Monday, December 03, 2007

They hate us, our freedom, our values etc*

Or maybe not. The Key Judgments section of the new National Intelligence Estimate on Iran ("Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities") is out. This is the bit of the overall classified document that George Bush used to selectively leak. It was clear something was up when the White House rushed out a defensive-sounding statement about it without any link to the actual document -- which is moderate and restrained. Here is perhaps the biggest problem for the White House:

Our assessment that Iran halted the program in 2003 primarily in response to international pressure indicates Tehran’s decisions are guided by a cost-benefit approach rather than a rush to a weapon irrespective of the political, economic, and military costs.

So after all the talk about hidden Imams and crazy Presidents, the Iranians turn out to be policymakers who do some rational calculations. More so than the specific status of nuclear weapons development in Iran, this undercuts the entire philosophy that has driven US policy towards Iran -- that they are inherently unbalanced and dangerous.

No comments: