April 22, 2010

Yet Another Step Backward

Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy said yesterday that military action against Iran is “off the table in the near term,” effectively walking back President Obama’s position that “all options are on the table.” She prefaced her statement with the banal assertion that “military force is an option of last resort,” which of course everyone knows and which implies by itself that force is off the table for now. But the United States nevertheless just softened its position again on Iran’s nuclear weapons program. If the president doesn’t return force to the table, it is going to stay off.

It seems as though the U.S. is trying to look irresolute and nonthreatening lately, but whether it’s on purpose or not, that’s what it looks like, and it isn’t helpful. A credible threat — simple deterrence — can make war somewhat less likely, just as police officers on the street make crime somewhat less likely. The Iranian government won’t cooperate with irresolute and nonthreatening enemies; it will steamroll irresolute and nonthreatening enemies.

Attacking Iran wouldn’t be my next step either. I’m entirely sympathetic to the administration’s aversion to it, and not only on behalf of American servicemen who may be injured or killed. I know lots of Iranians. All are decent people. Not a single one supports Tehran’s deranged government. All have friends and family back home, and it has been obvious for some time now that a very large percentage of their fellow citizens left inside the country feel the same way. I don’t want to see any of these people get killed, especially if they’re killed by us. The very idea fills me with horror.

And that’s before factoring in the Israelis and Lebanese who would also be killed if the war spreads to the Levant — a likely event. I spend enough time in the Middle East that I could even end up in a bomb shelter myself.

We have to be realistic, though. There is only the smallest of chances that the Iranian government will mothball its nuclear weapons program if it does not feel some serious heat. Some people can only be disarmed at gunpoint, and that’s true of nearly all belligerent people.

Yet “off the table” has become the new normal. It will remain the new normal until further notice. The United States looks like it’s in retreat. Hardly anyone in the world believed President Obama would ever order a strike even before this most recent of climb-downs.

The administration seems to forget that threatening military action doesn’t necessarily mean we have to go through with it, that we want to go through with it, that we yearn to go through with it, or that we’re warmongers. Look at Taiwan. It exists independently of China only because the United States has made it clear that an invasion of Taiwan would be punished severely. Chinese leaders find the threat credible and have therefore backed off to let Taiwan live. The U.S. doesn’t have to pull the trigger. It’s enough just to say don’t even think about it.

Read the rest in Commentary Magazine.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at April 22, 2010 7:59 AM
Comments
Mr Totten, your points are so reasonable and based upon past historical evidence that it is sad that they need to be reiterated. You do it well, and deserve our thanks.

However, I wish I shared your confidence in the modern attitudes of many Iranians in regards to the regime. I am frequently surprised by Iranian-Americans and Iranian nationals who express at best ambivalence toward the Islamic Republic and its leadership.

An example is a naturalized American who emigrated from Iran in the mid-1980's. He has worked hard and achieved much in a business career based in the US, and espouses pro-business and generally conservative foreign policy views. Except in regards to Iran, where the ghost of Mossadegh arises in his bitter denunciations of foreign influence on Iran to this day.

He opposes any sanctions and while he complains about the economic and social conditions in Iran, is committed to a strong nationalism for the land of his birth, and sees no need to challenge the legitimacy of the Islamic Republic. This man is a single example, but I find numerous others who essentially arrive at the same conclusions.

Perhaps these sentiments are widespread, which perhaps explains why the Iranians who so excelled at revolution in 1979 have been unexceptional practitioners in the intervening years.
Posted by: Dan D at April 22, 2010 8:48 am
Deterrence prevents armed conflict by making it clear to the other side that a war would be too costly and shouldn’t be tried.

Deterrence kept nuclear-armed conflict from occurring, but it didn't keep Russia or China from developing their own nuclear weapons program. I think we have threatened to go to war if these weapons are used against our allies in the area..?

We've learned how to keep nuclear weapons from being used (so far), but we haven't figured out how to keep belligerent nations from using real or imaginary nuclear weapons to extort respect and concessions from their neighbors.
Posted by: Mary Madigan at April 22, 2010 9:09 am
Mossadegh has had the street named after him changed by the very Mullah's who supported the Shah and Iranian Generals going along with the British plan to oust him. At least then the West prevented the Soviets from invading which was more than what Mossadegh intended. I wish those Iranian "examples" would ponder what the Mullahs have wrought in place of the former Prime Minister. Many do. Many even think the Shah was more humane than the Mullahs who think earthquakes are caused by promiscuity.

Michael, you expressed what I'm thinking with your cogent article. Weak signals from the US? I agree their appears to be a failure of understand the use of threats. Hillary seemed to have a grasp of the right approach while she was being hammered by the Obama supporters during the primary. I wonder about the signals too.

Over at defense Tech, bloggers ponder the Iranian Parade. If S-300s and S-400s are what adversaries will field, what was the logic of ending the Raptors? They were designed to penetrate such defenses. I know the point has been made before, but the signals are a bit strange across the board.

The larger point often missed is what Quds and North Koreans, Hizb'Allah and Syrians are "capable" of now:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/southkorea/7619087/South-Korean-ship-sunk-by-crack-squad-of-human-torpedoes.html

There are missiles that can be fired remotely from shipping containers. There are robotic submersibles and drones. There are various ways to deliver the package without incontrovertible proof of the sender. These are not really high tech hardware. Hizb'Allah and others have been trained.

In fact, one could fashion a rather nineties platform and missile along with enriched uranium from unknown sources (purchased on the black market or in secret labs) yielding little forensic fingerprints. Given the possible suicidal special forces of the North Koreans, why doubt the capabilities of other adversaries? North Korean's more suicidal than Islamic radicals? Sounds like another South Park episode.

Regimes wishing for plausible deniability can just contract AQ.



My gut tells me the election months in September to October puts Obama on the spot should Israel strike. I don't know enough to say when and where. No one should take the implication of this on our forces lightly. I do hope however, Israel is not forced to go this alone, should it come to force. Only the US has the capacity to get such a potentially large scale operation right. Again, ironically, I wonder whether we would risk the Raptors for an operation there are most suited to fulfill. The irony is not lost....

Either this administration has gotten things very wrong, or they will surprise us. What makes me think Obama might be the only one surprised?
Posted by: Maxtrue at April 22, 2010 9:34 am
Sorry for the typos, it was lunch time...
Posted by: Maxtrue at April 22, 2010 9:37 am
Believe me. An oil price at $30 for a few years, instead of $85 where it is today, will solve all this without firing a shot. The Iranian economy will collapse if oil crashes.

An attack on Iran would not solve anything. You need an economic collapse which will lead to regime change. The Soviets didn't buckle until the price of oil collapsed in the mid 1980s.
Posted by: Joe Hayek at April 22, 2010 9:53 am
[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Scott Bartelt. Scott Bartelt said: Very well written article by Michael J Totten regarding our disastrous foreign policy regarding Iran http://bit.ly/cQEjKa #fb [...]
Posted by: Tweets that mention Michael J. Totten -- Topsy.com at April 22, 2010 10:16 am
It's scary to see the US look like a paper tiger at a time when the region needs the opposite.

Michael, how do you see the EU stance on this topic? According to many reports, they are now the trailblazers in pushing for serious sanctions.

On the other hand, I find it ironic that Germany, the country which brought us two world wars and the Holocaust, bears responsibility for building up this regime as Iran's biggest trading partner. Just look at last summer's Siemens debacle as an example.

If the region explodes and people get hurt, Germans will have to look in the mirror once again.
Posted by: FormerStudent at April 22, 2010 10:45 am
Not a surprise. The handwriting was on the wall when Hilary was giving speeches last month describing Iran as a U.S. problem. She did not characterize Iran as an Israeli problem. And the only American response is to pursue economic sanctions. That's diplomatic language telling Israel not only not to take action, but that any armed action Israel may take against Iran might well be condemned by the U.S. - economic sanctions, after all, must be given time to work.

Except that in this case, no one expects them to work at all. Meaning the Obama Administration and its officials are just trying to keep their hands clean of what's going to happen in the future.

When criticized, Administration officials respond by affirming "deep ties" between the U.S. and Israel. That's hardly a reassuring statement; it sounds more and more like an obstacle the Obama Administration intends to overcome in pursuit of its screw-allies-be-nice-to-our-enemies" policies.
Posted by: Solomon2 at April 22, 2010 11:04 am
"Either this administration has gotten things very wrong, or they will surprise us. What makes me think Obama might be the only one surprised?"

I share those sentiments. I justified my support for Obama during during the build-up for the election by arguing that, yes, he will extend a hand to Iran and co.--show a kinder, gentler America--but once the hand was batted away, the rose colored glasses would come off and he'd act accordingly. The international (and domestic) audience would more likely to line up behind the US since it would be clear that Iran and co. were intent on going nuclear and causing trouble. It would be a good strategy, I thought.

I hope my theory was right, but I have my serious doubts now. In fact, I'm starting to wonder/worry that Obama is intentionally pulling back the traditional US role in the world. I think enough of Michael's readers understand the implications of that, so I won't discuss them. That, or the Obama administration is failing international relations 101.
Posted by: semite5000 at April 22, 2010 11:08 am
Iranians:

This is all anecdotal, but most of the Iranians I know (usually online), dislike the regime, but will go ape-shit if the US or Israel strike Iran.

Another thing I've noticed from discussing issues with Iranians is that many:

A) Believe in wild conspiracy theories. Even when disabused of one theory, they latch on to another one. It makes rational discussion about regional issues difficult to impossible.

B) They are self-centered, on a national level (not personal). They seem to have no understanding or don't care about the threats to destroy Israel and deny the Holocaust and how that affects the region. They don't care or understand what Iran has done to Lebanon via its support of Hezbollah.

I can understand this attitude to an extent; after all they are oppressed by their own leaders. Nevertheless, during countless debates/discussions, I've never once been able to get an Iranian to step outside of him/herself and see the world through another person's eyes.

C) They have an attitude of victimization. Despite the fact that the US apologized for overthrowing Mossadegh, and despite the fact that it happened more than a century ago, they keep whining about it as if it has been the cause of all their woes.
Posted by: semite5000 at April 22, 2010 11:21 am
Behind the rhetoric of "sanctions with bite" is the underlying acceptance that the US must now work towards a long term policy of containing a nuclear iran.
Posted by: tg at April 22, 2010 11:26 am
Just remembered another one:

D) They keep repeating this matra that Iran hasn't attacked anybody in 200 years. They don't seem to understand, care, or agree that Iran's terrorist proxies, Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, etc., regularly attack Israel and others, and that those attacks are, well, attacks!--and that they are acts of war.
Posted by: semite5000 at April 22, 2010 11:27 am
Behind the rhetoric of "sanctions with bite" is the underlying acceptance that the US must now work towards a long term policy of containing a nuclear iran.

I see no evidence that this Administration has even this policy in mind, or else it would coddle America's current allies to try to create a collective-security pact. Instead, they - not just Israel, but even long-time Arab allies like Saudi Arabia and Jordan - are being given the finger.

So at best this is about America moving towards neutrality, and at worst about siding with tyranny. Since both Lebanon and the Iranian greens have already been screwed, the question becomes, how far does Obama's support of tyranny extend? Does he share the same goals as Hezbollah and the Iranian mullahs or not?
Posted by: Solomon2 at April 22, 2010 1:02 pm
Re Iranians we know...

I always thought that it was a mistake for the US to allow dual citizenship. It creates mixed allegiances, which becomes a problem when we face an enemy. Unlike other nations which were created around an ethnicity or religion, the US was created around an idea. Therefore, being a citizen of the US is incompatible with being a citizen of another nation.
Posted by: Joe at April 22, 2010 1:10 pm
Joe, I have to respectfully disagree. We live in an increasingly connected, globalized world; what you propose is an isolationist minded step backward, IMO. So long as an individual does not break the laws of the United States, I don't see why that person cannot have dual citizenship. In any event preventing, for example, Iranian-Americans from maintaining their Iranian citizenship is not going to change their hearts. If somebody wants to turn on the US, they will do it whether they have dual citizenship or not. (That said, I do not know what the situation is regarding dual Iranian-US citizenship, so my point was hypothetical, but y'all get the picture.)
Posted by: semite5000 at April 22, 2010 1:27 pm
"So at best this is about America moving towards neutrality, and at worst about siding with tyranny."

Recently the US took a neutral stance between Great Britain and Argentina over the Falklands. Either Obama's foreign policy is totally inept, or he's undoing more than half a century of US international policy. Both scenarios are scary.
Posted by: semite5000 at April 22, 2010 1:30 pm
Unlike other nations which were created around an ethnicity or religion, the US was created around an idea. Therefore, being a citizen of the US is incompatible with being a citizen of another nation.

So according to this rationale, if a US citizen doesn't support the idea of what America is, then they should be stripped of their citizenship? I don't agree with Communism, but I don't think Americans that believe in Communism should be stripped of their citizenship. This view creates a slippery slope that leads to an ugly place.
Posted by: semite5000 at April 22, 2010 1:40 pm
Solomon2,

The handwriting was on the wall when Hilary was giving speeches last month describing Iran as a U.S. problem. She did not characterize Iran as an Israeli problem.

I think she was trying to communicate with American leftists who think Israel controls the US government and that the US is always doing things that aren't in its own interests, on Israel's behalf.

That's diplomatic language telling Israel not only not to take action...

I disagree. I don't think her comments had anything to do with Israelis, and everything to do with Americans.

When criticized, Administration officials respond by affirming "deep ties" between the U.S. and Israel.

I'll say this one more time: This isn't about Israel.

I dislike Hillary Clinton probably more than I do any other US politician, but on this one I'm completely with her. The Islamic Republic is America's problem. We are their enemy #1. They only use Israel as leverage with Arabs.

Semite5000,

We live in an increasingly connected, globalized world;

I think that trend is reversing, as national interests trump corporate interests. The world is not the "don't worry, be happy" playground it was 15 years ago, anymore.

As for being "connected" on a global level, as somebody who has been active on Arab blogs for the last 6 years I can say that I kinda wish we were less connected. I was happier when I didn't know what even supposedly moderate Arabs were really thinking. And I can say that in regards to Europe as well. I've become downright anti-Europe over the course of the last several years. I've always been ambivalent about Europe, but I now see them as being in the opposition camp. That's not good.

...what you propose is an isolationist minded step backward, IMO.

I think you misunderstand what "isolationist" means. Americans have always been pro-immigration. That's what has made the US what it is today.

So long as an individual does not break the laws of the United States, I don't see why that person cannot have dual citizenship.

Me neither. But I do think it would have been nice if we were a little more selective about who we offered citizenship too. I've seen many dual US/Iran citizens openly supporting the IRI and viciously condemning the US for all its actions, past and present. Such a person is not worthy of being made a US national.

In any event preventing, for example, Iranian-Americans from maintaining their Iranian citizenship is not going to change their hearts.

You are right. It is US citizenship that they should be denied, if they love Iran and hate America.

You mentioned how "connected" we all are now. How is it that even in this modern age where anyone can find out anything about virtually anyone else in a matter of moments, we let people who have been anti-US activists for years if not decades get US citizenship? US immigration and naturalization is not connected? They didn't know?

Can somebody explain that to me?

If somebody wants to turn on the US, they will do it whether they have dual citizenship or not.

And if they do, we can deport them. Oh, wait. No we can't. They are citizens.

Recently the US took a neutral stance between Great Britain and Argentina over the Falklands.

And I applaud him for it.

Either Obama's foreign policy is totally inept, or he's undoing more than half a century of US international policy.

Or maybe the world has changed in the last half a century?
Posted by: Craig at April 22, 2010 1:59 pm
Hi Craig,

"Or maybe the world has changed in the last half a century? "

The world has indeed changed and in many ways for the better.
But from the political point of view it has gotten much more complex and not necessarily in a good way.
I don't really think that Obama can deal with the complexity except by withdrawing from it or ignoring it.
I also think he feels that traditional allies CAN be pushed around because he is the biggest kid on the block and can get away with it. But those who find him unimpressive, cowardly, vacillating, incompetent, a blow hard, he will avoid confronting because it might mean having to actually fight them.
I'm the first to say the comparison may be a bit simplistic, but the behaviour pattern is definitely similar, if not the same.
Definitely not a good situation.
Posted by: yesjb at April 22, 2010 2:34 pm
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1164760.html

On Jerusalem...
Posted by: Maxtrue at April 22, 2010 2:44 pm
"C) They have an attitude of victimization. Despite the fact that the US apologized for overthrowing Mossadegh, and despite the fact that it happened more than a century ago, they keep whining about it as if it has been the cause of all their woes."

I could never understand this about Iranians. They enjoyed looking forward to better days back in the forties. Nazis attitudes hadn't yet infected their religious sensibilities.The US and Britain had defended Iran from both Hitler and Stalin. The Iranians (according to today's experts) were given a good deal on oil profits considering English discoveries and investment. With the Marshal Plan providing a future of oil sales, Mossadegh planned to continue to violate his Constitution and nationalize British oil without compensation. Do Iranians today understand what would happen? International sanctions would have blocked other nations from exporting or importing with Iran. Back in the fifties, only the Soviets would have had the ability to break the embargo and service Iranian oil industry. Eisenhower rightly knew he could not sit back and let that happen. Neither could the Mullahs or Generals, something Iranians love to deny.

While I can understand Iranians being angry about the US and Europe not putting more pressure on the Shah to stop his secret police, the idea Mossadegh was some brilliant nationalist thwarted by the US is wrong. Had he understood the very ground he was breaking, he might have taken a different strategy.

In any case, what Iranian would say the Mullahs who eventually took over were not Mossadegh's deeper enemy and have tried hard to extinguish Iran's pre-Muslim past. The Mullah's changed the street he was named after, not the US. The Mullah's claim they are the voice of God, not leaders of the great Iranian nation, should be clear to every Iranian. Quds claims invincibility, yet only America in short order could remove Saddam.

Had Mossadegh been successful, the Soviets would have entered and the Mullahs long gone. I almost regret that we didn't do that, although a Communist Iran might have changed the course of events.....and Iranians would have something different to bitch about.
Posted by: Maxtrue at April 22, 2010 3:07 pm
Semite

When I said 'created around an idea', that idea was the Constitution and other founding documents. If a foreigner is a communist or, in your words, "doesn't support the idea of what America is" and wants US citizenship anyway, we have every right to reject him, and have in the past. Why does he want to be a citizen if he doesn't support the idea of what America is? If a US-born citizen is a communist, you would of course not strip him of his citizenship.
Posted by: Joe at April 22, 2010 3:19 pm
I'm with yesjb in seeing Barak Obama simply. Out of self-regard, he'll avoid what he can't control overseas and what might negatively affect his (self) image, waiting to claim credit for inaction. Underneath this objective I see a disturbingly weak, naive (to be kind; willfully ignorant is more accurate) personality, over his head on the world stage. International relations today isn't a campaign rally in front of carefully selected supporters. I hope American voters are paying attention. As a Tea Party sign now says, I see November from my porch.
Posted by: Paul S. at April 22, 2010 3:25 pm
Paul S, I don't like Obama's foreign policy but I didn't like Bush's either - particularly in his second term - and I'm not going to pretend that I did.

Personally, I think regime change is the only option that will permanently solve the many problems the US has had with Iran since the IRI came to power. Even if the IRI did make concessions that would satisfy us in the short term, with the malice they have for the US that would just mean that they continued trying to do us harm in the background where it wasn't so obvious. I don't support sanctions, because I don't believe sanctions will produce regime change. I can think of a few things that might produce regime change which I also don't support because they would likely turn Iran into a non-state or a failed state. So as far as I can tell the only thing on the horizon is to either wait until the IRI screws up and then give them what they have coming to them, or pretend there's nothing wrong (which is what we've been doing the last 30 years).

Do you disagree that regime change is the only realistic option?
Posted by: Craig at April 22, 2010 4:09 pm
I think she was trying to communicate with American leftists...I don't think her comments had anything to do with Israelis -

As Secretary of State, Hilary's primary audience nowadays are foreign diplomats. She knows that and so does the Administration. Why would you think it is likely she was "trying to communicate with American leftists"?

as somebody who has been active on Arab blogs for the last 6 years I can say that I kinda wish we were less connected. I was happier when I didn't know what even supposedly moderate Arabs were really thinking.

Not all Arabs believe in what they write or say. Consider more about what they do and what effect they are trying to bring about. Abbas, for example, knows that total recalcitrance means that the Israelis likely won't budge any further from their current negotiating position. That, as this Wall Street Journal article explained some months ago, is because he really wants the IDF there to help keep Hamas out. And if Israel does yield, then Abbas is in a stronger ideological position to hold his own.

The Arabs are way screwed up, and the Obama Administration, by accepting being snowed, can't claim that they are helping either Arabs or Israelis, not one little bit.
Posted by: Solomon2 at April 22, 2010 4:10 pm
As Secretary of State, Hilary's primary audience nowadays are foreign diplomats.

Which explains why she's never on American TV, and never mentioned in American newspapers :p

Sorry, Solomon2, but I totally disagree with you. US Secretary of State is in charge of implementing US foreign policy. Nobody cares more about American foreign policy than Americans.
Posted by: Craig at April 22, 2010 4:23 pm
Not all Arabs believe in what they write or say. Consider more about what they do and what effect they are trying to bring about. Abbas, for example, knows that total recalcitrance means that the Israelis likely won't budge any further from their current negotiating position.

I've spent the last 6 years trying to avoid the Arab-Israeli discussions. Every time I haven't (like on KABOBfest) I've regretted it :)

That isn't what I was talking about, when I mentioned being disturbed by what so many Arabs seem to support.
Posted by: Craig at April 22, 2010 4:33 pm
Craig, I assume one would have to hit the RG as Khalidi suggests to topple the regime unless you mean a targeted strike on the two hundred or so Iranian clerics who run Iran. Not sure what you mean by regime change. Bush meant chasing Saddam into a tiny dirt hole.

