Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Mark Steyn on the Iranians: believe what you hear

History (like life) must be lived forwards, but can only be understood backwards, if at all.

That adage came to mind as I was reading this piece by the inimitable Mark Steyn.

Assignment, class: compare and contrast the clarity of the Steyn piece on Iran (not to mention the writing style) to the murky gobbledygook on roughly the same subject that Seymour Hersh recently spewed out onto the pages of the New Yorker, whose editors seem to have taken leave of their editorial senses when they invited him on board.

I discussed Hersh's piece yesterday, here. Today I'm going to discuss Steyn's.

Ah, but who's Steyn? After all, he's only an opinion columnist--unlike the veteran Pulitzer Prize-winning Hersh, who became famous for having My Lai dumped in his lap through a tip in 1969, and then investigating the story and writing a series of articles and a book on the subject. This Salon puff-piece on Hersh makes it clear how much fame and journalistic glory descended on Hersh as a result of his My Lai work. Hersh has tried to follow the winning formula ever since: reliance on the tip, almost always anonymous, to lead him to a story that exposes US atrocities and/or atrocities-in-the-making. And if he can't find them, he'll invent them, or report unsourced rumors and innuendos as fact.

One of these days, one of these days--I plan to write a longer piece about Hersh, whose fingerprints can be found in some of the most surprising places. But for now, I urge you to read this piece on Hersh from the Columbia Journalism Review, hardly a right-wing hit job, but full of interesting stuff nevertheless.

Steyn doesn't have nearly the reputation of Hersh, but he makes use of two items that don't seem to be in Hersh's toolbox: excellent writing; and, more importantly, logic. But now I'll let Steyn speak for himself on the subject of Iran: what sort of leaders it has, what their intentions might be, and whether it is a "rational" or "pragmatic" actor:

If we’d understood Iran back in 1979, we’d understand better the challenges we face today. Come to that, we might not even be facing them...When [the mullahs of Iran] say “Islamic Republic,” they mean it. And refusing to take their words at face value has bedeviled Western strategists for three decades.

Twenty-seven years ago, because Islam didn’t fit into the old cold war template, analysts mostly discounted it....Very few of us considered the strategic implications of an Islamist victory on its own terms—the notion that Iran was checking the neither-of-the-above box and that that box would prove a far greater threat to the Freeish World than Communism...

Our failure to understand Iran in the seventies foreshadowed our failure to understand the broader struggle today. As clashes of civilizations go, this one’s between two extremes: on the one hand, a world that has everything it needs to wage decisive war—wealth, armies, industry, technology; on the other, a world that has nothing but pure ideology and plenty of believers. (Its sole resource, oil, would stay in the ground were it not for foreign technology, foreign manpower, and a Western fetishization of domestic environmental aesthetics.)

For this to be a mortal struggle, as the cold war was, the question is: Are they a credible enemy to us?

For a projection of the likely outcome, the question is: Are we a credible enemy to them?...

If you dust off the 1933 Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States, Article One reads: “The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications: (a) a permanent population; (b) a defined territory; (c) government; and (d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.” Iran fails to meet qualification (d), and has never accepted it. The signature act of the new regime was not the usual post-coup bloodletting and summary execution of the shah’s mid-ranking officials but the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran by “students” acting with Khomeini’s blessing. Diplomatic missions are recognized as the sovereign territory of that state, and the violation thereof is an act of war...Yet Iran paid no price. They got away with it...Washington should have reversed the affront to international order quickly, decisively, and in a sufficiently punitive manner. At hinge moments of history, there are never good and bad options, only bad and much much worse. Our options today are significantly worse because we didn’t take the bad one back then.


Here's what Steyn has to say on what Iran is prepared to do, and the nature of its reach:

Anyone who spends half an hour looking at Iranian foreign policy over the last 27 years sees five things [right before this Steyn has cited, among other things, the Iranian-led bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in 1994, which killed about 100 people and injured another 250] :

1. contempt for the most basic international conventions;
2. long-reach extraterritoriality;
3. effective promotion of radical Pan-Islamism;
4. a willingness to go the extra mile for Jew-killing (unlike, say, Osama);
5. an all-but-total synchronization between rhetoric and action.


Yes, believe: synchronization between rhetoric and action. In analyzing that rhetoric, Steyn goes on to compare the two candidates in Iran's most recent election ("hothead" vs. "moderate"--and, by the way, the "hothead" Ahmadinejad won):

What’s the difference between a hothead and a moderate? Well, the extremist Ahmadinejad has called for Israel to be “wiped off the map,” while the moderate Rafsanjani has declared that Israel is “the most hideous occurrence in history,” which the Muslim world “will vomit out from its midst” in one blast, because “a single atomic bomb has the power to completely destroy Israel, while an Israeli counter-strike can only cause partial damage to the Islamic world.” Evidently wiping Israel off the map seems to be one of those rare points of bipartisan consensus in Tehran, the Iranian equivalent of a prescription drug plan for seniors: we’re just arguing over the details.

So the question is: Will they do it?

And the minute you have to ask, you know the answer. If, say, Norway or Ireland acquired nuclear weapons, we might regret the “proliferation,” but we wouldn’t have to contemplate mushroom clouds over neighboring states. In that sense, the civilized world has already lost: to enter into negotiations with a jurisdiction headed by a Holocaust-denying millenarian nut job is, in itself, an act of profound weakness—the first concession, regardless of what weaselly settlement might eventually emerge.

Conversely, a key reason to stop Iran is to demonstrate that we can still muster the will to do so.


As for those negotiations with Iran, here is Steyn's description:

...the striking characteristic of the long diplomatic dance that brought us to this moment is how September 10th it’s all been. The free world’s delegated negotiators (the European Union) and transnational institutions (the IAEA) have continually given the impression that they’d be content just to boot it down the road to next year or the year after or find some arrangement—this decade’s Oil-for-Food or North Korean deal—that would get them off the hook. If you talk to EU foreign ministers, they’ve already psychologically accepted a nuclear Iran. Indeed, the chief characteristic of the West’s reaction to Iran’s nuclearization has been an enervated fatalism...

I don't know about the "enervated fatalism" part. From the Hersh article, I see something even more frightening than that: an out-of-touch-with-reality denial of the stark truths about Iran that Steyn's article so clearly delineates. It seems to me that many on the left, and in the world of diplomacy, actually and sincerely believe Iran to be a rational and pragmatic actor. Come to think of it, though, maybe that stance comes from one of "enervated fatalism" after all; if there's no way to stop Iran from going nuclear, if the "Hamlet men" of the diplomatic world have all "lost the name of action"--well then, best to believe it'll all be okay, because Iran is a rational actor just blowing hot air with its inflammatory rhetoric.

How much do Iranian leaders care about the possible negative consequences of its own war aims and/or rhetoric on the welfare and lives of its own people, or on others in the Moslem world? Not very, and not a whole lot, says Steyn:

Like Rafsanjani, [Ahmadinejad] would regard, say, Muslim deaths in an obliterated Jerusalem as worthy collateral damage in promoting the greater good of a Jew-free Middle East. The Palestinians and their “right of return” have never been more than a weapon of convenience with which to chastise the West. To assume Tehran would never nuke Israel because a shift in wind direction would contaminate Ramallah is to be as ignorant of history as most Palestinians are: from Yasser Arafat’s uncle, the pro-Nazi Grand Mufti of Jerusalem during the British Mandate, to the insurgents in Iraq today, Islamists have never been shy about slaughtering Muslims in pursuit of their strategic goals....

The remedy? As I wrote yesterday, the answer is not clear, and the choices are not easy. But whether or not it can be accomplished--and, if so, how (and I'm in favor of clandestine operations)--regime change in Iran is a worthy goal.

And if that statement makes me one of those nefarious neocons, then so be it; I may as well live up to my name. And I guess Steyn is one, too:

Nukes have gone freelance, and there’s nothing much we can do about that, and sooner or later we’ll see the consequences—in Vancouver or Rotterdam, Glasgow or Atlanta. But, that being so, we owe it to ourselves to take the minimal precautionary step of ending the one regime whose political establishment is explicitly pledged to the nuclear annihilation of neighboring states.

We owe it to ourselves, and to the world--including the Moslem world.

45 Comments:

At 1:21 PM, April 11, 2006, Anonymous Richard Aubrey said...

Interesting, the way Steyn puts it.

We act hard and decisively, or there's catastrophe. No other choices.

If we demur, he has a quarter century's record of FACTS to explain why kicking the can down the road will cost us. Has cost us.

 
At 1:28 PM, April 11, 2006, Blogger Steve said...

I thought it was a weak article.


So the question is: Will they do it?

And the minute you have to ask, you know the answer.


That's right, and the answer is no.



But, that being so, we owe it to ourselves to take the minimal precautionary step of ending the one regime whose political establishment is explicitly pledged to the nuclear annihilation of neighboring states.


I have to admit I read the article rather quickly but exactly where are the quotes from current Iranian govt officials claiming that they will annihilate with nuclear weapons neighboring states?



the primary objective should be punishment—and incarceration.


This is a call to war based on the slaughter of Argentinian Jews 15 years ago and the taking of American hostages 28 years ago, to which one can add the Salman Rushdie fatwa. Something like 100 people died as the result of these actions. We are supposed to slaughter how many Iranians in retaliation?


but extraterritorial nuttiness has to be shown not to pay.


Which is why I am grateful Steyn does not hold a government position.


That means swift, massive, devastating force that decapitates the regime—but no occupation.


Right. Go for it. Don't worry about burying the bodies, or cleaning up the mess, afterwards. That's someone else's problem.

President Tinfoil just announced that Iran has harnessed nuclear power for peaceful purposes. So now what?

 
At 1:32 PM, April 11, 2006, Blogger JasonSpalding said...

The Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said “I declare here that the laboratory-scale nuclear fuel cycle has been completed and young scientists produced enriched uranium”. What was his definition of laboratory-scale? Laboratory scale characterization, small scale and pilot scale test method development.

 
At 1:49 PM, April 11, 2006, Blogger Steve said...

The fact remains that Steyn has essentially called for the destruction of the State of Iran: without mercy to its inhabitants, without regard to any consequences, simply to address past wrongs not commensurable to the proposed solution, and to prevent Israel from being nuked, for which he provides a very flimsy proof.

This is just hysterical rhetoric. The Cold War, which lasted over 40 years, would have lasted ten minutes if people like Steyn were in charge.

 
At 1:54 PM, April 11, 2006, Blogger Goesh said...

In common parlance, once you have the nukes cocked and aimed, you can pretty much do what you want without fear of any serious, military retaliation from the West. You can set up terrorist training camps right on the border in plain sight and openly advertise - you know, camp X for action against the Jews, camp Y for action against America, etc. Equal opportunity for aspiring jihadis. Who says they can't adapt to Western style and tradition? They can have recruitment competition! Of course with a strong and steady flow of cash coming from the Chinese and their growing need for energy, it will be a Mullah's paradise on earth! Lovely, lovely.....let the West whine and complain about exporting and funding terrorism and all you have to do is rattle the ol' missle a bit, not the sabre. Talk about getting people to placate, bow and scrape and lick the sandals - just point a nuke missle at them....' Oh I've got the Caliphate blues, it's all over the news, they've paid their dues and made the nuclear list of who's who, whata'we gonna' do?'....life can be depressing enough without Iran getting nuclear weapons.

 
At 2:04 PM, April 11, 2006, Blogger Steve said...


In common parlance, once you have the nukes cocked and aimed, you can pretty much do what you want without fear of any serious, military retaliation from the West.


Nonsense. If Iran sets up terrorist training sites, aimed at us, they get bombed. If they develop nukes, they will have to put them SOMEWHERE. And we can bomb them there.

We have the bomb, Israel has the bomb. That is known as deterrence. When you have deterrence you do not need pre-emption.

The way to handle this has to lie somewhere between destroying all countries that may be a threat some day and grabbing your ankles and kissing your ass goodbye. Unfortunately the calculus being offered by Steyn and others insists that failure to do the first guarantees the latter. Just total hysteria, that's what this is.

 
At 2:23 PM, April 11, 2006, Anonymous TalkinKamel said...

Steve:

1. Ahmadenijad has been quoted as saying that he believes "Israel must be wiped off the face of the Earth." Why shouldn't we believe him? How long should we wait, to see if he carries out his threats against Israel, or if he starts bombing us?

2. Ahmadenijad also seems to be looking forward to the coming of the messianic "12th Imam", whose appeaerance on earth is supposedly going to be preceded by war and turmoil. Given the general nuttiness of the Iranian government, don't you think it's quite likely they might try to speed up his arrival?

Deterrence worked with the Russians, because, bad as the Communists were, they were sane (to a certain extent) and they valued their lives. Ahmadenijad, and leaders like him, seem to be obsessed with taking down their enemies, and spreading Islam---even if untold numbers die in the process.

3. If Iran isn't planning to go to war, then what the heck does it need the bomb for? It doesn't need nuclear energy for power---it's got plenty of oil.

4. I think you'd better go back and read Steyn's article again; I think you just don't get it. There are solid reasons why letting the mad mullahs get the bomb is NOT a good idea!

4. Aren't you being a bit cavalier about American and Jewish lives with the they-bomb-us-we'll-just-bomb-them attitude. Which city are you willing to sacrifice to an American holocaust, and how many American, or Israeli, or European lives are you willing to see snuffed out before you'd permit us to take action? And what makes you think we'd even be able to, if the strike were big enough, and the death and damage widespread enough---not to mention that dangers of lingering radiation, cloud cover, damage to the economy, etc.

And, of course, the lives lost in such an attack could never be replaced. You claim to be worried about innocent Iranians, which is fine, but you seem strangely unaffected by the danger faced by innocent Israelis, Americans, etc., whose lives certainly matter as much as the Iranians, and who will certainly be endangered if Iran gets nukes.

 
At 2:41 PM, April 11, 2006, Blogger Steve said...

TalkinKamel:

1. Ahmadenijad has been quoted as saying that he believes "Israel must be wiped off the face of the Earth."- Name me a Muslim leader who hasn't said something similar about "destroying Israel". Do you really think that constitutes a threat, or a promise, to use nuclear weapons against Israel? Really.

2. The 12th Imam stuff, is, at minimum, highly speculative. Steyn seems to think, let's destroy Iran, "Just to be sure." I consider that hysterical nonsense, at best.

3. Frankly, I don't know why they want to harness nuclear energy. I'm not in favor of them building nukes, I don't have a problem with Iranian nuclear power. I am not sure if the two can be reconciled. What I do think is irresponsible is to call for the punitive destruction of Iran, for really no good reason, except Steyn's vague fears about what the government of Iran might do -- WHEN they get nuclear weapons, delivery systems, etc. etc.

4. I am not in favor of nuclear proliferation. At the same time, I am not in favor of the punitive destruction of nations seeking nuclear weapons. Do you think there's another way to go about this? Thanks.

4. b. I am not being cavalier about US or Israeli lives. If anyone is being cavalier it is those glib commentators who call for the punitive destruction of other nations.

Did you experience the Cold War? I did. We had various nutcases who, from time to time, would argue that we had to nuke the Soviets first, for exactly the same kinds of reasons being enumerated here. We didn't. And they didn't. Let us get a grip.

First strike rhetoric is BS. That's what it is. And look at the rhetoric, too: the Iranians don't even have ONE bomb yet, and already there's speculation that they might have a strike "big enough" that would prevent retaliation. This is hysteria. I am calling it what it is.

All the best.

 
At 3:19 PM, April 11, 2006, Anonymous Spanky said...

Ahmadenijad is also speaking to his electorate, not to you. Keep that in mind. The Iranian leadership, while unpleasant, isn't nearly the threat they are made out to be in some circles.

 
At 3:24 PM, April 11, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone really think that Europe would mind if Iran nuked Israel?

Europe, France especially, is hopelessly anti-Semitic (Google it, especially “I have killed my Jew. I will go to heaven"). If they can get Islam to do their dirty work for them they will be thrilled. Plus, if you buy ShrinkWrap’s theory on Europe & the guilt of the holocaust, having Islam kill off the Jews would absolve Europe of their guilt from the holocaust.

So, Europe (a long supporter of the PLO) is OK-dokey with Iran killing off as many Jews as they can.

If Israel or the US stops Iran, then they can blame us for harm done to those nice peaceful Iranians. After all Islam is the religion of peace. Also, Europe would be relieved to have Iran disarmed.

See it is a win-win for Europe.
On one hand, Jews dead. Europe wins
On the other hand, US and Israel bad & Iran disarmed. Europe wins.


What Iran has to do to get Europe to notice is nuke a European city, like Rome (head of the Christian church).
But Iran is too smart to do that. Demographics are in Islam’s favour in Europe. Just wait 20-40 years an Islam can enforce their will (Sharia law, dhimmihood [sp?]) via the ballot box. Look at the cartoon riots. As Steyn said, that was the act of a house buyer declaring how he’ll remodel the kitchen when he owns the house. Islam knows it will soon own Europe, and they are just setting down markers on how things will change when they do.

 
At 3:30 PM, April 11, 2006, Blogger The probligo said...

"1. contempt for the most basic international conventions;
2. long-reach extraterritoriality;
3. effective promotion of radical Christianism;
4. a willingness to go the extra mile for Muslim-killing (unlike, say, Blair);
5. an all-but-total synchronization between rhetoric and action."



Yep, I reckon that is about right.

Two of a kind really.


And speaking of Hersch, let us not forget that he was at the front of breaking the AbuGhraib story as well...

 
At 3:58 PM, April 11, 2006, Anonymous Richard Aubrey said...

Actually, Hersh didn't "break" the story. The story was out there, from several months before. He managed to convince the NYT that running it as if it were still happening, for weeks on end, would damage Bush.

 
At 4:04 PM, April 11, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"believe what you hear"

Y'all don't get it, do you? It'll be a cold day in hell before anyone believes what they hear from neocons again.

 
At 4:45 PM, April 11, 2006, Blogger Bezuhov said...

"Steyn doesn't have nearly the reputation of Hersh, but he makes use of two items that don't seem to be in Hersh's toolbox: excellent writing; and, more importantly, logic."

I would add a third: a sense of humor. Something conspicuously missing from the ostrich brigade who's shown up in this comments section.

 
At 4:46 PM, April 11, 2006, Blogger Bezuhov said...

"I thought it was a weak article."

Thanks for sharing. I've met actual hobgoblins less predictable.

 
At 4:48 PM, April 11, 2006, Blogger Goesh said...

Steve you remind me of Neville Chamberlain waving his piece of white paper, displaying a toothy, foolish grin upon his return from placating hitler. Iran is telescoping aggression towards Israel and the US. I can name a few Muslim leaders that aren't and that haven't advocated the destruction of Israel in quite a few years, namely Mubarak of Egypt and Hussein of Jordan, both of whom have treaties with Israel. Bahrain and Kuwait and the current government of Iraq certainly are not expressing overt hostility towards Israel and the US either. Let's have sanctions and UN resolutions against Iran! Yippeeee!
Why would Iran risk a direct, missle-to-missle confrontation when they could send in a suitcase nuke or enough contaminates to cause total economic disruption and panic? Who would Israel strike with nukes in that scenario? The palis having obtained some maybe from N. Korea? Chechynians paid to do the deed? Hizbullah martyrs obtaining material via the Russian mafia? Who and where would Israel strike in a scenario like that? Hundreds of homicide attacks in Israel and Iraq and other places have taught some people absolutely nothing. Talk about the hysteria of denial and abject fear. Imagine jihadists being so primitive they had to resort to using boxcutters to hijack airplanes with to kill 3,000 of us, then give them access to nuclear material. Deterrence with arab fundamentalists you say - like the presence of 130,000 US combat troops in Iraq that are still engaging in street fights?? Deterrence is stopping the taliban from crossing over from the Paki frontier to engage the men and technology of the West, is it? Muslim fundamentalists are not deterred by a show of force. Where do you get such Chamberlainesque notions? Wake up and get the hell out of the way of people that will do what has to be done - I'm tired of people like you peeing all over themselves over arab aggression and expecting the rest of us to sit beside them engaging in parlor games of war.

 
At 6:44 PM, April 11, 2006, Blogger Steve said...

I would just like to say that I am sorry, but I did not realize that giving my frank opinion about Mark Steyn's bloodthirsty -- but witty -- call for the destruction of Iran was "getting in someone's way" and keeping anyone from engaging in the kind of righteous mass killing that is apparently absolutely-necessary-before-it's-too-late. My bad.

 
At 7:26 PM, April 11, 2006, Anonymous TalkinKamel said...

Steve:

1. Yes, I really do think Iran is a danger. If there's one thing the bloody 20th Century should have taught us, it's that when a tyrant starts making noises about doing away with people, it's best to take him seriously. I also think it's a danger because of the five reasons Steyn gives in his article: contempt for the most basic international conventions, etc., etc., etc.

The Islamic world has made numerous threats against Israel in the past, and continually seeks ways to destroy it. Look at the ongoing intifada, and its past aggressive wars against Israel.

You really think if Iran gets a nuke it's not going to use it against Israel? And that the rest of the Islamic world isn't going to cheer it on? Or join in, in any more coventional war they might wage (backed up by the nukes, or course).

2. The 12th Imam may be "speculative" to you, but many of the more radical Islamists, Ahmadenijad included, really do believe in his coming, and seem prepared to do anything necessary to hasten it along. We should all be worried about this.

3. Hmmm, I don't know. . . maybe they want all that nuclear power to grow some pretty flowers with? Or create some star ships for Iran's famous space program? Or because they think it might be fun to irradiate themselves, so then they can glow in the dark?

Really, they couldn't possibly want it for weapons---now could they? Ha, ha, what a silly idea!

4.&5.

I'm not in favor of wholesale destruction, but I'm not in favor of just sitting around waiting for the hammer to fall---or sacrificing New York or Tel Aviv because we don't want to look like bad guys, and be mean to Iran. (After all, that's wholesale destruction too---it'd just be our side that suffering it).

If you think there's another way---a REAL solution, not just "Let-the-UN-handle-it", "Endless dialogue", "Send in Hans Blix" or "Let'm nuke Texas! We'll just bomb them back!" I'm sure we'd all like to hear it. Thanks.

I'm afraid the time is past for any good solution to this. Jimmuh Carter mucked things up good and fine in the Middle East, and we've been dealing with the---you should only pardon the expression---fallout, ever since.

I did live through the Cold War. In fact, both America and Russia lived through the Cold War. We survived, despite some hot-heads blustering about Nuking Moscow (or, on the other side, Nuking Washington D.C.). The Cold War stayed Cold. You talk as if it were some sort of horrible disaster, whereas, actually, it was a success. There was no nuclear war.

I'm not so sure we're going to be so lucky this time around. We don't have the hard-headedness or political savvy of the cold warriors.

And remember---appeasement is BS.

Kindest regards.

(By the way, skimming through the Steyn article, Steyn says he thinks Iran needs to be stopped---not that it needs to be wiped off the face of the map, as it's threatened to do to Israel).

 
At 7:59 PM, April 11, 2006, Blogger Bezuhov said...

Just another in Steve's endless supply of strawmen. To bad there's no Wizard who can give them, and him, a brain.

 
At 8:23 PM, April 11, 2006, Blogger Megan said...

There might not have been a nuclear strike during the cold war, but the USSR WAS trying to undermine and, if possible, destroy the US. For all the 'hotheads' crying to nuke Russia, there were even more Communists spying and working in the US. Declassified Russian documents have shown this to be true.

The same people who were saying that Communism wasn't 'that bad' and that the thread was just an exageration seem to be putting their head in the sand regarding Iran.

People didn't believe Hitler. They thought he was crazy (or they agreed with him...anti-semitism wasn't exactly an unpopular viewpoint). If Hitler had had a nuke can you honestly believe he wouldn't use it?

This wackjob in Iran is a worshipper of death...not life. At least the N. Korean nutter values his life of leisure (at the expense of his country) and comfort. Worshipping death means that he has no fear of who he kills or who gets killed in his country. We can't underestimate this kind of second Hitler.

I'm not saying we should go nuke Iran. But there has to be something we can do to destroy their infastructure and at the very least buy us more time.

 
At 8:24 PM, April 11, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

to steve and talkin. Chrono order.

That's right, and the answer is no.

That's not surprising, steve, coming from a person that 9 times out of 10, will say no to the question "Will this happen in your opinion".

Logically, someone who doesn't want to do a lot of things will think others also behave in a similar way. Not a very wise path to choose.

The fact remains that Steyn has essentially called for the destruction of the State of Iran: without mercy to its inhabitants, without regard to any consequences, simply to address past wrongs not commensurable to the proposed solution, and to prevent Israel from being nuked, for which he provides a very flimsy proof.

The fact remains that Steyn believes as I do, that diplomacy in a state of undeclared war is and must be categorically different from diplomacy in a state of peace. As I listed in my 8 or so options, the only people who believe there is one and only one option apart from diplomacy, and that this is the nuclearization of Iran option, are people who don't know dick about effective diplomacy. Neither the gunboat nor the debate versions.

Nonsense. If Iran sets up terrorist training sites, aimed at us, they get bombed. If they develop nukes, they will have to put them SOMEWHERE. And we can bomb them there.

Some people just can't seem to get off their omnipotent omnipresent godlike horse of invincibility. The days of American invincibility were over the minute Stalin got the bomb. Those who only understand the "Bomb", are sadly blind in their ability to understand the Propaganda. Propaganda is far more destructive than the Bomb, regardless of how you slice it. In categorical terms, a weapon you can only use once or a few times or if it requires absolute intel, is a useless weapon. Something for show. Propaganda, because of its infinite malleability and mutability, is far more dangerous when combined with the hard military strength than is hard military strength alone. Which means, Iran does not need the bomb to use it, they need the bomb as a psychological prop, a diplomatic prop, and a national prop. They need to have it, more than they need to use it. Because there are ways to use a bomb more than once, if you possess it.

As Iran said, Israel has no deterence because Israel is a one bomb nation. Therefore instead of Mutual, it is Unilateral Destruction. Tehran can take many bombs, Israel can only take 1 before ceasing to exist. People who believe that deterence is a magical word, need to rethink their murderous policies.

TalkinKamel, the communists had their own philosophy and god. They called it Marxism and the history of the dialectical materialism. They believed that they would outlast us, bury us, because history would prove them right and us wrong. The Soviets were waiting for the grand proletariat revolution in the United States, as their religion dictated and their prophet predicted. This did help to make them wait us out instead of fighting. Islam, as contrasted, does not believe it is okay to wait for American culture to corrupt their Islamic purity. Some fundamental differences between them, besides the economic and political ramifications of sanity.

And, of course, the lives lost in such an attack could never be replaced. You claim to be worried about innocent Iranians, which is fine, but you seem strangely unaffected by the danger faced by innocent Israelis, Americans, etc., whose lives certainly matter as much as the Iranians, and who will certainly be endangered if Iran gets nukes.

I predict, Talkin, without reading steve's reply, that steve believes the American Empire so powerful that no missile will ever strike into American territory. In his words, "it just won't happen, don't be ridiculous". This belief in American invincibility, alleviating the responsibility of people like steve to take hard actions, is rather dangerous if not a product of self-deception. Let's see if I'm right.

2. The 12th Imam stuff, is, at minimum, highly speculative. Steyn seems to think, let's destroy Iran, "Just to be sure." I consider that hysterical nonsense, at best.

Steve, why don't you follow your own advice and quote steyn when he says let's destroy Iran.

We didn't. And they didn't. Let us get a grip.


Quite, let's get a grip steve. Let's all just pretend that just because something happened in the past, that it'll happen in the future. Or, let's pretend that just because something didn't happen in the past, it will never happen in the future. Quite conservative of you. If it ain't broke, let's assume it never will break. Quite a very unwise philosophy you have there. It's not going to happen, steve

engaging in the kind of righteous mass killing that is apparently absolutely-necessary-before-it's-too-late. My bad.

There are people who don't understand diplomacy or war, and they tend to make the choices out to be either inefficient appeasement or all out war. Because they cannot consider any alternatives, they force events to adhere to their pre-planned ideology. This has the effect of not working, and blowing up. The reason why steve reminds you, or anyone else, of neville chamberlain is because Neville Chamberlain thought he was faced with either total war or peace through appeasement. With those two choices, the logical act is the latter. However, If you don't accurately measure the quantities you have, you will never be able to predict the chemical product with any kind of accuracy. The truth was that there is no false dilemma as steve puts it, between appeasement or annihilating Iran. Total war only becomes the reality when you don't consider doing violent and warlike things to prevent it. Thus, steve and Chamberlain, in seeking to prevent total war and mass murder, in the end contribute to mass murder when they could have stopped it. But they are too blind to consider alternatives, because they consider people who offer alternatives hysterical nutcases. It is fine if their actions just get themselves killed, but we're not talking about a few deaths here and there.

If you think there's another way---a REAL solution, not just "Let-the-UN-handle-it", "Endless dialogue", "Send in Hans Blix" or "Let'm nuke Texas! We'll just bomb them back!" I'm sure we'd all like to hear it. Thanks.

I don't know how you expect to get any solutions from someone who doesn't understand basic international diplomacy, but best of luck to you Talkin.

I did live through the Cold War. In fact, both America and Russia lived through the Cold War. We survived, despite some hot-heads blustering about Nuking Moscow (or, on the other side, Nuking Washington D.C.).

I think you people need to consider the fact that MAD works on the assumption that both sides are not only capable of nuking and destroying each other's nations, but that they are "eager" to do so at any hint of a first strike or provocation. This is why it was a Cold War, where nobody admitted they were doing anything to aid their proxies in attacking America. Nobody wanted to provoke the other side into doing something we'd all regret, because everyone believed the other guy was one accidental step away from launching a missile out of their silos.

In psychological operation terms, what you see as blustering is in fact a very detailed and smart campaign to convince the other side not to go first strike. People have to be credible, and MAD is only credible if both sides believe the other will launch in retaliation at the drop of a hat. So as to prevent any "adventures" like launching "fake missiles" to "scare the piss off the other guy". Sorta like what NK does to Japan all the time. Do you really want the Russians to think they can get away with launching fake missiles as a way to intimidate America, with all the attendent "accidental" mistakes that would cause? If you don't, then you have to be credible, you have to be more than credible, you have to threaten.

MAD does not work if one side is playing around like a child, burning American bodies... you know. If Stalin hadn't witnessed the personal destruction of Japanese cities by American nukes, Stalin would have launched his own first strike at European targets. Because Stalin would never have believed the United States had the will or intestinal fortitude to retaliate with our own bombs. Perception is reality, if you act upon what you think is true, you make it real. Doesn't make you right, it just makes it real.

(By the way, skimming through the Steyn article, Steyn says he thinks Iran needs to be stopped---not that it needs to be wiped off the face of the map, as it's threatened to do to Israel).

Well, how do you know what Steyn thinks, I'm pretty sure Steve read Steyn's article with an objective eye, using an open mind full of alternative possibilities, so how dare you question his omniscience. Steve believes steyn is hysterical at best, and that's how it is, you don't need quotes for that. /sarcasm off

 
At 8:31 PM, April 11, 2006, Anonymous Richard Aubrey said...

The mullahs need to believe we would retaliate.
Problem is, when you really want something, you tend to overstate the advantages you have and the disadvantages the other guy has.
See the Germans in both wars, the Argies in the early Eighties and a good many more. Or the Japanese. One of the venues for rose-colored-glasses-gazing is the enemy's will, on account of that's entirely subjective.
What if the mullahs don't believe we'd retaliate?
After all, half the country voted for Kerry who, everybody knows, would go to the UN for an international test. Many of us, the survivors, would worry about incinerating millions of Iranians for something they'd had nothing to do with, and that line of thinking might win.
A dem president, with the backbone of Carter, would probably think we weren't threatened because they probably only had the one bomb.
Whether or not I'm right, the question is, what will the mullahs think.
And this is the easy scenario, where we can identify the origin of the bomb.

The tough one is when we can't.

 
At 9:21 PM, April 11, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Further attempts to analyze the opposition and to juxtapose their arguments on some kind of reality template.

See, this is where I think a lot of the problem arises: if you truly believe that the options are a) fight Iran tooth and nail, or b) bend over hand Iraq and Afghanistan to Iran, then of course you're going to conclude that a is a better option. But there's no good reason to believe this dichotomy represents your only alternative.

I pity the poor Pentagon planners who have to make up imaginary divisions. Maybe a sustained nuclear barrage - but only lunatics are suggesting we launch a nuclear war. But short of that, what?

If we threaten to invade, we're essentially forcing them to develop nukes. If we offer to cooperate with them on a variety of mutually beneficial issues, we can at least influence their strategic calculus for the better.

Let's think about this for a second. If you truely believe the options are Fight Iran tooth and nail or B hand over Iraq/Afghanistan and use appasement... This almost feels like someone is cautioning us to avoid thinking along A or B only lines of thought. And yet... if you keep reading, the same people that caution us against limiting our options are the ones that can only think in Total War/Appeasement mode.

A sustained nuclear barrage vs... what? They don't know.

We either threaten to invade or we offer to cooperate. What other options do these people have? Ohya. This was some parts of Spank's post from the other thread, I grafted. But this comes back to steve's position. Their complaint, people like Spank and steve, is that people shouldn't think in bi-linear options such as Total War (invasion and nuclear attack) or simple appeasement (back down, let it cool, no war).

If there's no good reason to believe this represents the only dichotomy, then why the hell does Spank and steve only speak in terms of total war invasion and doing nothing? Why? Because they don't WANT the alternatives. As I listed before, these are only some of the alternatives available to Bush. Neither full invasion through nukes or armored columns, nor appeasement and UN.

If Bush does these things, he will have a much higher chance to avoid war with Iran.

1. Demonstration nuclear attack on depopulated spots. Additional adjustments, include adding prisoners to be executed, to the target zone.

2. Threatening and/or giving nuclear weapons technology to the Kurds, Northern Alliance, or anyone else bordering Iran.

3. Buying Indian support through a tri-lateral alliance of Indian, Pakistani, and American. Bribes and threats, not excluded from consideration.

4. Naval blockade or unrestricted submarine warfare (actual or threatened) upon Iran or Syrian ships. As well as CAP over Iranian air space, and interdicting anyone going in or out.

5. Targeted assassination of islamic leaders in Iran, through local guerrila insurgency efforts. With the demand that Iran backdown on the nuclear front.

6. Forced Annexation of Syrian and Iranian territories, short of full invasion. We can give those territories to our allies, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and India for example as bribes.

7. Arm the Kurdish Alliance with American weapons publicly, and threaten the Turks to back us against Iran or else.

8. Use Special Forces to kidnap and raid high ranking Iranian and Syrian officials and liquidate their bank accounts of all assets and funds. Then use those assets to fund internal guerrila insurgencies, to return Iran and Syria's favor in Iraq. Funneling arms and weapons to Lebanon, to checkmate Syria, is a good idea.

My prediction of steve's views on these alternative options are either "hysterical", "unrealistic", or "not going to happen". Spank already viewed his or her disbelief of my options already, right after she said that the problem is that people only think in binaries of total war or total appeasement. Right. Some people need a logic evac.

In Talkin's comments, I see a genuine desire for open ended options and specific workable policies. What I see from the opposition, is something else entirely. Knee jerk reactions, muddy logic, inaccurate presentations, as well as gross distortions of reasoning in their arguments.

You have New vs Old. The old solutions don't work in a new world anymore.

 
At 2:02 AM, April 12, 2006, Anonymous douglas said...

I was going to write a long post ripping Steve-o a new one, but I'm tired. I'll have to settle for pointing out his hipocracy:
"(Steyn)That means swift, massive, devastating force that decapitates the regime—but no occupation.

(Steve)Right. Go for it. Don't worry about burying the bodies, or cleaning up the mess, afterwards. That's someone else's problem."


You really expect us to take you seriously, criticizing Steyn for applying the correct template to the Iranian situation, when you have advocated it time and time again for the Iraq situation? incorrectly, I might add).
This is coming from Steve, Mr. Lets-get-out-of-Iraq-and-let-them-handle-it (and bury the bodies...that's their problem after all).

Clearly there's not much point in going any further. It's really a shame you're this ridiculous at times, because at other times I find you insightful...

 
At 2:07 AM, April 12, 2006, Blogger Promethea said...

To those, like Steve, who don't know much about Islam, it's time for you to read Andrew Bostom's The Legacy of Jihad.

Don't be an ostrich with your head in the sand. Read and learn.

 
At 5:33 AM, April 12, 2006, Blogger Tom Grey said...

Either Iran gets a bomb, or they are stopped from getting one.

Pressured to stop; FORCED to stop.

In 2007, after the elections.
Unless Iran has a successful nuke test, sooner.

Steve isn't betting his life that the Iranians, even with a bomb, wouldn't use it. He's betting the lives in Tel Aviv / Israel; or is it Miami, or Mumbaj, or Rome?

But the fact that Islamist Pakistan has a bomb they haven't yet used is hopeful; Steve might be right. Maybe 60% likely -- meaning 40% likely Iran gets a nuke and it is used (prolly by terrorists with some Iranian deniability).

We are arguing about the future, and probabilities (as knowledge/ information, not as "law of large numbers" frequent trials).

I say US force should be unilaterally used, if necessary, to stop Iran. Because I think Iran has more than a 10% likelihood of supporting the use of nuke, once they get one.

I think it more like 20%, but over a wide 10-60% kind of range. Actually, most folk don't have the vocabulary to talk "fuzzy Bayesian" probabilities for decision analysis.

I'd be interested in other quantified estimates, like Steve's -- does he really believe there is 0% change of Iran using a bomb once they get one?
[in the next 10 years, for reasonable focus.]

 
At 6:53 AM, April 12, 2006, Blogger Huan said...

it all boils down to whether you believe what the Iranians are saying or not. if you do, then the logical conclusion would increase the risks of them being a nuclear armed state. if you do not believe what they are saying, then why aren't you taking what they say at face value?

 
At 8:38 AM, April 12, 2006, Anonymous nittypig said...

The problem with assuming that Iran is a rational actor is that they aren't much bahaving like one. What country has ever publically announced that it was building a nuclear bomb PRIOR to actually having one?

US? No
USSR? No
UK? No
France? No
China? No
Israel? No
India? No
Pakistan? No
South Africa? No
North Korae? No

The reason is that any rational actor knows that there is a huge amount of risk in the period when you are close to building a bomb when you do not yet have the deterrent but can be stopped. Any enemy has a short window of opportunity to do something about it.

The sensible thing to do is to hide your development as carefully as possible and ratchet down your rhetoric and actions, possibly even making concessions, until you have a bomb. At that point you want to immediately test it, to show possible enemies that you have the capability, and reverse course entirely in your diplomacy. You now need to make public statements that make the deterrent credible - if someone does x we WILL retaliate.

Everyone else followed this pattern to some degree. Iran isn't following it at all.

 
At 9:14 AM, April 12, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

nittypig, I'm sorry but I am confused. Has Iran announced that they are trying to develop a nuclear bomb? I must have missed that announcement. Or am I just missing your point?

 
At 10:35 AM, April 12, 2006, Anonymous nittypig said...

You post that on the day that Iran annouced that it has completed development of the nuclear fuel cycle?

If Iran is a rational actor it should be hiding it's progress to a nuclear bomb. Making it look like it isn't pursuing one, or that it's a long way from completing one.

They're pretty much doing the opposite. If you're point is that they have maintained SOME of the niceties (nuclear power for energy generation) then that's valid. But just compare their behavior and public statements to North Korea and Pakistan prior to those countries completion of a nuclear weapon. Iran isn't behaving terribly rationally here.

 
At 10:59 AM, April 12, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You lost me in the first para witgh your sarcasm.

 
At 11:55 AM, April 12, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That wasn't me up there, by the way.

Nittypig, you seem to be claiming we should view Iran as an irrational actor because they have "publically announced [they were] building a nuclear bomb PRIOR to actually having one?"

My point is simply that Iran has made no such announcement.

 
At 12:07 PM, April 12, 2006, Blogger Epaminondas said...

Will they do it?

YES.
I don't see how any other conclusion is possible.
No means all they have said and done and believe IS rhetoric, not BELIEF.

What course does that reccomend?

All I see is the assumption that they won't ..this is how civilizations end.

Nothing will deter them from getting a weapon short of force, and nothing will stop them from using it the first clear chane they get, whether by hizballah infiltration HERE, o in Israel. Remember our good buddy Hassan Abbassi who is their chief american analyst believes us risk averse, and we can see in all they say AND do, they are demonstrating for the middle east that we are powerless to stop them. That's the reason for these otherwise stupid provocative announcements of theirs.

Make up our minds...there is GOING to be a large regional war, it is GOING to go nuclear, and an attack HERE may be the opening salvo.

Iran's aim is a muslims caliphate with them running it, and Israel destroyed for all Islam by THEM. The fastest way to achieve that is to kick a divided, polarized and damaged america back here.

And BTW STEVE--- those quotes go back to Khomeini. If that’s news to you, shame on you, check out MEMRI’s Iranian pages.

 
At 12:30 PM, April 12, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

Ahmadenijad has been quoted as saying that he believes "Israel must be wiped off the face of the Earth."- Name me a Muslim leader who hasn't said something similar about "destroying Israel". Do you really think that constitutes a threat, or a promise, to use nuclear weapons against Israel? Really.

Anti-warriors strive mightily to disbelieve Iran’s pronouncements of intent. Various Islamic states have called for Israel’s destruction & assorted Islamic states have tried to destroy Israel – which have thankfully not succeeded, but the anti-warriors are not impressed.

The Islamic states that have warred against Israel over the years have been extremely frustrated in that their warfare against Israel has only resulted in Israeli victory & expansion. However, in these past attempts to wipe Israel off the map they never had a nuke with which to accomplish their task.

But Steve must think that once they get a nuke they will be nice & peaceful & not war against Israel. Or(I’m guessing now) perhaps Steve thinks that Islam will continue to war against Israel but will confine its warfare to conventional weaponry. Assumptions like these could prove fatal. They could be fatal to the Israelis & assorted visitors to Israel. They could ultimately prove to be fatal to a great many Moslems in the aftermath of any nuclear detonation in Israel or America. Similar assumptions proved fatal to many millions in WW2.

Yes Steve, Islamic leaders, almost across the board, have called for Israel’s destruction & indeed, the subjugation of the West itself, of which until recently Israel was the lone Western outpost in the Middle East. In fact Islamic leaders are almost uniform in their intense hatred of the West & Israel. One could expect nothing else in the midst of a world war, which is WW3, which is a religious war. Wake up, Steve. Wake up & smell the fallout.

 
At 1:27 PM, April 12, 2006, Blogger nittypig said...

To both of the anonymouses, I apologize for my lack of clarity, and I suppose some questionable choices of words. I thought my previous post made it clear what I meant by 'announce', but evidently it did not.

I had meant the word 'announce' as it was often used in the days of MAD. Namely to make clear to the world. Iran has made planty of announcements about it's nuclear program lately, and these are obviously intended to demonstrate to the world that it is pursuing nuclear weapons.

In the same sense I would say that on multiple occasions Israel has announced it's willingness to use nuclear weapons if it is attacked with WMD.

In neither case has there been a formal announcement and I'm sorry that I didn't choose my words a little better. Particularly considering my use of the word "announce" for the formal Iranian announcement in my last post. :)

Hope that clears it up.

 
At 1:36 PM, April 12, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 1:47 PM, April 12, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

To nitty, I think you did make your point clear. But some people have trouble understanding things that aren't spelled out in the way they prefer.

You lost me in the first para witgh your sarcasm.

That's cause logic is sarcasm.

My point is simply that Iran has made no such announcement.

Well, that's like saying I haven't announced that I'm gay, but I'm making out with a guy in a double dating table... You can announce you're gay, and lie about it. Or you can announce you're gay, and be telling the truth. OR, you can do all of the above through other means.

Obtuseness doesn't work here. People communicate things through more than one means, and it isn't limited just because someone cannot expand upon the possibile meanings of "announce".

That's what people need to do more often. They need to take the things they read and read past the dot at the end, and preferably between the lines as well. People are too close minded in certain matters. It is a dangerous liability.

A diplomat that cannot read past the Period line in a diplomatic correspondence is a liability that will get people killed. A diplomat that cannot read between the lines, will get even more people killed.

The point nitty makes is rather valid. Something hath motivated Iran to declare their nuclear ambitions. And that something is called Iraq and Afghanistan and the Revolution in Lebanon, casting off the chains of occupation under their so called ally Syria.

Iran believes that time is not on their side, that if they don't cause some kind of problem to check America, that in the future they will be at a disadvantage. Iran seems to be hurrying to build a nuke. And yet Iran must know that they are vulnerable in the here and now.

Either Iran has an ace or two stuck up their sleeves, or Iran is depending upon the multilateral traits of George W. Bush, President of the United States and America and the person who decides by himself what is the foreign policy of America.

Any half-assed competent intelligence analyst can see the multilateral and procrastination traits of Bush, and it isn't too far to leap to think that Iran is depending upon Bush's bluff.

Iran, I tend to think, analyzed what went on before Iraq and realized that they had X amount of time the UN would give them. So they announced their nuclear ambitions at a specific point in time. This is all connected, to diplomats and reasonable people who can read between the lines, to what is going on in Iraq. With Al Sadr and Jaffari. Iran must control Iraq, or otherwise be shattered in 50 years. If Iraq goes to the Americans the way the Kurds and Sunni want, Iraq will become a Middle East powerhouse. Far, far more powerful than Israel and much more of a threat.

Because of Iran's show of strength with their nukes, they now have Jaffari and Sadr firmly in their pocket. Why are people fighting if Saddam is in the docket and the Sunnis are making deals against Al Qaeda? They are fighting because 60% of the population are Shia, and they believe the winner and strong horse is called iran, not the US.

This is the price of multilateralism and predictability, Bush is paying and Iraqi children are paying.

Iran's strategy is very subtle and two pronged. A lot of Americans are kind of parochial in that they only think about American counter-responses and strategy, but nitty by bringing up the POV from Iran's perspective, gives new insights into the situation.

Iran's strategy will work in the end. Iraq is at the precipice. Too many arrogant people in Congress believe that only a pull out will lose Iraq, that if only Americans stay there that nothing bad will happen that we can't handle. *shakes head* The enemy is making plans as well, and they aren't stupid. Fanatic and blinded by ideology, but not stupid in terms of power politics.

We lose Iraq to Iran, and Iran will give nuclear technology to the Shia in return for an alliance against America. The Shia will use nukes to keep the Kurds and Sunni in line. Al Qaeda will then be free to launch attacks against America, once Iraq has been stabilized.

Iran's grand strategy is becoming clearer. It is what I would do if I were in the mullah's shoes, given the limitations that I would have.

Without Iraq, Iran would not have announced their nuclear ambitions so soon. It was never in their interest to do so. But now it is. It is a dual prong strategy.

Nukes will buy them not only immunity but a huge bargaining chip in Iraq. Announcing nukes this early will make a fool of the US, thereby weakening our credibility in the ME and in Iraq. Announcing nukes will also gain them the support of China and Russia, because China and Russia will never miss an opportunity to embarass the US. The scales of power are tilting in Iran's balance, and the parochialists in America are blind to the consequences.

