Fuzzy Strategy on Iran: America’s Threat Credentials Doubted

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America and the Europeans have co-drafted a UN Security Council Resolution with some teeth and have written into the resolution the trigger for economic sanctions against Iran if it fails to cease its nuclear program.
This is serious.
Previously, all John Bolton and Nick Burns had been able to push out of the Security Council was a declaration, which was not binding.
On the military front, Sy Hersh’s sources tell him that we are planning for an invasive hot strike against Iran. My sources do not confirm the Hersh assertion that a strike against Iran will occur this summer but do suggest that there is a great deal of operations/logistics planning underway. My sources also say that if a large scale operation against Iran looked likely, we would see scores of generals in the military elect to resign rather than participate.
Resigning generals may be the canary in the cave if a real Iran strike is genuinely on course.
But let’s just suggest for the moment that there are some serious players in the Bush administration who see the military option as the right course, and others who don’t. At this point, it seems clear that the military option is not one behind which there is consensus in the Bush White House.
That doesn’t leave many options — but it does leave “diplomacy”, or what Bush would call “talk”.
On the diplomatic front, Burns and Bolton are pushing for the imposition of sanctions against Iran — as a way to further isolate Iran in the hope that some players in the Iranian political scene will see that they might tie an end to sanctions as well as potentially normalized relations with and security guarantee from the U.S. to standing down on Iran’s nuclear program.
The problem with the sanctions track is that China and Russia are opposing, and though Europe has drafted the resolution with the U.S., many believe that Japan and Europe will be highly porous in economic flows to Iran. Thus, any sanctions regime has serious implementation flaws, and America may once again find itself (with or without Europe) mostly isolated in an effort to impose unilateral sanctions.
The toxic mix is that Iran believes that America is weak right now and will wilt when oil prices shoot higher, while on the other hand, George Bush intends to make sure that Iran and other nations don’t underestimate American strength and resolve, tilting towards force when he can afford it to demonstrate power.
This mess is looking increasingly like 1914 — when nations fell into war because of ego, attitude, poorly thought strategies regarding basic strategic interests, and miscalculation.
I will write more on this later, but what is clear is that America has a “teeth problem” in its tough diplomacy with Iran. It is using the hype and puffery of potential military action and the new moves in the UN Security Council to help transmit “resolve”, but it’s not enough.
As the prominent foreign minister I sat next to Sunday night said, the economic sanctions path is quite risky because it’s unlikely given our track record with sanctions that we can make them work, particularly against a nation of 70 million people in addition to China and Russia opposing sanctions and high levels of direct investment in Iran from other major economies like Europe and Japan.
The risk, of course, is that if we fail to make sanctions work or fail to scare Iran off its perch using military saber-rattling, then it will see these threats as weak ones — and this may embolden a brinksmanship-prone Iran to advance its pretensions in the region and in world affairs even more aggressively.
But Burns and Bolton are laying track — no doubt about it — and that track may take us back to a military option in the end, and that option, if triggered, could punctuate the end of American primacy in global affairs, particularly if outraged Middle East oil states band together, even in part, with China and Russia in a new, global stand-off regarding global rules, global finance, and the control and management of global strategic resources.
That is what is being gambled here, and it’s important that Bolton and Burns — and their employers — recognize this.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

73 comments on “Fuzzy Strategy on Iran: America’s Threat Credentials Doubted

  1. hydrocodone says:

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  2. Thomas Everett says:

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  4. civitas says:

    “We must acknowedge that Bush wants regime change and figure out how to persuade him that he can have regime change peacefully, if we don’t want to see Iran attacked. I’ve said it before, the only way to remove the contradiction between 1) and 2) above is for Bush to explain clearly to the Iranian people that they can continue their peaceful nuclear program if they only change their government.”
    You’re assuming here that the Iranian people CAN change their government. Since the government control who runs for office, is this really true? Do you think the mullahs or their puppet, which is what Ahmadinejad is, would be peaceully voted out of office?

    Reply

  5. Marcel Cote says:

    “On the diplomatic front, Burns and Bolton are pushing for the imposition of sanctions against Iran…in the hope that some players in the Iranian political scene will see that they might tie…potentially normalized relations with and security guarantee from the U.S. to standing down on Iran’s nuclear program.”
    This is a dead end because: 1) Iran’s nuclear program is a matter of national pride supported by the vast majority of Iranians, as well as their right under the NPT, so they will not “stand down”; and 2) the goal of the Bush administration is regime change, and reaching normalized relations with the help of “some players” on the Iranian political scene falls well short of that goal, nuclear program or not.
    We must acknowedge that Bush wants regime change and figure out how to persuade him that he can have regime change peacefully, if we don’t want to see Iran attacked. I’ve said it before, the only way to remove the contradiction between 1) and 2) above is for Bush to explain clearly to the Iranian people that they can continue their peaceful nuclear program if they only change their government.
    I know this is totally outside the box of what both progressives and neocons are saying, so no one is even hearing my idea. But otherwise we’re just rerunning the same script as last time. A democratic revolution in Iran (like in Ukraine) would be good for everyone, and one way out of confrontation. U.S. policy should be encouraging this in every way possible, including using nuclear development as a “carrot.”

    Reply

  6. blogtricks says:

    The Bush propaganda machine is apparently preparing an encore performance to their IRAQ show.
    —————–
    blogtricks.net: http://www.blogtricks.net
    thebloggerclub.com: http://www.thebloggerclub.com
    —————–

    Reply

  7. leveymg says:

    Re: MEMRI post above.
    Took your GOOGLE suggestion. Here’s part of a Guardian article re same: http://www.guardian.co.uk/elsewhere/journalist/story/0,7792,773258,00.html
    “The reason for Memri’s air of secrecy becomes clearer when we look at the people behind it. The co-founder and president of Memri, and the registered owner of its website, is an Israeli called Yigal Carmon.
    Mr – or rather, Colonel – Carmon spent 22 years in Israeli military intelligence and later served as counter-terrorism adviser to two Israeli prime ministers, Yitzhak Shamir and Yitzhak Rabin.
    Retrieving another now-deleted page from the archives of Memri’s website also throws up a list of its staff. Of the six people named, three – including Col Carmon – are described as having worked for Israeli intelligence.
    Among the other three, one served in the Israeli army’s Northern Command Ordnance Corps, one has an academic background, and the sixth is a former stand-up comedian.
    Col Carmon’s co-founder at Memri is Meyrav Wurmser, who is also director of the centre for Middle East policy at the Indianapolis-based Hudson Institute, which bills itself as “America’s premier source of applied research on enduring policy challenges”.
    The ubiquitous Richard Perle, chairman of the Pentagon’s defence policy board, recently joined Hudson’s board of trustees.”
    Control the translation, indeed, frame the issue.
    What I want to know is, who’s the stand-up comedian? Control the jokes, control the world?

    Reply

  8. km4 says:

    This retort characterizes Cheney as the hypocritical loon he really is !
    Cheney attacks on Russia “incomprehensible”: Kremlin
    Thu May 4, 2006 11:22 AM ET
    MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Kremlin on Thursday rejected as “completely incomprehensible” remarks by Vice President Dick Cheney that Russia was backsliding on democracy and using its vast energy supplies to bully its neighbors.
    “The speech of Mr. Cheney in our opinion is full of a subjective evaluation of us and of the processes that are going on in Russia. The remarks … are completely incomprehensible for us,” said Kremlin deputy spokesman Dmitry Peskov

    Reply

  9. Pissed Off American says:

    “of course it can. The question is, will it? If it wanted to, the US could level Iran with air strikes. Which leaves Iran in a very poor bargaining position. And China and Russia wouldn’t lift a finger, except maybe to try to make deals for whatever oil is left after the US level Iran.”
    Posted by JerryS
    Steve, do you chuckle when you see some of the posters here posting under multible psuedonyms?

    Reply

  10. Carroll says:

    Well since the Israeli tick on the elephants ass has been raised yet again let me say this:
    “No soccer games for you bad Iranians!”
    Courtesy of the soccer naiz John McCain who is neck and neck with Hillary in seeing who can get the fartherest up AIPAC’s ass on the Iran issue.
    S.Res. 436:
    A resolution urging the Federation Internationale de Football Association to prevent persons or groups representing the Islamic Republic of Iran from participating in sanctioned soccer matches. (Introduced; Apr 6, 2006)
    Introduced by McCain, co-sponsored by the usual Israeli firsters in our suppose to be “US” congress and based on how mean Iran has “talked” about poor little already nuked up Israel who has only been screaming and scheming for the US to attack Iran for 14 years. Now isn’t this a grown-up, dignified, statemans like, democracy promoting, thing to do?
    Then tonight, according to the news, Howard Dean announced to a Jewish group he was speaking to that the GOP was anti-semitic and not friendly to Jews or Israel… but now the dems will have to go one better than McCain who will claim he is more loyal to Israel than the dems are loyal to Israel because he prevented their arch enemy Iran from playing soccer. So I guess we can look forward to the usual election contest of who loves Israel the most, and will do the most for Israel, the dems or the repubs.
    And both parties might explain why Israel announced a 1.7 billion budget surplus this week in their country ..while America gave them their usual handout of 3.5 billion + in your and my hard earned tax dollars…and America’s debt hit 8.3 trillion last week..and..Harry Reid says he wants us to give them “additional aid” on top of that for the Gaza pullout.
    And the largest US refinery in Texas is supplying Israel’s jet fuel needs under a DOD grant program while US consumers are being told it’s the old “supply and demand” and the old “lack of refinery” problem that is causing our high gas prices. I guess the Iraq war kicked in the old 1974 US/Isr Memo of Understanding on how we have to supply Israel with their fuel needs if they can’t secure it for themselves.
    God in heaven…Beam me up Scotty….the dems adopt the same slezzy GOP division tactics of 2001 and 04 and continue pledging alleigence to Israel at the exact time that the public is fed up and sick to death of ..Israel,illegals, war for democracy, and all the hypocritical crap policy passed for the benefit of MafiaUSA,Inc.
    Who loves you America?..no one that’s who.
    Especially our own goverment.

    Reply

  11. JerryS says:

    “BTW, since the US cannnot prevent Iran from getting The Bomb”
    of course it can. The question is, will it? If it wanted to, the US could level Iran with air strikes. Which leaves Iran in a very poor bargaining position. And China and Russia wouldn’t lift a finger, except maybe to try to make deals for whatever oil is left after the US level Iran.

    Reply

  12. EasyE says:

    Regarding who controls “translation” of Middle East information (Iran/Iraq/Palestine) to American public via corporate media, google MEMRI.
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Middle_East_Media_Research_Institute

    Reply

  13. Liesbeth says:

    Well Matthew, although I love to loath the Pax Americana as a European I still wouldn’t want to trade it in for, e.g., the Pax China or the Pax Russia. Or the Pax Europa. Visiting the Washington DC monuments of all your Presidents I’ve always been struck by the the most humble of them: the Thomas Jefferson monument in which the basic priciples of a democracy have been carved out and the Roosevelt monument whose words are still a testimony to the human struggle.
    Now if the US would commence carrying out Jefferson’s ideas domestically, the rest of the world could take up ending the human struggle.

    Reply

  14. Jack says:

    I am most worried by the repeatedly demonstrated incompetance of the administration at a critical time like this.
    I find myself really hoping at this point that one of the administration’s scandal (pick from the rich buffet of them) will take these guys down and restore more solid leadership to Washington – the type that we will need to devise a smart, creative solution that prevents the Iran situation from blowing up into a global catastrophe? (and the type that we need to take brave steps toward energy independence and dealing with the building catastrophe of climate change)?
    I’m no longer confident that we can survive to the end of this term without one of the administration’s Mayberry mis-steps causing a large and scary war.

    Reply

  15. Matthew says:

    Liesbeth: You post nicely demonstrates two ways for decent Americans to “rage against the machine.” Ironically, it is only through humor and the jury system that we do tell the truth to the government now. And this goverment hates the jury system.

    Reply

  16. liesbeth says:

    Okay, I have been a troll here now and then but as the Germans would say: ‘Was sich liebt, dass neckt sich.’ This week the US has actually shown the world what being a democracy really means: on the one hand we had a comedian lampooning a president just 10 feet away from him, on the other hand the so-called 20th hijacker wasn’t given the death sentence by a jury of his peers. If anything, this sends a strong message to the rest of the world. In the lampooning case that everyone can make fun of anyone in a democracy, in the latter case that justice is a broader concept than merely revenge.

    Reply

  17. dnaDan says:

    It’s (macabrely) interesting to fill in all the blanks on the 1914 analogy:
    USA = Prussian Germany (Bush = Kaiser Wilhelm)
    Russia = France
    China = Austro-Hungary
    Iran = Serbia
    Europe = USA
    Israel = Belgium (or Bosnia??)
    Iraq = Russia
    Saudi Arabia = Italy
    Fascinatingly, though…. Turkey = Turkey
    1 dead archduke = 15,000,000 dead everybodies.
    Just filling in my scorecard.
    dnaDan

    Reply

  18. gnaham says:

    BTW, since the US cannnot prevent Iran from getting The Bomb, the sensible thing is to consider what to extract from China and Russia in return for their oppositon to effective sanctions (and preparing, ultimately, to blame China and Russia for Iran getting The Bomb).

