Carrots and Sticks


First, it was the letter; the one from Dr. Ahmadinejad.  Then, it was Condi Rice telling her boss: unless we engage ourselves to direct talks with Iranians, the great coalition we worked so hard to keep in tact will collapse.  It followed by the Security Council deciding to postpone the issue for two weeks.  Finally EU put together a package of incentives and punishments for Iran, but it could not deliver it until Ms. Rice made her historical announcement for a preconditioned direct talk with the government of Iran.  I guess, now is the time for Tehran-Jeles Media to ask for a bonus!


The fundamental question to ask is whether Bush was right in labeling the government of Iran an axis of Evil for sponsoring terrorism.  If yes, what made this administration change heart for direct talk with an axis of evil?  The precondition has nothing to do with terrorism.  I doubt the package would have anything remotely related to terrorism either.  So if Bush and his gang of warmongers are sincere in their offer, and mullahs take it, there will be only one logical conclusion:  The arrogant Bush is willing to talk to terrorists to deprive a nation from its right to a peaceful technology.  It would also mean he is losing the war on terror!


However, this administration is neither sincere nor credible.  It has already kept a terrorist group in his arsenal to use against Iranian people.  It has violated its own constitutional treaty under Algiers Accord that requires America not to interfere in Iran’s internal affair, by funding different opposition groups.  It is beyond belief that Bush invited Amir Taheri, the notorious journalist, as an EXPERT to White House right after he was found fabricating a story to provoke religious outrage against Iran.  So there is no truth in his willing to talk to Iranian government, nor should you expect anything meaningful in the offer.  Bush being responsible for more harm than service, failed his imperialistic agenda in religious terms of good and evil.  But let’s examine the package.


Since the package is often called the Carrot and Stick approach, let’s examine this motivational tool for behavioral modification.  In management of human behavior, most corporations apply this method to maximize employees’ productivity.  However, this application is, more often than not, a total failure.  The reason is simple, but hardly ever noticed.  The carrot and stick method is designed to modify the ANIMAL behavior, and NOT that of human beings. 


Here are the basic elements of this method.  A trainer would teach an animal to perform a certain task.  The more the animal performs the task to trainer’s satisfaction, the more it will be rewarded by carrots.  On the contrary, the more the animal disobeys the trainer, the more it will be punished by a stick.  When this method is repeated long enough, the animal will perform the task to avoid the pain, and enjoy the carrot.  The precondition is the expectation from the trainer to make sure the task is realistically attainable.  In other words, the trainer cannot expect a rabbit to pull out the same weight as a donkey or the latter to be as fast as the former!


Since people are different, their reaction to carrot and stick method of behavioral modification is not the same as animals.  For example, an animal cares less how the trainer treats other animals for the same performance, but an employee is not only very sensitive to discrimination, but also, and strangely enough, expects special privileges for the same performance.  The reason is nothing except it is he/she who does it!  In other words; equal opportunity is nice, but almost everyone is at least a little bit more equal than others!  Furthermore, numerous studies have shown that money (carrot) is not necessarily a good motivator, and, to a lesser degree, the fear of losing the job (stick) would not mute complaints.


Having said that, it is not baffling why a handful of world powers treat the rest of the world leaders as their employees, but it is indeed mind boggling to note how they run a world they think is theirs!  Regardless of complicated equations in international relations, the whole picture seems to be messed up by either a conspiring design or unintelligent arrogance at best.  People are not animals, and even puppet regimes know it better than their wishful thinking masters.  What behavioral science has deduced from animal experiments in twentieth century is outdated, and cannot be applied to people who have already freed their mind sets from the old set of imperialistic rules. 


The package of incentives offered to Iran, for suspending its uranium enrichment program, is insulting to a free nation to begin with.  Regardless of the incentives offered and sanctions devised in this package, the carrot and stick approach, by its very nature, treats a free nation in terms of master/slave relationship in the international community.  It does not come from a community where members help each other for a common goal, but rather a club or even worst a cult where you must give up your rights to become a subservient to privileged members.  The cult leader, then, would have to deliver a ceremonial harangue to offer a preconditioned direct talk as if it is a sacred blessing!


