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30 November 2009

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JohnH

You posit the issue correctly. The West doesn't care about Iran's "rights." The issue is about Iran's doing what the West tells it to do. That is something that Iranian political leaders cannot accept. To do so would threaten their survival.
http://www.iranreview.org/content/view/4974/36/

And so we are closer to "the day."

Sad that intransigence prevails. Negotiations could find a middle way for everything except the West's need to command, and the Iranians' need to be independent. Therein lies the real crux of the issue: who will hold ultimate authority over Iran?

Clifford Kiracofe

Yes, "der Tag" does seem to be on the way. I can hear the Kagans and various Neocons singing:

"....Der Tag für Freiheit und für Brot bricht an!
....
Marschieren im Geist in unseren Reihen mit."

RAISER William

I don't understand this post.

As best I understand, Iran does have the "right" to enrich uranium. Shouldn't the West, and all other signers of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, protect that right?

I may not agree with what a person says, but since I believe in the "right" of free speech, I will defend their right to speak.

Or are you suggesting, as the first comment seems to imply, that "rights" ought to be the issue rather than the ability of the West -- the US and Europe -- to force compliance as some seem to want?

I think Obama and the US military are VERY reluctant to get into another war. I hope cooler heads, on both sides, will carry the day.

N. M. Salamon

Colonel:

I respectfully beg to differ with you.

The point of no return was made by the USA and her satraps when they demanded that Iran hand over her 3-5% uranium without clear guarantees that they would in fact receive the 20% uranium for the USA built medical supply reactor.

This was a slap on the face of Iran, a sovereign country trying to make peace with the West [note they have peace with China and most non west controlled nations, such as Brazil].

Reviewing the USA's [and allies'] cooperation or lack thereof since the time of the Shah [under whom the nuclear power generation was to be started] led by USA leadership, only a fool would accept the barter offered by this group.

For over 50 years the sole foreign interest of the USA with regards to Iran was to control the nation and through that control get access to the oil /gas within Iran.

Now it is possible that fools and madman think that they could win with a war. Recent history in Iraq and Afganistan indicate that this route leads to national bankrupcy, as if the present financial situation would leave any moneys for chasing the rainbow of controling IRan or Iraq or any other oil rich nation.

As a sure way to indicate that the USA is in big trouble, the USA'a oil demand has fallen for another month, at a time when there should be concentrated effort to use excess net energy to create and build alternative energy infrastructure. Note that the IEA clearly stated that oil use by OECD countries is expected to fall, indicating that growth in economies is not possible due to lack of energy! At this time the USA is wasting energy fighting wars 5000-10000+ miles off shore. Trying to imitate the collapse of USSR? is this rational? is this a way to give a better world to our children and grandchildren?

Patrick Lang

All

I am an intelligence analyst by trade and taste. I avoided the policy business deliberately. it is only recently that I have begun offering my opinions on policy here and in print media.

As an intelligenc analyst, one must forecast on the basis of what IS or what is most likely to come to be, not on what one would like the situation to be. That other business is the field of the policy wonks and the operations staff officers in the military pl

Cieran

Colonel:

I'm sorry to say that I agree with your assessment. It has long seemed to me that the Iranian government's goal on nuclear technology is to put Iran and Israel on a similar footing, including the potential for abrogating the NPT so there would be no legal basis for inspections of Iranian facilities.

This may seem just, but it's not likely to be tolerated by other interests, primarily Israel but also potentially the U.S. And while starting wars is remarkably easy, waging them is difficult, and ending them on desirable terms can be impossible, hence my disappointment in the current actions taken by Iranian leaders.

I think it's important for everyone to be familiar with the origins of the Iranian nuclear program, as this seems to be a topic of some considerable confusion in otherwise-well-informed discussions. The Iranian nuclear program was started in earnest during the Ford administration, where it was supported by folks with names like Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz. Sound familiar?

So regardless of the poor quality of Iranian decision-making on this topic, the neocons have done a lot worse on this topic. And thus the last people we should be listening to in this day and age are those neocon folk who helped get the world into this mess.

Cato the Censor

Colonel: I'll seriously worry about something really bad happening with Iran when the neocons and the folks in the current administration who like to dance to their tune figure out how to get Russia and China to sign off. It seems to me that this would be a very neat trick since such action would be inimical to these countries' interests. I can't see the U.S. taking unilateral action, especially if the administration plans to seriously boost forces in Afghanistan. Any such action would, in my opinion, push the stupid index all the way up to 11. Then again, stupidity seems to be one of the chief criteria for U.S. GOV action nowadays. I sincerely hope that none of these worst-possible-case scenarios occur.

curious

For next few months it's pure diplomatic game. Who blinks first. The setting (5-8 months)

-Italy, obviously is shutting up. (Their economy is beyond help and they are desperate for oil.)