    Reply

  19. Carroll says:

    “Several have asked what can be done to stop this madness. You can go to http://www.dnc.org and look up all the candidates for key House of Representatives seats for this November.”
    The dnc is the answer?..I think not.
    To bring this to a screeching halt I suggest instead you kidnap all of congress, all members of AIPAC and JINSA and fed’ex them to Israel where they would be likely to feel the fallout of an Iran strike.
    If BushCo then wishes to strike Iran ..fine, at least half our problem would be solved. It’s the CEO thing to do.

    Reply

  20. gnaham says:

    This is yet another war (after Afghanistan and Iraq II) being planned by the same people who planned the California energy crisis, for similar reasons (profit) with some similar results (managed “shortages” creating profits, but with many dead bodies as overhead).

    Reply

  21. chris_from_boca says:

    why the fuck should we care who has nuclear weapons when we have them and have refused to decry their use? what gives the united states the right to dictate to other countries what they can and can’t do to arm themselves? how is iran any different than Korea, Pakistan, Israel, and India? wtf? every country should have nukes. it would foster mutual respect. anyone that used them would be certain of instant destruction in retaliation. it worked for decades, remember mutually assured destruction? seriously, what is so difficult about looking at this from the perspective of the iranians? we would want nukes too if they we were threatened with nuclear arms. it is like the united states is populated and governed exclusively by the most precocious of teenagers.

    Reply

  22. microwaaf says:

    We are not going to nuke anybody, fear mongerers!
    This is not about nuking.
    It’s about heavy bombardment, B-52s, cruise missles, conventional blasting, NOT nukes.
    So calm yourselves. And if you start whining to Congresscritters about nuking Iran they will assure you we won’t because we will not, it’ll be all conventional. And by complaining about Nukes you’re saying OK to conventional.
    If you don’t like military strikes against Iran, complain leaving the nukes out of it.
    Wees crazy, but nots that crazy, thank God!

    Reply

  23. leveymg says:

    Steve –
    Re: Your expression, “America has a teeth problem” in its approach to Iran. May I suggest in the alternative that might be better phrased, “the Bush Administration has a mouth problem” in that approach.
    This is not exactly the very opposite of speaking quietly with a heavy club behind one’s back. The United States does have a capability, if the truth be told, to reduce every man, woman and child in Iran to a cinder, and we probably wouldn’t suffer a small fraction of the casualties in return. Not immediately.
    But, a preemptive American strike against Iran resulting in a high death toll — nuclear or not — would put us up there with Hitler’s Germany in the eyes of history. And, that’s forever.
    We may be able to recover our standing after the invasion of Iraq, which can be credibly excused as the devious shenannigans of a criminal cabal with undue influence over one particularly sub-standard President. But, if the U.S. does it again, even under the same Administration, it’s the American nation that will quite rightly shoulder the blame. Forever.
    We have to do EVERYTHING possible to prevent this. One way or the other, this is how we will be remembered.

    Reply

  24. Shaneekwa says:

    Several have asked what can be done to stop this madness. You can go to http://www.dnc.org and look up all the candidates for key House of Representatives seats for this November. Write to each candidate or call each candidate’s office to tell them to make the issue of nuking Iran an issue in their campaigning. Donate as much money as you can to each. Organize fundraisers wherever you are in the country for them as many times as you can. Do everything you can to elect a Democratic House of Representatives. The only way we can rein in this president is if there’s a Democratic House capable of impeaching him if he nukes Iran. It’s now obvious that these people who boasted that they “create their own reality” are prepping to take the disaster in Iraq off the table for public discussion by putting a far more dramatic confrontation on the table. God help us all.

    Reply

  25. rosser says:

    bob wrote:
    “How on God’s green earth is the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ going to envelope the world if we, God’s elect, do not confront Evil.”
    The scary part is, there are plenty out there who really think, talk and believe this way. God save us from the righteous, pious insanity!
    There are also plenty that consciously or subconsciously agree with gwen’s ironic post (I hope it was ironic). They need to understand that an attack on a less secular Muslim country (ie, Iran) will bring all the excitement right out of the TV screen and into their very own living room, with suicide attacks here that will put Iraq to shame.

    Reply

  26. gwen says:

    I’m afraid, oh sooooo afraid. I’ll have to sit in front of the telly and watch rockets red glare, bombs burst in air and bunkers busting fo’ sho’. All through the night, the Iranian flag still there, but tattered a bit. Then the retaliation episode with me sitting all comfy on the couch with a table full of snacks. This is going to be brilliant entertainment. Doesn’t get better than this on the world stage, Globe Theatre. And the posters here are also very amusing, writhing, fretting, laughing, crying, resigned to the gleeful horror shows we all enjoy getting the Beejesus scared out of us, and hope it happens really for the fun of it. I’ll admit it, I’m thrilled.

    Reply

  27. Dan Kervick says:

    Den wrote:
    *”If that is the case, then we are definitely not looking at brinksmanship, but rather, a single psychotic superpower pushing steadily.”*
    Not entirely Den. I agree that Iran has been trying to get the US to the negotiating table for some time. But as you are aware, the US seems disinclined to deal directly with the Iranians, or to offer anything in trade, but prefers the more aggressive route of dictation of terms aided by military threats. And if the US suddenly were to announce high level face to face meetings with Iran, we could expect all hell to break loose in Tel Aviv, and shrieks of agony and hysteria from Israel’s supporters hear in the US, and also the far right base. So getting the US to deal is going to take quite a bit of work on Iran’s part.
    Iran’s only hope of preventing an attack, and getting a deal with the US, is to persuade Americans that the more aggressive path will have negative, and even dire consequences. Thus it has been engaging in high profile weapons testing recently, warning us about the possibility of zooming oil prices. making a loud point about its continuing enrichment efforts, and making it clear that they still have the capacity to make things quite messy for us in Iraq.
    This *is* brinkmanship. That doesn’t make it *evil* – and the US is engaging in brinkmanship as well. But the Iranians are in a tight spot, and seem to have concluded that a tough public stance is their only option – even as they work behind the scenes to find an opening. They fear, and not without reason, that backing down and making conciliatory moves, for which they will get absolutely nothing in return, will only embolden their adversary, weaken their own position, and hasten the day of the eventual US attack.
    I am *glad* that the Iranians are talking a bit tough, because it is only by scaring the crap out of ordinary Americans about the consequences of a military assault that they can slow down the fanatical Bushco machine, pierce through the unrelenting propaganda spewed by the slavish US media, and get us to demand of our government that it enter into negotiations with Iran.

    Reply

  28. cripes Suzette says:

    God didn’t make little green apples
    And it don’t rain in Indianapolis in the summertime
    And there’s no such thing as Doctor Seuss
    Or Disneyland, and Mother Goose, no nursery rhyme

    Reply

  29. Bob says:

    How on God’s green earth is the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ going to envelope the world if we, God’s elect, do not confront Evil.
    C’mon folks, this is no time to get all wobbley. We are doing God’s work in these times. Take heart, and praise the Lord that you are present to abide by His will.
    Praise be to God the Father creator of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.
    Open your eyes, for you shall see.

    Reply

  30. Jon Stopa says:

    That sound you hear behind you is a saw cutting the branch you are sitting on.

    Reply

  31. Den Valdron says:

    Gloria’s posting is interesting in that it suggests that Iran is trying to open up a dialogue.
    If that is the case, then we are definitely not looking at brinksmanship, but rather, a single psychotic superpower pushing steadily.
    More to the point, however, this report, from Asia times, seems completely at odds with what is being reported in American media. Are American media compromised? Are they blindly accepting administration spin and perspectives? Are they snookered into beating the drum for war? Well… consider what happened in the lead up to Iraq. It strikes me that American media can no longer be trusted for unbiased reporting. It is almost completely captured by Bush’s agendas.
    In this respect, can we trust the report of Ahminajad threatening Israel? Is the translation accurate? Has the context been reported accurately, or misrepresented? Is it truly an insane thing to say, or is it a twisting of something more rational and less inflammatory?
    As awkward as this is to bring up, Israel is not an innocent bystander in this developing crisis. After the fall of Hussein, Israel’s Sharon publicly called for the US to attack or confront Iran. Dick Cheney publicly speculated that Israel could or should attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. The United States gave Israel long range bombers and bunker busting bombs, apparently as a threat to Iran. At least some war planning focused on an Israeli flagged raid to give the Americans deniability, or a joint American Israeli raid.
    We should note that Israel has a long and successful history of attacks on its neighbours, including wars in 1948, 1967 and 1973, as well as invading Egypt in participation in the Suez Crisis of 1956, invading Lebanon in the 80’s, air raids on Tunisia, Iraq and Syria. The air raids on Syria were within the last couple of years. So there is nothing to suggest that Israel would not raid Iran, or would not participate in, support, advocate or otherwise encourage an American raid in substitution for its own action.
    Finally, Israel, through AIPAC and the Jewish Lobby in America has been seen as having a disproportionate, even a controlling interest in American middle eastern foreign policy… this is a perception by many Americans and Europeans. So imagine what the Iranians might think. It is possible that Ahminajad made his remarks in the context of perceptions that an American attack would have Israel as a partner in some sense.
    I’m not arguing that Israel is some evil mastermind, or that Israel is actively planning an attack. But let’s get serious here. Israel is hardly a disinterested party, and they may well be actively involved. Certainly, if the Iranians perception is that they are actively involved…
    Having said that, it strikes me as irrational that Ahminajad would threaten such an attack given that Israel has a nuclear fleet and might use it in reprisal.
    On the other hand, the United States is already threatening to use nuclear weapons on Iran.
    So it can’t get any worse. In the event that the US is employing the nuclear option, then Israel’s nuclear deterrent is meaningless. The card is played, and Iran has no option but to strike back, if it can, where it can.

    Reply

  32. Dan Kervick says:

    km4 wrote:
    *”If Bushco attacks Iran I wouldn’t be suprised if Russia and China counter with military and financial options ( in the case of China ) because the stakes and vested interests are just that enormous.”*
    I agree entirely. But if you’re a fanatical nut like James Woolsey, you’re thinking “What’s a few million lives here or there, when you’re talking about the Global Battle for Civilization.”
    And if you’re a complete boob like George Bush, you probably can’t even find China on a map.

    Reply

  33. aunt deb says:

    Did you see Tony Judt’s essay in yesterday’s Ha’aretz, Steve?
    I do not see how there can be meaningful diplomatic discussion about or with Iran without taking a dispassionate and honest look at the US relationship with Israel. I’m of no importance in terms of policy-making or power-brokering, but I am sure there are other deeply worried Americans who, like me, wonder why it is so suddenly vital to stop the presumed threat posed by Iran to Israel when we have never found it vital or even potentially possible to impose sanctions on Israel for its possession of nuclear capability or its refusal to abide by the UN court’s ruling on the separation wall construction. The manner in which the US government responded to the crushing of Rachel Corrie clarified how cravenly unquestioning our relationship to Israel has become.

    Reply

  34. Dan Kervick says:

    Mark Webb wrote: *”There is no evidence that Iran is anywhere near having the capability to produce a nuclear weapon.
    164 centrifuges and 5% enriched uranium isn’t enough.
    The NIE says that Iran is 5-10 years away from the cabability let alone the intent.”*
    Yes, this is correct. We desperately need to ratchet down the rhetoric, since the problem is not nearly in the crisis range the Bush administration would like us to believe.
    But one thing that can happen when states are backed into corners is that they begin to highlight the power they still do possess, and wave whatever sticks they possess in order to try to frighten off the persecutor who is waving bigger sticks. This is a very dangerous situation which needs to be defused.

    Reply

  35. Pissed Off American says:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cenk-uygur/clowns-to-the-left-of-me_b_20259.html
    An excerpt…….
    “Today, an Iranian military leader said Iran would strike Israel if it were attacked. I’m sure they would. And it would be a sound strategy in order to gain the sympathy and help of their neighboring Muslim countries. But saying that only aggravates the already far too aggravated situation.
    This is only the 189th irrationally hostile comment the Iranian leadership has made in the last two months. If they don’t want war, they’ve got a funny way of showing it.
    On the other side, we have a slightly more irrational world leader who is even more volatile – the President of the United States of America. George Bush isn’t about to lose a crazy-off with anybody. How sick is it that there is a legitimate debate about who’s crazier, the leader of Iran or the leader of the United States?
    If you don’t think that’s a legitimate debate, take this short quiz:
    Was it Iran or the United States that committed these following acts of aggression?
    A. Threaten nuclear war on another country.
    B. Invade a country that did not attack it.
    C. Occupy a country for over three years while claiming to give it “freedom.”
    D. Organize the violent overthrow of the other country’s leader.
    For all its bluster, Iran has never said they would consider using nuclear weapons, let alone any weapons against the United States of America. Whereas, George Bush steadfastly maintains that he will keep the option of using nuclear weapons against Iran on the table.”

    Reply

  36. km4 says:

    If Bushco attacks Iran I wouldn’t be suprised if Russia and China counter with military and financial options ( in the case of China ) because the stakes and vested interests are just that enormous.

    Reply

  37. Mark Webb says:

    I’m with Dan Valdron.
    There is no evidence that Iran is anywhere near having the capability to produce a nuclear weapon.
    164 centrifuges and 5% enriched uranium isn’t enough.
    The NIE says that Iran is 5-10 years away from the cabability let alone the intent.
    Iran is being backed into a corner by a beligerent.

    Reply

  38. sharlene c says:

    it seems to me the general public is numb and uninformed. if everyone who feels the gumption to write letters to every newspaper? to stand outside every news station? to line up in front of the white house daily? doing what? i’m really not seeing what can “we” do? anyone got any groundbreaking ideas?

    Reply

  39. bergen says:

    Yer all shrieking like a bunch of little girls!
    The Real Men are in charge!
    A Man’s gotta do what a Man’s gotta do.
    Sit yerselves down with some classic American western-type movies, and get a grip.
    Same script as it ever was.
    And God Bless America!

    Reply

  40. MNPundit says:

    Hmm assuming there was limited to no use of Nukes in a third World War (because almost everyone wants something left to rule) we’re probably looked at about 400,000,000 dead.

    Reply

  41. Ryan Oddey says:

    As was noted yesterday, the miscalculations have already begun, but let me end this post with some disturbing calculations. About 15 million people died world wide during World War I, with the number of casualties being around 60 million. Numbers that are staggering, even today. Consider this though, does anyone think that if World War III were to happen the number of casualties would decrease or remain the same? Sure, we have better technology now, but we also have weapons with the capability to wipe out an entire city in a heart beat, and nations that are willing to use those weapons, on both sides. I still say a second Cold War is more likely than a third World War, but the relief I get from that prediction is minimal. The world is changing folks, right in front of our eyes.

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  42. MNPundit says:

    What can an average citizen do to stop this madness?

    Reply

  43. cynic says:

    Between now and November elections:
    Ramping up Iranian threat rhetoric.
    Increased reporting of “incidents” of Iranian aggression.
    Increased reporting of failure of diplomatic efforts.
    Drawdown of US troops in Iraq, regardless of conditions there.
    Airstrikes against Iran.
    Got to win in November, no matter what.
    my very cynical two cents…hope I’m wrong.

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  44. ht says:

    My sources do not confirm the Hersh assertion that a strike against Iran will occur this summer
    Isn`t Hersh using the militairy defenition of a “plan”? Think a piece of paper that can, if ordered, be the basis for a “use of force” (getting US prisoners out of the Hague), or that can just be ignored while still fighting a war (Iraq), or just be left on a shelf with many others for decades. (soviet union)
    Resigning generals may be the canary in the cave if a real Iran strike is genuinely on course.
    But there are also the other “hints” such as Condi Rice saying during a NATO dinner that there won’t be an attack if Iran refuses to “give up its nuclear program”. Those hints can be a tipoff, especially if the White house itself is secretive over what was said during that dinner. Though anyone in NATO could confirm this. ( href=http://www.radionetherlands.nl/currentaffairs/nato060428mc?view=Standard )
    Remember that NATO bases might be involved in these plans (including the nuking part), so the rest of the NATO would be kind of extra curious just how far into the “global strike” plans the White house would be willing to go.
    With the nuking being an empty treat (literal and political fallout+oil region), and bombing being perceived as a bad way to slow down a nuclear program within the Air force and oil prices already on everyones mind* Iran is making a smart bet if it even is a bet. Remember that there used to be a white house friend that ended up being accused of leaking to Iranians.
    *) Much to the delight of US conservatives who managed to push a lot of Iraq (thus Bush) coverage of the front page. Forget Iraq, did they really just translated the Anthem IN SPANISH… lets bomb Mexico!
    I think Hersh his troop on the ground story is the more result of Elizabeth Cheney`s work than Dick`s…
    All I am trying to say is that if I were Iran I would call this bluff to.

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  45. bob h says:

    Presumably we are talking about highly targetted sanctions designed only to deny Iran the components for centrifuges, etc.? The kind of sanctions that killed Saddam’s program? I don’t see how getting these should be difficult.

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  46. Marica says:

    Just how passive have we become? Why is there no public protest against Congress? Congress CAN act-it does not. No demand for a halt to this belligerent plan that was public knowledge before the invasion of Iraq.
    If this agression is the next step the only thing that can stop this leap off the cliff is the American people. Where are they?
    We elect a President–not a tyrant.

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  47. daCascadian says:

    Scary things are being planned (the feelings are like the Cuba event in 1962…)
    I continue to wonder just what was agreed to in 1980 between ReThuglican representatives & Iran that came to be known as Iran-Contra
    Something is going on that doesn`t make sense in this arena
    Just WHAT was that agreement about in 1980 ?
    “Everyday reality now is a complete fiction, manufactured by the media landscape and we operate inside it.” – JG Ballard

    Reply

  48. Carroll says:

    Whoa!…I don’t like to direct people to another site from here, but to add to the tone of Steve’s uneasy article check out Juan Cole’s Informed comment…http://www.juancole.com/…about half way down.
    The mild mannered Prof.Cole has had it..he is openly asking college students to rise up and take up the banner against any more war re: Iran…
    We are getting too many alarm bells from too many people in a postion to know or judge…..add that to the common observations of us non-expert country bumpkins and I’d say we are getting deeper an deeper into no man’s land.

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  49. Pissed Off American says:

    I think the best alternative would be for Iran to have a nuclear “work accident”. Such things happen when one tries to put together weapons for the first time.
    Of course, those who hate the US would complain that we had caused it, and those who are relieved that the Iran nuke program disappeared in a puddle of molten glass, would breathe a sigh of relief.
    If the work accident was correctly arranged, perhaps the ruling jerks could be within lethal radius.
    Posted by Donald Meaker
    And here we have some blithering dolt advocating the extermination of a couple million muslims, and the release if radioactive dust into the ENTIRE global community’s atmosphere. Good God, how did we end up with such a high ratio of people that are apparently brain dead and characterless here in America??????? How many have died, or are dying now, as a result of Chernobyl? You like seeing bald headed little kids rotting away from cancer, eh???
    (What a despicable ass. God help us if thats an accurate representatiion of the 32% that are still buying the Bush Administration’s horseshit.)

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  50. Gloria says:

    In the meantime, here’s an interesting article about Iran’s interest in “talk” which has been evident for qquite awhile. But it seems that Bushco is hell-bent on attack, no matter what. These people are insane. I really hope there is a mass resignation of generals. Let Rummy figure it out alone.
    2//Asia Times Online, Hong Kong May 2, 2006
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/HE02Ak04.html
    IRANIAN CRIES IN THE WILDERNESS
    By Gareth Porter
    WASHINGTON – Iranian leaders have been signaling to Washington since late last year that Iran wanted direct negotiations with the United States on Tehran’s nuclear program and other outstanding issues between the two countries.
    The campaign began with private talks between Iranian officials and foreign visitors in the country, and has included public suggestions by members of the Iranian parliament for US-Iranian talks. But last week, President Mahmud Ahmadinejad indicated for the first time that he was open to talks with Washington.
    In an hour-long press conference on April 24, Ahmadinejad said Iran “is ready to talk to all world countries, but negotiation with anybody has its own conditions”, and then specifically named the United States. “If these conditions are met, we will negotiate.”
    Ahmadinejad’s remark, which was reported by the independent Paris-based Iran News Service, went unnoticed in the US media. However, the media did report the Iranian president’s statement in the same press conference that talks with the US on Iraq were not necessary now that a government had been set up in Baghdad.
    Although Ahmadinejad did not say what Iran’s conditions for talks were, the Iranian response to the US proposal last November for bilateral talks on Iraq may be a good indication of what Tehran has in mind. When Iraqi President Jalal Talabani took the US proposal to Tehran on a visit in November, in which he met Ahmadinejad, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other top leaders, he was told Iran would agree to talks on two conditions: they would remain private and they would involve all outstanding issues between the two countries.
    Despite a common view in the media, reflecting official US views, that Ahmadinejad has taken Iranian policy in a much more radical direction since he took office last August, Iranian leaders, including those who have been critical of some of Ahmadinejad’s public rhetoric, have publicly emphasized that Iran’s nuclear policy is not determined by the president.
    In late February and early March Hassan Rohani, the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council for 16 years, stated on two different occasions that Iran’s stance on the nuclear issue was decided by the state’s top officials and not by the current government. “Iran’s general policies do not change with new governments,” he said on February 20.
    Although it was the first time that Ahmadinejad had commented on the subject of talks with the US, his press-conference remark was not the first direct public indication by the Iranian government of interest in negotiations with the US on both the nuclear issue and other security questions.
    On March 6, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said, “What we are saying is that if America abandons its threats and creates a positive atmosphere in which it does not seek to influence the process of negotiations by imposing preconditions, then there will be no impediment to negotiations.”
    These new public signals came against a background of a quiet diplomatic campaign by Iranian officials in recent months to communicate Iran’s readiness to negotiate directly with the US on broad security issues. They have sent that message through both diplomats and other prominent figures who have met with them in Tehran.
    (SNIP)
    Some analysts familiar with the thinking of Iranian national-security officials believe they have gone ahead with partial enrichment to position themselves for broader talks with the US going beyond the nuclear issue.
    “Enrichment has become a big bargaining chip,” said Iranian journalist Najmeh Bozorgmehr, who has had access to top Iranian leaders in off-the-record interviews for the past several years. “They are producing facts on the ground that would give them leverage in negotiations with the United States.”
    Bozorgmehr, now a fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, said the Iranians hoped to get the removal of sanctions, security guarantees and guaranteed fuel supply in return for concessions on the fuel-enrichment issue.
    Journalist Praful Bidwai reported for Inter Press Service last week that government officials and other experts in Tehran told him there was “fairly broad agreement” that a compromise proposal on the nuclear issue and security guarantees and normalization of US relations with Iran could be negotiated.

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  51. Den Valdron says:

    So, Donald supports a terrorist covert action which will undoubtedly murder tens of thousands of innocent people? Cold, guy. Real cold.

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  52. Glen says:

    How come it feels like one of the better outcomes of this mess is a restart of the Cold War with the US on the wrong end of the economic baseball bat? (i.e. the end that smacks the ball)
    Next time we vote for President I would like a large red arrow pointing to the candidate that will end sixty years of being top dog so that it’s clear to everyone just what’s at stake.

    Reply

  53. CathiefromCanada says:

    I hope Iran realizes that they are dealing with paranoid crazy people in the current US administration. If they can just shuffle and skuffle and dither and negotiate, then maybe sanity will return — perhaps after the congressional midterms or after Bolton’s UN appointment runs out or after the presidential elections in 2008. Perhaps they’re have a Gore administration to deal with then, or a McCain one, but even that would be more rational than Cheney and Rumsfeld are.

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  54. Donald Meaker says:

    I think the best alternative would be for Iran to have a nuclear “work accident”. Such things happen when one tries to put together weapons for the first time.
    Of course, those who hate the US would complain that we had caused it, and those who are relieved that the Iran nuke program disappeared in a puddle of molten glass, would breathe a sigh of relief.
    If the work accident was correctly arranged, perhaps the ruling jerks could be within lethal radius.

    Reply

  55. John says:

    Fascinating that the US and Europeans co-draft a resolution when everyone knows darn well that Europe has neither the desire or ability to impose any kind of economic sanctions against Iran. What will they do? Stop buying oil? Not likely.
    You can’t put sanctions on food, medication or anything ‘humanitarian’ so any sanctions imposed will have no impact. Are a bunch of Muslim fundamentalists going to care if they can’t import the western merchandise that’s undermining their societal values?
    Europe’s leaders are scared of a nuke capable Iran, but are powerless to project any economic or military influence in Iran. They’ll just sit at the sideline and watch as Bush tries to go it alone again.

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  56. carborund says:

    Sanctions, Schmankshuns. What can’t Iran get from Russia and China and their allies in this stand-off, that will be withheld by the US and its allies? This sanctions business is just a step in the steps so that we can say, we tried everything, and there’s only one choice left. These steps will take awhile to give US enough time to seem crebidle in not rushing to war. Thus there ain’t gonna be no war this Summer, nor Fall, but in 2007, could be when our patience is run its inevitable course, and, baby, we’ll have one heckuva military plan by then. Brilliant! None of the mistakes of Iraq, all our bases covered; game, set, match! A veritable Slam Dunk. In fact, that would be a good name! Operation Slam Dunk! Brilliant! Can’t wait!

    Reply

  57. Dan Kervick says:

    I have to disagree with Dan Valdron, although one must admit that we are all flying blind here, and reduced to providing conjectural interpretations of highly ambiguous actions. Those on both sides who are most in a position to really know what is going on aren’t talking.
    I think *both* the US and the Iranians are jockeying for position in a very risky and high stakes game. The Iranians feel the need to put up a strong diplomatic and military front in the face of unrelenting and overt US pressure. Like any country, they fear the consequences should they show weakness and back down in the face of US intimidation. Backing down could embolden their adversary.
    But they are an ancient country with skilled diplomats, and they pay close attention to US and global politics. They correctly sense that they have a window of opportunity while the US is bogged down in Iraq; while the Republican party is struggling to hang on to its power in Washington; while the American public is fatigued by the Iraq conflict, cynical about administration statements, and dismayed by soaring gas prices; and while the US is relatively isolated, with frayed relationships with its allies. In my view, the Iranians hope to press the US into direct negotiations by making it clear that the alternatives are unavailing, and are determined to hold on until that time to the two really significant items they have to bring to the table – their influence over allies in Iraq, and their nuclear enrichment program. What they ultimately seek is a normalization of relations with the US, an end to sanctions and trade restrictions, and a more comfortable security situation in their region. They want to come in from the diplomatic cold, as China did during the Nixon administration. At the present time, however, they are faced with a US army at their Western border, another US army to the north, and US allies to the east and south – and of course a nuclear armed US ally on the mediterranean coast. They are in a noose, and the US is attempting to tighten it, though with uneven results. Putting such a noose around Iran appears to be the main focus of US geostrategic moves since 9/11 – most pointedly the invasions of Iran’s neighbors Afghanistan and Iraq.
    The situation is one that is not at all unusual in world history, with an emerging regional power challenging a flagging imperial power. Sometimes the brinkmanship is defused, and negotiations settle the conflict. Sometimes the two sides drive themselves into war.
    In the US, there are surely some parties who would be resolutely opposed to *any* US moves that would legitimize Iran’s regime in any way. What they fear more than Iran’s weapons is the possibility of a geopolitical shift in the Middle East, with Iran eventually coming in out of the US doghouse and settling into normalized relations – and even warm relations in the long run. In my estimation, cultivating such a relationship with Iran makes abundant geopolitical sense for the US a this point in world history – but certainly some parties would lose in the situation: Israel and Saudi Arabia to name the two most obvious ones. As happened during the Nasser regime in Egypt, opponents of a shift will attempt to undermine any US steps toward alignment with the strong emerging rival power. Count on Michael Ledeen and the National Review, for example, to continue to rage against the “mullahs”, the “Islamofascists” and the “terror masters”, etc. There are no doubt similar rejectionist, old guard revolutionary forces inside Iran, doing everything they can to prevent an opening toward the Great Satan. Those of us who would like to see direct negotiations should be doing what we can to weaken the position of the hardliners in both countries.
    Russia and China, on the other hand, would seem to have an interest in preventing outright war in Iran – which could spark a dangerous and debilitating conflict in the broader Middle East. But they also have reason to fear an opening and diplomatic wind shift leading to friendly relations between the US and Iran, since that would undermine their own opportunities to capitalize on poor US relations in the region, and build a partnership with the one Middle East petro-power that is not a US client, and probably the key piece in the Central Asian great game.

    Reply

  58. TLittle says:

    Any military action against Iran on the ground is an option that this nation would not support. If Bush does make this decision to go ahead with air strikes, it would be similar to the action Clinton took against Iraq during the latter part of his term. Ground action would stretch our troops far to thin and would definitely deteriorate diplomatic arrangements between ourselves, Russia and China.
    The larger the hold we are trying to place on the Middle East will only show to the world that foreign policy has become akin to what is was during the days of McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt. Air strikes would prove to be a prudent course of action against an Iran unwilling to cooperate, but any action on the ground would utterly kill the Republican chances in 2008.
    Furthermore, the Iranian government will not choose to abide by UN resolutions unconditionally. Should the Iranians back-down it would erode their sovereignty and would decrease their power internationally.
    The Bush Administration may want Democratic Peace, but a move like this could disrupt our dominance and bring us closer to the days of the Cold War, with the new balance of power being between China and the US. The west’s largest threat is the creation of an Islamic super-state arising in Turkey and the growing dominance of China. If China’s interests are threatened, we may see more of a problem in the long term as to whether America is a reigning superpower.

    Reply

  59. Carroll says:

    I agree with most everything everyone has already said here…and good job Steve.
    Now….who is going to do anything about this insanity and when?
    I much prefer a US military coup with emergency elections to be held to replace the crazies ..to WW with Russia, China, and one billion Arabs…

    Reply

  60. Chip Vance says:

    Recently got a copy of the Dartmouth Plan going around and saw this blog got a plug in the Media section. Wow. Great work. Let’s just hope your voice reaches further.

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  61. civitas says:

    It looks like short of total capitulation, Iran will not avoid sanctions. Not that I think sanctions do much good, look at Iraq. Ahmadinejad won’t care about the Iranian people doing without any more than Saddam cared that the Iraqi people suffered under sanctions. And some states will vote for sanctions and then not obey them. So this is just the first step. And a pretty meaningless one at that.
    China and Russia may not like an attack on Iran, but they won’t do anything about it if there is one. First, what could they really do, short of attacking the US and there’s nothing in it for either one to do that. Offered a choice between trying to defend Iran and doing nothing but complaining, they’ll take option b. Just as in the Iraqi situation, neither China nor Russia will be a player in Iran.