 
At 1:49 PM, April 12, 2006, Anonymous TalkinKamel said...

Ymarsakar:

Good post! Have to agree with you re MAD.

Also about Steve, and the outlook of those like him; they really do seem to believe (or kid themselves into believing) that the US is so big and bad and powerful that nothing can ever hurt it, and therefore it's just silly to worry about its safety, when we ought, instead, to be castigating it for its sins, or trying to rein in our (supposedly) too great power.

 
At 2:38 PM, April 12, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

As David Weber put it. America has been too rich and too safe for too long.

 
At 2:42 PM, April 12, 2006, Blogger nittypig said...

I tend to agree too. Like I said it's very strange that they are "signalling" their nuclear intentions before they've tested a bomb to prove their capabilities. I think there are multiple explanations that might explain this:
1) They want to show America's ineffectiveness. Bush has said that we cannot tolerate a nuclear Iran. If he cannot back up that statement a nuclear Iran will be in an excellent position to assert leadership of the Ummah. This is one heck of a risky game to play though - if they had just kept quiet until they perform a bomb test they'd be in a strong position anyway, and by that point the risks to them would eb much lower.
2) They are talking up their bomb program to avert an internal revolution. This only makes sense if the risk of the revolution is much higher than the risk of a US response, and if the fact that Iran is trying to make a bomb can really avert a revolution. I find this hard to believe - can Iranians be so proud to almost have a bomb? Building a bomb would certianly make the mullahs more secure domestically, but I'm not sure how the prospect of a bomb cows whatever internal opposition there is.
3) They are desperately trying to provoke an confrontation with the US, presumably for domestic reasons. That makes more sense, but it would also be an extremely risky game for the mullahs to play. Such a confrontation certainly runs the risk of ending their regime.
4) They are talking up their bomb program to enhance their status elsewhere, and particularly in Iraq. This is basically Ymarsakar's point, and I think it's likely. If they are worried about an unfavorable outcome in Iraq a great way to encourage their partisans in Iraq is to strongly signal: "hold out just a little bit longer. Soon we'll have the bomb and will be able to intervene more directly." This has the added advantage (to Iran )of distracting the administration from Iraq. I really don't know how plausible this is.
5) They simply aren't rational and aren't thinkign about this in game theory-type terms.

 
At 10:05 PM, April 12, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Another consideration is what if they get one bomb, but aren't planning to use it, and Al Qaeda backstabs Iran and steals the bomb. For someone who blows up children and has a great old party about it, I don't think stabbing their Shia allies in the back would really bother them, do you?

They can just sneak it into Baghdad and blow it up, easier than transporting it to the US or Israel.

Iraq is the cornerstone of our offensive push in the ME. Break that push, and we're back to square 1. Bush will be remembered for Iraq, regardless of anything else he did or did not do. The mullahs would be incompetent not to have recognized our center of gravity, psychologically and militaristically.

The other CoG is America, but Al Qaeda is not getting a lot of state sponsored support for attacks on America. Bad mojo I guess, after 9/11. Detering terroists is pretty stupid. Detering the state sponsors, is quite effective however.

Iran has figured out that you can push the US, and not get invaded, if you follow certain guidelines like going to the UN, etc.

Any old guerrila insurgency student can understand that insurgencies can go on forever so long as out of state sponsorship holds. We cannot win Iraq by contest of arms, unless the support to the Sunni AND Shia insurgencies are cut, at the throat. And we can't do that, if they have a nuke, without regime change and total invasion. Which is non-feasible because, they've had 6 years to come up with a guerrila strategy.

This would be like Omaha Beach except the Germans had 6 years to fortify it. Bad news. The invasion can overthrow Iran's regime, as Neo wishes, but the logistics problem are huge. Huge logistics area for guerrila fighters to sabotage.

I just thought of a plan they should implement with invasion. They should just take the capital, and demarcate a new line down the middle of Tehran. Sort of like a Cold War Berlin Wall scenario. This way, you cut off funding for a time, but you don't over-extend your logistics. You just take a chunk of Iran. Then a year later, take another chunk. Eventually, you'll have killed all the hard liners and organized folks.

Problem with the Iraq War was that it was too FAST. Beating some nation is not enough in the 21st century, your strategy must be to ANNIHILATE them. And that's something entirely different.

 
At 1:27 AM, April 13, 2006, Blogger blert said...

At 3:42 PM, April 12, 2006, nittypig said...

5) They simply aren't rational and aren't thinkign about this in game theory-type terms.

How about they ALREADY have the bomb in token amounts, bombs that they have been able to acquire through various means but not mass production.

Now under this shield, Iran is able to ramp up the rest of the nuclear cycle.

As we blog, Iran is mating her first warheads to missiles. She recently tested an atomic nosecone. Such a test is meaningless unless the atomic payload is already established to a working design.

Like every other nuclear power, mating atomic warheads only begins AFTER the warhead is in hand and finalized.

At every step of this campaign the Iranians have moved dramatically faster than ‘expert’ prediction.

The mullahs have moved right through every one of Bush’s ‘redlines’ without pause.

They are well considered the host to al Qaeda and OBL. Hell, his crew is giving interviews in Tehran to German publishers!

Tehran’s provocations are well recounted by Steyn.

The mullahs are NOT for turning!

Their strategy is incredibly simple:

Get the bomb and build and build until they sit at the big table and have complete freedom of action.

Co-opt or absorb OPEC; extract monopoly rents.

Infiltrate the West and either over turn their governments or blow them to hell in one swift stroke – impossible to recover from.

 
At 1:33 AM, April 13, 2006, Blogger blert said...

In the meantime saber rattling pays off immediately and directly by ramping up the price of crude. Even as it fattens the mullahs purse it enhances their OPEC diplomacy. Iran can take sole credit for putting billions upon billions in the wallets of OPEC generally by mere speechifying.

BTW, Chavez can’t stop selling crude to America: we’re the only market for his staggeringly heavy, sour oil. It travels in special tankers and special pipelines to special refineries. He can’t even refine it himself! That’s monopsony folks.

 
At 4:41 PM, April 14, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

An interesting list here


1. contempt for the most basic international conventions;

uhuh use of nuclear weapons; torture: geneva conventions

2. long-reach extraterritoriality;

uhuh, destroying other peoples countries on three continents

3. effective promotion of radical Pan-Islamism;

Afghanistan in the 80s; Kosovo in the 90s...

4. a willingness to go the extra mile for Jew-killing (unlike, say, Osama);

5. an all-but-total synchronization between rhetoric and action.


Well blow me if (forgetting item 4, a bit of rhetorical overkill) that doesnt sound like the United States

 
At 10:49 AM, April 17, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Of course it would sound like the United States. The propaganda of fascistic enemies of the United States have done their work quite well, if I may say so myself.

 

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