On one level this whole issue between Iran and Britain seems almost laughable. Surely even Ahmadinejad knows that this whole escapade is counter-productive, right? Everyone knows that Iran will release the British sailors and marines eventually. It's just going to take some time. Right?
Yet, when I just look at the whole situation I can see no negatives for Iran in this at all. First, the price of oil is up again, which helps their economy and hurts ours in the west.
Next, they're finding out how much resolve the British have and also, how much resolve other NATO nations and UN Sec. Council nations have. They'd probably want to know how far can they push things without incurring a response that might actually hurt. They're also getting kudos from those who believe the west is a paper tiger and that we lack resolve to take them on.
So far, it seems to me, everything is going swimmingly if you're Ahmadinejad. You might even consider jailing, beating or even executing a hostage just to see what would happen. What would Britain, NATO, the UN do then? My guess is not a whole hell of a lot. Can't risk further "isolating" Iran, can't risk any disruption to the oil supply. Imagine if Venezuela joined Iran in oil-supply retaliation?
We're weak and they know it.