- Germany. Somebody has something on Merkel (blackmail/extortion) sort of deal. Once Iran figure that part out, it'll be the biggest diplo show on europe. Plus her approval rating is gong sideway. A couple of hit on german troops in afghanistan, she will get kicked out of the government. Vote of no confidence. Germany will blink first right next to Italy once Iran figure out the extortion scheme. (I think it's Merkel spying during east german time)

-France. Sarkozy poll is sliding fast. Obviously he learns to shut up a little, less he wants France oil/chemical industry to collapse and people rioting on the street demanding his head over high unemployment/broken promise. Regime change in france. Any student group will be able to pull that one off soon.

-UK. Brown is living on borrowed time. The only reason he is still there. Opposition is weak and even sillier. But last few local election they keep winning. So Brown has to throw meat to the public (Iraq inquiry, get out of afghan ) Economically, UK is running out of north sea oil and drown in debt. They pissed off everybody who has oil and gas. So they are in worst position amongst all players.

-US. Giant Israel problem. Economy is now L shape instead of U and possibility of double dip start to appear. Republican is eating democrat alive on media with poll going down 1-2%/month. senate is under lobbyist/pro-israel control, Hillary is running in circle, nothing gets done. Options and opening are fewer. At least gas holds at $2.60. If Obama come out in one piece in next 16-20 months. He is inside top 5 greatest American president ever. He saves the american way of life, post war american empire, basically.

- Russia, they can't keep pumping oil much longer without experiencing rubble appreciation. And their economy can't take high rubble yet. So either they start buying US bond to slow rubble raise, stop selling that much oil, or figure out a way to grow russian economy. But I think the russian will keep playing the chess ad make highly complicated elaborate geopolitical move. They can't resist that, it's their game.

-China. This is interesting. I think they will be the last player to blink. And they will in the end own everything.

- Iran. they will irror Israel move when it comes to thumbing nose, to show the hypocracy. The rest is all maneuvering. Trade pact, price war, oil supply game, global economy reading, diplomacy footprint, etc. It's pure chess game. And they know they can win, because Obama has term limit and they can play the game with 5-6 years horizon beyond Obama presidency. Pro Israel hardliners inside Obama administration so far are making predictable moves anyway. They can't throw away the old strategy. Iran is still weak with global media and world PR. They can't seem to get that one working. This as oppose to China's control of their image in global media. (they are in absolute control, via corporate ownership and economic leverage.)

-Brazil. Interesting. I think Perez pissed Lula off few weeks back. Ugly. Could be a wild card.

--------

so obviously the next one is UN security council move.

Next is oil price and global money movement.

Somebody in Iran definitely thinks those rotor tubes are worth every penny of it. $80/barrel oil for few thousand tubes? Bargain of the century if they can get the game going.

R Whitman

We need to consider what happens on the day after "the day". The Iranians and their sympathizers are not without some means of retaliation. Even if we"win" they can do tremendous amounts of damage to Israel, the US, US interests and troops in the area and oil supply lines.

The financial and commodity markets around the world will be in utter confusion and will probably have to shut down for an extended period similar to 9/11 in the US only worldwide.

I know that most people tend to discount this but there is a possibility that Iran already posesses some nuclear weapons acquired on the black market over the years and would not hesitate to use them if pre-emptively attacked by the US/Israel.

steve

Nice assessment Colonel.

I can only hope that both sides--the US and Iran--can appreciate the absolute downside to a military confrontation.

For Iran, that would require an awareness that it fully recognizes the danger in which ts dawdling places it.

For the US, it might require the acceptance of an Iran that will do as it pleases with its nuclear program.

Contradictory positions I know, but that's negotiations.

zanzibar

It seems that both the US and Iran are locked in a political game playing to their neo-con crowd. And maybe they will soon position themselves into a corner with no room to backdown. What would be the signs when we know that military action is inevitable and forthcoming? Will it be like Iraq - a multi-month propaganda and military buildup or does this happen by surprise one day when we wake up?

As Cieran has pointed out - it was the neo-cons who got Iran going on their nuclear path. I know there has been much ink spilled here on what the larger neo-con objectives are but it seems to me that they are very short-term thinkers who get tangled up in destructive knots far too often. Considering their track record of misjudgment and error why are they coated with so much teflon?

William R. Cumming

Wondering if true that President Obama told the Chinese leadership Israel viewed Iran as existential threat and could bring down the world by engaging in eliminating a nation that could again bring forth a new HOLOCAUST? And that Chinese were at least sympathetic to US concerns and would leverage IRAN!

JohnH

Indications that the Obama is, like Bush, sabotaging negotiations by inserting poison pills into proposals and refusing to be open to creative solutions:
http://www.raceforiran.com/indias-siddharth-varadarajan-dissects-the-iaea-resolution-on-iran

Lysander

"The issue here is not whether Iran has a legal right to buil whatever size nuclear program that it desires, but rather whether or not such a program will be tolerated by those who can do something about it.."

