...the Islamic Republic is also adept at not saying no. If diplomacy ultimately breaks down, Tehran has a long history of making it appear (sometimes accurately) that the impatient West walked away first--and should be blamed for failure. The perception about who is to blame is critical to the next step -- returning to the United Nations for another resolution imposing more stringent sanctions or endorsing other punitive action. For the United States and its European allies to win backing for meaningful measures -- and not face a Russian or Chinese veto -- Iran must be seen as the guilty party. The shrewd Iranians know that. It's hard to see the Obama administration ordering waves of bombers to strike Iran--or turning a blind eye to an Israeli attack -- without at least trying another round at the United Nations. The last U.N. resolution took a full year to negotiate. The next one could be even tougher.
Wright concludes her piece by offering me a bet: "By July next year, I'll wager that neither Israel nor the United States will have bombed Iran." I, of course, believe that there is a better than 50 percent chance Israel will strike -- not a hundred percent chance -- and I don't believe that the U.S. would strike Iran by this time next year. So it's kind of a loaded bet, but I'll take it anyway, and also I'll probably bet against my own position with my bookie, Irving "The Finger" Kashkowitz. That way, I can't lose, or win, depending on how you look at it. Which reminds me of something someone once told me to describe the personality of Ehud Barak, the Israeli defense minister: "Barak is the kind of guy who plays himself in chess and gets pissed off when he loses." I'm sort of like that, too.
This article available online at: