Monday, December 08, 2008

The easy way or the hard way: Iran's choice

I watched Pres-Elect Obama interviewed by Tom Brokaw on Meet the Press, yesterday. I liked what he was saying about Iran. It sounded well-thought out, clear, and determined.

He laid out very succinctly the way in which Iran is problematic:

"....their development of nuclear weapons would be unacceptable; that their funding of terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah, their threats against Israel are contrary to everything that we believe and what the international community should accept"

He then offered a way of presenting the solution to Iran:

".. a set of carrots and sticks in changing their calculus about how they want to operate."

The carrots:

" In terms of carrots, I think that we can provide economic incentives that would be helpful to a country that, despite being a net oil producer, is under enormous strain, huge inflation, a lot of unemployment problems there. They could benefit from a more open economy and being part of the international economic system. "

The sticks:

"But we also have to focus on the sticks, and one of the main things that diplomacy can accomplish is to help knit together the kind of coalition with China and India and Russia and other countries that now do business with Iran to agree that, in order for us to change Iran's behavior, we may have to heighten up those sanctions, but we are willing to talk to them directly and give them a clear choice, and ultimately let them make a determination in terms of whether they want to do this the hard way or the easy way."

The carrots are carrotty and the sticks are sticketty. He never so much as suggests a military stick. But it's there, implicit in his final statement, which may hint of an option that nobody remotely desires, but still hovers beyond the foreseeable horizon.

According to Wittgenstein, "perspicuity is not tidiness and does not require technical vocabulary. It means to render clear the relationships in a tangle. Simplicity is reached through clear speech and the power of expression reaching its depth of meaning as an unutterable background. It is against this background of silent gesture that language proceeds amidst the ceaseless and bewildering course of events..."

Obama's perspicuity is undeniable: he uses simple words to convey simple and easy to make choices, against an unutterable messy third option. I hope the Iranian regime is listening attentively.


At 8:31 PM EST, Blogger ModernityBlog said...

even in terms of basic English, enough is enough, 8 years of George W Bush mangling nearly every second word that he utters, is too much!

Obama will be a pleasant change, an American President with a fine grasp of English and the capacity to express himself lucidly without butchering the language ala Dubya

don't forget


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