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25 June 2019


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Eric Newhill

If you had been around here long enough you would know that I have a low opinion of the Iranian revolution and of Islam in general. I have been open about that and Col Lang told me to knock it off. So I did.

I do not think that Iran should have nuclear weapons and I do not think that they can be trusted to not attempt to build one some day. When the Iranian govt boasts that it has achieved 20% (a few short nonlinear steps from 90%) and that it can go higher and will if it chooses to, then that is an irresponsible braggadocio given the threats that Ahmadinejad was making to wipe out Israel around the same time.

That said I have long been clear that, in my opinion, the US should not become involved in costly and likely-unwinnable foreign wars. If you're implying I'm a neocon of some sort, you couldn't be more wrong. I would prefer that the US largely isolate and let the noble savages kill each other to their hearts' delight.

My comment to FredW was more about his naïve Rousseau-like belief in the nobility of the inhabitants of the exotic corners of the world and the uniquely sinister nature of the white man and America.


Here's a suggestion if you want to find out if it's just more militant factions not impressed by the Kushner "plan" for Palestine. Find one, just one, independent voice who thinks that it's a workable plan offered in good faith.

I'm gonna offer you a million bucks right now. See how generous I am?

Les Priest

We seem to be back to the moto of the Roman Empire: ‘Oderint dum metutant'


How vulnerable are President Trumps re-election prospects to an aircraft load of flag draped Marine coffins?


See the comment by catherine. The "plan" is pure gaslighting, a sham through and through. The document itself is more like a theatrical prop than anything produced by actual professsionals.
If you were to look past the plan's central omission - that the two giant impediments to a productive Palestinian economy are the occupation and blockade - there is no "generous cash offer." It's just another neoliberal bait-and-switch: the presumptive $50 bil outlay would flow directly into the pockets of cronies and clients of MbS et al, and whatever entity succeeds the PA would be stuck with the bill - crushing debt for decades to come. As for the "Palestinian on the street," his future prospects would be about the same as that of South Asian laborers in UAE and Qatar.
In any event, the whole thing is just a PR stunt, a sort of threadbare figleaf under which Israel can seize, and eventually annex, more land.


Or is the idea that a large-scale air campaign would be sufficient to cause the collapse of the current Iranian regime?

irony alert: There must have been a lot of thought and updates circling the Rumsfeld Doctrine. I assume there are still quite a lot of closely neocon aligned truly America First aligned volcanoes around.

And didn't Trump promise to update atomic weapons? That might be helpful not least considering the updates on efficiency since Oppenheimer.

Philippe Truze

".. dum metuant" : the can hate me as long as the fear me".


OP, did he really describe himself as devil's advocate?

I loved the explanation of someone that felt like a friend, although I only met him online and in private exchanges.

He offered the explanation that originally "the devil" was in fact the printers apprentice that sometimes was a bit careless.


If you had been around here long enough you would know that I have a low opinion of the Iranian revolution and of Islam in general. I have been open about that and Col Lang told me to knock it off.

You didn't exactly draw my attention on that topic. Although it feels you should have, had it ever been urgently on your mind. More on your expertise on the Obama Health legislation, as expert from within the private for profit field.


One factor to consider, the element of time aside, is the limit to Assad's willingness for Syria to be used as a staging area for Iranian support for Hezbollah once the Shia militia's services are no longer required in northern Syria.
The Iranian presence is blocking what I believe is Assad's intention for some rapprochement with Israel, while attracting the obligatory Israeli strikes on Iranian and Hez assets within Syrian territory.
Russia similarly has no interest in an Iranian presence in Syria.

What would be the effect of this on the Israel/Hez/Palestinian(various) contest and on the willingness of Israel to go to war with Iran whenever the US is ready ? What would be the effect within the Iranian leadership group of the loss of their raison d'être ?
I would suggest that madness and blood, the usual solutions, will feature prominently as various parties scramble for some advantage, with 'deals' being rare.
When ? Trump will hope it is not in an election year.

Charlie Wilson

I would prefer that the US largely isolate and let sinister cosmopolitans kill each other to OUR hearts delight.


I don't see that I said anything that would imply that the Iranian elite are nice or honorable people. They are not, for whatever that is worth. Any such interpretation is projection on your part. Their moral qualities have nothing to do with the argument I made. Ours do, in that we have established that we don't keep our bargains. Whatever our virtues might be (and I still believe them to be considerable) that specific moral failing is what is relevant here.

