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09 February 2009

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Bill Wade, NH, USA

Ron Paul gets better looking every day.

William R. Cumming

The National Journal is highly respected inside the beltway (and perhaps outside where I now live). First real mention I have seen linking potential social breakdown to failure of the stimulus package and no real recalibration yet of US foreign policy or military capability. In that sense alone this is a significant statement from the editors and staff of the NJ. Question, PL do you see any real readjustments yet (maybe too early) in forign policy and military policy? The extract in WAPO of the new Thomas Ricks book is interesting to me largely because it indicates the at least the ARMY is a learning organization. NO real indication yet of that for the other services or DOD generally. Nor for the State department, nor for the Intel community. Give me hope, PL that some of these others can learn from their past mistakes and corrupt cultures which will not survive major social disruption in this good old USA. And of course looking much closer to revolution in Mexico this week. Only the Mexican military preventing vast social upheaval and breakdown but not sure the cartels won't win.

frank durkee

Excellent article. I hope to hell someone in power pays attention.

JohnH

You gotta love Michael Scheuer: "Before President Obama decides on a policy toward Iran, he might try to accurately define the nature of the threat that country poses to genuine U.S. interests." Once we've defined that then maybe we can define some objectives and strategies.

Oh right! But that isn't the American way! As in Iraq and Afghanistan, America trumps up some manufactured rationale, invades the country, kills a lot of people, destroys a lot of stuff, and only later tries to figure out why it all seemed such a good idea at the time.

Cato the Censor

Colonel: this goes directly to my point (on which I think we are probably in agreeement) that the old paradigm of the US as the world's cop with freedom of action virtually anywhere in the world is utterly obsolete. I think this is a really important piece of information that needs to be added to our foreign policy considerations. Is there anyone out there making this point to whom serious people listen?

Green Zone Cafe

The Colonel and Scheuer are spot-on. Iran is not a present threat to the USA, and we don't have the resources to confront them.

In addition, things are going pretty well in Iraq, and we don't want to upset that now, do we?

If the Israelis do upset things in Iraq by bombing Iran (as it will -- the USA will be perceived as standing by), it won't be forgotten.

par4

Why no mention of OIL? An attack on Iran is going to affect the supply dramatically.

Nevadan

The following gives hope that Iran will cease being a pariah.

Christian Science Monitor reports: Bowing to months of pressure from political allies, Iran’s former reformist president, Mohammad Khatami, on Sunday declared he will run in the June presidential vote.

The black-turbaned cleric – who won landslide victories in 1997 and 2001 on the promise of restoring the rule of law, loosening social restrictions, and ending Iran’s isolation – will now be aiming to restore his political reputation while challenging Iran’s arch-conservative President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

J

Colonel,

Netanyahu is acting like a major nuclear power, when in reality he's a two-bit player. If Netanyahu managed to garner the Israeli PM spot, with its small (but deadly) nuclear deliverable arsenal at his disposal, it will be Netanyahu and Israel who are the real threat to our U.S. as well as Europe, in more ways than one.

Cloned Poster

Nevadan, Ahmadinejad was the man of the times for the Bush II fiasco. It's Netanyahoo now I worry about.

curious

I like looking at anecdotal stories at the fringe that nobody pays attention to. Often they tell a lot about general trend at the center. Things like rocket launch number, track and field performance over times, large scale construction skill don't lie. (at least they are not a sustainable lie without turning into potemkin village joke.)

US foreign policy, specially on Iran has deviate too far from national interest. Nobody does honest accounting what is happening, what we want, and what we actually able to do.

It is time to make an honest assessment of US middle east policy. Israel, Saudi, Syria, Iran, Egypt, ...Pakistan, Afganistan...(Russia, China, India)..

time to look hard, cause obviously ... we don't know what we want. everything is running on bureaucratic cruise control.

Political corruption prevails. Cute at first, but after awhile

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/09/AR2009020901678.html?hpid=topnews

The 69-page report authored by nine-time Olympic gold medal winner Carl Lewis and eight other members of an independent task force recommended an overhaul of the organization's high-performance program, improvements to its anti-doping policies and the termination of its million-dollar relay program, which it described as "a waste of money and a failure."

The report caps what has been a difficult decade for USA Track and Field, which has struggled to maintain its standing as the world's most decorated track team while being battered in recent years by doping revelations and seemingly declining interest -- NBC arranged to have Olympic swimming and gymnastics, but not track, live during its U.S. telecasts during the Games last August.


