April 02, 2007

Change the Time

Strategy Page notes time is on Iran's side when it comes to the hostage situation. This is a familiar metaphor that I've always found best answered by changing the timing and pacing of the crisis.

If a slow bleed is in Iran's interest, the UK might be best served by simply announcing a date by which they would be marked down as KIA and proceeding with a response on that basis. Do not negotiate for the hostages release after that deadline with the current regime. Yes, it's really cold, awful to just write them off as dead but it radically alters the timing and changes their execution date from something Iran controls to something the UK controls from a geopolitic/diplomatic perspective. It ruins Iran's strategy and thus paradoxically makes it less likely that they will actually be physically executed. After all, what's the point? Somebody else might come to power later in the UK that would negotiate for their release so why kill them?

The US could best serve its ally by releasing a statement the same day honoring the UK's decision and acting on that basis, asking all other allies to keep to the same line. Win or lose the entire dynamic of islamist attempts to humiliate the West change. Hostages lose their death value when we "kill" them first. The only value they have left is being returned alive and in good shape and that is exactly as we should want it.

Posted by TMLutas at April 2, 2007 11:47 AM