Friday, July 3, 2009

How Will Britain Respond to Iran?

Iran announced today that British embassy staff members would be put on trial for their supposed role in the recent election protests. Attacks on embassies and embassy personnel have occurred at various times throughout history, and usually involved angry mobs. But a deliberate attack by the ruling government of a country can easily be seen as an act of war. In this case the embassy itself was not attacked, but local embassy members were arrested and now will face trial on trumped-up charges.

In years past, such an action by a third-rate power like Iran would never have been tolerated by Great Britain. The Royal Navy would have been dispatched, the Iranians forced to release the prisoners, apologize, and pay an indemnity. Of course the West is now much too civilized to teach rogue nations lessons that might actually have an effect. We can't even hang pirates anymore. So what will the UK do? Will there be any response to this near act of war beyond some diplomatic protests?  I'm not holding my breath waiting.

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