So, the British soldiers were released yesterday. Did we think they wouldn't be? Unlike our leadership, President Ahmendinejad understands nuance. Now don't get me wrong, Ahmedinejad is just as poor a president as ours, and about the same number of his people think he's an idiot as ours do of Bush, but Ahmedinejad has something Bush will never have. He has the experience of a 5000 year old culture behind him and all that goes with it.
Ahmedinejad, whether he ordered the snatch or not, was smart once he had them. He allowed the situation to become tense, so it was a front page story, paraded the prisoners before the cameras (always looking well-treated) long enough to get the war hawks here and in Britan worked into a frothing frenzy. If you've glanced at any right wing blog over the past week and a half, you'll know what I'm talking about. There were calls for nuking Iran, tactical bombing at the very least, there were calls to court martial the Brits, who did not go down fighting as opposed to 'letting' themselves be captured. They were all harkening back to 1979, predicting another 'hostage crisis', no doubt brought on by our own President referring to the captured Brits as 'hostages'.
And then Ahmedinejad let them go. Heh ... you gotta admire it. Big win for Iran.
1. The Brits were treated well and with respect. The world knows what we have done with our prisoners.
2. If you listen to their apologies they were no doubt coerced to give, and were no doubt scripted by the Iranians, you'll notice the only 'apology' given was for entering Iranian territory. They were not forced to malign Britain, or the U.S. for that matter.
3. The Iranians used the opportunity to show the world they can negotiate in good faith and are amicable to negotiations, something the Bush administration and their 'client states' have proven over and over they are not willing to do. Not the mark of a nation that is part of the 'Axis of Eeeeeevil'.
4. By taking the high road, Ahmedinejad now has more ammunition with which to thumb his nose at the world. He can also compare himself to Bush and come up smelling like a rose.
There is no way Blair or Bush can claim victory from this. There is no way to spin it that will make it look as if the Iranians caved under pressure. Our clumsy 'point of a gun' foreign policy has failed us once again and the entire world has seen it. We and the British look obtuse and inept, and that plays perfectly into Ahmendinejad's hands. I'll wager his popularity polling in Iran got a big boost.
We have a lot to learn when dealing with the Islamic world and the main thing would be to understand these are old, proud societies. They've been around far longer than we have and will be around after the U.S. of A. is long gone. They've had armies march across their land for millennia and they're still there. They'll do with us what they've always done, they'll out-wait us. Maybe now the people on the right in this country will realize that history didn't begin with World War Two, and might take a look at a history book before they whet their appetite for Imperialistic conquest.
My mother told me something a long time ago. You can catch more bees with honey ...