I would like to make 2 points.

First, while it is true that international conflicts are not resolved bases on justice, justice cannot be said to be irrelevent. Consider that the west and the US spend considerable effort to portray Iran as intransigent and dangerous. We will not hear any western official say "while Iran has every right to pursue nuclear technology, it suites us better to use brute military force to stop them." There is a reason why they will never say this.

Second, if indeed the dispute will be resolved on the basis of whether the west is capable of stopping Iran, then it is difficult to fault Iran for siezing the most opportune moment, when it's principle adversaries are at greatest disadvantage, to do what it must. It is not hard to imagine that it is the west's intention may be to deal with Iran at a later date more suitable for them. Until then, they must prevent Iran from obtaining the means to self defense.

If so iran's best bet is to build what it can while it can. If it is attacked, then at least force the west to attack while Iran is at it's strongest.

Jose

IMHO, look inside Iran for an answer not outside, this regime can not survive unless it forces confrontation and/or embargo with the "Great/Little Satan".


Charles I

There is a very interesting warning and analysis of various parties' intents and interests at the Asia Times today.

'Beware the winds of December"

By Alastair Crooke

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/KL02Ak02.html

Givens are the Iranians will never agree to forego domestic full enrichment cycle capacity, esp given their previous experience discussed here a while back. Ditto, sanctions won't work.

William R. Cumming, why would Iran pay any more heed to China, obviously content or impotent in face of the impudent whackjob that went nuclear right next door?

Ergo, Iran being an existential threat and all, ATTACK!

What caught my attention in Cooke's article was the warning, based on a reading of Israeli sources, that the Syrian Nuclear Menace might be returning to the headlines, with the pleasing prospect of a Twofer - Israel blasting the shit out of Syria on the way over to Iran. We'd all be aghast but secretly pleased, political cover for Obama, the tail thinks the dog would feel perhaps.

Seems to me Iranian sympathizers might then loose a few stovepipes full of fertilizer in the general direction of our Heros, the very inability of the former to aim more precisely a War Crime commensurate with the misery meted out by the latter.

That always calls for more rubble and hostages, shooting and the like, further tactical reduction and/or occupation of forward periphery(s) til the natives come to their senses and surrender.

This sounds so plausible to me barring a US attack, which I hope doesn't occur, that for the first time I'm starting to feel, which is always more accurate for me, that an attack will be allowed to occur. We discussed Iraqi air sovereignty here some time ago.

Truly, its been a complete cluster**** all around since 9/11, whatever the worst thing that can be done now the only possible outcome, plus a banana peel, a Dubai World, and all those wingnuts in the GOP, good luck undoing any of it.

The Iranians are ultimately suicidal being so intransigent? If so, then deal with it, maybe Israel is the handgun that needs to be locked up for while while the adults in the room save Iran from itself.


china_hand

I remain unconvinced that the US can attack Iran without their entire Eurasian diplomatic house collapsing (and quite possibly their South American one, as well).

It's clear, at any rate, that Iran perceives that as a the probable outcome of a US-Iran war. Since it's they who are gambling with their lives, and the US which is simply cruising on twenty years of hegemony, i take their current posturing as further corroboration of my suspicions.

I sincerely believe that, if the US attacks Iran, then the end of the US as we currently know it will follow not long after.

In such a situation -- where the US is a massive power, capable of obliterating entire nations (= people) in a matter of weeks, but with its core civilization made vulnerable by the developing international political and economic situation -- it is clearly in Iran's best interest to follow their current tack.

They will not get a better chance. If they do not develop a counter-strike capability, then they will remain indefinitely vulnerable to casual annihilation the machinations of the Israeli and US right wing. If they do not press this current advantage, and allow the US to regroup its military, diplomatic, economic and political forces, then they will simply be forced to undergo this same dance in a few years -- and with considerably less advantage.

If they succeed with their aims, then they will gain a far greater independence than Washington, Israel, or Saudi Arabia currently allows them.

If they fail, then at least they have a shot at bleeding the aggressor so badly that it can never recover, perhaps even expires.

Washington has left Iran in a lose everything/lose everything situation.

I am as confident as i can be -- short of certain -- that it will not be they who "blink".

DE Teodoru

Israelis have an excuse. A poll showed that 30% of Israelis will emigrate if Iran gets an A-bomb. Already with more EMIGRATION than IMMIGRATION it's settlements are, per DeptState, 78% empty so they can't a ford losing 1/3 of the population. But on what basis other than merely political theater is Obama pretending concern over Ahmadinejad's technically dumb bluff? If he pushes for harsh sanctions our Chinese masters-- our banker to whom we owe more than we have in the Treasury-- will slap his hand say: "no, no,no, bad boy" and embarass us exposing our diplomatic impotence. When will the embarassments end? Can't we at least engage in non-CNN quiet diplomacy?

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