. The debacle in Iraq is a perfect example, for it sure didn't stop Israel from being attacked by missiles. Israel's apartheid policies, and settlement construction in the occupied territories, all with US tax dollars, must simply stop.

Iran and nukes? Oh , please, enough with this stupid nutty neo-con and kooky American Enterprise Institute (AEI) propaganda. If Iran has nuclear weapons, so what? It's called Mutually Assured Destruction, the same bedrock principle that kept the nuclear peace, because should Iran mess up and let one out to harm the free world, we'd turn their country into a glass parking lot.

So let's not keep this fear and hysteria machine going, let's talk about national health care, not about stupid and illogical scenarios. Iranians don't want to die from nuclear weapons just as much as we do, so stop propagating fear, WaPo.


Posted by: cisconwa | September 30, 2009 1:13 AM
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Someone who doesn't understand tiddly winks should not play high-stakes chess.

Barack Obama, and the people surrounding him, are extreme neophytes and are dangerous to America and to the world.

Posted by: mike85 | September 30, 2009 1:11 AM
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Cpt. Schoultz,
As one who has studied the ME some years past under Mr. RK Ramazani, I understand exactly where you're coming from. Most people here in the US won't get it (unfortunately), but you're right on. Thank you.

Posted by: 1fasthoo | September 30, 2009 12:59 AM
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Sure Mr. Schoultz, it sounds great to take this approach - don't you think everybody does, at least those thinking seriously about the issue? But your comments are so vague and general that they are worthless. Why does anyone consider this type of thing leadership? Leadership isn't about spouting off vague generalities; it is about coming up with concrete workable and successful solutions.

Posted by: harrumph1 | September 29, 2009 11:44 PM
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Chinese know Chess game upside down and right side up. They only use the Pawn, while we are dancing around with Horse(Knight). They save the Rook later. They also have camel, so they know the hardship

Posted by: jayrkay | September 29, 2009 11:02 PM
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Only a fool would go back for a second helping from these war mongers and their weapons of mass destruction hysteria.

Posted by: patrick3 | September 29, 2009 10:21 PM
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If this means clandestine or covert actions, including assassinating people, then forget it. If we put an effective embargo on refined oil products entering Iran, we can squeeze them pretty seriously.
Shut down their driving and let them walk. I imagine the riots we saw several months ago would be nothing. Otherwise, learn to live with a big, bad nation that has no ICBMs, nor, any strategic bomber command, nor any really tested cruise missiles,or short range missiles that can carry an effective kiloton payload. Somehow, we lived with a Red China and a Soviet Union with those enormous capabilities in strategic and tactical nuclear weapons. I think the sense that somehow we will be blown to hell by two or three Iranian missiles is ludicrous.
Let's keep this in perspective.

Posted by: zennhead614wheatland | September 29, 2009 9:58 PM
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I find very interesting the post earlier here that Iranians in large numbers watch and enjoy the Daily Show, which lampoons American government.
I wonder if they can watch this unregulated criticism of a strong country's leaders from within, and not wonder why they can't do the same in their own country without being jailed or killed.

Posted by: kls1 | September 29, 2009 9:34 PM
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Ahmedinejad is not the issue. The Revolutionary Guard is. Even though he was once in the guard, the Iranian President is merely a front for an organization that is separate from and better trained and equipped than Iran's army, controls the country's most powerful weapons (including nuke programs) and, perhaps most troubling, is knee deep in oil development and construction contracts. Cloaked by the Revolution, these guys are beyond Islam even as they enforce it. The question is, who's controlling them? It isn't Ahmedinejad or Khamenei.

Posted by: rogied25 | September 29, 2009 9:27 PM
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"It is clearly better to be feared than to be loved in this case - being loved appears not to be an option anyway."

Really?

I have great faith in the Iranian people.

It is their nation.

Ahmedinejad is more their problem, than ours.

Fear is the last thing I would want the Iranian people to feel towards the US, but given our history there, I would guess, their sentiment is something closer to doubt; at least, the Iranians I have seen interviewed on TV do seem to like the Daily Show. Apparently we still have a few exports of some real value.

Posted by: tmit | September 29, 2009 9:04 PM
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It is clear to anyone who is looking at what is playing out objectively that any change in Iran is going to come internally and not because of external pressure.

