"The Cold War analogy will not work in the Middle East, however, where the West has enemies who are not quite sane. In particular, while they give many signs of bazaar cunning, Iran's ayatollahs are not committed to an ideology of dull materialism. They are instead committed to an apocalyptic religious vision, which with all its heresy (in strict Islamic terms), might actually prefer to trigger international catastrophe, rather than suffer ignominious domestic collapse."
"Selling such an aggressive forward policy to Western electorates, who must pay for it, was never going to be easy. And George Bush essentially failed as salesman, partly through his own incoherence. With Barack Obama, the chances are zero: he would not dream of defending U.S. interests in so decisive a way. At best, for the length of his tenure, we can hope for some puzzled dithering, in which regardless of his own rhetoric he allows U.S. troops to dawdle in theatre, and their actual presence in turn provides some modest deterrent value."
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