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Le Mont de Sisyphe
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Location: Zurich, Switzerland

Je suis beau et intelligent. À part cela, je suis juriste helvète, libéral-conservateur, amateur d'armes, passionné d'histoire et de politique. Je suis libéral et capitaliste convaincu car je pense que c'est cela l'état naturel de l'homme. Je parle le "Schwiizerdütsch" avec un accent zurichois, j'adore la bonne musique, la bière et surtout la femme avec qui je vis.

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Sunday, January 15, 2006

About refining oil and playing soccer with Iran

Vital Perspective has one or two interesting observations on Iran and its vulnerability. Vital Perspective bases itself among others one of Pamelas aka Atlas' recent posts (emphasis by Vital Perspective):
It's time to show some backbone and call Iran's bluff. Iran is playing a game of chicken and is counting on the West's capitulation at the brink.

It's a perception game. Here's the reality: Teheran is a vulnerable, highly unpopular, minority regime. Iran is a net exporter of crude oil, but an importer of refined oil. Iran's economy is highly dependent on the goodwill of the West, which also provides the machinery and manufacturing goods essential for Iran's economy, already suffering from high unemployment. The very mention of economic sanctions would deal a blow to Iran's economy by driving up costs and risk premiums. The West can cripple the Iranian economy, but it doesn't have to.

Here's the key: Iran's regime is also highly dependent on the world for its legitimacy at home. Banning Iran's national soccer team, diplomats and "cultural" missions overseas would be a blow to the regime without harming the people.

Those busy hand-wringing are the same who doubted Syria's departure from Lebanon, Israel's ability to win the war on terror or the fall of communism.

One more thing they forget: it just so happens that Iran might face Security Council action in February, the very month John Bolton, U.S. Ambassador to the UN, assumes the Council's Presidency.
Personnally, I don't really know what to think of the idea to ban Iran's soccer team. Unlike many people, I do not believe that sport should be one of the remaining "sacred areas", to be kept free of politics in any case. Not when dealing with such a deadly serious issue. My concern is that this might turn out to be a boomerang. If I was convinced though that this would help the regime lose its authority at home and, consequently, be the first step towards regime change, I wouldn't see any reason to oppose using sport as a weapon. On the contrary. It's certainly a more human weapon to start with than an F-15.


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