« "Who Is in the Middle?" Eduardo Porter | Main | Open thread on the '08 election »

03 November 2008

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

J.R. Bradford

Col. Lang,

I'm a little curious how much any of this really has to do with "dealing with Iran".

It seems to me that the views of this group have long since ceased to pursue such (relatively) rational goals as geopolitical power balancing.

Who stands to gain from having American Forces engaged in a war (air or otherwise) with Iran. Is this gain dependent on an actual military victory?

Brett

Iran is case-in-point of a situation that defies simplification - and any simplistic (final) solutions sought will likely lead to egg on the US' face.

Bill W, NH, USA

Laughing here, I'm still trying to figure out how the Iraq War was in the best interest, or even the smallest interest, for the United States.

Start a dialogue, open respective embassies, resume trade not just with Iran but with Cuba and all the rest of the "rogue" states.

Dave of Maryland

How many of you think that the US can not deal with Iran without war? How many?

Since you ask, I think American diplomacy is absurd. The easiest thing to do is negotiate. Easiest thing in the world, in fact. Anybody who cannot talk his way into a mutually satisfactory agreement with the Iranians is unfit to serve in Washington. That's what we've got mouths for. That's what we've got brains for.

Would a US-Iranian agreement be tricky? Sure, it would be tricky. Would it be hard? Sure, it would be hard. That's why we have - or should have - trained, inspired diplomatic professionals. This isn't a job for amateurs, but it is a job that can be done. Without question.

Why do we even consider absurd military options? What mother will give her son to die because of diplomatic stupidity?

Surely our host remembers the days when US college campuses were riddled with SAVAK agents. Iran isn't the tiger it used to be.

The tricky part, the hard part, has nothing to do with the Iranians. The tricky part is selling the result to American Jacobins. That's where I throw up my hands.

So here's a question for you: How do we deal with our own warmongers? Must we pacify them with blood? Or will we be forced to "declare war" & suppress them outright? By less than democratic means? Where are the diplomats to negotiate with them? With what promise of success? And will they abide by any agreement anyway?

lina

President Obama will go to Iran. He will deliver a speech at a major university, he will walk the streets and shop in the markets in Tehran, and he will speak directly to the Iranian people.

Jackie Shaw

I'm with Bill and Dave. The U.S. position since the late 70's regarding Iran reminds me of our stance regarding Cuba since the late 50's.

Here is the thing that has puzzled me, is Iran really after a bomb or nuclear power for electricity? If it is just nuclear power, why conflate that with a bomb?

zanzibar

At the threshhold of a historical election at least in metaphorical terms the question of how the Obama administration will act if they sweep into power lingers on. We know so little.

Dennis Ross, exClintonista - now clearly a neocon as the Middle East advisor. Is this a fig leaf to AIPAC from Obama or the real deal? What about Mark Lippert? Is he another neocon or of the common sense school? Who else has Obama's ear?

I suppose we will know in a few weeks who the key players in the next administration will be. That should tell us a lot.

I just can't believe there are some who would contemplate another Middle East war considering we are trying to extricate ourselves from another. No matter the evidence I truly will be surprised if the American people and Congress will be suckered another time.

Will

the Persicos sells Petroleum to the Franks. It is in their best interests to maintain stable trade.

Mahmoud Ahmadi Nejad does not go around saying Judae Delandi Est (Israel MUST be destroyed). The prhaseology he uses echoes a saying of the Ayatollah Khomeini about the Soviet Union vanishing from the pages of history through the passage of time.

Signs of Change: Even Olmeret recognizes that the occupation of the West Bank cannot continue. Encouraging was Colin Powell's support of American Mulims on Meet the Press. The Washington Post editorial mockery of McCain's American-Palestinian Professor baiting (The Idiot Wind).

Of course the Obama Baby is a secret Muslim-Palestinian sympathizer. He has to dissemble and mute his voice to get elected. But wait and see. He will knock some heads together when he gets elected.

Returning to a previous thread, who was the most successful crusader? A model for negotiation in the Middle East. Frederick II, Stupendo Mundi- the wonder of the world, who won Jerusalem w/o an arrow strung or a swordblow, thru parley and simpatico, all the while during his excommunication. From the wiki:

