Saturday, March 31, 2007

"I think everyone regrets that this position has arisen. What we want is a way out of it - we want it peacefully and we want it as soon as possible."

So spoke Margaret Beckett today, according to the Beeb.

However I am not so sure that "everyone regrets" this situation. The Iranians certainly took their hostages deliberately, have not backed down, and have taken every opportunity to parade their captives and claim victory.

It's been disgusting how the BBC have alternated screenshots of the servicemen sitting in various poses, including one odious shot of them stuffing their faces with western style food. "eat, eat!", you can almost hear the minders saying.

Mind you, it's always interesting listening in to the Iranian discourse, as the above link to Memri enables. From it we get the old Islamic boilerplate about how the West wants them weak and puny, and is the big bad aggressor; with the twist that terrorist armies have explicit Iranian support and blessing, to put it mildly.

The truth is that Iran is weak and puny, but that is not the West's design. And like weak and puny people they are inclined to behave pathetically, as they did and do habitually in taking hostages, and to seek advantages way beyond their strength, as they do in furtively scrabbling for nuclear weapons. But weak and puny people will cave when pressure is applied, and strong action against them is a magnet for allies- who rather enjoy the spectacle of an idiot exposed.

Which leads me to suspect that in not taking a lead in demanding immediate sanctions from the EU Blair and Beckett have made a craven error. Note how the BBC covers this up nicely. While the Times exposes it faithfully.

Obviously absolute sanctions would just be a first, momentum building event, but they should be in place yesterday, or earlier. "Good" to hear from the BBC that our Euro-friends are standing "shoulder to shoulder" (odious phrase even when Blair said it; rank hypocrisy- and frankly up yours- coming from the EU in the circumstances).

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