Iran, having the upper hand for legitimacy, pauses to be gracious.  Otherwise, why shouldn’t she use the same concept and set a precondition for direct talk with the U.S.?  That is to precondition direct talk asking America to abandon its nuclear arsenal, and have it verified by an international community that is influenced by Iranian government!  The objective basis of this precondition is well documented that in terms of international behavior, Iran has not invaded a single country for the life of the U.S. history.  Not only America cannot make such a claim, but it is the only country that has ever used a nuclear bomb against innocent people.  Furthermore, why should Iran trust America where the latter fails to live up to its own obligations?  The rest is simply a matter of arrogance and baseless arguments.


The only legitimate concern of the so called international community is a nuclear arm race in the region, but it is not flawless.  First off, it is yet to be seen if Iran is indeed seeking nuclear arms.  Then, if it is a regional issue, it should be dealt with by interested regional states, and not by the U.S. or EU.  What is the legitimate basis of five veto power members of the Security Council or EU for their right to decide the fate of other nations?  The answer is simple!  None; there is no legitimacy except for them sharing a common devil; The Nuclear Power at the time of writing the charter.  It is true that other nations, namely Israel, India and Pakistan have developed their own atomic bombs later, but it was too late for them to negotiate a veto power status.  However, the very existence of their nuclear arsenal has brought them a privileged status.  What happened to the carrot and stick approach?!  India is neither a signatory to NPT nor she has abandoned its military arsenal of nuclear warheads.  But Bush loudly rewards her!  Again, is it a conspiring design or unintelligent arrogance?


There is absolutely no meaningful approach to this issue at all.  No one is concerned about Iran’s inalienable rights to a peaceful technology.  There is absolutely no interest in a feasible and intelligent procedure to make sure Iran’s nuclear technology would not be diverted to military use.  It is the same scheme Bush and Co. used for invading Iraq.  This time, however, God does not bless it.  It is left up to the Security Council that includes Evil members like Russia and China!  Any attack on Iran is a prerequisite to the World War III that would also push Iran to withdraw from NPT, and seek the devil for deterrent purposes.


I thank a Christian fellow who commented on my previous article Trouble Makers by quoting from an old song "There ain't no good guys, There ain't no bad guys, It's just you and me and We just disagree".  He then follows it by his own opinion “However, I do believe there are bad guys who fly planes into buildings, bad guys who blow themselves up with the purpose to kill as many innocent civilians as possible, bad guys who promote genocide and leaders who promote a war based on lies.”   You can trace the footprints of a transformation from a simple minded lyric to a down to earth observation of the reality of our time that when it comes to warmongers and terrorists; it is not “just you and me” and "There ain't no good guys”.   “We (may) just disagree" but it is others.  I mean the “bad ones” who take different shape and forms and harm innocent civilians who are no party to their fight.  No good guy will start a war for peace.  History has taught us time and again that neither force nor killing will bring about peace.


Let me put it more bluntly.  What is the fundamental difference between Bush and his cabal of warmongers on one side, and Ben Laden and his gang of terrorists on the other side?  Please don’t fall for the “intention” trap of collateral damage; and certainly not the “greater good” crap.  Bush’s unintelligent arrogance fuels the flame of hatred against a superpower accountable to no one.


All bad guys, however, are not created equal.  There is a big difference between warmongers who conspire for profit and/or self interest, and oppressed young individuals who see no way out, but the path of terror.  I have to repeat myself: The taller the wall of force, the more terrorism is justified.  Almost every single terrorist is a natural byproduct of “shock and awe” and militarism.  The insurgency in Iraq is no different than IRA in Ireland.  The September 11 tragedy is no excuse.  There have been terrorist acts all over the places all the time.  Let me ask a simple question from my fellow Americans.  What would you do, if an invader destroys your home; kills your spouse, and your children?  What does your little kid do when he grows up, if he survives the horror instead of you?  Terrorists are helpless innocent people like you and I who are forced into committing suicide.  By supporting warmongers and falling in their maze of traps, you and I make them terrorists; BAD GUYS! 



Mohamad Purqurian

June 6, 2006