There's a lot of buzz about Iran running test launches of missiles recently. It is said that these missiles can carry a payload of up to a ton and can reach well into Eastern Europe. You can read a news account of it here.
Much of the talk centers on the immediate threat to Israel. The Iranian leadership regularly suggests that the Israelis should be kind enough to shuffle off and die. The Israelis respond that they enjoy living and that they are prepared to take the necessary steps to maintain such a state. Oddly enough, this doesn't come across as friendly banter the same way it does when my friends and I suggest that each other drop dead.
So Israel, long known to have nuclear weapons and missiles and such, is doing its part to rattle sabers. The United Stated is also making noise, all while using the Iranian missiles as a stronger justification for putting missile defense systems in former Communist Bloc nations. Iran, meanwhile, is pointing to all this hostility as justification for continued weapons advancement.
From an objective view point, both sides have as legitimate a reason for their reactions as the other side. This view is very unpopular, because the whole point of taking sides is to be on one side or the other. Failing to pick a side just annoys the ones who have already done so because the game is only fun if everybody plays. Please stick with me, though, because I have an alternate side.
The big threat to the United States used to be the Soviet Union. They collapsed under the weight of pizza and blue jeans. China, the next on the super-power list, learned from observation and immediately began integrating capitalistic principles in the hope that they could do it in a controlled manner and still maintain power. It is easy to see that capitalism is a mighty weapon.
Instead of imposing restrictive economic sanctions on Iran we should go the other way. We will happily sell you everything you could possibly want or need. But wait, there's more! Not only do you get the food, the medicine, and the industrial tooling you wanted but we will throw in, at no extra charge, decadence and a sense of personal entitlement. Now how much would you pay?
If you have a culture that is hostile to your own and you cannot convince them that everybody should get along, there is just one thing to do to ensure the survival of your own culture. You must make their culture into yours. This can be done the hard way, through military strength, or the easy way through friendly persuasion. The United States is a marketing power house. There is no reason why we cannot defeat our enemies through massive advertising.
So, that's my take on the situation. Right now we are not in an armed conflict with Iran. Everybody is probably better off if we keep it that way. That's no reason why we can't start seeping into their culture and eat away at the roots of the problem. After all, operators are standing by.