The USATF's five-year-old National Relay Program, which has involved various relay-team training camps throughout the years and been led by coach Brooks Johnson, received the heaviest criticism. The dropped batons in the Olympics were the most recent in a history of errors among U.S. relay-team members; seven U.S. relay teams have been disqualified at major events for bobbles, lane infractions or doping violations since the program began. The report also chided USATF for allowing shoe companies and agents to effectively take over the management of track and field.

LeaNder

Jim Lobe: http://www.ips.org/blog/jimlobe/?p=226>Ledeen Once Again Has His Hand on the Iranian Pulse

Mr Faster Please had another conversation with the late http://pajamasmedia.com/michaelledeen/2009/01/28/the-doctors-plot-again-this-time-in-tehran/>James Jesus Angleton via his ouija board. His way to make fun of us slow folks, I guess.

Jose

Ahmadinejad can only be reelected by the election of Netanyahu and the appointment of Dennis the menace by Obama.

IMHO, Livi will win tomorrow and the bucket-list guys will be going to Tehran.

doug

Colonel,

Your M.E. prescription makes sense but I fear it isn't doable given the visceral fear of Iran that permeates Israeli elites. I wish Obama the best. It's perhaps even more of a challenge than stabilizing the economy.

curious

This is going to be a veeeerryyyy long 8 yrs. Israel is turning hard right and just about any sane person expect they are going to start a war one way or another.

On top of that Israel is now proposing "one region, two states." WTF?

are they preparing for another scam already? so soon?

They should just say it outloud, we want all the land and F the palestinians. They can have their "state", but we got to keep land, air, what the palestinian can do in it, etc. We gonna blow up the entire middle east if that's what it takes.


Somebody should come down hard on the Israelis, sign peace treaty and create 2 states, or you will be on global boycott list like the apartheid regime. They'll have to fight Hamas using a slingshot once the plug is pulled. None of their microelectronic manufacturing line will work (no gudance and control for anything), nevermind the rest of their fancy toys...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/09/AR2009020902098.html?hpid=topnews

One Region, Two States

Dissenters from the two-state solution contend -- not without some reason -- that Gaza and the West Bank are too small to absorb the Palestinian refugees. Yet this would also be the case under the one-state formula; it would result in a state that is merely 24,000 square kilometers and that already overflows with a population exceeding 10 million (5.5 million Jews and 4.5 million Arabs). While cynics might question the size of the West Bank and Gaza, optimists should look no further than Singapore for reassurance.

curious

http://www.hindu.com/2009/02/10/stories/2009021059991200.htm

Iran may give India access to Afghanistan

NEW DELHI: Iran on Monday said India could soon have a sea-cum-land route that would give Indian goods access to Afghanistan and further on to Central Asian countries, bypassing Pakistan.

Tehran also said that as a friend of both Pakistan and India, it would “have to play a role” in reducing tensions between the two countries and ensure that differences over the proposed Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline are overcome.

Speaking to journalists here, Iran’s Ambassador in India Syed Mahdi Nabizadeh said Iran was attempting to make its Chabar port viable by declaring it a free trade zone and improving the logistical infrastructure. A road or rail line from the port could take Indian goods to the Afghan border.

From there, a 217-km India-built road from the Afghan border town of Zaranj will provide the last-mile connectivity to Delaram located on the “garland highway” of Afghanistan which connects most of its major cities, including Kabul, Kandahar, Herat, Mazar-e-Sharif and Kunduz. Some of the offshoots of this road, also called the North-South corridor, go into Central Asia.

JJackson

The question – to which pl’s piece is a reply- includes the ‘clenched fist’ quote.
My question is what clenched fist?

If the NIE and Iran say they are not developing weapons, IAEA inspections are clean (apart from being unable to explain some documents of unknown origin which they claim are fabricated), accusations of any major complicity in IED’s in Iraq have died down, arming Hama’s has just been shown to be a very sick joke, which leaves arming Hezbollah. I would not want to clog your blog with an attempt at a comprehensive list of the non-state organisations that have been supplied arms by the US over the years but if we are going to try and find a workable definition for ‘State sponsors of terrorism’ it might be tricky to find one that included Iran but exclude the US, and my country the UK.

Clifford Kiracofe

DIRECT negotiations, NO preconditions, and get on with it...now.

A useful book for context is Trita Parsi, Treacherous Alliance, the Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran and the US (New Haven: Yale, 2007). Trita lays out Israeli machinations, duplicity, and the like.

American planning for the region must have a broad framework: Turkey, Iran, Arab states, and Israel not to mention South Asia, too.

No more Israel-centrism. Stepped up counterintelligence pressure against Israel with more wide ranging investigations and prosecutions in the AIPAC case please. Fresh NIE on Israel.

