Monday, August 15, 2005

"Stop! Or I'll say stop again!"

See, here's the thing I don't get. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, in an apparent response to a comment by President Bush with respect to military force against Iran as a result of Iran's attempts to get nuclear weapons, stated, "Let's take the military option off the table. We have seen it doesn't work."

The military option can never actually be taken off the table. Not because you want to use it, but because that's the whole impetus for negotiating. Diplomacy works because at the end of the day, the implicit threat is there: "If you don't negotiate with me, then I'm going to force you to do the right thing, so you might as well talk now and maybe cut yourself a better deal than you'll get after I defeat you militarily and I make you do everything I want."

Without the implicit possibility of force, there is no reason to negotiate. Why should Iran cease the pursuit of nuclear weapons? Because Germany will be very cross with them? Oh, horror. No, it has to be because in the back of the leaders minds is the possibility, however, remote, that maybe there will be real repercussions if they pursue these weapons.

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