Norbert M Salamon

It appears that noon has made any reference to "polite green men" teaching some Iranians the intricacies of "surplus misplaced" Russian manufactured EW equipment, radar systems etc.

Nor have any reference made to a clear statement in Jerusalem that Iran is an ALLY of Russia and connecting this statement of Mr. Putin's words that attacking Russia or her allies is forbidding [except if you want to pay the price].

Barbara Ann


But what if Suleimani turns out to be a Themistocles and The Gulf his Salamis? It will not be the Persians lamenting is the aggressor is defeated this time.

Eric Newhill

Administrations change. New admins might see the world totally differently than previous ones. Foreign powers change too. Sometimes, even if they don't change, new facts are revealed that alter the US' relationship with them; including agreements.

If Trump makes an agreement with a foreign power, should no democrat who might get elected in the future ever be able to undo that agreement?

Should we be sticking with agreements made by George Washington?

Yes, I can see where the ever shifting nature of foreign policy is frustrating to other countries. They frustrate us with their changing foreign policy too (like the Iranian revolution). I guess this is job security for State Dept, CIA, etc.

I don't think it's a "moral" failing as you put it. It's a feature of our system of governance and of the nature of life, in which nothing is permanent.


"The US is not a uniquely bad actor on the world stage."

I never claimed that we are. Only that we have recently very publicly, with enormous fanfare, established that we don't feel bound by our bargains. Whether you like the JPCOA or not, it is understandable that the Iranians consider that they a have a signed contract that the US has chosen to ignore. We pretty much publicized our decision that way. The fact that it was negotiated by Obama rather than Trump is irrelevant. It was done by the United States government. And confirmed. With compliance verified by the relevant parties.



JPCOA is not a treaty ratified by the US Senate. What advice were they giving during that negotiation?

Ishmael Zechariah

Barbara Ann,
I am past the age for indulging in magical thinking. If the full might of the USA goes against Iran, Iran will lose. However, I honor them for fighting rather than capitulating. Knowing that there are still those for whom death with honor means more than slavery with money feels good. Calgacus was described as one such. Zahreddine and Mozgovoi belonged to this group. So does Suleimani, Nasrallah and, AFAIK, Shoigu, Lavrov and Putin. Quite a few of the pilgrims on this site are of the honorable tribe of knuckledraggers. As the good Colonel says, the actions of such are incomprehensible to those for whom all is for sale at the right price. Rationality is based on the fundamental set of ethics, not vice-versa.
Ishmael Zechariah

dilbert dogbert

Yes, come yourself. The situation is to serious to send your child.

dilbert dogbert

The peace proposal is interesting. To me it is a proposal for the inmates of the prison to be paid to stay there.


The Russian relationship with Tehran may not include sending men to die for them. It will certainly give them an edge in dealing (that word) with the Iranians re the matter of an Assad invitation to leave Syria, and any invitation for Iran to join BRICS and/or SCO.


All of this brinkmanship has an interesting second-order effect, being the lack of Brit media time available for adverse public commentary and opining against Boris Johnson, Trump's English friend, and his methodical shaggy-dog climb to the top.
EO, what do you think ?


As a general rule, foreign treaties are binding on states and not revoked lightly except in the most serious of circumstances. Why, to behave otherwise might get your country labeled as “not agreement capable”, Oh wait!

The Nation states of this planet exist in a huge web of treaties that make our civilisation possible and indeed some would go back, at least in principle, to George Washington.

New treaties are regularly made to cover new technologies and developments, for example AI, global legal entity identifiers, etc., etc.


True enough, it was the arrival of the Boxer ARG that prompted me to think what would be achievable should an order be given.

Barbara Ann


I echo your sentiments 100%, though military planners would always be wise to allow for the possibility of magical thinking of the kind demonstrated by Lt. Gen. Van Riper as recently as 2002.

I am no knuckledragger, but I greatly admire men for whom death comes before dishonor. People who do not/cannot deserve our contempt. If it comes to it I don't doubt that many of the very people tasked with the destruction of the Iranian forces will feel the same way, but do their duty nevertheless.

And yes the US can crush Iran, but at what cost? If the neocons are able to drag America into another such transparent war of choice, I think the consequences could be analogous to those for the British in the aftermath of Suez. Would the First Republic survive such a victory?

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