Ventilating Those Hyperventilating about an IRAN BOMB

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Paul Kerr at Total WonKerr has an interesting piece up about Iran’s nuclear intentions.
I think he’s on target and have long felt that what Iran wants less than a nuclear weapons program is a nuclear weapons “option.”
I think Iran wants to be Japan — in the sense that like Japan, the Iranian leadership wants a full fuel cycle nuclear energy program that can serve as a base for but which is a step short of nuclear weapons development.
A lot of folks blur the issue of a “nuclear weapons option” and “nuclear weapons in hand.” And I think these distinctions do matter.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

38 comments on “Ventilating Those Hyperventilating about an IRAN BOMB

  1. arthurdecco says:

    I read recently that researchers have discovered the part of our brain that hosts (and creates) religious delusion.
    Daniel, you may want to consider having that area probed with a laser.

    Reply

  2. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Oh my.
    Sorry, Daniel, the laughter is God’s.
    He is particularly amused by the fact that even though he gave you a brain, you are still ignorant enough to think that Palin is somehow qualified to manage a knitting club, much less the Vice Presidency.
    Daniel, you are as big a wackjob as a Jewish wackjob is, or a Muslim wackjob, a Hindu wackjob, etc..
    Religious fanatacism is the problem, not the solution. You blathering idiots have learned nothing from history, and are responsible for centuries of misery, death, and mayhem, and you STILL cling to the archaic insanity of religious zealotry.
    If you crazy bastards really want to go up in a flash of light, try acetone and a match. But I really wish you’d leave us sane people out of it.

    Reply

  3. Daniel says:

    I won’t be laughing, and I doubt you will be either if you come around to accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior. More like tears of joy and thankfulness.
    And, no, Ratzinger is not the anti-Christ; he’s too lame to be the anti-Christ.

    Reply

  4. WigWag says:

    Wow, Daniel, thanks for the lesson; now I get it. All I can say is Hallelujah! When the rapture comes you and me are going to be floating up to heaven laughing at all the suckers left behind.
    You’ve been so informative so far, but I do have one more question for you. Is the Pope really the anti-Christ?

    Reply

  5. Daniel says:

    Hey, Wigs, BIG TIME WRONG, again, buddy boy.
    The Sadduces and Pharisees, Jews of the Big Bad temple, got the mob assembled to decide whether to release Barrabas (the thief), or Jesus Christ (the pain on the ass to the rabbis with His shouting at them and regular temple havoc) to chose Barrabas through shills in the crowd. So Pilate was forced to crucify an innocent man because the rabbis wanted Him dead as He was getting to big for his britches (robes, that is).
    The Jews HAD Jesus crucified; the Romans carried out the act.
    Didn’t learn that in Saturday School did ya.
    Try reading the New Testament, you might learn something, and stop waiting for YOUR Messiah, because He already came and you had him crucified.He will come again once the destruction of Israel comes about with Armageddon. And Praise the Lord for that!
    That’s what Christian Zionism is all about, pushing you guys over the cliff, but for the 144,000 of you are Saved. You still have time to be one of them.

    Reply

  6. WigWag says:

    “Yes, WigWag, just like the Jews really knew The Messiah when they saw Him and had Him crucified!”
    Daniel, the Romans crucified Christ. Were you sleeping in Sunday School the day they taught that?

    Reply

  7. Syed Qamar Afzal Rizvi says:

    Much has been written and published in context of the US-Iran nuclear conflict.Yet only few writers have spoken about the pragmatic settlement of the dispute.
    The use of brinkmanship-cum-realpolitik would never be an advisable path to adopt. The President-elect Barack Obama has adopted a correct line of action to have a dialogue with Iran.There is no harm if the US policy makers offer Iran the quid pro quo of civil nuclear technology as that of India-US nuclear deal,I think that the Iranians should have no reason to reject it.

    Reply

  8. Syed Qamar Afzal Rizvi says:

    Much has been written and published in context of US-Iran nuclear conflict.Yet only few writers have spoken about the pragmatic settlement of the dispute.
    The use of brinkmanship-cum-realpolitik would never be an advisable path to adopt. The President-elect Barack Obama has adopted a correct line of action to have a dialogue with Iran.There is no harm if the US policy makers offer Iran the quid pro quo of civil nuclear technology as that of India-US nuclear deal,I think that the Iranians should have no reason to reject it.

    Reply

  9. Paul Norheim says:

    There is an important article re. Israels intention to bomb Iran and Bush`s response in
    today`s New York Times.
    One quote:
    “WASHINGTON — President Bush deflected a secret request by Israel last year for
    specialized bunker-busting bombs it wanted for an attack on Iran’s main nuclear complex
    and told the Israelis that he had authorized new covert action intended to sabotage Iran’s
    suspected effort to develop nuclear weapons, according to senior American and foreign
    officials.”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/11/washington/11iran.html?_r=1&hp

    Reply

  10. Paul Norheim says:

    Some sentences disappeared from my comment while posting
    it.
    I mentioned that Pakistan was a “key nation”. I intended to add
    this:
    “Iran is the second key nation. It`s security is closely linked to
    developments both in Central Asia and the Middle East.”
    And here`s the intended ending of my post:
    Obama`s second step should be to prepare talks with Iran.
    Serious talks, and not just “talks” – intended to justify a more
    martial approach later.
    Imagine the unthinkable: three huge failed, chaotic, destabilized
    states, side by side: Iraq, Iran and Pakistan. This is actually a
    likely outcome if Obama does a LBJ in Afghanistan and use the
    “stick” to punish Iran.

    Reply

  11. Paul Norheim says:

    Though I disagree strongly with WigWag supporting the Israeli
    attacks on Gaza, I think she has a much better grasp of the
    complexities and nuances in the Middle East and Central Asia
    than kotzabasis, varanasi and TonyForesta with their
    psychopolitical generalizations and simplifications.
    However, the issue of Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon program
    (or option) has to be seen not only in the context of the Middle
    East, but also in the context of Central Asia.
    BEFORE it becomes a nuclear power, Israel is Iran`s biggest
    threat. WHEN it gets a nuclear capacity, I believe that Pakistan
    may become a bigger threat to Iran than any of the Middle East
    powers, Israel included.
    Kotzabasis: “Iran is no Japan but the avant-garde of an Islamist
    extremist movement whose ultimate goal is to be its leader and
    whose acquisition of a nuclear ‘carapace’, in spite of European,
    and especially American opposition, would definitively place the
    crown of leadership on the Ayatollah’s head.”
    Leading who? There is not one monolithic extremist movement
    within Islam. If the jihadists within Taliban, al Quaeda and
    groups who sympathize with them gets an upper hand in
    Pakistan, we may instead see a really ugly religio-political war
    within the more or less extreme factions of Islam.
    The alliances in such a scenario are mostly clear: Iran and India
    on one side, Pakistan (probably joined by groups in Afghanistan
    and groups within some ME countries) on the other.
    Will China or Japan take side? Not very likely, as it looks now.
    But Israel and USA may surprise themselves and the world by
    temporarily joining forces with their arch enemy Iran.
    Pakistan is the key nation. A destabilized Pakistan may ten years
    from now cause mayhem spreading over two regions, with the
    risks of escalating into a world war in a more accurate sense
    than the two world wars of the former century.
    Obama`s first step should be to cancel his decision to send
    more troops to Afghanistan. An escalation in Afghanistan will
    force more jihadists over the border into Pakistan, certainly a
    recipe for further destabilization of the central government and
    a weakening of our long term hope: the moderate and more
    liberal forces in the country.

    Reply

  12. ... says:

    wigwag quote >>Attacking Iran would be ineffective. Even worse, it would be dumb!<<
    early 2000 and iraq anyone???
    the media love getting in a lather about a nuclear iran almost as much as much as israel/american politicians.. i can’t tell the difference when it comes to this topic… your comment suggest some bonehead ( probably from the usa) will ‘bring it on’..

    Reply

  13. kotzabasis says:

    My dear Steve,
    It’s hardly surprising that Wonker. com would have published such a ‘WONKER’ analysis about Iran’s nuclear weapons programme under the title of “Deep Iran Thought.” However, it’s more surprising that you Steve should consider Paul Kerr to be “on target” with such a piece of naivety and political infantilism. It seems that you have contacted a virus of multiple political default lines, without being conscious of this that would seriously impair your status as a serious political analyst.
    Iran is no Japan but the avant-garde of an Islamist extremist movement whose ultimate goal is to be its leader and whose acquisition of a nuclear ‘carapace’, in spite of European, and especially American opposition, would definitively place the crown of leadership on the Ayatollah’s head.
    Secondly, Paul Kerr’s contention, that “there is scant evidence that they want one at all costs” is infantile and needs to be put in its cradle and rocked to sleep. The threat of a looming American attack, and especially of an Israeli one, has been real for at least two years now and in view of this Kerr can still cogently claim that Iran does not want to acquire a nuclear arsenal “at all costs?” The logic of such situation would have required that if Iran was not willing to bear these costs it would have renounced the desire to acquire them and would have produced tangible evidence that it is not in the process of developing nuclear weapons. Only such a response by Iran would have made it transparent that it does not want to acquire these weapons “at all costs.”
    It seems to me that whenever you stop playing with toy soldiers or toy dolls, according to your preferences, you start playing with words and invent, out of a feverish imagination, scenarios that could only exist in one’s dreams. Your distinction of a “nuclear weapons option” with a “nuclear weapons in hand” is as far from reality, in the case of Iran, as a dream is where one finds himself flying in the sky from a waking state where one finds himself crawling on all fours.

    Reply

  14. Daniel says:

    Yes, WigWag, just like the Jews really knew The Messiah when they saw Him and had Him crucified!
    But you are right about one thing. Our blind nation would have been far better off if they had been wise enough to elect McCain/Palin instead of this false Messiah that they are kneeling before.

    Reply

  15. WigWag says:

    “Let me get this straight. Haass does work for the United States now, right?”
    Well Haass was hired by Barack Obama and Dan Kervick supported Barack Obama almost from the beginning. Isn’t that right?
    And by the way, you say “In the area of domestic policy, I do think Obama gets it, generally speaking, and there are at least several signs that he is thinking boldly, and understands the need for major structural changes in the domestic economy.”
    Oh really? It has been widely commented on by Paul Krugman and others that the Obama stimulus plan as currently proposed is only half as large as it needs to be and is weighted far too much in the direction of tax cuts instead of infrastructure and health care spending. Any why is Obama proposing a plan that most progressive economists think is far too weak? Because he wants to attract broad based Republican support.
    Obama is more interested in reaching out to Republicans than in providing Americans with a plan that will work.
    You Obama supporters out there; congratulations! You really knew a Messiah when you saw one.

    Reply

  16. Dan Kervick says:

    Haass: “To increase Israel’s tolerance for extended diplomatic engagement, the U.S. government should bolster Israel’s deterrent capabilities by providing an enhanced anti-ballistic-missile defense capability…”
    Oh, I love that. In order to receive Israel’s blessing for pursuing our own national interest, we must buy that blessing with weapons systems.
    Let me get this straight. Haass does work for the United States now, right?

    Reply

  17. WigWag says:

    Like it or not, Iran is going to get nuclear weapons if it wants them. An Israeli or American attack might temporarily slow down any nuclear weapons program that Iran wants to execute, but in the long run, if a country with vast oil wealth, a highly educated population and 71 million residents wants to acquire nuclear weapons it will. Israel and the United States are going to have to learn to live with it.
    And those commentators who have mentioned that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are a far greater threat to world security than a putative Iranian nuclear weapon, are entirely correct.
    Pakistan has an out of control terrorist movement in both Kashmir and the Tribal Regions. Its intelligence service is infiltrated by Jihadists and the central government could fall at any time. None of these things are true about Iran. Its government is not particularly vulnerable to a coup. Despite last week’s suicide bombing by Iranian Sunni extremists, there is little internal terrorism. Most importantly both the Revolutionary Guards and the Iranian intelligence service are controlled by the Iranian central government.
    Unlike Pakistan, if Iran develops a large stockpile of enriched uranium or even nuclear weapons, it has little incentive to proliferate. If Iran was to allow nuclear material to fall into the hands of terrorists, the risks to Iran are greater than to anyone else. Once outside of its control, Iran would have no idea what might happen to nuclear material it produced. It could easily and inadvertently end up in the hands of Sunni extremist groups like the Taliban or Al Qaeda who hate Persians and Shiites far more than they hate Jews and Israel. The risk to Iran would simply be too great that the fissionable material or the bomb that it proliferated would end up being used against its own home land. Iran will not proliferate. An Obama Administration that negotiated with Iran would have a far easier time negotiating guarantees that Iran won’t be a nuclear proliferator than negotiating with Iran to give up its nuclear aspirations.
    Israel needs to start being creative; it needs to turn lemons into lemonade. There’s no question that the American made (and Israel supported) Iraq imbroglio has inadvertently and dramatically strengthened Iran. After all, the United States took out Iran’s two worst enemies; the Taliban and Sadaam Hussein.
    But paradoxically, a strengthened Iran is a major strategic asset for Israel. It has not been commented on much, but the War in Gaza has demonstrated a remarkable, almost unbelievable, change in circumstances. Virtually all of Israel’s Sunni Arab neighbors supported Israel’s action against Hamas or acquiesced to it. There is no question that the intelligence services of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority have provided valuable information to the Israelis, and the Egyptians are refusing to allow international observers on their side of the border in the hope of preventing a cease fire and thus allowing Israel more time to degrade or even destroy Hamas. The Sunni Arab states have virtually become Israel’s allies in the war against Hamas.
    What accounts for this incredible change in circumstances? In part, it’s the old adage “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” The Sunni Arab governments simply hate and fear Shiites and Persians more than they hate and fear Jews and Israelis. Hamas (and Hezbollah) are allied with Iran and Israel’s Arab neighbors would rather side with Israel than see either of those groups get stronger.
    Israel’s relationship with its Arab neighbors is far more important than its relationship with Iran. As long as the Arabs hate and fear Iran they will be more cooperative with Israel. We are witnessing a paradigm shift. The fight in the Middle East is no longer between Arab and Israeli; it’s between secular and religious and between Sunni and Shiite A strong and threatening Iran is a boon to Israeli interests not a threat to Israeli interests.
    Of course, if Iran does develop nuclear weapons Israel will need to maintain deterrence and the essence of deterrence is a second strike capability. Israel’s current second strike capability is in serious doubt. This can easily be remedied in two ways: (1) the United States can place Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority under its nuclear umbrella. This is what Hillary Clinton was suggesting during the campaign when she mentioned obliterating Iran if it attacked Israel. Of course many Obama supporters were too stupid to recognize that this is what she meant. If Iran develops nuclear weapons or even looks like it will, it is virtually certain Obama will take Clinton’s advice. (2) The United States can and will enhance Israel’s second strike capability.
    Obama’s new Middle East Advisor Richard Haass said as much in his recent Foreign Affairs piece. Haass said “Preventive military action against Iran by either the United States or Israel is an unattractive option, given its risks and costs. But it needs to be examined carefully as a last-ditch alternative to the dangers of living with an Iranian bomb. To increase Israel’s tolerance for extended diplomatic engagement, the U.S. government should bolster Israel’s deterrent capabilities by providing an enhanced anti-ballistic-missile defense capability…” But surely Haass is speaking euphemistically. He knows that anti-ballistic missiles don’t work and that Israel won’t be placated by them. To enhance Israel’s second strike capability I am willing to bet that the Obama Administration supplies Israel with long range stealth bombers (which it doesn’t currently have)as well as dramatically enhanced air refueling capabilities.
    Germany is currently giving Israel at no cost two Dolphin Class (diesel powered) submarines. The problem is that these submarines can only operate non-stop for about 30 days which is too short a time for them to travel close enough to Iran to launch a second strike if it becomes necessary (unless Egypt let the submarines travel through the Suez Canal which is problematic). There is also some question as to whether the Dolphin Subs’ torpedo tubes (through which cruise missiles are launched) are large enough to allow missiles with a long enough range to reach Iran.
    My guess is that the Obama Administration will reluctantly agree to provide the Israeli Navy with one or two aging Los Angeles Class nuclear submarines that the US Navy is gradually decommissioning anyway. These submarines will provide the Israelis with a robust second strike capability and hence the deterrence they need so as not to be in a hair-pin response mode.
    The United States and the Soviet Union deterred each other for almost 60 years based on mutually assured destruction; there’s no reason the Israelis and Iranians can’t too. The trick is for each side to feel secure enough that it is not in a hair-pin launch mode where a tragic mistake could happen. Negotiations can assure all of this. It’s what Obama should be focusing on.
    It may be Machiavellian, but the best case scenario for the Israelis is: (1)a nuclear Iran adequately deterred from attacking Israel by an reliable Israeli second strike capability; (2) an Iran motivated by its own self-interest not to proliferate but still strong enough and belligerent enough to scare the hell out of the Sunni Arab States.
    Attacking Iran would be ineffective. Even worse, it would be dumb!

    Reply

  18. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Hmm, Eyore seems to think that weapons parity isn’t the topic when one is discussing MAD.
    Of course, its ridiculous to think that one can debate Iran’s alleged pursuit of nuclear weaponry without alluding to Israel’s nuclear arsenal, or offering conjecture as to what Israel would do if confronted with an adversary of equal military capabilities. Accusing me of being “unthoughtful”, Eyore is apparently unable to see the relevence behind my line of questioning. Perhaps its “too complex” a train of thought for poor Eyore.
    Or perhaps dreaming up a fresh screen name left him exhausted intellectually. Not encouraging, if the poor thing intends to run another thread up to three hundred posts of “yeah buts” and bigoted drivel.

    Reply

  19. ... says:

    sharing power has never been perceived as in the usa’s or israels interest, thus nuclear weapons for some, but not for others.. oh, i know you must paint these others who don’t have them as crazed terrorists, but when looking at israels actions the past few weeks, i see no difference, with the exception that israel is actually acting out of this role that is still conjecture regarding iran… big difference.. israel is a crazed terrorist with nuclear weapons, but doesn’t want iran a ‘crazed terrorist’ via propaganda to have them… back to point 1 – sharing power is not something the usa or israel are interested in… i agree with the poster furstenberg

    Reply

  20. Hijikata says:

    My point, illustrated. Despite your “Six-degrees of Israli Criminality” mentality, this thread isn’t about Gaza/Hamas/Israel, so yes, I ignored that question.

    Reply

  21. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “In disagreement there is discovery, in discussion there is enlightenment”
    And in your answer there is horseshit.
    Using “complexity” as an excuse for your lack of a logical or reasonable answer to my question, your argument is about as solid as a fart in the wind.
    Basically, what you are telling us is that you haven’t got a clue why Pakistan/India haven’t nuked each other, but you are confident that Mutually Assured Destruction has nothing to do with it. You even have history through which to formulate an answer, considering that these two nations once stood on the brink. But, still, unable to do so, you cite the ‘ol “its complex” line of umnittigated horseshit.
    I note you avoided my line of questioning as to what Israel might do if faced with an adversary of equal military prowess. Do you think they would be so prone to starve, murder, and steal land from a neighbor that had equal military might?
    You won’t answer that one, will you?
    Instead, you accuse me of “not being very thoughtful”, and, by implication, “unamerican”.
    Well fine, Eyore, I’ll just accept your premise that despite the fact you haven’t got a clue why you’ve arrived at a conclusion, your conclusion is indeed valid. Its the “because I said so” argument. Brilliant, I’m sure we can take your conclusions to the bank.

    Reply

  22. Hijikata says:

    Wow, POA… very American of you. You are not much of a conversationlist, are you? Having read many of your posts, I find you have little to learn from anyone, are not very thoughtful, and frequently use insult to display power.
    The contast of the world view on a nuclear Iran as opposed to a nuclear armed Pakistan is intriguing to me, and something you apparently can’t wrap your brain around. I don’t know the answer either, but wonder if there is a clue in it to the Iran issue. I think the reasons that Pakistan and India haven’t nuked one another has nothing to do with fear of MAD, and that they are much more complex than this single element is rather self evident. That they have not gone to war is the larger issue of what keeps them from nuking one another. What’s kept them from doing that? That’s what is beyond me, as I don’t know much about their relations. Unlike you that precludes me from commenting on it further.
    In disagreement there is discovery, in discussion there is enlightenment.

    Reply

  23. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Do you think MAD is why India and Pakistan haven’t launced nukes at each other?”
    Ok, I’ll bite, Eyore. Why don’t you bray us a ditty as to why India/Pakistan haven’t nuked each other?

    Reply

  24. PrahaPartizan says:

    “…I think Iran wants to be Japan — in the sense that like Japan, the Iranian leadership wants a full fuel cycle nuclear energy program that can serve as a base for but which is a step short of nuclear weapons development…”
    Steve, I believe you are 100% correct and none of the nations trying to coerce Iran into abandoning its nuclear enrichment program seem to have offered anything which could entice them to abandon the enrichment effort. I’ve seen nothing which would provide the Iranians with an assured nuclear fuel source for multiple years at deep discounts to the the global price for fuel. I believe that if the US, the EU, Russia, Japan, China, and India offered to supply a guaranteed amount of fuel for a specified number of reactors to be held in escrow by a neutral third-party (say Switzerland or some such) at prices 50% below market rate, we could than gauge the Iranians desire to pursue nuclear enrichment irrespective of cost. Nobody has done anything close to making such an offer formally from what I’ve been able to find. All the Iranians have had directed their way is smoke being puffed up their skirts. At some point, the coalition of the shilling is going to need to show them the money.

    Reply

  25. Hijikata says:

    MAD hasn’t had any effect on any nuclear pawer other than the Cold War… honestly, I wish the world were as wonderfully balanced as you would like it to be. Do you think MAD is why India and Pakistan haven’t launced nukes at each other? If you beleieve that, lets give everyone nukes. Nuclear deterrence only works if you have a state conscience to preserve your own people.

    Reply

  26. JohnH says:

    Hijikata said, “giving Iran the possibility of deploying nuclear weapons, and not expecting them to use them when their goals motivate them, is not something the world community is willing to allow.”
    What mindless blather! Iran will simply not, ever, use nuclear weapons “when their goals motivate them.” This would guarantee retaliation and obliteration. It’s called MAD and has prevented the world from being vaporized for 60 years now.
    So what would motivate Iran to use a nuke (in the unlikely scenario that they were ever to acquire one)? The answer is simple: if they were under nuclear attack from someone else (like the only other Middle Eastern nuclear power), who could in turn be obliterated for launching the attack.
    It’s simply hard to see what benefit Iran gets from having a nuke, except to discourage an attack from Israel or an America covetous of Iranian energy assets. But, as I said, they have other, conventional ways to dissuade America.
    Anyone with that much oil and natural gas would be incredibly stupid if they weren’t constantly thinking of ways to keep someone from stealing it all. And of course those with gigantic, unquenched thirst for oil are constantly thinking of ways to steal it.

    Reply

  27. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Isn’t it ironic that people like Hijkata will natter on about the hypothetical actions of a nuclear armed Iran, while ignoring the real time atrocities Israel has committed, and is committing? Does anyone seriously think Israel would be marching scores of Muslims into buildings that are subsequently bombed, if their adversaries had the might of weaponry that Israel enjoys? Would Israel cluster bomb Lebanese non-combatants if the Lenanese had the same delivery systems and cluster mnunitions? Would these monsters in the Israeli leadership use White Phosphorous against the Palestinians if the Palestinians could respond in kind? Of course not.
    It is quite telling that Hijkata is fond of citing the extremism of one side, while ignoring the extremism of the other side. Any extremist state is dangerous when in possession of nuclear weapons. And that premise is proven by Israel’s brazen campaign of genocide, only possible because of its superior military prowess over its neighbors. One cannot only see the sound reasoning behind Iran wanting to level the playing field, one can actually hope that Iran manages to neutralize Israel’s military superiority, which would facilitate diplomatic solutions instead of an endless procession of Israeli mass murder campaigns.

    Reply

  28. Hijikata says:

    BTW, I sort of agree with JohnH that as we write this there is no reason for Iran to pursue a nuke right now, and I would hope that Paul Kerr is correct. I think in general, the world would just as soon wish no one else develop nukes… and that we could take them away from Pakistan and India. We hyperventilate whenever any state talks about going nuclear as many of those states are not very stable. Personally, I am not concerned about Iran having nuke amibitions right now, but I wouldn’t put it past them to move from option to armed in a hearbeat.

    Reply

  29. Hijkata says:

    Giving Iran the possibility of deploying nuclear weapons, and not expecting them to use them when their goals motivate them, is not something the world community is willing to allow. (That being said, there is no such concern directed at Pakistan and India, who scare me more in this regard). Iran has not openly pushed an Islamic Jihadist agenda on the world, but there is fear that their support for extremist elements is just that. The nuclear fear I suspect is that Iran could take such an agenda as a nuclear force. An extremeist Islamist Jihad that is nuclear armed is the major concern, given the disdain for the lives of others, including their own, such states have shown.
    I believe the Iranian people have little interest in pursuing such an agenda, and have little interest in becoming a nuclear power. The state however, is another thing entirely, and this doubt may be why the US and EU have opposed this. That Iran has interest in Palestinian unrest, and foments it, is a given, but the bigger issue is power and control in the Middle East as a whole. Having Iran add a nuclear dog to that fight is a security issue for the entire Middle East, and I think the world in general. THAT is what having a nuke would do for Iran: it is a much bigger stick that speaks louder than conventional weapons do, and if you attach that to Jihad, well…

    Reply

  30. Dan Kervick says:

    I’m starting to feel were fucked no matter what. The global economic system is in the midst of a massive structural readjustment:
    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=4591
    But we are saddled with a neoliberal ruling class whose reality-averse, ivy-encrusted, messianic, city-on-a-hill ideologies and training will brook no interference, and least not from mere reality, with their fantastic and megalomaniacal schemes. And these prima donnas are indulged and enabled by a military-industrial establishment that just wants to keep the cash coming.
    In the area of domestic policy, I do think Obama gets it, generally speaking, and there are at least several signs that he is thinking boldly, and understands the need for major structural changes in the domestic economy.
    But in the foreign policy realm so far, it appears Obama has foolishly concluded that our problems and failures are just a temporary phase brought on by the mismanagement of the Bush administration, and he has embarked on a restorationist agenda aimed at re-building US power and leadership to 90’s-era levels, or 60’s-era levels, and revitalizing the taste for US intervention and “leadership” abroad.
    The US establishment will stupidly and malevolently choose war as the only way to pull the county out of its economic doldrums, and preserve their power and moral authority at the same time. Ross, Holbrooke, Haass, Gates, Jones, Clinton and Susan Rice are a team built to execute a global-scale “surge”. Yeah, we’re going to “talk” to Iran. We’re going to talk to them the same way Germany talked with Chamberlain. With Ross in charge, it is rather clear that this talking charade is just a way of distracting and getting buy-in from the left as we prepare the blow to come later.
    What we saw from Bush were no mere goofs from an incompetent, but were the all-too-familiar structural pathologies of a power in decline, with an entrenched ruling class, in the midst of a global system undergoing radical change. That immediately following an administration that brought us the debacle of Iraq, and that is leaving with its public approval in the trash can, an incoming administration would conclude we actually need to escalate our military intervention in Afghanistan, and then re-appoint the head of Bush’s Defense Department on the grounds that what is most needed now is “continuity”, shows a fantastically bad reading of both history and the US public, and also shows just how impervious the foreign policy and national security establishment is to any influence from either the public or the real world. We need a wide-scale purge of these dinosaurs.
    We have no choices left but to figure out how to starve the beast ruthlessly. I suggest we begin to work together on analyzing defense appropriations item by item, and for each one identify an alternative program of domestic spending that has a stronger economic multiplier effect. Then we work effectively, armed with evidence, to convince the public that most of our defense spending is a fantastically wasteful pile of make-work crap that constricts the US economy and prevents its workers and scientific talent from applying themselves to much more productive and broadly useful endeavors. Does anyone know who are the top economic thinkers working in this area?
    I also suggest mixing in some class warfare as well. The main beneficiaries of the war machine are a bunch of spoiled beltway brats who love the feeling of power and importance they get from either working in an imperial establishment, or attending think tank panels and talking blithely, and in dry pseudo-intellectual terms, about life and death and the application of the liberalizing whip of force to the backs of the world’s subservient miserable.
    One step we should take right away is to prevent the planned expansion of the US Army. Giving the brats more fleshy Army men to play with only enables them to expand their game.
    It’s also time to start following the money. I suspect part of what is going on here is that the same people whose support Obama needs to finance his bold domestic agenda have told him “no dice” unless he continues to play ball with the existing schemes and scams of US empire abroad.

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  31. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Perhaps, of more immediate concern to us, should be this asshole Bush’s efforts to develop and include nuclear weapons in our arsenal of offensive weaponry.
    His unproven, expensive, and politically incendiary moves towards deploying a system of defensive missile sites in Europe is also quite destructive to any efforts to control proliferation.
    Of course, I would far rather see Israel abandon its nuclear arsenal than see Iran acquire one. But considering what these Israeli monsters did in Lebanon with cluster munitions, and are now doing to the Palestinians, I hardly think we can blame Iran for seeking a nuclear deterent to Israel’s repeated veiled threats of nuclear action against Iran. When one factors in the rhetoric of these crazy bastards in the Bush Administration, Iran is quite justified in fearing for its own security, and seeking to even the playing field with Israel. If Israel is not going to abandon its nuclear arsenal, I see no reason that Iran should be barred from acquiring its own. We don’t see Iran incinerating the children of its adversaries, do we? But the Israelis are becoming quite proficient at it, aren’t they? It isn’t hard to imagine Israel deciding to cook a few million Muslims at a time, rather than simply satisfying themselves by murdering a few hundred at a time, when not starving them in a gulag over-run with raw sewage, hopelessness, and human misery.
    Perhaps if the risk to Israel was a million lives, instead of the occassional Israeli that gets hit in the noggin by a crude short range firecracker, they would stop using missile attacks to justify war crimes, sacrificing a minimal amount of Israeli lives by purposelly failing to deploy proven anti-missile technologies, such as the Phalanx system.

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  32. John says:

    Seriously, the solution to the problem is for the US to stop making it worse by funding the Israeli military.
    The US *is* the problem in the middle-east.

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  33. JohnH says:

    Hijikata, your solution–have Arab states agree to recognize that Israel won’t go away–has been tried and failed. The reason? Israel adamantly refuses to even consider Saudi Arabia’s peace plan, which has been gathering dust for years. It would do exactly what you propose.
    When Arabs talk peace, there simply is no “partner for peace” to be found in Israel. Pretty sick, if you ask me.

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  34. JohnH says:

    Yes, indeed. The distinction does matter. The warmongers would have you believe that crazy Iranians are on a suicidal mission to nuke Israel and the rest of the world at the first opportunity.
    But the NIE painted the Iranian leadership as “rationale actors,” which obviously casts a lot of doubt on the warmongering neo-conmen’s premises.
    So what purpose would an Iranian nuke have? They have plenty of CONVENTIONAL deterrence by simply targeting the Strait of HormuzRas Tanura, Ras al-Ju’aymah, and perhaps a handful of other sites in the Gulf.
    http://www.pbs.org/wnet/wideangle/shows/saudi/map.html
    Taking out a bunch of Gulf of facilities, like the Iranians did to Saddam, would devastate the global economy. According to some estimates, a 20% decline in exports is so dire that the consequences cannot even be modeled.
    So, again, why waste a bunch of money on nukes, when you’ve got deterrence already in your sites with conventional weapons?
    This is not a question that you will see anyone in the corporate media ask or answer. They and their sponsors and minders prefer to market falsities.

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  35. fyi says:

    Steve:
    The point you make has been well-known since 2004 at the very latest. US & EU could not agree to Iran posessing that option. That is why we are where we are.
    Hijikatta:
    You need to stop hyperventilatong both on Iran and on Palsetine.
    On Iran, what you are alluding to is not possible; you will need to go to war, defeat her, and occpy her. That is a pipe-dream.
    On Palestine I think the war will continue for the next few decades, some times hot, some times could. During that time, it will also change its character to become a religious war between Judaism and Islam.

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  36. Hijikata says:

    Really? Thinking that 1) there is a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue, and 2) adding a nuclear option to Islamist fundamentalist rheotric, is not very thoughtful.
    As long as Hamas speaks for the Palestinans violence will be used by the “Palestinians” and there is no solution. Israel knows there is no military nor diplomatic solution to irrational and terrorist statesmanship by “Palestinians”, let alone under Hamas. There may have been options under Fatah, but Hamas threw many of them off the roof… There will need to be assurances that terrorism and violence by “Palestinians”, or Arabs in general, against Israel, will stop, before compromises can be reached. (Those accusing Israel of violating past agreements need to provide the identities of Israelis who blew themselves up at Palestinian checkpoints or on buses in Gaza…).
    To the second point. Putting nuclear weapons capabilities in the hands of a state who has an Islamist agenda with a stated goal of de-stabilizing the Middle East is just not clear thinking to say the least.
    The best way to “grease the skids” towards peace in the Middle East is for Arab states to recognize that Israel will not go away, but can be a stabilizing state in the region, and compromise. Since many of the said states don’t have that in mind, there it is, another bar to peace in the region. My friend calls this a pragmatist’s approach, and he is right. For Israel to talk it needs security, for the “Palestinians” to have peace they need for Israel to cease to exist. Which is more likely to happen? Neither, as long as the “Palestinians” allow Arab extremists to be their voice…

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  37. furstenberg says:

    Iran needs a few nuclear weapons to bring stability to the Middle East.
    Would Israel continue their regular rampages if Iran had a nuclear weapon pointed at them?
    Would Israel not play nice all of a sudden if Iran had the bomb?
    The best way to grease the skids to a Israeli / Palestinian peace would be having Iran put a gun to Israel’s head cutting their Chutzpah by at least half.

    Reply

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