Amongst all of the various news reports, opinion pieces, blog posts on the 15 British Marines, who are currently being held in Iran, I have to say that Victor Davis Hanson seems to hit the nail on the nail-head with this post over at the Corner. Here's a sample:
Since 9/11 we have been lectured on the advantages of "soft" power, especially in the context of the economic engine of the EU used for moral purposes. But if the Europe Union is still extending trade credits to a belligerent that has committed an act of piracy against a fellow member, then there is neither soft or hard power, but no power at all.It'd be nice if a lot of the leaders in the West would find some time to read VDH's wonderful thoughts or at leat have a "What would Truman, Churchill, Thatcher or Reagan do?" moment instead of hawking "time for diplomacy" shibboleths that is interpreted as a sign of weakness.
In the context of the 300, we can now resurrect an old word from Herodotus—"Medize"—to describe modern Western states' capitulation to and accommodation with autocratic Persia.Since Ahmadinejad cut his teeth on hostage-taking, we should remember how that mess finally ended—with the assumption of office by Ronald Reagan, whom the clerics apparently feared was crazy enough to bomb them. So to get the hostages released, will it take some announcement from a would-be Prime Minister that the "matter will end" when he or she takes over? Probably not. This "incident" has proved a multilateral trifecta: a patrol sanctioned by the U.N. gets no support from the U.N., a member of the EU is left hanging in the interest of EU trade, a NATO member finds no NATO allies, other than the U.S., to offer support. So what is the purpose of these alphabetic organizations? Perhaps Ahmadinejad should start holding seminars, Henry Kissinger style, to instruct the Islamic world on how to deal with the West, given his instincts that Western rhetoric is in inverse proportion to Western willingness to stand up for a principle.
*This perception is driven further into the minds of dictators in the Middle East with Speaker Pelosi playing a game of shuttle diplomacy with Syria. Now I realize that direct talking /diplomacy is a preferred and less dangerous option but such is best practiced by the White House and the State Department(They're granted this role in the Constitution), who at the moment refuse to meet with Assad as long as his regime supports terrorism and continues to undermine the government of Lebanon. As I said above, you can't have conflicting stances on foreign policy and expect the dictators in the Middle East to take us serious or see us as a strong power. These dictators and their "brothers in arms" are playing for keeps.