Next move Obama: Netanyahu just suggested once again an interm Palestinian State in the West Bank with temporary borders to be negotiated. Jerusalem as Elie above suggests will be discussed at the final negotiations. He explains that simply doing a "Gaza" will give Iran an operational base.

Having given back 100% of Gaza and 60% or so of the West Bank (relatively free of occupation), Netanyahu kicks the ball back to the Palestinian's lack of self-governance. They simply lack the institutions to govern because they see themselves as refugees from a land yet to be liberated. In fact, they are at war with themselves encouraged by Iran.

The institutions of resistance are quite different than those of Statehood. Hizb'Allah with the help of Iran has learned to offer both kinds of services while Hamas, not so much.

In order for Palestinian Statehood, final borders must be determined. Surprisingly, Netanyahu has beaten Hillary to the map. The map is the deal and security is the most important question.

http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/opinon/2010/04/137_64658.html

It seems that if there is serious instability threatening the strategic balance such as North Korea and Iran, we should at least focus the resource on them.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/5a161842-4e3d-11df-b48d-00144feab49a.html

Frankly I would have encouraged much more special relationships with Japan and Australian. Instead of tribulations we need contributions.
Posted by: Maxtrue at April 22, 2010 5:05 pm
"The Mullah's changed the name of the street named after Mossadegh, not the US." Lol that was bad.

As far as Hillary, she told Arabs Obama had never given deadlines on Iran. She did not repeat that to domestic audiences who heard Obama use the word several times. I would say it is important knowing what audience Hillary is talking to as she does divide her targets between us and them.....
Posted by: Maxtrue at April 22, 2010 5:17 pm
Craig, I assume one would have to hit the RG as Khalidi suggests to topple the regime unless you mean a targeted strike on the two hundred or so Iranian clerics who run Iran.

What I supported was the US invading Iran after Afghanistan, instead of Iraq. I'm not sure what I support now, other than us trying our damnedest to get rid of that disgusting regime if the opportunity presents itself - as in, the IRI begins attacking civilian shipping in the Gulf, the IRI launches missiles at gulf states, etc. If the IRI does that and we don't decapitate them in response then I don't understand what all this diplomatic maneuvering the last 10 years has all been about, because that would mean we are willing to tolerate just about anything from the IRI.

Not sure what you mean by regime change.

I mean regime change :)
Posted by: Craig at April 22, 2010 5:42 pm
"Do you disagree that regime change is the only realistic option?"

Nah; as long as the head is attached this snake and its offspring will finds ways to be (even more) dangerous. Waiting/hoping for implosion leaves serious consequences "on the table," Mr. President.
Posted by: Paul S. at April 22, 2010 5:50 pm
"we are willing to tolerate just about anything from the IRI." = "what all this diplomatic maneuvering the last 10 years has all been about"

Whose positions have grown stronger over that time---and whose haven't?
Posted by: Paul S. at April 22, 2010 5:56 pm
Why do a frontal assault (Cecil B DeMille production) when covert means can be done, a la Sun Tzu? The oil price is a good idea. Creates a cash flow nightmare for Dinnerjacket. Go after the military and paramilitary supporting the MMs (Mad Mullahs). They are the muscle that enforces the opression on the people. Take the moral high ground, like Reagan did with Gorby. Put some covert hurt on the Iranian thugs like they have and are doing to us in Iraq. Mess with their gasoline supply chain. There are lots of things to do without big air hits. Take out the brain, the top leadership. Then you do not have to mess with potential radioactive contamination from bombing runs.

We used to be good at this. We lost our edge, and consequently our knack for survival.
Posted by: Alaska Paul at April 22, 2010 6:46 pm
"Me neither. But I do think it would have been nice if we were a little more selective about who we offered citizenship too."

Amen!
Posted by: semite5000 at April 22, 2010 7:00 pm
Well Craig, it was simpler in Iraq to identify the head. Without a ground invasion, harder in Iran.

The neocon theory was that with Iran surrounded by successful Democracies, they would blink. Such nation building would have required far more troops and money. Phase IV planning for Iraq was relatively nonexistent. But hell, I didn't vote for Bush. I sensed a Grand Bargain and for the first time refused to vote for the Democrat Obama.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5ixtNaqRpSqti8gDHGSyN8lXBhQjAD9F8E8C82

South Park gets censored by Comedy Channel. Maybe South Park should move to Fox....
Posted by: Maxtrue at April 22, 2010 7:00 pm
Joe:

"When I said 'created around an idea', that idea was the Constitution and other founding documents. If a foreigner is a communist or, in your words, "doesn't support the idea of what America is" and wants US citizenship anyway, we have every right to reject him, and have in the past."

Reject such people for citizenship, fair enough. But that's not what I was talking about. You said you were opposed to anybody holding dual citizenship.

Sure, dual citizenship doesn't make sense regarding people from hostile or enemy states, but what's the big deal if a person from Great Britain, Australia, Canada or Israel, etc.--countries traditionally friendly to the US--keeping their former passports if they move here, or keeping their American passports if they move abroad?
Posted by: semite5000 at April 22, 2010 7:06 pm
Craig, if the US lowers its international profile it will leave a vacuum, and something will fill that vacuum, and it probably won't be to our advantage. I think somebody on this forum said that once before, but it makes sense to me. So long as our economy is dependent on black gold, we have to keep the stuff flowing, and that means a presence in the Middle East and all that that entails. I know, it's a bad situation, but what else can we do?
Posted by: semite5000 at April 22, 2010 7:12 pm
Alaska Paul,

Unfortunately, their gasoline supply chain involves China, which has other priorities, and whom we are in debt to up to our eyeballs and beyond. Is delicate (meaning, consequences ours) brain surgery possible? Maybe. But from this administration?
Posted by: Paul S. at April 22, 2010 7:12 pm
Joe: "Unlike other nations which were created around an ethnicity or religion, the US was created around an idea. Therefore, being a citizen of the US is incompatible with being a citizen of another nation."

I do not believe dual citizenship has any bearing on loyalty/disloyalty. Besides, dual citizenship is most natural for states like US where immigrants may still retain their old citizenship. And lastly, this probably presents problem (if and when) only in the first generation of immigrants, in the second tops. Dual citizenship makes it easier to travel between old and new home if you still have close ties with both. Loyalty however is placed with and investment is made in the future.


semite5000: "We live in an increasingly connected, globalized world; what you propose is an isolationist minded step backward, IMO."

Not necessarily. Nobody is being isolationist because of love for thy country. I think it is only natural. Besides, it is not mandatory or it is not even evolutionary to think "globalisticly". We all are different and sometime even completely incompetible. I do not wish to be forced to live with somebody I do not like. Process has to be natural.
Posted by: leo at April 22, 2010 7:18 pm
(Human) nature abhors a vacuum.
Posted by: Paul S. at April 22, 2010 7:19 pm
http://www.palestinianzionistorganization.com/

now that's funny....
Posted by: Maxtrue at April 22, 2010 7:30 pm
PZO?! WTF? This has to be a joke.
Posted by: semite5000 at April 22, 2010 7:44 pm
No joke.

As for humor: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/tv/la-et-south-park-20100423,0,5940860.story

Jon Stewart led off with South Park just minutes ago. He copped out on the censorship part admitting the numerous Daily Show attacks on all religions but blasted only those who directly threatened South Park. His "go f__K yourself now dance" with choir was cute, but his network backed down to a radical Muslim group based in NYC. If you followed the 200th episode it was about this very exploitation of religious sanctity South Park was addressing. Jon unfortunately tonight did little to enlighten us on the nature of Free Speech and the consequence of not defending it.
Posted by: Maxtrue at April 22, 2010 8:19 pm
semite5000, at least not a joke to right wing settlers who likely created it.....
Posted by: Maxtrue at April 22, 2010 8:29 pm
http://armed-services.senate.gov/statemnt/2010/04%20April/Burgess%2004-14-10.pdf

More at http://defensetech.org/2010/04/22/iran-begins-military-exercises-in-the-gulf/#idc-container

Of course some things are secret....
Posted by: Maxtrue at April 22, 2010 8:45 pm
"Free Speech and the consequence of not defending it"

Defense takes resolve, anchored by the ---demonstrated---conviction that it's value is too vital to jeopardize losing it.

Oh, the doors that open otherwise...
Posted by: Paul S. at April 22, 2010 9:01 pm
Having watched too many young Americans trying to shout down speakers they objected to, I could only hope that some day they'll see that slippery slope in front of what they value.
Posted by: Paul S. at April 22, 2010 9:41 pm
I saw NYU students shout down Bob Kerry and McCain and Columbia students give Ahmadinejad an easier time.

South Park should have made a rap video instead and then pretty much anything goes. Let's see if Comedy Channel allows the uncensored version on their web site.

By the way, episode 200 had Tom Cruise plotting to steal Mohammad's special power to be above mockery and insult. I guess reality for Comedy Channel is that Mohammad keeps his special power to thwart free speech. The irony is not lost.

Jon was wrong. It is not a good attitude that enabled Christians and Jews to tolerate attacks on their symbols, but their acceptance of Free Speech. In NYC on Time Warner episode 201 was supposed to air at 10:30 PM last night. Instead a repeat took its place. Funny, Gates had his memo leaked to the NYT. South Park can't leak their uncut version to Jihad watch.....?

Would Michael air it if he could?

Anyway, back to the ME...http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2010/04/23/families-detained-hikers-in-iran-are-in-poor-health/

Sad comments below the article....
Posted by: Maxtrue at April 23, 2010 5:55 am
You should have continued with your final thought on Taiwan. Until now, China backed down due to the credible threat.

In light of developments with Iran, they might now be encouraged to test the US govt's resolve on the issue.
Posted by: Andrew at April 23, 2010 7:50 am
The simplest way to deal with Iran/Iraq/and Afghan - in a threatening but non-action sort of way, by the same reasoning that Michael uses, is to eliminate the money crops. The manufacturing and sales of drugs support the enemy weapons and organizations; we should eliminate the drug source, or at least threaten to do it.

It's a simple matter to bio-engineering the Tobacco Mosaic virus to attack poppies. While we're doing that how about spraying the Cocoa leaves in South America? Let's get a two-for-one punch on the drug wars. Eliminating these crops through a bloodless, non-combatant solution is a preferred method to fight the never-ending drug war.

One of the few fields that the US still excels in is technology. We should use the engineered viruses and simply eliminate the crops. No crops - no drugs - no ready supply of money to continue a jihad. Tell all of the farmers to plant sustenance crops next year because were killing the drug plants.