"Even with the military orders on board, Frederick's force was a mere shadow of the army that had amassed when the crusade had originally been called. He realised that his only hope of success in the Holy Land was to negotiate for the surrender of Jerusalem as he lacked the manpower to engage the Ayyubid empire in battle. Frederick hoped that a token show of force, a threatening march down the coast, would be enough to convince al-Kamil, the sultan of Egypt, to honor a proposed agreement that had been negotiated some years earlier, prior to the death of al-Muazzam, the governor of Damascus. The Egyptian sultan, occupied with the suppression of rebellious forces in Syria, agreed to cede Jerusalem to the Franks, along with a narrow corridor to the coast.
In addition, Frederick received Nazareth, Sidon, Jaffa and Bethlehem. Other lordships may have been returned to Christian control, but sources disagree. It was, however, a treaty of compromise. The Muslims retained control over the Temple Mount area of Jerusalem, the al-Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock. The Transjordan castles stayed in Ayyubid hands, and Arab sources suggest that Frederick was not permitted to restore Jerusalem's fortifications. The treaty, completed on February 18, 1229, safeguarded a truce of ten years." [The Turks subsequently took Jerusalem therafter]

Binh

It is my considered opinion that Iran would not yield to a US air campaign. Such a campaign would be merely the "first round" in a long war, eventually involving a ground war in that huge country, but that would probably be a desired outcome for the neocons.

I always found it strange that the neocons view war as the end and not the means to an end. That is part of the reason why there was no post-war planning in Iraq - the war was the end, not the means.

I suppose the war-as-the-end thinking has a lot to do with the fact that these neocons tend to be academics fighting for their point of view within the government bureaucracy or on the pages of their journals, not veterans or professionals with real world experience. Academics often get lost in the abstractions they create, whereas the rest of us live in the real world and think practical, concrete terms.

Petraues' request to talk to Syria was turned down by the White House in large part because refusing to talk is the end, not the means to an end.

Ormolov

Colonel,

It appears you have a failure of imagination on this issue. Allow me to put it into language you can understand:

Let's say the situation was reversed. Iran, a major military power, wanted to keep the USA from developing nuclear power or nuclear weapons. Toward this end, they send long-range bombers into our airspace and take out our command and control facilities at NORAD, throughout Colorado, the Dakotas, Georgia, and other targets primarily in the Midwest.

It is a natural reaction that the oppressed peoples of these regions will have so much love and gratitude for Iran that they will immediately pour from their homes waving the beautiful flags of Iran, proclaiming allegiance to Ahmedinejad, and taking up the ancient and honorable traditions of Iran, such as conservative Shia Islam.

What part of this do you NOT understand?

Leila Abu-Saba

I was just in Syria October 6-11. Every man I met in the souk in Damascus had a story about John Kerry's visit of several years ago. According to my informants, he bought a bottle of olive oil and some soap, and asked to tour the cobbler shops & try out some of their shoemaking tools. They remember John Kerry better than we do. He was in Damascus for a day, I think...

Whatever American bombs to do to people, they still want to meet Americans, they still want to touch Americans, they still want to believe in our better nature. The people of Damascus are still starry eyed because *John Kerry* paid them a visit.

dan

Heh.

On the face of it, there's nothing to "stop" the US from dealing diplomatically with Iran, normalising relations and working out some kind of non-dysfunctional relationship.....

Ali Ansari came up with a neat formulation: Iran is a bi-partisan trauma for the US polity. Whilst this has never been sufficient to get a war on, it has been more than adequate to prevent any serious diplomatic demarches. The Iranians have their own "issues" to deal with, but currently, all the political factions agree on the principle of improving relations with the US ( altho' they may well disagree on the "terms").

For the Dems, the Iranians "killed" Carter, and are at the root of their domestic electoral National security disadvantage.

For the Repubs, Iran-Contra came damned close to bringing the Reagan administration into utter disrepute.

No other foreign "power" has had such intrusive, negative impacts on the US polity.

DoM

I don't think that the American Jacobins can be "sold" on this - they're effectively representing an Israeli policy that has been in place since the end of the 1991 war, which aims to induce the US into reprising Desert Storm over Iran.

Cold War Zoomie

From the article...

Mr. Ross, who was top Mideast negotiator for the first President George Bush and for President Bill Clinton, said that in the prelude to Iraq, nearly all of the talk focused on military action. He says this time experts are taking a harder, more systematic look at all options — including force — because diplomatic efforts have failed to slow Iran’s rush to master nuclear technology.

Weren't there a couple of articles a few months ago about the Bush Admin starting to talk with Iran even just a little? My impression is that Bush didn't get serious about the diplomatic efforts until then. So to say that the diplomatic efforts have failed thus far really isn't saying much since Bush didn't try that hard in the first place.

I think we'll see this settle down next year if Obama wins tomorrow although this Ross guy worries me.

johnf

How much has AIPAC and its ability to buy the votes of politicians in Washington been affected by the recent meltdowns on Wall St?

Byron Raum

I must somewhat disagree with you, Binh, in that the reason the war is the end, as opposed to a means is not due to fuzzy thinking. It's quite simply due to a perceived need on the proponent's part of destroying the military and economic viability of the country in question. Once the country has been essentially destroyed, all goals have been fulfilled. What happens to the people who have the misfortune of inhabiting the country is mostly irrelevant.

mo

Is Ormolov's post serious, irony or sarcasm? I can't tell but its been published so it can't be serious

praxis

How many of you think that the US can not deal with Iran without war?

I do. the Iranians want, mostly, to change their relationship with us. We hold the cards, we can name our conditions. We just need to be willing to give a bit of something back in return. Something that neither Cheney, nor Bush (but he is really relevant at this point), nor McCain seem willing to do.

I really don't see why we shouldn't engage on those terms. And I absolutely do not see the wisdom of going after them military, which will be extraordinarily costly on us for a very unclear benefit, if at all...

Andy

I'm going to disagree with you just a little bit here, Col. Lang.

I agree that a nuclear-armed Iran would not represent a threat to the US, but I think it's clear it would represent a threat to US and regional interests. While I'm not convinced Iran intends to obtain a weapons capability at this point (prior to 2003, I'm certain they were attempting to), there are many reasons to oppose Iran in any such endeavor that are not about support to Israel. Therefore, I think the goal of preventing/dissuading Iran from attaining nuclear weapons is worthy provided the means are sound.

What I remain unsure about is whether a credible threat of an attack is a deterrent to Iran or perhaps the opposite. I think it could be a deterrent, but only as part of a more comprehensive and intelligent policy on Iran - something sorely lacking in recent years.

It is my considered opinion that Iran would not yield to a US air campaign.

I agree, but I don't think that is the neocon's purpose in supporting a strike against Iran. The neocons seem to subscribe to the Israeli strategic doctrine (outdated, IMO) that only an enemy's capabilities, and not its motivations, can be influenced by Israel or the US. Therefore, the purpose of airstrikes would be about affecting Iran's capabilities since in the neocon world, deterrence and dissuasion are impossible. And here, I think, is the biggest non-policy argument against a strike: That it is not likely to achieve the stated objective. At best, Iranian capabilities would be set back by some small number of years. We only have to look next door for an example, where Saddam Hussein's commitment to building nuclear weapons never wavered. If not for the intervention of Desert Storm, Iraq would have achieved that goal despite the Osirak attack ten years earlier.

Margaret Steinfels

There's a story in today's Ha'aretz (November 3), http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1033597.html reporting Martin Indyk's endorsement of Obama in Israel. Indyk is former Ambassador (like Ross), member of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (like Ross), and ardent Israel supporter (like Ross). How long before they're weaving their magic in an Obama Administration?

PhilDS

Dear Col Lang,

My first posting here.
(I'm from Belgium, thus a surender monkey liberal by birth so that might color my views.)

There is this thing that I have been wondering for a while.
Wouldn't Iran, even under the current regime, be the natural ally for the West in that region?

I understand there is bad blood since the revolution which causes us and them to fight proxy battles, but shouldn't a similar deal be made with them as with Kadaffi so that a fresh start can be made and bygones be bygones?
I think both sides would benefit. Iran would be better off economically due to open trade, and the cultural interaction between the West and Iran would be a boon for the pro-west side of its society (which exists) so that it would gain in influence.
For the West not having one of the major regional powers as an adversary would be a good thing, not to mention having Iran as counter balance against Saudi Arabia both politically and as a suplier of energy.


Or am I completely wrong and is there really an ingrained incompatibility between the West and Iran.

FDChief

To assume that war is the answer assumes that the question is "How does the U.S. completely eliminate ANY potential challenge to a southwest Asian Pax Americana?" And this question flows from an assumption: that a powerful U.S. sphere of influence in the Gulf region is critical to U.S. international relations and national security.

So, if the last statement is true, and if what you're looking for is a fairly overwhelming U.S. sphere of influence in that region, Iran is the only real potential regional power. You HAVE to take down the regional power regardless of the cost; in fact, the cost is immaterial to the result.

If the original statement is wrong - if the region is NOT critical to U.S. security and international standing, then you risk falling into the "Netherlands Trap" - you expend a nationally impoverishing quantity of treasure in pursuit of a marginal gain, as 16th and 17th Century Spain did in the Low Countries. By the time you realize that you can't get what you want from your efforts you've expended so much national prestige and national treasure that you've weakened yourself to a point where your truly existential rivals (which, fortunately, the U.S. is lacking at the moment) begin to eye your foreign possessions and even your home country with appraising eyes.

We're the Great Power: stability and predictability benefit us more than chaos and the potential for destabilizing and failing a state, especially one as regionally significant as Iran. The potential downside of a war gone seriously off the predicted track seems much greater then the upside from an optimistically short and productive attack. Carrot and stick seems more likely to produce a workable result than all stick...

So, can we deal with Iran short of war?

Sure.

My question would be to put it the other way: would we gain enough FROM war to make a protracted war with Iran (assuming, as I do, that airstrikes would merely widen into a low-intensity, probably proxy, war fought with U.S. ground forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and naval forces in the Gulf) worth the expected increased risk of geopolitical and military stalemate and entrapment in the politics of the Middle East?

I can't see how. Short of occupying the country (a risky, probably impossible and certainly insanely costly and difficult task) the substitution of the rule of the mullahs with a friendly regime seems unlikely, or chancy at best. And as we found out in Iraq, rolling the iron dice risks coming up snake eyes as much or more than it promises a natural.

J

Colonel,

IRAN IS NO THREAT TO WE THE U.S.! Let Israel's government chickenhawks go and stuff their warmongering heads in a toilet. I'm sick of seeing Americans dying/risking life & limb for a greedy, hateful, and obnoxious Israeli government.

Israel's government has the blood of slain USS Liberty crew members, and 241 U.S. Marines who died in Beirut dripping from their Israeli hands, since both could have been avoided if Israel had not intentionally targeted the Liberty, and Mossad's head had 'shared' with the U.S. the critical intel the Mossad head weenies were in possession of regarding the Beirut Barracks bombing.

Israel has American blood on their hands.

Dimbulb


Why is it that no matter what course is proposed - forceful action, diplomacy, or both - that as part of the deal we do not ask for Israel to agree to give up it's nuclear weapons, and allow for IAEA inspections?

Margaret Steinfels

I just read the Times piece by Carol Giacomo, which includes this: "

What is significant is that inside Washington’s policy circles these days — in studies, commentaries, meetings, Congressional hearings and conferences — reasonable people from both parties are seriously examining the so-called military option, along with new diplomatic initiatives.

One of the most thorough discussions is in a report by the Washington-based Bipartisan Policy Center, founded by four former senators — the Republicans Robert Dole and Howard Baker and Democrats Tom Daschle and George Mitchell — to devise policy solutions both parties might embrace."

Will we ever come to grips with the fact that in the case of Israel bipartisan means there is no disagreement (they wouldn't dare!) and therefore, no real examination of alternatives.

Peter Warren

Col.
If the air-intensive campaign that Seymour Hersh talked of last year is what we're referencing, it would presumably result in the deaths of hundreds or thousands of Iranian Shiites, both civilian and military. I would also assume that the images of the dead and their wailing relatives would quickly be disseminated throughout the Islamic world and would have particular impact upon the population of a neighboring Shiite-majority country whose name also begins with "I". How would any "pro-American"(for lack of a more accurate term)Shiite leader or faction be able to function or survive after such events? And wouldn't this pose a credible risk of completely unwinding the US position in Iraq such as it is? And if an air campaign fails, how do we possibly sustain a third ground war in the Middle East in a country the size of Iran? McCain's consistent enthusiasm for such a venture is the main reason why I consider him unqualified to be president.

Matthew

Our DefSec was recently quoted in Newsweek about the "threat" of Iran: We fear that an nuclear-armed Iran would trigger an ME arms race.

A nuclear armed OPEC is hard to push around...and less likely to buy our debt and T-bills...and price oil in dollars....

I'm sure Tom Friedman will write a column about how we can sell enough t-shirts over the internet to make up the resulting shortfall.

Will

the first diamond in the decision tree is "who is the greatest security opponent?"

the answer should be a no brainer. the greatest possessor of deliverable nukes on the planet is Roissya.

We need the Persicos to contain the Northern Behemoth, not vice versa.

The reason the 2% control is a consequence of the Gaussian bellshaped curve. The average American Jewish IQ is 116 but on the shoulder it has a devastating effect.

One of every four Americans w/ an IQ over 140 is a Jewish American. This explains why there are 43 members of the House, 13 Senators, 2 Supremes, etc.

All the rest of the analysis is a footnote.

Clifford Kiracofe

1. We shall see about the Obama Administration if that is what it is to be after tomorrow. Every appointment to every post concerned with foreign affairs, defense, and intelligence will be scrutinized. How many Neocons (they started in the Democratic Party) and fellow travelers of various stripes and assorted "pro-Israel" operatives will penetrate the administration and reach policy jobs?

2. Here is an excerpt from an email I received today from Isfahan from someone I know very well who is on an academic visit to Iran this week:

"I am staying in a traditional hotel, an old 17th century house of a wealthy merchant converted to a hotel in the old city near the souks and near the main square…. is interesting to actually be in Iran and walk around. People are friendly and smile easily, especially when they learn I am from America. It is much less rigid than I would ever have imagined, I am told that is because the many years of the Palavi dynasty so westernized the culture that the Mullahs cannot undo all that history…in Turkey and in Syria, both states with secular governments for many years, the mosques are full at prayer time and often in between there are many people just resting or socializing in the mosques. Here the mosques are empty, period….Everyone talks quite openly about their disatisfaction with the current regime….But walking down the street here in Isfahan you would never know this is an Islamic Republic if the women were not required to wear the black shawl and headscarf…it must be said that, in spite of the various problems, the people seem cheerful and industrious, there is abundant food in the markets reasonably priced, clothing is abundantly available at all price levels and the people are well dressed and appear healthy.. My overall impression is that people here would like better relations externally, including with our country. It seems to me these are people who tend to be naturally friendly, are reasonable in their thinking, in spite of their government (sound familiar after 8 years of Bush???), and with whom we would do well to have better relations. This country is a modern, developed, sophisticated and wealthy country full of very capable people who benefit from a very ancient, if different, civilization in evidence all around them. They have much to offer…."

4. Just what happens to Dennis Ross, if anything, in an Obama Administration will be a significant indicator of initial Zionist influence-penetration of the administration. He works for the Jewish Agency at their Jewish People Policy Planning Institute.
http://www.jpppi.org.il/

5. It should be obvious to any thinking person (Zionists excepted) that the US needs to engage Iran. We need a serious and sustained diplomatic dialogue which leads to effective cooperation on issues of mutual interest.

6. I highly recommend Prof. Trita Parsi's "Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran and the U.S. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007). Pay particular attention to the Israel analysis.

7. To get a feel for what our fellow Americans, specifically Iranian-Americans, think one might take a look at the National Iranian-American Council's website:
http://www.niacouncil.org/

taters

How many of you think that the US can not deal with Iran without war? How many? pl

I think we can deal with Iran without war. I also believe that Baghdad could become our Khartoum should we go to war with Iraq. This seems to be lost on the Israelis and those that
support war with Iran.

As for Max Boot, he disgusts me.

TomB

Now now folks, don't get overly excited about this Ross guy. Wait until Obama appoints Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff as some news reports that I've read indicate he's already strongly considering if not already absolutely decided upon.

In any event though seems to me Andy has still put his finger on the big question that I think people should address: Regardless of who else is against it and for whatever other reasons—such as Israel for its own reasons—isn't it still true that a nuke-armed Iran is indeed contrary to America's interests?

That's not saying that us going to war with 'em to prevent same is smart or wise, or indeed saying anything else at all. Just asking the simple question: Who believes that a nuke-armed Iran either means nothing to the U.S. or is in the U.S.'s interest?

Cheers,

kao_hsien_chih

One thing I can't understand is how a war between Iran and United States is in best interest even of the state of Israel. Should there be such a war, of course Israel would be sucked into it...and being in the neighborhood, so to speak, much more so than the US. The Israeli people will suffer horribly from such a war--although perhaps not as much as its neighbors might.

Now, the outcome where the Iranians are militarily defeated and are subject to the whim of Israeli allies in Washington might be desirable for Israel...but there is no guarantee that getting there is even possible or anything less than prohibitively costly.

My hunch is that this type of nonsense won't sell in Israel: too many Israeli citizens I know are too sensible to buy into this sort of junk. Even there, such militant, hawkish attitude, I suspect, is unsufficient to command strong support from a large majority--although I'd allow that it might command a plurality of support. In other words, I wonder, if the whole thing might be a scam by Israeli extremists to hoodwink US to do something that's against US interests against both wishes and interests of many Israelis (and thus can't be "sold" easily in Israel itself)--which would give the word Chutzpah a rather new meaning.

bstr

Dear Sir, the Asia Times today reported that the Gulf Cooperation Council offers support for Iran's nonmilitary nuclear program. In addition they are considering the Iranian Presidents recommendations regarding economic issues. Who is the Gulf Cooperative Council, Bahrain, Oman, Qaataar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. That's the UAE and not the USA. The fellow from Belgium suggests that we, the USA, might be a logical partner for Iran in the area. Impossible we would have to talk to them, please get those little grey cells on task! I am probably wrong but I thought that most of the GCC were countries under Sunni leadership. That can't be right, with Iran they are talking to Shia populist. Pallin should let the GCC know we do not talk to our enemies without preconditions and neither should the GCC. Oh, yeah, while we hunker down with our fingers stuck in our ears and shout la,la,la, la I can't hear you...Russia moves ahead doing maintenance on the Middle East and Central Asian pipelines. Talk about Joe the Plumber. Boy I hope something good happens soon.

Cieran

Colonel:

How many of you think that the US can not deal with Iran without war

I know that the US can deal with Iran without waging war (because we have), and I also know that Iran poses no existential risk to the U.S. today, and likely for a long, long time (because I know a thing or two about the design and manufacture of nuclear weapons).

What I don't know is whether we will choose to do what we should, namely working to mend our relationship with Iran. Contrary to popular opinion (including some views voiced here), developing a credible nuclear threat to the U.S. is not an easy task, and it may prove to be beyond the technical reach of the current Iranian government (just as it proved beyond the technical reach of Saddam Hussein's). We have lots to offer the Iranian nation, and they have much to offer us. Concert of the Middle East, anyone?

Iran cannot currently refine sufficient gasoline to satisfy the transportation demands of its citizenry. Their making enough nukes to seriously threaten Israel is likely a stretch (i.e., building refineries is a lot simpler than building and operating substantial nuclear weapons programs), and Iran credibly threatening the U.S. is even less plausible.

It's certainly possible for a rogue state to set off a nuclear weapon in the U.S., if they got sufficiently lucky and we let our guard down (as we did on 9/11). But any such attack would result in the death penalty for the nation that instigated it, and it's hard to imagine any Iranian government deciding to end millenia of Persian civilization in such a pointless manner. The Iranian leadership class is many things, but stupid is not one of them.

The bottom line is that a nuclear WMD program in Iran is not in the best interests of the U.S., but it's also not worth starting another war over.

Curious

One thing I can't understand is how a war between Iran and United States is in best interest even of the state of Israel.

Posted by: kao_hsien_chih | 03 November 2008 at 08:37 PM

Israel existence depends on US continuous engagement in the middle east.

If US pulls the plug on the middle east. Israel will cease to exist within 5 years. No weapon, no techonology supply, no diplomatic backing, no money. fini.

So it is paramount for Israel to keep finding way to keep US absolutely engage in the middle east. (eg. tied it up militarily. create a myth that Israel rivals is also a threat to US.) Basic conflation of Israel national interest onto US foreign policy.

Since Israel control huge lobby in DC, it's fairly effective in sustaining the myth.

Syria is freaking Israel out right now. (Russia supplying major weapon, economic growth, opening up to europe, etc) Let's just say, Israel is no match against Syria in sustained war. (Syria has gas, oil, Iranian technology, Russian backing, population size and some industrial base)

eakens

So long as the US does not invoke a new war and attack Iran, there is a chance we will have a peaceful solution to the problem.

Attack Iran and all bets are off. The people longing for change will quickly forget about human rights, solidify and defend their country at all costs. That I can guarantee.

Jon T.

It seems to me a smart US seventh grader with a computer can do this:
George Prescott Bush
I.G. Farben
The Holocaust
1948 Revolution: David Ben Gurion
Statehood/Non-Statehood: Israel/Palestine
Sputnik
AIPAC, Project for the New American Century, et. al.
Iran as a threat to America

Too much space between the lines.
Too much loose thinking in a complex matrix. Noted. But no f... bomb here, s'il vous plait.

Nonetheless, something is WAY amiss when the US, with all of our own challenges here at home, is constantly Israel's cuckold (too strong? all right - Israel's supporter)

It is never REALLY their fault, whoever the they of the day is. I must examine my own part in any situation, I must see my motives clearly. Right now, it is "The Fog of War in the Mid East". There is no clarity, much less an epiphany, such as Robert McNamara experienced about Viet Nam.

There is no need to go to war with Iran. Perhaps desire. Not need.

All the black belts in Karate I've known have universally said the LAST thing they want to do is fight. Talk it through and done first is always the best option. That's the whole point of the discipline. Walk away from it. Only punks stir it up, only those with unprocessed rage and unfulfilled need for recognition. ( I do agree with whomever said that the rough men and women that protect me in the night from harm are the Police (State Troopers too), firefighters, and EMS personnel here at home first and foremost.

National interest in the Middle East? Do you mean control of oil? Or a concept of hegemony? Please. Unplug the TV, drive the car less, talk to each other, sit quietly and listen. Bring the troops home and use THEIR skill HERE to repair the infrastructure, build high speed rail lines, create small farms, repair computers. Yes: a Manhattan Project in Sustainability. California is at it right now. Lacking Realpolitik? There are forces at play you innocent? How old is Henry Kissinger now? We need our Defense Budget. How would we survive without building all those killer machines? Very well thank you.

If I can't see the nation building strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan as a ruse, if I can't hear the call to bring God's Liberty to all the world as self centered, self serving errant nonsense that lacks mature spiritual counsel, then I do have my hands over my eyes and ears. Build the nation here in America first.

Maybe if I'd gone to Dr. Strauss' classes I'd be different and realize we the people can't take it, hold it, build it, care for it. We're incapable buffoons that must be fed partially and not in full.

I went to Loren Baritz, Hayden White and N.O. Brown's classes. They gave me a different worldview. (I don't know where Larry Kudlow was since we went to the same University). We will soon find out what is crackalackin', as the seventh graders say.

Paul

Since serious diplomacy was not tried by Bush & Co, one will never know how fruitful diplomacy and talking could be without trying.

In view of the breadth of our armed forces, the military option is always there.

What is there to fear from talking? Nothing!

dan

TomB

Back in the 1970's, during the first big expansion of the Iranian nuclear programme under the Shah, the US was perfectly content for Iran to be, potentially, a nuke-armed nation. Obviously, the potential for the current Iran to go nuclear is less appealing.

However, it's worth noting that, under the Bush administration, your formulation has been inoperative - the greater interest has been the perpetuation of a state of frozen conflict with Iran, the deployment of Iran's nuclear potential as a driver towards conflict, and the utter refusal to engage sans preconditions - a move that would unfreeze the US-Iran "conflict" in a positive direction.

If you cast your mind back a few years to the "suspension" period, during which the EU-3 and Iran were negotiating, the neocon/Jacobin line was that the talks were pro-forma and would smooth the path towards the desired end - a war. The negotiations failed, in part, because the EU-3 were unable to deliver on the promises that they made initially and presented Iran with a deal that was described by El-Baradei as "derisory". Now, at any time during the suspension period, when IAEA inspectors had very wide access to Iran's nuclear facilities, the US could have joined in and beefed up the process - the failure to do so, in my view, signalled that in the 2004-05 period, the US had absolutely no interest in "resolving" anything, and was still working on the "successful" Iraq model of how to get to war.

Since then, reality has been something of a bitch...and there has been some recognition ( at least at the post-Rummy DoD and at State ) that there is no viable military option.

At some point, the "residue" that exists between the determination that a nuclear-armed Iran is not in the US interests and the unwillingness to pursue formulations that might achieve that goal ( ie accepting that some enrichment will take place, strict upper limits, resumption of full no-notice access to the IAEA, beefed-up safeguards written into Iranian law etc ) needs to be addressed more fully.

At present, there is a massive, gaping policy vacuum that needs to be filled; in the absence of a policy, the US is stuck in a series of default postures that round down to the idea that talking=losing.

Clifford Kiracofe

Obama-Biden, despite assorted Zionists like the Jewish Agency's Dennis Ross advising them, will be faced with a changing situation on the ground in the Gulf Region. Will a new administration adopt a realistic policy in the US national interest, or merely kowtow to the global Zionist Lobby as has been the case for more than half a century with the exception of Eisenhower's Suez policy?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_Agency

"On the eve of the United States presidential elections, a landmark visit to Tehran by the head of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has been widely regarded in the Persian Gulf region as a major diplomatic overture toward Tehran by the US-backed oil sheikdoms....

"A timely diplomatic boon for Iran, al-Attiyah's visit is also a good omen for the embattled Iran-backed regime in Iraq that, until now, has been shunned by the GCC trade bloc, a position that is no longer viable in light of the growing political stability of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's government, which has now put the accent on the departure of foreign forces from Iraq as a precondition for signing a US-Iraq security pact. Also, Maliki has announced that he will be sending the draft agreement on this pact to Iraq's neighbors for review, confirming this author's earlier prediction that this subject is not simply an internal Iraqi issue, but rather a regional one [1] .

"In the aftermath of the US's ill-advised raid inside Iraq last month, causing a serious downturn in Syria-US relations, the Arab world, including the GCC oil states, are in a new assertive mood to stand up to the US's perceived arrogant and destabilizing moves, including with respect to Iran.

"Thus, whereas previously the GCC had expressed concerns about the nature of Iran's nuclear program, as a result of Iran's nuclear transparency and twin diplomatic efforts, the GCC states are today fairly comfortable with Iran's nuclear program and are no longer sold to the Washington and Tel Aviv-led "Iranophobia"." ...
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/JK04Ak03.html


Leila Abu-Saba

Dear Clifford:

I hope today's voting will show that your nut-case Christian Dominionists you've been documenting have had their political hats handed to them. I *hope*.

