The Threat of Force as a legitimate part of the tool box has crawled out from under the mountain of spin that practically smothered coercive diplomacy on Iran.
It happened after the containment argument replaced the anti-sanctions argument as the flavor of the month – when former senior Administration official Dennis Ross and a think-tank colleague dared to write in a Washington Post op-ed that:
“the supreme leader must be made to feel that when the United States says the time for diplomacy is running out, we mean it — and that the consequence is likely to be the use of force.”
Of course, all hell broke loose in the blogosphere the moment the Ross piece saw the light of day – everything from reasoned counter-arguments to nasty tweets (we’ll spare you).
Too late. Seems many Iran watchers are thinking along the same lines – most notably IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, who complained that the Agency’s talks with Tehran have been “going around in circles” for some time (Russia and China are reportedly also dissatisfied with Iran).
Then there’s the Israelis. Their conviction on force is reflected wherever you look: from this paper by a former military intelligence head examining attack scenarios, to this IDF-sponsored study determining that Iran “is moving toward the point in which the international community will have no significant immediate-impact preventive tool or other means of leverage to employ except the use of force.”
But as we said, it’s not just Israel. Perhaps the Iranians’ progress in the plutonium route, as well as aggressive nuclear rhetoric coming out of their elections campaign, have clarified to many that diplomacy without a coercive element is a dead-end. The media might want to check it out.