Many of the world powers we say will be helpful in pressuring Iran, such as Russia and China, have their own agenda and it does not include alienating Iran. Other nations, such as our staunch NATO allies have no stomoch for a fight they do not see as theirs. They understand we are pressuring Iran as much to placate Israel as to forge any real change in the region, our speeches notwithstanding. They do not have the same attitude toward Jewry and AIPAC does not have the power it has here.

And, last but not least, the United States of America is ill prepared and woefully undrmanned and underequipped to conduct any large scale military operation in Iran. In case anyone hasn't noticed we have shrunk our armed forces since the fall of the Soviet Union and today are not capable of projecting power on a sustained basis.

Stop the saber rattling and start an all out campaign to foment regime change from within. It may take ten years, but it will beat sending a half million American into Iran to occupy if for a decade and end up being considered aggressors and occupiers by the Arab and Muslim worlds.

Posted by: bobfbell | September 29, 2009 8:53 PM
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I am amazed as so much focus on Iran while really bad guys in Pakistan keep getting billions of dollars in aid from US. It is known that Pakistan has had a real nuclear bazzar centerd on A. Q. Khan but clearly aided by the state. Pakistan sponsors trains terrorist outfits like the LeT, Taliban and Al-Queda. yet we declare them as our allies and keep funding them; their former dictator himself admitted that he diverted much of the USAid against India. Next is Saudi Arabia which funds all the Madarassahs around the world where hate is taught. When shall we take the real source of terrorism and not waste time as we have on Iraq and now on Iran?

Posted by: kst2 | September 29, 2009 8:50 PM
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After our rush to judgment in Iraq with the WMD's, many Americans have become skeptical about intelligence reports. Either right or wrong people are tired of confronting an 'enemy' everytime we turn our backs. It seems we are going from one war zone to another.

When is it going to stop and allow our children to come home and help all of us live free? I believe we have not allowed the UN to take the lead they should and we act as a support system for their efforts. Our intelligence does not require us to be 'on site' in order to decipher the inordinate. We have the agencies, personnel and ancillary support systems, with allied help that we should be able to assist each other with information gathering. By the way Captain, when you are through with your duties, Hollywood might have a place for you. Not gay but I wish I had some of your looks.

Posted by: jakesfriend1 | September 29, 2009 8:29 PM
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Enrichment Chapter; xref: "extra credit" in textbooks who has known.

http://web.me.com/welcome.perfect/End_of_September/Dear_Michael_.html

It's all my fault [jet 19:53] for being so slow to diagnose [sound]...

Posted by: randomsample | September 29, 2009 7:54 PM
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We should just stand off their coastline a bomb/shell them into submission. Take your time, carefully take out the nuke facilities first, then the selected power plants, military targets, various kinds of infrastructure, ....while keeping the civilian losses to an absolute minimum. Don't send in ground troops. If they want us to stop, demand unconditional surrender with all of their leaders placed in jail, pending possible trial. They have "played us" and "baited us" for years. Their leadership organization needs to be taken apart with min. loss of life. If there is a revolt in the country, don't stop until we're completely satisfied that all of the bad guys are in our control Enough fooling around.

Posted by: richard36 | September 29, 2009 7:34 PM
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We should just stand off their coastline a bomb/shell them into submission. Take your time, carefully take out the nuke facilities first, then the selected power plants, military targets, various kinds of infrastructure, ....while keeping the civilian losses to an absolute minimum. Don't send in ground troops. If they want us to stop, demand unconditional surrender with all of their leaders placed in jail, pending possible trial. They have "played us" and "baited us" for years. Their leadership organization needs to be taken apart with min. loss of life. If there is a revolt in the country, don't stop until we're completely satisfied that all of the bad guys are in our control Enough fooling around.

Posted by: richard36 | September 29, 2009 7:30 PM
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Iran is no more "menacing" than Israel...
Iran does not practice APARTHEID. Israel does. Israel HAS nukes. Iran should have nukes...


Posted by: demtse | September 29, 2009 7:24 PM
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Speaking of Clausewitz, what is your political will? Your moral, as if it would mean anything, sounds more like arrogance. You are not even an ugly american.

Posted by: uzs106 | September 29, 2009 7:05 PM
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How does one deal with a clever and menacing adversary...?

The best plan is to develop powerful weapons. This is what Iran is doing.

Posted by: observer100 | September 29, 2009 6:49 PM
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This should be easy.

We say no nuclear weapons for Iran.

The Iranians say they have no desire for nuclear weapons.

Just get them to agree to that is writing and allow inspections.

Again.

Make it a UN matter.

If they really wanted a war and expected to fight, they would be self sufficient in galsoline. The fact that they are not means they really do not expect a war. Not that it will not happen. But it is not their plan. If so, it is not obvious.

Posted by: gary4books | September 29, 2009 6:19 PM
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I am not a military strategist and really do not know how to tackle IranĀ“s pre-nuclear challenge, however, dealing with Hugo Chavez in Venezuela is extremely easy: 90% of Chavez government income is derived from oil exports and the US is by far the largest buyer. Venezuelan oil is low grade and requires processing that few refineries can hadle. Venezuela sells more than 35% of its oil production to the USA. USA refinieries are in many cases specially designed to refine this heavy sulphorous oil. Therefore if the US government shuts down venezuelan oil imports - be it for two to six months- Chavez will fall. Its that easy. However Chavez is aware of this situation and is moving towards the construction of foreign refineries - China, Italy and others - to pre empt the possible US move. It is extremely easy to deal with him now, maybe not so easy latter.

Posted by: velezs | September 29, 2009 6:09 PM
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With so many military strategists in our midst, it's a wonder that we ever find ourselves in wars that never should have taken place, conflicts without end, or chess games with despots. Why do we employ military advisors, a Dept. of Defense, or even a military? All of our best military strategists are right here, on the WAPO comment section!

Thank you, Capt. Shoultz, for your insight. It IS a chessgame, with a despot who cannot be trusted, who has seized control of a country that has been through many conflicts in the past, and should not have to be forced into another due to the insanity of their "leader". We should proceed with all caution, and I think that Obama is absolutely doing the right thing by confronting Ahmedinejad, imposing sanctions, whether or not they are effective, and finding ways to achieve our goals. Military action should be reserved for the last resort.

"Unfortuneately the Obama administration has decided to more or less gut the CIA and allow our forgein intelligence gathering to take place via the Department of Justice." This is BS - stop making things up.

Posted by: borntorun45 | September 29, 2009 5:36 PM
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The Iranian military are nowhere near as strong as the Iraqui military was under Saddam Hussain. Out navel forces in the mid-east can defeat them without loss of plane or personnel. Once the Iranian people know for sure that we are coming they will either get rid of their theocracy or die. They have to be tested. Let's see if they pass the test.

Posted by: joegeshel | September 29, 2009 5:34 PM
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This is not a "high stakes chess game". It a baffoon against a coward. Neither can be considered a chessplayer. As the baffoon from Iran continues to bolster his bravado with nuclear weapons and threats to exterminate Isreal, we the United States of America, stand by with hapless leadership. We should counter his moves with decisive moves. Move the sixth fleet near by and tell Iran that they have until a date certain to stop the nuclear development or we will eliminate Iran. Democrats like timelines so Obama should give Iran and the Democrats a timeline to eliminate their nuclear development and the Democrats cowardly run and hide politics. Then, and only then will this make believe "chess game" end. Either by resignation or by checkmate. Now you all know. There is no other answer. Don't waste time looking for one. A Muslim theocracy cannot be reasonable so don't anyone ever think otherwise. If you do you will show your ignorance to reality.

Posted by: joegeshel | September 29, 2009 5:13 PM
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Why does Captain Bob Schoultz have to post his picture? Because it is no longer about the news, it is about self promotion.

Posted by: roubaix | September 29, 2009 5:02 PM
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Today CNN ran a story about Israeli War Crimes in Gaza. But, it's already been barried. Bottom line, any responsible Iranian leader will develop nukes as quickly as possible. Israel has 200 plus nukes and American forces are camped out in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is little to stop an invading force except a WMD arsenal. Once Israel pushes out or exterminates the Palestinians to acquire more land for settlements, she may very well set her sights on taking more land from Arab states across the Middle East. Compliments of her military might supplied principally by the USA. Iran needs a nuclear deterrent to protect herself. To say otherwise is to deny reality.