Now if we could just live without oil - think how that would cripple them. What do you think Michael [From one Totten to another!]?
Posted by: Gary Totten at April 23, 2010 9:09 am
"Spengler" has much the same opinion on what should be done with Iran as our host here:

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/LD20Ak01.html
Posted by: Lindsey Abelard at April 23, 2010 12:16 pm
http://www.politico.com/index.html?refresh=1

Doesn't matter much if its not a change in substance, but round one goes to Netanyahu.

Whether Obama can be believed is another thing.

Schumer is just the tip of the iceberg and the audience values crebility highly.

Gray, a bit too draconian. Karsai would have to approve and I don't think his backers want such a fool-proof plan.

A crisis in Iran would be an excuse however to reconsider Afghanistan policy.
Posted by: Maxtrue at April 23, 2010 2:47 pm
Gary that is. Sorry for the typo. Can I blame the fumes from the oil paint?....lol.
Posted by: Maxtrue at April 23, 2010 2:49 pm
Why would some people want a nuclear Iran?

If Iran goes nuclear; the following countries probably go nuclear:
-Turkey
-Saudi Arabia
-UAE
-Egypt
-Maybe even Iraq
-Greece (to protect themselves from Turkey)
-Uzbekistan
-Kazakhstan
-Ukraine
-Belarus

There are people in all these countries who want to go nuclear. Could Erdogan be planning a Turkish nuclear arsenal and favor an Iranian nuke because that forces Turkey to go nuclear too?

Personally I don't care about Turkish nukes per say since Turkey is a decent, moral and rational country. However, the prospect of KSA, UAE and Egypt going nuclear is more concerning than a "Shia bomb."

The Takfiri Salafist extremists are a greater global threat than the Shia extremists.

KSA and Egypt have illegitimate unpopular autocratic incompetent rulers.

They (Saudis in particular) also supported Sunni Arab militias in Iraq 2003-2007 that killed many Iraqis, GoI, ISF, and MNF-I. They have provided funding to AQ linked extremists (Taliban, Chechen Taliban, Uighur Taliban, Pakistani Taliban, anti Thai terrorists, anti Phillipines terrorists, anti Indonesian terrorists etc.)
Posted by: anan at April 23, 2010 2:52 pm
How did this become a discussion about the Saudis, anand? :o
Posted by: Craig at April 23, 2010 3:15 pm
Oil paint fumes?

Craig, pretty cool X-37. Now all we need are "Rods of God" http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/archive/index.php/t-145093.html

Ironic...
Posted by: Maxtrue at April 23, 2010 4:47 pm
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gS-2z3_h12KyrCYwnFyVNwCmYO-A

Getting back to Syria and Iran. Reports are that Syria is shipping the scuds in parts. Despite the secret planning a mole is likely to have tipped off the Israelis.

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-04-23/reid-asks-clinton-to-help-complete-iran-sanctions-legislation.html

What will she do?
Posted by: Maxtrue at April 23, 2010 5:28 pm
China must not have given permission to leave an attack "on the table". At this point Obama is going to do exactly what the Chinese tell him to do.

They own us, fair and square, bought and paid for.

That is what happens when you run up debt ... you are beholden to your banker.
Posted by: crosspatch at April 23, 2010 8:10 pm
It's OK, crosspatch. Obama can always nationalize Chinese assets and renounce the debt. That's the really great thing about electing a socialist President!
Posted by: Craig at April 23, 2010 10:01 pm
Craig: "Obama can always nationalize Chinese assets and renounce the debt. That's the really great thing about electing a socialist President!"

Ha-ha. Poetic justice. Mao would be flipping in his grave non-stop.
Posted by: leo at April 24, 2010 12:13 am
Craig,

"Obama can always nationalize Chinese assets and renounce the debt. That's the really great thing about electing a socialist President! "

Have you considered a career as a stand-up comic.
That's the funniest thing I've heard in a long time!
But, it truth is stranger than fiction :-))
Posted by: yesjb at April 24, 2010 4:21 am
Israel backed Khomeini against Saddam 1980-1988. If not for significant Israeli help; Saddam may have overrun Iran. [The entire world, in my opinion, owes Israel a debt of gratitude for protecting Khomeini from Saddam.] Israel entered Lebanon in support of Iranian backed militias in 1982 [Amal].

Israel and the Khomeinists have formed quiet partnerships in the past.

Why can't Israel and the current Iranian dictators reach a similar understanding? This arrangement need not be acknowledged publicly. In fact, it can be veiled by continued public Iranian criticism of Israel and continued Iranian advocacy of the just Palestinian cause. However, this would be cover for a inconspicuous Israeli/Iranian alliance. If Israel was able to do this for 8 years with Khomeini (1980-1988), why not again?

The great Jewish people and the great Iranian people are historic allies from the days of Cyrus the Great, Darius I, and Esther/Xerxes I.

I think that many Arab countries getting nuclear weapons (which is likely to follow a "Shiite" bomb) is a bigger threat to Israel than Iran getting nuclear weapons. Arabs are less favorably disposed towards Israel than Iranian Shia.

Israelis also have to loosen up a little and not misinterpret everything.

Just because others are pro Palestinians does not imply they are anti Israeli. In fact; most pro Palestinian people want Israel to be successful because a successful Israel is in the interests of the great Palestinian people.
Posted by: anan at April 24, 2010 10:16 am
Israelis also have to loosen up a little and not misinterpret everything.

Really. They're so touchy, those Israelis - when your beloved Khomeini, and now Khameini and Ahmadinejad and his henchman exhort the masses with 'Death to Israel' chants, they mean it in a good way. And the way those Israelis misinterpret the Iranian-supplied Katyusha rocket bombardment of Sderot and Ashqelon as acts of war and attempts at annihilation. Those Jews, just can't take a joke.
===========================

If not for significant Israeli help; Saddam may have overrun Iran. [The entire world, in my opinion, owes Israel a debt of gratitude for protecting Khomeini from Saddam.] Israel entered Lebanon in support of Iranian backed militias in 1982 [Amal].

You wildly exaggerate Israel's involvement. What really kept Saddam's army from overrunning Iran were the million Iranian children sent by the mullahs in waves to the slaughter at the front. Israel entered Lebanon in 1982 in order to remove Arafat's Palestinian Arab terrorist threat from her border. It had nothing to do with supporting Iran.
=====================

Just because others are pro Palestinians does not imply they are anti Israeli. In fact; most pro Palestinian people want Israel to be successful because a successful Israel is in the interests of the great Palestinian people.

What a crock of horseshit. Please, back that up with some evidence - quote your sources (if you have any). Wouldn't you rather say that Israelis misinterpret the official Palestinian Arab maps of the region in which Israel doesn't even exist? I'm talking about maps in PA textbooks, the map on the wall behind Abbas's desk, and a thousand other places. Please show me a list of your so-called pro-Palestinian people who have the demonstrable support of the majority of Palestinian Arabs AND publicly condemn (to the Arabs, not as a sop to the West) this one example of entrenched annihilationist goals of the 'great Palestinian people'.
Posted by: Li'l Mamzer at April 24, 2010 12:06 pm
"Why can't Israel and the current Iranian dictators reach a similar understanding?"

Because your beloved Iranian mullahs want to annihilate Israel, as they have publicly announced you motherfucking antisemitic degenerate, along with your pals in Hamas.
Posted by: Gary Rosen at April 24, 2010 12:25 pm
Obama's administration is breathtakingly inept and incompetent. My embarrassment is only surpassed by my outrage. Obama is the Carter of our times.
Posted by: Li'l Mamzer at April 24, 2010 1:19 pm
Li'l Mamzer,

Like the world's Ombis, OB is a symbol. More importantly though, he's a symptom of deeper problems in America. He proclaimed during campaign '08 (in Michael's hometown, I think,) that Iran was a tiny country posing no threat. Then----twenty four hours later---in Missoula, Montana, I think it was, he proclaims that, as he has been stating for years (for years...,) the threat posed by Iran is grave. I thought...foot-from-mouth extraction will be interesting here---only it barely caused a media ripple. Like the wise military strategist with no military experience declaring that the surge in Iraq wouldn't work, couldn't work. (Based on...? But no campaign time for, or interest in, follow up questions.)

Remember when General Schwarzkopf was asked if Saddam was a wise military leader? In response to which he launched into a detailed list of Saddam's incompetencies, ending with "...other that that, he's a wise military leader."
Posted by: Paul S. at April 24, 2010 3:51 pm
Actually "great" rather than "wise", not that the distinction matters in either case.
Posted by: Paul S. at April 24, 2010 4:09 pm
Remember when General Schwarzkopf was asked if Saddam was a wise military leader? In response to which he launched into a detailed list of Saddam's incompetencies, ending with "...other that that, he's a wise military leader."

I remember very well. Point taken - BHO is neither great nor wise. He is, however, very dangerous.

In the first week of my first job in my profession, a seasoned veteran colleague gestured towards a newly-minted project manager and said (shaking his head), "watch out, she's dangerous". Not in the way you are probably thinking - ha - he meant, I soon learned, her smooth and confident demeanor belied a technical and judgmental incompetence which would ultimately cost the firm a lot of money in order to repair the damage to the project's budget, schedule, design, and client relations.

I see BHO's presidency panning out the same way. Look at how he's stumble-bummed his way through the Middle East. For me, how the Arab war against Israel is handled is always the bellwether (I love that word - I just looked it up to confirm its meaning) for most everything else from any given politician. I say that because I can't think of any other issue that comes close to having such a transparent array of antagonists against a backdrop of an incredibly-well documented history, set of causal events and relationships, and clear moral parameters. When BHO kicked off his uber-naive initiative with his speech in Egypt, that was it for me. I wrote him off.
Posted by: Li'l Mamzer at April 24, 2010 5:02 pm
This column was okay. Not saying I agree, but there wasn't anything super-wrong with it on first glance. Still trying to be positive when I can. Requires not even reading the comments.
Posted by: glasnost at April 24, 2010 5:22 pm
The "oh no if Iran gets a bomb there could be a nuclear arms race" is mostly a sensationalist red herring. We have a ridiculous amount of leverage over Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Defense-wise, they're as dependent as Taiwan, maybe more. We could destroy their military capacity without firing a shot. They could never develop nuclear weapons against our opposition, only if we chose to wink and nod.
Posted by: glasnost at April 24, 2010 5:24 pm
The UN speech was further proof of what the campaign and a little research had shown me. Four years can leave a lot of serious wreckage in its wake.
Posted by: Paul S. at April 24, 2010 5:32 pm
Hey, as long as I'm convinced inside my bubble that I ended up looking good, who looks under the bus anyway?
Posted by: Paul S. at April 24, 2010 5:36 pm
Hey, as long as I'm convinced inside my bubble that I ended up looking good, who looks under the bus anyway?