Brief President Obama on Eisenhower's handling of the Suez crisis and US sanctions imposed or threatened to be imposed.
Bedside reading: Donald Neff, Warriors at Suez. Eisenhower Takes America Into the Middle East (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1981).

steve

On the economic front, Kilcullen estimates that Afghanistan alone will cost us about $25 billion a month. For 10 to 15 years. Assuming everything goes well.

Steve

MRW.

How to make my blood boil: read these lines. The temerity of Israel to dictate to the US ...

The Israeli press is full of the expectation that the new government will visit Mr. Obama in Washington to demand quick and decisive action against Iran. [...] The expectation is strong in Israel that President Obama will be told to “fish or cut bait.”
I completely disagree, now, with a two-state solution. FIrst, it wont happen. Second, all this folderol about Israel being a democracy is just that. It's time it 'fish or cut bait'. Israel (Jewish) can be like Italy (Catholic) with Jerusalem like the Vatican.

Exactly what is the threat that Israel is going to do to Iran? Bomb it? With what? Nuclear-tipped bunker busters, and enflame the entire region? Does it want to start WWIII in order to secure its security and no one else's? This is an insanity, and the open debate about this medieval city-state is not going on in this country because of a fear of being labeled anti-Semitic. Actually, because we permit warmongers like Abe Foxman -- who would be out of a job if he couldn't do it -- to set the debate for us and threaten lives and careers if we dont comply.

As far as I am concerned, Colonel, Israel has become the domestic part of what you military guys call 'enemies, foreign and domestic'.

MRW.

Colonel,

The next response after yours on the National Journal site is 'Dov S. Zakheim, Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) and Chief Financial Officer (2001-2004), Booz-Allen Hamilton."

Upon reading it it makes you wonder which government he supports. He certainly doesn't seem to have America's best interests at heart.

Duncan Kinder
He will be told that if the United States does not deal with Iran to Israel's satisfaction, then Israel will deal with the problem.

One would think that if the current economic crisis has constrained the United States, then it also would constrain Israel.


JerseyJeffersonian

Here's a little account of what The Lobby did to Michael Scheuer (who also posted his POV on this topic in the National Journal Blog above Col. Lang's entry) for being candid about his views about the distorting influence of uncritical bipartisan Israel Firsting.

http://www.antiwar.com/scheuer/?articleid=14221

Apparently, the First Amendment is null and void at the Jamestown Foundation. More kabuki theater from the "scholarly" community, where a pretense of academic freedom substitutes for the real thing. Just another think tank in the tank for Zionism.

curious

Israel election result is in, now they have to create the coalition. We'll see how all this affect their outlook with Iran. Assuming Kadima doesn't change, their largest partners also dont seem to varied widely.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/2/11/0547/30437/722/695917

Kadima winning 28 seats and Likud winning 27 out of a possible 120. It seems it is going to be hard for Kadima to form a coalition government but this does not mean it cannot be done.

The reason it is going to be hard for Kadima to create a coalition is because Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beitenu party is expected to get 14 seats with Labor only getting 13 and the Shas party (right wing leaning and openly saying they want Likud to win) with 11 seats.

So looking at just the top 5 vote getting parties the right wing block already has 53 seats with Likud, Yisrael Beitenu, and Shas.

If you had in the right wing parties of United Torah Judaism, Jewish Home and National Union who are going to get 11 seats this gives the Likud a narrow majority of 64 of the 120 seats.

If we do the simple math this mean that Kadima's coalition only has 56 seats.

HOWEVER... Shimon Peres the current President of Israel and former Labor party leader and PM, chooses who is allowed to form a unity government. With Kadima receiving the most votes it is hard to see how he cannot give Kadima the first crack at this.

curious

a short blurb about saudis DF3, and google earth (and potential respond if israel/iraq going nuke)

I still think saudi will be among the first going nuclear if escalation heat up, they have financial resource and connection to buy expertise and equipments.

http://geimint.blogspot.com/2009/02/saudi-arabias-ballistic-missile-force.html

CONCLUSION

The Saudi Arabian ballistic missile arsenal is one of the most interesting and important military aspects of the developing Middle Eastern political and military landscape. As Iran moves forward towards its alleged nuclear weapons program, Saudi Arabia may well attempt to acquire a similar capability for its missiles to serve as a deterrent. The potentially destabilizing effects of such a move, given the Kingdom's position regarding Israel, could ignite a new arms race, and even military conflict. The fact that this significant development may be related to a military capability that few individuals realize exists highlights the need for closer military analysis of potential adversarial situations worldwide.

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