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26 November 2011


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FB Ali

Deniability! Should this dangerous move backfire.

I don't know if we are reading the same 'memo'. It is a very precise, clearly worded explanation of the background, and a list of the specific measures promised should the US agree to back the move. Not much scope there for high-flown, elegant prose.

Charles I

They wouldn't; this is for the sake of argument a la those who think some future "Islamist" theocracy would. You know, the ones who DO want to bomb the shite outta everybody?

As for Iran, no one ever mention's the Supreme Leader's fatwa against nuclear weapons - so why bring it up here where we know Ahmadinejad does not call that tune.

Pat's header referenced capacity not intention, and in this context our interlocutors invoke Cheyney's 1% doctrine over 1% evidence of any capacity.


Charles 1. they have a hell of a lot more than 1% capability. Once again, to play the wishful thinking game of betting on the intentions of a possible actor is a mug's game. Governments come and go. Intentions change. Charles, if you are talking about the US "wanting to bomb the s--t out of everyone" you are mistaken. If that were true Iran would be a collection of smoking craters. pl

FB Ali

Charles, I hope you don't believe in this Islamist = Mad Mullah = Crazies BS! This manure was spread by the special interests that wanted to scare the crap out of the American public so that they could institute a security (aka police) state, ostensibly to protect the people from these crazies, but in reality to protect the fat cats at the top from the poor sods below.

Islamists are not crazy, neither are the jihadis, in fact they're pretty rational planners. The popular belief is that 9/11 was meant to just achieve a big bang; in fact, ObL had planned it in order to lure the US into a reaction that would start a war between them and the Muslim world. Bush & Co fell right into that trap.

If Islamists do come into power in Pakistan, they are not going to toss nukes around. There's lots of other ways in which they could seriously inconvenience the US and the West.


FB Ali

I like the thing about the "Mad Mullah." I haven't seen that since I read "The Malakand Field Force" as a boy. Seriously, regime changes lead to policy changes and they are unpredictable. Who could have predicted that George W. Bush would decide to invade and occupy Iraq when he defeated Gore? Not I, I thought he was going to be a usefully small bore president. That's what he promised, BUT circumstances changed and so did his basic policy toward the rest of the world. Churchill's defeat at the end of WW2 would be another example. he had just led a national unity government to military victory. Labor swept in and turned the UK into a "socialist paradise." The lesson is clear. pl

FB Ali

I agree with your argument. If Islamists come into power in Pakistan there will be a radical change in policy, ie, from a US client the country will become an antagonist.

I just don't see them necessarily embracing irrational policies such as threatening the use of nuclear weapons, much less using them. They are much more likely to use their deterrent value to pursue other hostile actions, probably riskier ones than they would indulge in without this cover. Of course, as could happen with anyone, Islamist or Washington's finest, things don't always go as planned, and the law of unintended consequences could kick in.

This discussion is mainly a matter of perspective. From the outside, it is quite logical to draw circles and see where the weapons might be used, and then postulate scenarios in which this might happen. Inside Pakistan the view is strictly India-focussed. This deterrent is to protect against an attack by a much more powerful adversary. That is how it is seen now; this is also how Islamists will see it if they ever come into power.

Charles I

Dear FB after all this time that you must hope wounds me to the quick. I'm not clear, see "those who think" above. I'm the craziest person I know but I'm not one of those.

That's why I brought up the fatwa against use, distinguished between Ahmadinejad's authority and the Supreme Leader's.

Many attack-hungry nabobs do tho, indeed they impute intent where there may not even be capacity. That eventual capacity does not perforce mean suicidal intent - why you'd have to be crazy to allow that in those circles!

Not this one.

Byron Raum

Oh come on. Do you seriously believe Pakistani authorities wouldn't give nuclear material to non-state entities if they felt it was to their advantage to do so?

Byron Raum

Sir, if Islamists came into power into Pakistan, how could we tell?

Charles I

Please, I was arguing against a straw man, er neomen, raving gibberish against Iran.

I wrote "those who. . . would bomb"


Not me, mine, these. Yeesh.

I understand the US does what it wants, am grateful for the munificence of its cratering forbearance. Sometimes appreciative of its more kinetic diplomacy.

I think Iran is NOT close to a deliverable ICBM strike on North America of any cep, let me put it that way.

Dunno if they got an untested one assembled, fedexed it somewhere, could they touch it off where I really care? I'm skeptical. I can't recall how a nuke gets in on 24.

Their non-conventional warfare/terrorism capacity to lash out and cause pain, havoc is given. And to be expected if one attacks, how does one get a couple of scuttled tankers outta Straits x y and z, again?

To me, rationality dictates that the Iranian Bomb may be coming and we may not be able to avoid it, strikes and all.

Whatever my game and American bets, its unsustainable to say no nukes for Iran, for anyone, up to the point of the US nuking them to to prevent it acquisition. Even barking out the Mad Mullah meme 24/7 is wishful thinking.

I don't have a good policy, aside from good luck forcing them to do/not do what you want forever with or without nuclear weapons.

FB Ali

I think they'd make it known. As would everyone affected -- and his uncle.

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