I still can't understand how any right-thinking person would keep going to a church and be a part of the flock whose leader is a low-class and vile bigot. WTF was he thinking? Something isn't right with that man; naive or blind or just that much of an opportunist.
Posted by: Li'l Mamzer at April 24, 2010 6:01 pm
And I assume Jeremiah Wright's greatest hits on audiotape were a small sampling of what the wife and kids heard on Sundays. I didn't need to know anymore at that point.
Posted by: Paul S. at April 24, 2010 6:15 pm
Glasnost wrote:

The "oh no if Iran gets a bomb there could be a nuclear arms race" is mostly a sensationalist red herring. We have a ridiculous amount of leverage over Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Defense-wise, they're as dependent as Taiwan, maybe more. We could destroy their military capacity without firing a shot. They could never develop nuclear weapons against our opposition, only if we chose to wink and nod.

Interesting that in one breath you managed to belittle the ramifications of a nuclear Iran (which implies that you oppose any military action to prevent it from going nuclear), yet talked casually about destroying the military capacities of Egypt and Saudi Arabia should they attempt to go nuclear.
Posted by: semite5000 at April 24, 2010 6:18 pm
semite5000, I was gonna ridicule that comment too but seeing as how glasnost says he doesn't read our comments it seemed kinda pointless. His comparison between Taiwan's dependence on the US to that of Egypt and KSA was revealing too. I wonder who he considers to be a threat (re: Egypt and KSA) of similar proportions to China? Is there ANYTHING valid about that comparison?

Glasnost talks about MJT's commenters like we're a bunch of low-brow barbarians, but if he's used to floating such dingleberries of wisdom on leftist blogs and not having anyone calling him on it, then maybe he needs to get his ass back over to Huffington Post where he belongs. I literally know construction workers who would say "Hey, wait a sec" if I tried to pull a stunt like that.
Posted by: Craig at April 24, 2010 6:52 pm
"Posted by: glasnost at April 24, 2010 5:24 pm "
Thanks for caring about the Palestinians. However, Glasnost bro; your comments are extremely offensive.

"Defense-wise, they're as dependent as Taiwan, maybe more."

Taiwan has one of the best quality militaries in the world. They spend a larger percentage of their GDP on defense than America. In the 1950s they were poorer than Bangladesh. Today they are a rich country. This is despite being forced to dedicate a larger percentage of GDP to defense than the US; and suffering a much larger risk premium because of the Chinese threat.

By contrast; in the first quarter, 2010, only 18% of Intel Corporation's revenues came from the US, Canada, and Latin America combined. In the first quarter 2010, General Motors sold more cars in China than they did in the US.

The US only emits 12% of global greenhouse gas emissions compared with 30% from China. India will soon replace the US as the largest emitter of CO2.

America only buys 11% of the world's copper.

I could go on and on. We Americans are important globally; but not nearly as important and influential as some of us (like you) boast we are; and the rest of the world knows it . . . even if it hurts us Americans too much to admit it.

Please Glasnost, get over your US = God complex. Taiwan doesn't need American help nearly as much as you think. Taiwan already has a close de facto alliance with Japan; and the Taiwanese trust the Japanese more than us Americans (and not without reason.) Then there is the fact that India doesn't want the forcible annexation of Taiwan.

If the North Koreans decide not to give up their nukes; Japan/South Korea/Taiwan go nuclear and there isn't much we Americans can do about it. In fact; this is a major reason why China is putting so much pressure on North Korea to disarm. It isn't "for America" or because of "American pressure."

Glasnost; if you want to be honest; than admit how much the Taiwanese could help us Americans.

Please drop the hubris.

"We have a ridiculous amount of leverage over Egypt and Saudi Arabia." What leverage? How come they keep behaving like America's enemies and get away with it? How come they supported sectarian sunni arab militias in Iraq 2003-2007 that were murdering MNF-I, IA, IP, and GoI?

How come to this day Gulf money is paying for the Taliban and AQ linked networks [Siraj Haqqani, Hekmatyur, Mullah Omar, Lashkar e Jhanvi/Sipah e Sahaba/Jundulla, Lashkar e Taiba/Jaish e Mohammed, IJU/IMU, Chechen Taliban, Uighar Taliban, Arab Taliban, TNSM/TTP] that are killing Pakistanis, Afghans, the Afghan National Army and the 46 country International Security Assistance Force? do you really think the Saudis are unaware of what they are doing?

How many civilians in Moscow, India, the Stans, Indonesia, Thailand, Madrid, London, New York, the Philippines, Palestine, Israel, Algeria, Iraq, Pakistan, and North Africa have been killed by AQ linked terrorists with Saudi financing?

Egypt and Saudi Arabia are worse US enemies than almost any countries on earth, including Iran. At least Iran doesn't stab us in the back while flashing fake smiles to our face.

You must understand how Saudi money corrupts our American polity and politics. Doesn't it make you at least a little uneasy?
Posted by: anan at April 24, 2010 7:05 pm
Anan: At least Iran doesn't stab us in the back while flashing fake smiles to our face.

Of course you would put it that way - that's your style in every post you've made defending the Pal Arab terror war against the Jews.

.
Posted by: Li'l Mamzer at April 24, 2010 7:22 pm
"At least Iran doesn't stab us in the back while flashing fake smiles to our face."

Once again the filthy Jew-baiting anand grovels to the annihilationists.

"You must understand how Saudi money corrupts our American polity and politics"

But the Saudis are funding your beloved Hamas annihilationists. Don't be a hypocrite, anand, oh what the hell am I saying?
Posted by: Gary Rosen at April 24, 2010 7:32 pm
But the Saudis are funding your beloved Hamas annihilationists. Don't be a hypocrite, anand, oh what the hell am I saying?

Well, not even the Saudis are all bad. If only the Israelis treated the Palestinians with a little more respect, the Saudis wouldn't have to fund Hamas.

/sarc off
Posted by: Li'l Mamzer at April 24, 2010 7:35 pm
Mamzer and Gary,

I do not know why did not take offense to this "At least Iran doesn't stab us in the back while flashing fake smiles to our face" statement. Which part of it is incorrect?
Posted by: leo at April 24, 2010 7:46 pm
Sorry, it should've read "I do not know why did not take offense to this"
Posted by: leo at April 24, 2010 7:47 pm
Sorry again, it should've read "I do not know why do you take offense to this"
Posted by: leo at April 24, 2010 7:48 pm
leo: I do not know why did not take offense to this "At least Iran doesn't stab us in the back while flashing fake smiles to our face" statement. Which part of it is incorrect?

anan has a habit of making absurdly transparent Israel-bashing comments sugar-coated in language that would only fool, say, a Lefty like Ombrageaux.

That was the point.

.
Posted by: Li'l Mamzer at April 24, 2010 7:51 pm
Lil, are you Israeli? Gary, have you visited Israel or do you have many Israeli friends?

I like Israelis and their chutzpah. They treat different ethnic groups around the world pretty well (unless you are Palestinians.) I like their irreverent techies, VCs . . . I love the Jewish rabbis who study the huge books with commentaries about commentaries. I admire the relentless pursuit of the truth; no matter the consequences or the possibility of offending others.

I also support Palestinians. You can't be a friend of Israel without being a friend of Palestine because the two are symbiotically linked.

The Palestinian I support is Mustafa Barghouti. You both should listen to him . . . if you did listen to him with an open mind; you might support him too.

I think that the friends of Palestine should pour their aid through Palestinian government institutions and not support one Palestinian faction against another [which is what Iranians, Hezbollah, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and the Arab League do.]

Anyone and everyone who attacks civilians anywhere in the world is wrong. Hamas was wrong to use terrorism against civilians (Israeli and Palestinian alike) in the 1990s and early 2000s. For most of the last 6 years Hamas has abided by a Hudna that bans terrorist attacks against civilians. This is positive. The Hudna should continue indefinitely.

This said; despite the Hudna; Hamas used their militias to attack rival Palestinians, Fatah and Barghouti supporters. This is very wrong. The tragic Palestinian civil war has cost the lives of perhaps over a thousand Palestinians . . . Hamas bears considerable responsibility for it; as does Fatah.

I hope Barghouti and other enlightened Palestinian leaders defeat Hamas and the corrupt old guard of Fatah in the next Palestinian election. I hope that whoever wins retains Fayyad in some economic capacity [investment minister, finance minister, economic advisor.]

My hope is that the next Palestinian Authority government emphasizes free markets, business development and education reform.
Posted by: anan at April 24, 2010 7:58 pm
right on cue - LOL

anan: For most of the last 6 years Hamas has abided by a Hudna that bans terrorist attacks against civilians. This is positive. The Hudna should continue indefinitely.

Bullshit, again. Every one of the thousands of rockets fired by Hamas at Israeli towns during the last 6 years was a terror attack and a war crime, you shit.

By definition a hudna will not continue indefinitely.
Posted by: Li'l Mamzer at April 24, 2010 8:03 pm
Lil; why do you keep attacking me? Are you open to a respectful exchange of information and ideas?

Are you Israeli? I don't understand what perspective you are coming from, or what you believe and why.

In late 2008 and early 2009; Hamas' army and the IDF fought a conventional war. Hamas fired rockets from their point of view; to conventionally attack and disrupt the IDF. Granted the rockets were not very accurate and the actual affect was not what Hamas intended.

Hamas' goal during the Gaza war was to conventionally defeat the IDF. They didn't succeed.

Hamas' poor performance and incompetence (in economic development, governance, corruption, performance of security forces) has made them unpopular in both Gaza and the West Bank. Unfortunately, Fatah's corrupt old guard--which isn't that great either--is benefiting from Hamas' political weakness.

I hope that new more competent and youthful leadership emerges outside of Fatah and Hamas, and within Fatah and Hamas; and that this new leadership takes Palestine forward.
Posted by: anan at April 24, 2010 8:19 pm
anan: I don't understand what perspective you are coming from, or what you believe and why.

I believe in telling the truth. I abhor dissemination, especially with regard to an evil on a par with that of the Nazis (that would be your Hamas).

Of course you don't understand.

.
Posted by: Li'l Mamzer at April 24, 2010 8:24 pm
[...] Option: (k)ein Schritt vor, zwei zurück 25. April 2010 — Bernd Dahlenburg Michel Totten wie gewohnt mit treffender [...]
Posted by: Militärische Option: (k)ein Schritt vor, zwei zurück « FREE IRAN NOW! at April 25, 2010 8:29 am
I'm getting complaints by email of rude behavior here. Everybody, please cut it out. I am extremely busy offline at the moment and don't have time to babysit. Thank you.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at April 25, 2010 8:36 am
Mamzer: "anan has a habit of making absurdly transparent Israel-bashing comments sugar-coated in language that would only fool, say, a Lefty like Ombrageaux.

That was the point."


Actually the question was, which part of this Anan's statement is incorrect:
"At least Iran doesn't stab us in the back while flashing fake smiles to our face"
Posted by: leo at April 25, 2010 8:53 am
Anan: "You can't be a friend of Israel without being a friend of Palestine because the two are symbiotically linked."

I am not Israeli (since you ask everybody) nor I am Palestinian, but I feel you will have hard time finding significant number of people on either side who would agree with you. I mean, one can be friend of both and truly believe relationship is symbiotic, but is it really so? I am sure you agree both can do very well without each other, especially Israelis.
Posted by: leo at April 25, 2010 10:26 am
Leo, I only asked Lil and Gary because I can't understand what is ticking them off so much.