Posted by: magnifco1000 | September 29, 2009 4:20 PM
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My question wouldn't be about Achmadinejad's intentions, it would be about his character. He lives in the shadow of the Ayatollahs -- but is he really their puppet? What's been the effect of that embarrasing election on his attitude towards his own people? Is he suspicious to the point of paranoia?

Posted by: Samson151 | September 29, 2009 4:20 PM
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I would like to ask Professor Shoultz what he thinks about Anne Applebaum's suggestion in the Post today, that if we really want to frighten Ahmedinejad, we should annouce that we will fully support and fund all efforts to strengthen Iran's internal democratic opposition, which will end up with the downfall of the tiny clique of retrograde religious fanatics that currently rule the country. She made the point that the regime and its mullahs fear this--and this alone--rather than some less than meaningful tariffs on tomatoes and the like.

Posted by: corbinbrooks | September 29, 2009 4:07 PM
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douglas.robie@yahoo.com

Posted by: douglasrobie | September 29, 2009 3:53 PM
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brillant, genius, I wish I could ask you one question.

Posted by: douglasrobie | September 29, 2009 3:36 PM
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Sorry we cannot take out their nukes. This country no longer has the you know what. We'll be nice to them and they'll be nice to US! Can't we all just get along? Our president will talk to their president, as he promised, and we will have world peace! Get on board and come on in for the big win!

Posted by: dino22 | September 29, 2009 3:36 PM
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"Iran never threaten anyone. ,,,, share those drugs genius. Iran's Ahmadinejad issues new threats against Israel, U.S. ,,,, Sep 23, 2007 ... On the eve of his trip to New York City, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stood before a banner blaring "Death to America" and declared ... In a menacing move, Ahmadinejad's military henchmen said the medium-range missiles could reach Israel and U.S. bases in the Gulf.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/us_world/2007/09/23/2007-09-23_irans_ahmadinejad_issues_new_threats_aga.html#ixzz0SWeeM4Sk

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/us_world/2007/09/23/2007-09-23_irans_ahmadinejad_issues_new_threats_aga.html

Posted by: dino22 | September 29, 2009 3:31 PM
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zippyspeed wrote:

"If Israel does have nukes"

Your point was well taken, but then you went the same way as your so-called 'dictator apologist' went.

Israel does have nukes. You lose credibility with statements like the one you made. Use facts the next time.

Posted by: hamptontonyc | September 29, 2009 3:19 PM
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Sorry...meaningless babble! I say take out their nuclear labs, buildings and plants. Yes, they will try to rebuild but before they do we hope the pro Democracy people have taken over the country.

Posted by: Revcain777 | September 29, 2009 3:11 PM
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I think that the important thing to remember is that the Iranians have read us right. The American people don't have the will to win, they are too cowardly frankly. Look at the public outcry about Afghanistan.

The best way to 'win' is to topple the current Iranian government. The best way to do this is through crippling sanctions. If unemployment in Iran amongst young people is 40%, sanctions could push this up to 60%. That will create internal instability and hopefully topple the regime.

Unfortuneately the Obama administration has decided to more or less gut the CIA and allow our forgein intelligence gathering to take place via the Department of Justice. This is unfortunate because a real and actually covert effort (now completely impossible by the way) would help speed along the effect of sanctions in toppling the current government. Of course the American people are too focused on sins of the past rather than moving forward on something like this.

One thing we could do like the author says is keep information flowing in Iran outside of the control of the government. That to my mind is a good idea but is at best a half step given our timeline of 2 to 3 years.

Posted by: DCDave11 | September 29, 2009 3:04 PM
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". . .and manipulate the environment to meet their own limited, selfish, short-term objectives at our expense."
He is speaking, of course, of Wall Street bankers, traders, oil speculators, Madoffs and the other white-collar thugs who drove our economy into the ditch and floated away on their solid-gold parachutes to their multi-million dollar island beach houses and Swiss chalets.

Posted by: ctenwith | September 29, 2009 2:53 PM
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"Iran never threaten anyone. The countries the world should be afraid of are Israel and US. US invaded a country for no reason but to suck their oil. Israel the real terrorist nation is terrorizing the whole world and still no one can talk.
Iran has the right to build Nuke. and if you want Iran not to build it, Israel should get rid of all its nukes too.
DOUBLE STANDARDS
Look at history, who is aggressor???"