TomB

dan:

I didn't have a "formulation." I just asked what seems to me the simple, most fundamental, most trenchant, Andy-post-inspired-and-undistracted-by-the-Israel-business-question of whether anyone thinks a nuke-armed Iran is either a good thing for the U.S., or a neutral thing.

Any extrapolation of my views from there to this or that imbecilic position is unwarranted until I actually utter those imbecilities, which of course and as always I reserve the right to do given my facility at same.

Cheers,

kao_hsien_chih

Curious,

Syria? You can't be serious. It's a decrepit country under decaying and internally divided dictatorial regime.

I don't think, at least in the medium term, Israel's existence is seriously threatened, whether its choice is war or peace. I further think it's not unreasonable that a short- to medium-term peace deal (the so-called Hudna) can be arranged between Israel and its neighbors. Most Israelis, as far as I can tell, know this. What will happen after a period of such "temporary" arrangement is anybody's guess--and I think it's where the division among the real Israelis are. I think the "optimists" who expect the long term benefits will outweigh the costs are numerous enough that the pessimists--who expect such arrangement will bring about long term destruction of Israel--to have their way if it were entirely up to Israelis to decide what to do. The latter, it seems to me, are trying to stampede their Israeli rivals by getting US to be involved aggressively to undermine the prospect of even medium term peace deal. This strikes me to be as threatening to Israeli democracy as it is to American interests in the ME.

Christie

I am much more frightened of the out-of-control and destructively and obscenely expensive American Military-Industrial Complex than I am of a nuclear capable Iran.

In the area of 50% of non-trust fund federal spending is for past and present military expenses. It represents 47% of TOTAL world spending on the military and is equal to the spending of the next 15 highest spending countries combined. And of those 15 countries, 12 are considered to be U. S. allies. In spite of these massive expenditures, during the Iraq war, the Bush administration treated members of the U. S. military so abominably that private citizens created non-profits (Katz School students at the University of Pittsburgh), ran raffles (a military wife and her church), and otherwise raised funds from middle class and working Americans to buy equipment such as bulletproof vests, night vision goggles, and two-way radios, basic supplies that taxpayers could rightfully expect such huge amounts of federal spending to cover. One really must wonder where all the money goes.

Meanwhile, we have reports, newspaper articles, and blog posts theorizing about and discussing the necessity and the potential problems of widening the war in the ME as if it were an academic exercise. Perhaps we should rather ask and seriously attempt to answer the question cui bono? from perpetual war.

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron."

Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969) From a speech before the American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 16, 1953.

johnf

To answer my own question on what effect the Wall Street crash is having on AIPAC and supporter of extremism in Israel:

Las Vegas Sands Plunges on Default, Bankruptcy Risk

Nov. 6 (Bloomberg) -- "Las Vegas Sands Corp., billionaire Sheldon Adelson's casino company, plunged in New York trading after saying it may default on debt and face bankruptcy.

]The casino owner, which had $8.8 billion in long-term debt at the end of June, said in a regulatory filing today that it probably won't meet the requirements of some loans unless it cuts spending on development projects, boosts earnings at its Las Vegas Strip casinos and raises more capital."

http://tinyurl.com/6gmdcu

Adelson, as well as being third richest man in America, is a friend and major backer of Netanyahu and AIPAC.

http://tinyurl.com/58obvr

johnf

Big and detailed article by Jim Lobe of the unwinding of Adelson's crucial financial support of neo-con and Likud organizations both in the States and within Israel. It lists others in ffinancial difficulty, too:

"Adelson isn’t the only donor who is faced with tough choices as the current economic crisis worsens. Another key donor of Freedom’s Watch, investor Paul Singer, whose company “had minor exposure to the collapse of Lehman Brothers,” according to the Washington Post, has begun pulling back. “One Freedom's Watch adviser familiar with appeals to Singer said efforts to enlist his eleventh-hour support have gone unanswered. ‘Understandably,’ said the adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because discussions with donors are confidential. ‘The guy's got a business to worry about.’”14

In the final analysis, with megadonors like Adelson returning their attention to worrying about their businesses, the influence of the groups they once supported could well decline. And the tiny fissures that have appeared in the Right, like that between Freedom’s Watch and the Christian Coalition, might eventually become large chasms."

http://rightweb.irc-online.org/rw/4961.html

Still, with Rahm Emmanuel now in power, this all might prove rather academic.

Rob

Obama's selection of Rahm Emanuel to be his Chief of Staff of the White House is noteworthy disturbing: it is a sign pointing to the future which the United States of America will somehow turn into a larger version of Israel on the political and national security levels.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

My Photo

June 2019

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
            1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30            
Blog powered by Typepad