You are right that many Israelis and Palestinians disagree with me. Too many of both of them have an irrational hate thing going on. Israelis who are very broadminded and treat everyone else in the world respectfully suddenly have a Jackel and Hyde transformation when it comes to Palestinians (including too often Palestinian Israeli citizens.)

Some Palestinians are also guilty of this; although Palestinians are far less crazy and hateful than too many Israelis try to imply.

"I am sure you agree both can do very well without each other, especially Israelis." No I don't agree. Israel would be much better off living side by side with a successful free Palestinian state and by allowing Palestinians from the occupied territories, diaspora and Israel proper to study, work, invest, and own property inside Israel. The Israeli and Palestinian economies complement each other.

Israel will never be as safe and prosperous and she can be as long as she mistreats Palestinians.

To argue that Israel wouldn't benefit from treating the 23% of Israeli citizens who are Palestinians better is like arguing that America doesn't benefit from the success of Latino and African Americans. This mentality is racist and inaccurate.

Noticed that glasnost did not respond to my comments above.
Posted by: anan at April 25, 2010 11:10 am
anan: Some Palestinians are also guilty of this; although Palestinians are far less crazy and hateful than too many Israelis try to imply.

Are you able to corroborate your claim or should we just take it on faith that you have any idea what you are talking about?

I keep asking you for verification, evidence, citations - anything to back up your specious arguments, and you consistently fail to deliver.
Why is that?

===============
Israelis who are very broadminded and treat everyone else in the world respectfully suddenly have a Jackel and Hyde transformation when it comes to Palestinians

Can you think of any reasons why Israeli public opinion reflects lack of confidence in their neighbors? Any reasons at all.

Of course, you will be unable to answer any of these questions. You haven't ever answered anyone's questions along these lines - mine or anyone else's, including those of our host MJT.

BTW, it's Jekyll, not Jackel. So you are saying Israelis turn into psychopathic monsters? LOL
Posted by: Li'l Mamzer at April 25, 2010 11:29 am
anan: To argue that Israel wouldn't benefit from treating the 23% of Israeli citizens who are Palestinians better is like arguing that America doesn't benefit from the success of Latino and African Americans. This mentality is racist and inaccurate.

Who is arguing that?

Do you believe Israelis are racist?
Do you know that the majority of Jewish Israelis are at least as swarthy as Muslim Israelis.
Where is the racism there?

The racist smear of yours is very, very trite. Please give it a rest already.
.
Posted by: Li'l Mamzer at April 25, 2010 11:35 am
Why are we talking about Palestine in this thread? And why were we talking about Saudi Arabia, earlier?

Anyway...

Israel would be much better off living side by side with a successful free Palestinian state...

In what way would Israel be "better off" by increasing the number of enemy states on its borders by one? I support a two state solution, but I it seems bizarre that you would claim giving the Palestinians an enhanced position from which to attack Israel is good for Israel. If there's no sincere peace agreement, it isn't good for anyone.

...and by allowing Palestinians from the occupied territories, diaspora and Israel proper to study, work, invest, and own property inside Israel.

The first and second intifada pretty much put an end to that. If Mexican "guest workers" were waging war on residents of Southern California, you can bet your ass I'd support a total moratorium on border crossings. And I'd even be willing to do so on a permanent basis. Crossing borders is not a right.

Israel will never be as safe and prosperous and she can be as long as she mistreats Palestinians.

I don't see any evidence that Israel's safety is dependent on treating Palestinians fairly. As for Israel's prosperity, wasn't it you who was talking about the booming Israeli tech sector earlier?
Posted by: Craig at April 25, 2010 1:22 pm
anan: ...and by allowing Palestinians from the occupied territories, diaspora and Israel proper to study, work, invest, and own property inside Israel

So let's be fair to everyone and say that Jews be allowed to study, work, invest, and own property inside 'Palestine'. Let me know when your 'great Palestinian people' decide ethnic cleansing of Jews is no longer their nationalist agenda.
Posted by: Li'l Mamzer at April 25, 2010 1:51 pm
"I can't understand what is ticking them off so much."

Because anand fervently desires the extermination of all Jews, including myself and Li'l Mamzer. Again in this thread anand repeatedly advocates and makes excuses for the malevolent barbaric savages who have repeatedly and openly asserted this as their goal. His oily words do not conceal this - it is precisely as if someone in the '30s said "I love the Jews, so I am supporting Hitler and the Nazis". And if you throw Godwin's Law at me, go fu-, I mean to heck with you, in the spirit of being not quite so "offensive". Godwin's Law does not apply when you are talking about entities such as Hezbollah, Hamas and the Iranian mullahs. They are the true heirs to the Nazis as they share the Nazis' fundamental principal of Jewish extermination, and anand is their acolyte. anand is a repellent, mendacious antisemitic hypocrite, and that's as "inoffensive" as I'm ever going to get with regard to him and his deranged posting here.
Posted by: Gary Rosen at April 25, 2010 3:06 pm
Anan: "Leo, I only asked Lil and Gary because I can't understand what is ticking them off so much."

I cannot speak for Mamzer or Gary, but I find some of your posts incredibly gullible. I am under impression you often describe your dreams instead of reality. I am all for peace between Jews and Arabs, but I do not see the reason to think it is coming any time soon. Not even Egyptian and Jordanian Arabs and Jews.

For example here: "You are right that many Israelis and Palestinians disagree with me. Too many of both of them have an irrational hate thing going on."

Why is their hate irrational?

Take Arabs. To them Jews are occupiers of their land, even the land left to Jews after 1947 partition. Is this irrational reason for hate?

Take Jews. To them (including myself) Arabs are occupiers of their land. Plus Arabs did not accept partition from very beginning and for 62 now are waging war against Israel. Is this irrational reason for hate?

I may agree with you that cooperation of mini-states like Israel+Lebanon+Palestine (or whatever the name will be) would've been beneficial for all 3 parties, but today there is no way it can happen.

Take me for example. I do not trust Arabs and especially Palestinians. And without trust we cannot move on together one iota. How can you make me change my mind?
Posted by: leo at April 25, 2010 3:08 pm
leo,

Disingenuous is more accurate than gullible, as a description of anand's spew.
Posted by: del at April 25, 2010 3:15 pm
del, I've been hoping that you and some others I've seen on the blogs are disingenuous, to be honest. Websites like jihadwatch give me the creeps because it seems like their foaming at the mouth leads to one place and one place only, and that's war to the bitter end. If it comes to that, then so be it, but i don't want any part of advocating it.

If you've got a solution besides aggression followed by more aggression, I'd like to hear it!
Posted by: Craig at April 25, 2010 3:37 pm
"Disingenuous is more accurate than gullible, as a description of anand's spew."

Exactly. anand has a monomaniacal intent to promote groups advocating the annihilation of Jews but tries to frame his words to sound as if he is sympathetic to the people he wants to have killed. He isn't fooling anybody.
Posted by: Gary Rosen at April 25, 2010 3:38 pm
Interesting that in one breath you managed to belittle the ramifications of a nuclear Iran (which implies that you oppose any military action to prevent it from going nuclear), yet talked casually about destroying the military capacities of Egypt and Saudi Arabia should they attempt to go nuclear.

I'm not talking about violence. Our financial support and provision of equipment and technology keeps their machines running.

Craig:

I wonder who he considers to be a threat (re: Egypt and KSA) of similar proportions to China? Is there ANYTHING valid about that comparison?

The fact that it's our military equipment keeping them afloat in all of the above cases? It's not a moral debate on the ethics of supplying them. It's an assessment of our capacity to control them. I'm passing over your gratuitous trolling.


Noticed that glasnost did not respond to my comments above.

There's really nothing to discuss, your comment lacked much in the way of objective statements to dispute. It was just one long ad hominem whine about hubris, which is in the eye of the beholder, and I frankly don't much care. Your long list of facts about copper consumption and GDP are irrelevant. There's only one country in the world capable and plausibly willing to consider serious military retaliation against China if it invades Taiwan. It's not Japan and it's not India. This is the opposite of a controversial statement; it's so well widely understood as to be axiomatic. Sometimes axioms are wrong, but pretty statements in support of small countries ripe for the plucking by large ones are a dime a dozen and effective intervention is rarer by a factor of 10.

I wear myself out defending you on this forum, anand, but maybe now that you're displaying a newfound ability to stand up for yourself, it might be better used on the vindictive lunatics stalking you. I don't appreciate your tone and I'm not impressed with your ability to read the words I'm typing instead of a script in your head.

What leverage? How come they keep behaving like America's enemies and get away with it?

This and the four ranting paragraphs that follow are, um, grossly mistargted. Did you misread something I said there as Saudi Arabia and Egypt are awesome? Please try again. What leverage do we have over them? How about: we own their goddamn entire weapons supply chain? The scientists that oversee production, the materials, the components, the licenses, the expertise, everything? How about the fact that neither country could produce anything more complicated than an AK-47 without our assistance and/or passive support, nor continue using any USA-clone weapons platform they already have for more than about two years?

In 1979, Iran possessed an entirely US-supplied weapons industry. When the ayatollah took over, they burned through their entire supply in two years and have been reduced to defective 70's era Chinese crap ever since. Read up about it. Taiwan, the Saudis and Egypt are all in the same boat. I didn't say a thing about who was our bestest ally, I said we had leverage. We don't use it b/c we're stupid. Now will you get off my ass?
Posted by: glasnost at April 25, 2010 3:45 pm
How about the fact that neither country could produce anything more complicated than an AK-47 without our assistance and/or passive support, nor continue using any USA-clone weapons platform they already have for more than about two years?

If you've ever field-stripped an AK you know it's not at all complicated. Two years is a long time for the Egyptians and Saudis to get stupid, though. Window of opportunity notwithstanding, these regimes can do a lot of damage. For as long as they can keep them flying and rolling, Egypt's 200+ F-16 fleet and M-1 Abrams would be a formidable challenge.
Posted by: Li'l Mamzer at April 25, 2010 4:07 pm
I'm not talking about violence. Our financial support and provision of equipment and technology keeps their machines running.

Which was also true of Iran in the late 1970s. Here it is, over 30 years later, and despite 30 years of unilateral sanctions against Iran by the US (especially on anything that can be put to military use) and a somewhat shorter period of time of sanctions by other countries, Iran's military is as strong as it ever was. And I also note that the US has not even been able to slow down the Iranian nuclear program.

And yet, you argue that the US could instantly bring the militaries of Egypt and KSA down, and that they'd never even try to build nukes without US approval because... well... why was it again? Just because they always do what they are told, or something? They are scared? And who are they scared of, glasnost? Israel?

The fact that it's our military equipment keeping them afloat in all of the above cases?

That's the second time you've made such a comment without explaining. Explain.

It's an assessment of our capacity to control them.

Explain.