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  62. Den Valdron says:

    Frankly Steve, I don’t see any kind of game of brinksmanship the Iranians are playing. I think that the Iranians perception is that the Americans attack is not in any way dependent upon or contingent upon their behaviour.
    In simple terms, their perception, and my own, is that George W. Bush will attack them no matter what the Iranians do. Any degree of accommodation will simply make it easier for him to put his pieces in place, as Saddam Hussein learned.
    If the United States does not attack, then this will occur because of internal political and economic factors, and not as a result of anything the Iranians do to forestall or reach a compromise. The bottom line is that if they dodge the bullet, it will be because the drunken cowboy can’t shoot straight.
    Under these circumstances, there is no motivation, indeed, there is negative motivation for the Iranians to accommodate the US. Frankly, if they fail to accommodate, they will be in a slightly better position vis a vis an American attack. And if the attack does not come, then they will look strong and their prestige rises.
    On the other hand, if they accommodate, then this will simply make an American attack, if it comes, easier, and reduce their credibility and options. On the other hand, if they accommodate and the attack does not come, they will look like appeasers to their people.
    However, nothing they do will have a material effect on whether or not an attack occurs. I think that you have to appreciate that the Iranians are operating from a position of fatalism. They perceive American conduct as outside of their ability to influence, that American decisions are being taken which are governed by beltway politics, economic considerations, military issues.
    The Iranians have correctly judged that the International forum has no influence over American decision making… largely because this is proven. We saw what happened in Iraq. We also saw that international opinion and even domestic popular opinion had no effect on the decision to invade Iraq. The Iranians have certainly seen that Saddam’s compliance with international inspections, and the fact that it was quite obvious he had no wmd’s did not save him.
    Given all that, I can’t see the Iranian position as brinksmanship, but rather as simple fatalism. They are dealing with an insane madman who may or may not act, but they have no shred of ability to influence, deter or precipitate that madman’s actions. The best you can do in dealing with that madman is simply to say ‘fuck you’ and go on with your life.
    Bolton’s diplomatic effort is largely meaningless and everyone should know it. Given Bolton’s endless contempt for the UN and international law, and given his previous history of dishonesty, deception and cutting corners, it would be a mistake to take it at face value. Bolton is simply playing the game of putting the pieces for war together.
    As for sanctions to encourage better behaviour, this is hardly credible coming from the US. The US has maintained sanctions against Cuba for approximately 45 years now. The US maintained sanctions against Iraq for 12 years. In neither case would any kind of conciliatory behaviour by these regimes reduce sanctions. By and large, the US appears to view sanctions as a form of permanent policy until such time as the disliked regime ceases to exist. The American approach is not to use sanctions as a means of encouraging changes to behaviour of regimes disliked.
    The bottom line is I suspect we’ll see a lot of generals deciding they like their retirement packages and potential future lobbyist/defense contractor opportunities more than their consciences. Because lets face it, this is a regime noted for its vindictive assaults on dissenters. If Generals resign out of principal, they’ll be vindictively made examples of. The Administration has been too badly stung by the current crop of retired generals. They won’t allow this twice.
    Your canaries in the coal mine, Steve, are not going to keel over. They may just stop singing in their cages.
    And I think that the Iranians have it right. Whether or not Bush goes to war or not will depend entirely on Bush’s own gut, and to some extent on internal political, economic and military factors, perhaps on things as trivial as poll ratings and white house infighting. But not on any factor that the rest of us can control or influence.

    Reply

  63. JMincin says:

    Thank you Steve for these insightful postings – I agree with the other comments. I’m glad you are here providing this information and perspective. This is frightening and although we can make assumptions about what the administration and Bush are thinking (or not thinking), we simply just don’t know.
    Are we powerless, though? Steve – is there anything meaningful that can be done or is this doomed?

    Reply

  64. ckrantz says:

    It’s basically the ultimate game of chicken each side expecting the other to blink first. Bombing would a really stupid move right now with 150000 US hostages in Iraq as riverbend pointed out in her latest blogpost. Anyone supporting bombings would do well to remember the long supply lines from Kuwait or the proximity of the Saudi and Kuwaity oilfields or how narrow the hormuz really are. One sunken tanker would probably stop the traffic.
    Why not a cuban missile crisis blockade combined with sanctions if possible. There’s simply not enough troops available I think at the moment to secure a bombing strategy on the ground in the Middle East. Of course the administration might bomb anyway to prove a point.
    Anyone taking bets on a repeat of Saigon in 74 for the green zone or the retreat from Kabul in January 1842 if you consider the 9000 brits in southern Iraq? I’m being faceteous but that is where we seem to be heading.

    Reply

  65. Jake says:

    Steve–
    You seem to be taking the assumption that Bush cares about whether the US is strong and/or economically healthy in general. We can assume that US oil companies’ profits will continue to be directly correlated with the price of oil, right? I dislike proposing conspiracy, but is it possible that Bush (and Cheney’s) motivation towards war is because more of their entanglement with the oil industry than any strategic reason?

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  66. Shaneekwa says:

    Thanks, Steve, for further illumination of the madness being concocted by our rulers.
    70 million in Iran.
    http://198.81.129.100/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ir.html

    Reply

  67. Ben says:

    So who’ll be this century’s Gavrilo Princip?
    It seems obvious that China will be this century’s Austro-Hungarian alliance.
    While analogies like this are facile and largely unhelpful, let me be the first to say this: Fuck, we’re going to war with Iran.

    Reply

  68. gg says:

    FYI: cspan.org is carrying the following Bolton remarks on UN sanctions:
    “U.S. Amb. John Bolton on Viability of U.N. Sanctions (12am)EST”
    Should be interesting.

    Reply

  69. sharlene c says:

    i believe punchy is correct. these “theo-cons” are set for rapture at any or all costs. i too would like to see an intelligent response to the consequences of a nuclear attack on iran. no doubt there are a few informed blog writters that could enlighten the rest of us as to what would happen to the planets fragile atmospheric conditions should the united states unleash an atomic bomb in the middle east. thanks steve, for staying on top of these frightening developments.

    Reply

  70. Punchy says:

    Mr. Clemons, thank you for your great insight (as usual). I don’t see any way China nor Russia will allow for sanctions or enforce them. China needs the oil, Russia just wants to weaken us internationally. I see any hostility against Iran as eventually becoming a stand-off with Russia or China; i.e., they are psuedo-allies with Iran. And those are obviously countries we will not fight and cannot defeat. So we stand to gain absolutely nothing positive, and much negative, with any aggression east of Iraq…
    Isn’t this the whole purpose of the Security Council and its veto power? To prevent one rogue state from rolling on others? How can Bolton NOT recognize that the position taken by 2 of the members is incongruent with his neo-con aims?
    Sometimes I think these guys really just want to speed along the Rapture. They relish playing a war-based version of “put up or shut up”….

    Reply

  71. mlaw230 says:

    We keep insisting we live in unusual if not unique times, because of our supposed military primacy. I don’t think so, although I am no historian, I believe it is the rule rather than the exception, that when one nation gains supremacy other nations band together in opposition. Is it possible that those at the controls do not know of that simple rule? WWI is just one example. I fear that if the ME blows up, Iran crosses the plains into Iraq, Turkey into the North, the neocons will simply change their minds or blame poor execution.

    Reply

  72. lily says:

    This is depressing.
    Could you do a post wherein you outline what you see as possible longterm conseuences of bombing?

    Reply

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