Monday, January 07, 2008
You Cannot Wrestle a Dove
Given the timing of the naval near-miss in relation to Iran's electoral calendar - parliamentary elections are slated for March 14 - I would be remiss if I failed to mention that on this blog a few weeks back, I speculated that Ahmadinejad might be inclined to stoke confrontation with the US (if mostly rhetorical/symbolic) in the ensuing weeks in order to bolster his flagging political prospects (as he has done several times in the past to great effect). The follow up question to that speculation was whether the Bush administration would oblige by playing their part in the ploy for heightened tensions sought by Ahmadinejad.
Which brings me to Juan Cole's read of the event:
That is, unless Bush administration officials concluded that it was intentional provocation from certain factions within Tehran seeking a more bellicose reaction on our part; factions that are pursuing goals that don't necessarily coincide with our interests. That would be a refreshing break from the pattern.
The US says it won't protest the incident, which means that they concur it wasn't an intentional provocation from Tehran.