I'm passing over your gratuitous trolling.

Is that like how you don't even read comments here? lol

You come in here and makes completely asinine assessments of global power structures, overtly insult the blogger and the readership of the blog, and then accuse anyone who calls "bullshit" of being a troll? :o
Posted by: Craig at April 25, 2010 4:09 pm
BTW, glasnost, if the US did ever put an arms embargo on KSA and Egypt they'd be in far better shape than Iran was in the early 1980s. The French and the British are total whores, and I'm certain they'd enthusiastically leap at the chance to not only make lucrative deals for their own arms manufacturers but increase their "OMG cheap oil!" opportunities at the same time! Their only impediment would be tripping over the Russians and the Chinese in their rush to secure an audience.

Another thing you left out is the whole

Percentage of oil US gets from Iran: 0
Percentage of oil US gets from KSA: 0
Percentage of oil US gets from Iraq: 0
Percentage of oil US gets from Gulf states: 0
Percentage of oil US gets from North Africa: 0

thing...

Not that oil matters, right glasnost? The whole world fits into the Taiwan/China paradigm. Only a troll might think otherwise!
Posted by: Craig at April 25, 2010 4:21 pm
Craig,

Ask and ye shall receive, eh?

Sometimes I may be sarcastic or other times ironic, but in general I am not disingenuous.

About 10 years ago, before 9/11, before Afghanistan and Iraq were invaded by the US led coalitions, I attended a Muslim Students Association event at a local University in the USA. It turned out to be six hours of rants and harangues by students, invited speakers and the keynote cleric about Kashmir (India as the aggressor), the USA (the source of hedonism and filth), "Palestine", the Jews (the cleric claimed that the Jews are European imposters and went down the all-the-Jews-are-descendants-of-the-Khazars path -- the students, with their murmurings of agreement, clearly felt smarter after hearing it), and hatred for whatever is not Islam, etc, interrupted by several prayer breaks. The 100+ American university students were mostly south-Asian in origin, and were seated separated by gender. There were a smattering of non-Muslims, mostly Chomsky supporters, but also a few Zionists. Nobody was disruptive. The MSA students listened raptly. Their questions were in no way critical of the speakers. Some asked: what could they do? The answer from the cleric was basically to head to the hills, live purely in Muslim communities, and procreate (that the duty of Muslim women was to make Muslim babies). There was no disagreement, only praise. That MSA chapter was and is led by a supposed "modern", "moderate" advisor.

The hatred was not in response to the invasion of Afghanistan; it was not in response to the invasion of Iraq. Neither had yet happened. The lapped-up hatred in the speeches, leavened by quotations from the texts of Islam, came from Islam. For the devout, the stories in the texts of Islam are practically current events. A couple of kippah wearing Jews sitting a row in front of me in the audience were stunned. They had not realized that the "Palestinian-Israeli" conflict, previously and slightly more accurately known as the "Arab-Israeli" conflict, was in reality motivated by Islam, and literally can not end, from the devout Islamic point of view, until Israel is destroyed. And that only-possible-ending applied similiarly to each of the other conflicts mentioned in the harangues. Struggle (i.e. Jihad) until victory -- not always open warfare against unbelief and unbelievers (of Islam), but always struggle. That is a central message in Islam. It would be a more pleasant planet if it were not so, but reality bites.

I don't always agree with all of the commenters at Jihadwatch because some seem to me to be ideologues who demand ideological purity. Not all, but some. However, you wrote above, "..their foaming at the mouth leads to one place and one place only, and that's war to the bitter end", as if some few anonymous commenters, at what is thought of by you and many as a marginal website, control and define and even cause the conflict and require its bitter implacability. As if the conflict (Islamic world vs. non-Islamic world) has been and is manufactured and controlled by non-Muslims. As if those who devoutly believe in Islam are incapable of independent action based on their own views.

My experience is that a more realistic description than "war to the bitter end" would be along the lines of "struggle till victory and the enemies submit". The source of the more realistic description would however be the imperatives of Islam, rather than Jihadwatch. The idea to struggle till victory by submission comes from, and is not imposed-upon, Islam.

The belief that all problems and conflicts have solutions, if the solutions can only be found, is a mistaken belief. Some problems need to be managed and contained rather than "solved".

In my opinion, the best large-scale strategies for managing the conflict are energy independence, preferably by renewable energy sources, and separation. Changes in the Islamic world-view will only happen if they come from within, although they could be prompted when devout Muslims recognize, eventually, that the basic source of their dysfunction is Islam, as Ataturk recognized in Turkey. Any such change would take many generations. But, weakening the lunatics by replacing petroleum and ending foreign aid to them (often viewed as owed to them and received as proof of that owing) and avoiding outside interventions to ameliorate their dysfunction can happen quickly and reduce their capacity for destruction.

President Bush meant well but was terribly naive. His messianic belief that "democracy" will solve everything was not based upon an understanding of the cultures involved. Perhaps his quietness since leaving office is partly based upon a realization of such. Perhaps not. I do not believe that President Obama means well. Nor is he naive. He is a slow motion horror story and a fool. His obvious weakness, his bowing, kowtowing, supplicating, vacillating, tying-of-own-hands and throwing-our-allies-under-the-bus invite rather than warn against aggression.

So. In the shorter term, a resolute wisdom that shariah states or wannabes can never be our allies and actual projection of the message that aggression from Iran, or otherwise in the name of Islam, via violence or imposition, will have serious and painful consequences. Also, that the consequences received will not be made-nice by us. Longer term: energy independence and an end to foreign aid to shariah states and wannabes.

Call it islamorealism.
Posted by: del at April 25, 2010 7:01 pm
It seems like you are long on describing the problem and short on describing the fix, del. Which is the exact same dead end I come to, and that probably most other (at least somewhat) informed observers come to.

The belief that all problems and conflicts have solutions, if the solutions can only be found, is a mistaken belief. Some problems need to be managed and contained rather than "solved".

I disagree. I think "containment" is a stall tactic people go for to kick problems further down the road so that they don't have to deal with them right away. And I think people go that route when they can't come up with any decent ideas.

Can you imagine telling your boss you are going to deal with a work problem by "containing" it? I've actually DONE that... I've focused on side issues that were easy for me to make progress on while hoping that it would suddenly occur to me how to elegantly handle a major issue that I'd given up on. And you know what? It's worked fine. But I'd hardly present that to my boss as a valid problem solving technique. What would happen if I ran out of extraneous stuff to put forward as proof of my progress?

That's not really valid though, is it? Because in my field of software development, I don't have any opposition. It's just me and the machine. So, how about a marriage that is in trouble? I'll just let you work out on your own how likely a policy of "containment" might be in such a scenario :)

In my opinion, the best large-scale strategies for managing the conflict are energy independence, preferably by renewable energy sources, and separation.

The former is impossible and the latter is impractical.

Changes in the Islamic world-view will only happen if they come from within, although they could be prompted when devout Muslims recognize, eventually, that the basic source of their dysfunction is Islam...

And how does that happen? You've already said that there is no such thing as non-extremist Islam. We need to either destroy Islam or cause so many disasters to befall Muslims that they become compliant?

That's what I was talking about, when I mentioned war to the bitter end.

So. In the shorter term, a resolute wisdom that shariah states or wannabes can never be our allies...

I think we came to that conclusion long ago.

...and actual projection of the message that aggression from Iran, or otherwise in the name of Islam, via violence or imposition, will have serious and painful consequences.

Yes, absolutely. I think virtually everyone in the United States would sign off on that.

How does that explain your position on Israel, though?
Posted by: Craig at April 25, 2010 10:40 pm
By the way, del - what do you think should be done to the British for releasing the Libyan terrorist (who is still not dead) last year, in exchange for oil deals with Libya? Is that an ally that deserves to be kicked to the curb? We trusted them, and they fucked us. For oil.
Posted by: Craig at April 25, 2010 10:48 pm
Energy---American Energy:

Independance from thug regimes is doable, but the political will is lacking currently. Hell, it's been lacking for years. Forever. Drill, dammit; we sit on massive quantities of the stuff. And use our natural gas. Lighting cities, businesses and homes with nuclear-generated electricity should be widescale by now. Again, political will. Use any damn resource American ingenuity can think of. Now!
Posted by: Paul S. at April 26, 2010 2:26 am
Arabs and Israelis?

Uh, back to you.
:-)
Posted by: Paul S. at April 26, 2010 2:33 am
Craig: "It seems like you are long on describing the problem and short on describing the fix, del. Which is the exact same dead end I come to, and that probably most other (at least somewhat) informed observers come to."

del: "The belief that all problems and conflicts have solutions, if the solutions can only be found, is a mistaken belief. Some problems need to be managed and contained rather than "solved"."

Craig, I think above (del's and looks like yours too) is correct solution or at least conclusion. Christianity once was as backward if not more as Islam is today and yet, it has changed and so will Islam. All we need to do is maintain containment and wait. Progress will finally take over. Just do not try to import it like Bush did. It has to be natural to be sustainable.
Posted by: leo at April 26, 2010 4:25 am
http://ericpalmer.wordpress.com/2010/04/26/msm-looks-at-the-club/#comments

In the meantime Leo, the situation escalates. Christian reformation was pretty bloody. With today's technology, I don't think that is a very desirable option. Religion has mixed with nationalism in the Indo-Pakistan problem. Containment is not an option when terror network is involved.

I agree with Michael, personal fighting here runs counter to intelligent debate. Yes, I know some are not interested in that, but we should try to limit the personal crap.....
Posted by: Maxtrue at April 26, 2010 8:45 am
With Chavez helping the terror network, oil rigs are susceptible to NK style attack. Sure, we have some fossil fuel left, but the solution must go beyond that. The most dangerous option is global uranium nuclear power. Thorium would be a far better option as there is no water use, meltdowns, bomb products or dangerous waste.

Now why is no one proposing that?
Posted by: Maxtrue at April 26, 2010 8:51 am
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126275508

Are Syria's intentions that uncertain?
Posted by: Maxtrue at April 26, 2010 9:07 am
http://www.frumforum.com/trading-israels-security-for-a-deal-with-iran

A linkage that is foolish..
Posted by: Maxtrue at April 26, 2010 9:19 am
Maxtrue: "Containment is not an option when terror network is involved."

I could be wrong of course, but containment is what we are doing right now in Iraq and Afghanistan. I do not believe even for a second that after we leave things will even remain the same as today not to say will get better.
Well, maybe Iraq has little better chance, but I doubt it.
Posted by: leo at April 26, 2010 10:48 am
Leo, Iraq just took out the three top AQ leaders. Sunnis paid a price, but Iraq seems less a base for terror operations. WMD terror operations?

The kind of terror support by Iran is different. Their industry is designed to produce hybrids wiped clean of signatures and their market is perfect for false flag and forth-party operations.