__________________

One of the reasons posting at the Post is so tedious is the dictator apologists like the above poster. Iran never threatened anyone? Really? Maybe - MAYBE - if you take an extremely narrow and hypertechnical view of the regime that excludes all of its terrorist proxies, like Hezbollah. This is, of course, what Iran wants you to do -- go after the puppet while the puppetmaster remains immune. Iranian weapons and agents have also been caught in attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq, to say nothing of Iran invading the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and holding hostages for years. The U.S. embassy is -- was -- American soil. That's aggression.

The mere mention of Israel is usually enough to get the Iran apologists leaping at their own shadows and spinning around looking for Zionists in their closets, but history is pretty clear that Israel has been repeatedly attacked, rather than been the aggressor. If Israel does have nukes, they are obviously for defensive use only to ward off the enormous Arab countries surrounding that tiny sliver of land. Equating nuclear weapons owned by a militant Islamic regime that believes the apocalypse will bring back the Hidden Iman (and that used children in human wave attacks against Iraq) with those held as a final defense by the Middle East's one actual democracy is so wrong as to be comical. Iran must not get nukes, because UNLIKE Israel, Iran will use them.

Posted by: zippyspeed | September 29, 2009 2:17 PM
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There are far more urgent threats to the US than Iran.

I concede that Iran represents a threat to Israel's tactical dominence of the middle east.

We're in a chess game all right, but Israel is the one making the moves--which is not the way it should be. We should not be afraid to stand up for our own strategic interests when they run counter to those of Israel.

We can't afford a war with Iran. If we don't get our economic act together, we'll be a third world country in 20 years. We really need to focus on raising academic standards, encouraging entrepenurship, etc -- objectives that would cost far less than what we throw away on major weapons systems.

We should strongly encourage Israel to make friends with Iran and take our chess game to China.

Posted by: jlhistory | September 29, 2009 2:16 PM
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I am baffled by the vigor display here by one who still can not differentiate between fantasy and reality but still dares to drop by to comment specially on subjects of world affairs.

The WP ought to moderate and restrict these posters in order to eliminate waste.

Not to stray from the subject on hand, "I doubt that sanctions will impress Ahmedinejad, nor do I believe threats will have the desired impact; instead they will help him posture himself as standing up to "the Great Satan." I would seek to achieve our objectives outside the public eye, unless we see it to our long-term advantage to create a moral or political stand-off. I don't see this as a choice between bold or patient, or between tough or accommodating, but rather a challenge to find imaginative ways to be all of these things."

I find Captain Schoultz above comment sound and intelligent.
The dialogue takes precedence with the country of Iran. The Iranian government as well as people do not get intimidated at all by all the rhetoric coming from Western capitals and actually would welcome more sanctions as a better way to get innovated and rid themselves of dependency on west to a much less scale.

Faramarz Fathi

Posted by: frft5 | September 29, 2009 2:04 PM
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Yes and the information we need to have delivered outside the public eye is a quiet note slipped to Ahmedinejad during one of his next eight hour diatribes that reads:

Dear glorious leader Brother Ahmedinejad....Israel has just eliminated our nuclear facilities ....everyone of them... Our brave revolutionary brothers in the noble Iranian motherland air force fought bravely.... May their souls rest in Heaven...how shall we begin the recruitment process for a new air force...

Posted by: msmithnv | September 29, 2009 12:52 PM
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Iran never threaten anyone. The countries the world should be afraid of are Israel and US. US invaded a country for no reason but to suck their oil. Israel the real terrorist nation is terrorizing the whole world and still no one can talk.
Iran has the right to build Nuke. and if you want Iran not to build it, Israel should get rid of all its nukes too.
DOUBLE STANDARDS
Look at history, who is aggressor???

Posted by: simonbm | September 29, 2009 12:45 PM
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Okay so long as "information warfare" means information and not lies and propaganda. And so long as the internet means uncensored transmission of opinions and information. But of course that's not what's meant. "Information warfare" equals "psyops" and "internet" means "government-issue news, opinion and obfuscation." Both techniques are used not to find agreement but to "win" a war of words. Such behavior has little to do with real negotiation which would "meet our long-term objectives with .... Iran." The chess analogy is grossly insufficent to the need because it is over-simple, depending more on cleverness than on substantive content.

Posted by: jeangerard1 | September 29, 2009 12:36 PM
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