See the newest Russian Club-K cruise missiles? Afghanistan and Iraq are not likely buyers but with Belarus and Chavez, Iran has numerous ways to break sanctions. NK likely tests their anti-ship systems on South Korea. Iran has the ops and cash to present significant global attacks. Unlike Iraq and Afghanistan, the Iranian/NK/Syrian nexus is strong. I don't see how containment would work in this case. Wait to we sight Hizb'Allah training in the Gulf, OUR Gulf, that is......
Posted by: Maxtrue at April 26, 2010 11:52 am
http://www.politico.com/politico44/perm/0410/jones_apologizes_30dbdf3a-ac52-414d-ba7a-6caeafb03c2a.html

I expect brighter....

http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2010/leverett260410.html

Obama is on that slippery slope?
Posted by: Maxtrue at April 26, 2010 1:34 pm
Glasnost; made some comments to you:
http://www.michaeltotten.com/2010/04/the-revolution-that-came-out-of-nowhere.php

Look; I generally like you and all; I believe you mean well and any slights you made were not intentional. So I hope there are no hard feelings.

Maxrue; I doubt Hezbollah would risk attacking America and I wouldn't lose sleep over it. :-)


"I do not believe even for a second that after we leave things will even remain the same as today not to say will get better.
Well, maybe Iraq has little better chance, but I doubt it."
Leo, I couldn't disagree with you more strongly; especially about Iraq. Iraqi oil production is on track to reach 12.5 million barrels a day within 7 years [GoI insists 5 years; but making allowances for Iraqi time. :-) ] Iraq will soon be the largest producer and exporter of oil in the world; larger than Saudi Arabia, Russia, or America.

Average cost of extracting a barrel of oil is likely to be less then $5/barrel. [Official forecasts are closer to $2.50/barrel; but adding in some flux in case some of Iraq's noble civil servants unexpectedly lose some money. ;-) ]

Iraq's security forces are on track to be the best security forces in recorded Arab history . . . granted that isn't saying that much ;-)

It is increasingly difficult to see how Iraq will not be successful.

LEO, to change the topic to Afghanistan, remember that 90% of Afghans oppose the Taliban; that the ANA (Afghan National Army) is extremely popular and committed to defeat the Taliban. What it lacks is funding, equipping, training, advising, and combat enablers; all of which Afghanistan's foreign allies can provide.
Posted by: anan at April 26, 2010 3:23 pm
"del - what do you think should be done to the British for releasing the Libyan terrorist (who is still not dead) last year, in exchange for oil deals with Libya? Is that an ally that deserves to be kicked to the curb? We trusted them, and they fucked us. For oil."

Outrageous Craig.

Don't even get me going on Britain's other many mistakes; including the way they betrayed their Iraqi allies [PM Maliki's government and the Iraqi Army] in Southern Iraq in 2007-2008; forcing PM Maliki and his Iraqi Army to win with limited and unreliable British help.

Craig; you are probably sick of me bashing the Brits in Afghanistan.
Posted by: anan at April 26, 2010 3:27 pm
"Thorium...why is no one proposing that?"

My layman's assumption is that when the tech is operational China will use it, followed by India...
Posted by: Paul S. at April 26, 2010 3:43 pm
Re: nuclear waste, my understanding is that spent fuel rods are reprocessed.
Posted by: Paul S. at April 26, 2010 3:47 pm
Thorium, pure thorium plants, produce no weapon grade materials. We developed the technology first and had a thorium plant working back in the mid 70s. Even the hybrid melded with uranium reactors are safer. We have the second largest thorium deposits and the only reason we didn't go forward was because a two track nuclear program was too expensive. It was quite insane. Australia and India have large deposits. Canada too. The alternative universe of uranium based power is madness, complete and utter madness.

Wired had a good article a few months back. See their search engine.

Anan, I don't know where you come up with your comments. The attacks on Mexian oil facilities years back had the signature of the ME. Did you know terrorists have their own airline to Caracas? Do a Google buddy. Media was all over that several months ago. Are you seriously telling us not to worry about attacks on oil facilities in the Gulf or attacks against Mexico with Hizb'Allah involvement? You think the growing convergence manesfesting itself south of our border is humorous? Farc, AQ, Hizb'Allah, Hamas, Quds guests of Chavez with no ulterior motive? Ha...Next you'll be telling us Hizb'Allah had no role in the murder of Jews in Argentina under the orders from Iran.

If you do your work you would see the reports and papers on the nexus of narco-terrorism connected to the ME. I guess the more obvious the dots the harder time you have speculating. Several adversaries have special ops. They can train others and it doesn't take a great mind to see how inexpensive and anonymous it will be to do some real damage. How about a radio-controled mini sub? Dozens of companies sell them. Same with effective drones. Hell, Chavez might just buy those Club K weapons from Russia. All you need in some contractor to do the bidding.
Posted by: Maxtrue at April 26, 2010 4:11 pm
"All you need is some contractor to do the bidding."

You get one group to contract another who them uses another. The trail becomes so muddied and the weapon available through so many sources, we point the finger at who?

That is one reason containment in this case does not work. That is one consequence of a multi-polar world.

Just look at how the Left is politicizing asking suspected illegals IDs. If I were suspected in a crime or infraction, do I have the right to deny the cop of my driver license? Do I need an ID to vote or board a plane? Don't Democrats know REAL ID was the brain-child of a Democrat? It is a right not to have "papers" and those asking are Nazis?
Posted by: Maxtrue at April 26, 2010 4:19 pm
Craig; you are probably sick of me bashing the Brits in Afghanistan.

Anand, bashing the Brits isn't good enough. Nor are the insincere apologies that British officials made, or the fabricated justifications for what they did. In fact, all that stuff made their very transparent betrayal of their supposedly closest ally even more insulting. These bastards never learn. Look at the way they are apologizing now about the insults their foreign office "accidentally" leaked about the Pope, ahead of his state visit? Do you believe that was accidental? I don't. Nor can I think of any reason why their damn FOREIGN OFFICE should go out of their way to demean a foreign dignitary that they themselves had invited for a state visit. And I say that even though I don't even like Catholics. Heads have to roll and assurances have to be made that these kinds of incidents (which happen quite often!) won't be repeated. But, the British don't do that. It's not their style. So to hell with them. If Obama wants to kick them to the curb (as was mentioned earlier in this thread) then I'll back him on that to the hilt. The curb is where they belong. Let them establish a special relationship with the French. Seems like those two might make a cute couple.
Posted by: Craig at April 26, 2010 6:08 pm
Yeah, sometimes I think the Brits have lost their mind. Well, we're not too bright either... http://shadow.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/04/26/obamas_iran_policy_is_all_bark_and_no_bite
Posted by: Maxtrue at April 26, 2010 6:54 pm
Craig, that's only the beginning. Many Brits are smug . . . the way they lectured the US military on how things should be done in Iraq and Afghanistan when they were performing far poorer themselves . . . well I shouldn't bash them that much. Many of them are dying in Afghanistan.

Craig; most of the people killed in the 1989 terrorist attack were Brits. It was more a crime against Britain than America. And the Brits just let a terrorist go for money? Disgusting.

Did you see Hayder Khoei's post about Britain's behavior in Southern Iraq 2007-2008:
http://eyeraki.blogspot.com/2010/03/million-dollar-question.html

President Sarkozy of France rocks! Wouldn't mind having him as US president, or US SEC DEF or SEC STATE. We should form a special relationship with France, Germany (Merkel is cool too), Italy, South Korea, Japan, Australia, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, and Iraq.

Then try to form a strategic alliance with India [which both Bush and Obama have distanced America from for fear of offending Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and China.] And see if an alliance with Indonesia and Malaysia is possible. [Not sure it is; but it is worth a try . . . and Obama's the right man to bring it about since the Indonesians have adopted him as one of their own.]

I would also try to form an alliance with Brazil [Lula is hell of cool; more pro business than us Americans.]

You are right that we have got to quit relying so much on the Brits and Canadians.
Posted by: anan at April 26, 2010 7:28 pm
Anan:
"Leo, I couldn't disagree with you more strongly; especially about Iraq ..."
"... to change the topic to Afghanistan, remember that 90% of Afghans oppose the Taliban ..."

I will only be glad to be wrong. In fact, I do not have firsthand experience in Iraq and Afghanistan and technically should not even comment on the subject, but I have few questions for anyone who can answer. Have Iraqi or Afghani psyche changed between before and after American invasion? Did they become less sectarian, less reactionary, more democratic, more Western-like? Because in the end this is all that matters. As to oil, Saddam had cheap oil too and a lot of it. Did not help Iraqi people much.
Posted by: leo at April 26, 2010 8:01 pm
"As to oil, Saddam had cheap oil too and a lot of it. Did not help Iraqi people much." No, Iraqi oil production in 2002 was about 2 million barrels a day. Iraq is likely to increase that to 12.5 million barrels a day. In addition the price of oil in 2002 was $9/barrel. The price of oil going forward is likely to increase sharply to over $100 or $200 a barrel in the short and long run [thanks to Asian growth; and to a lesser degree Latin American growth.]

Iraq can be the richest country in the middle east. Iraqis are different from other Arabs. Iraqis value education.

"Have Iraqi or Afghani psyche changed between before and after American invasion? Did they become less sectarian, less reactionary, more democratic, more Western-like? Because in the end this is all that matters."

Leo, I know you don't mean to be offensive. However, Iraq and Afghan are the birthplaces or human civilization. They are very rich, sophisticated, plural, ancient cultures who grow and transform in their own way. Western civilization comes from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is the birth place of the ancient Aryan early Vedic civilization [Latin, ancient Persian, ancient Vedic Samhita Sanskrit.] Pluralism and respect for different ways of thinking and cultures is in their blood.

Even as late as 1973, Afghanistan was a plural country with a powerful sufi influence. Sufism might be thought of as the convergence of Ali/Fatimah ism with Aryan culture and civilization [Zorastrianism/Hinduism/Budhism/Jainism/Taoism.]

Afghanistan [and the parts of Punjab and Kashmir that have traditionally been part of Afghanistan] were thought of as idyllic paradise by the people of South and central Asia.

Facilitating traditional Afghanistan reasserting itself is victory.

Similarly facilitating traditional Iraq/Sumeria/Accadia/Babylon/Itjihad Islam reasserting themselves is victory in Iraq.

Leo; I could write a book. Do you realize that modern capitalism, rule of law (british common law), complex finacial contracts, derivatives, come from ancient Iraq and Afghanistan?

When I read the histories and legends of these ancient lands I am struck with their similarities to modern globalized capitalism and culture.

Leo, might you clarify your question some more?

Remember as Iraqis keep reminding me . . . Iraqis are not really Arabs but a plural tapestry of different civilizations and cultures . . . Abrahamic, Adamic (Yezidi Kurds), and Aryan (Southern Iraqi Arabic and culture draws heavily from mysticism, Persia, Zorastrianism, Sufism, and the east . . . many of their words are common with South Asian Hindi.)
Posted by: anan at April 26, 2010 8:37 pm
Anand,

Craig; most of the people killed in the 1989 terrorist attack were Brits. It was more a crime against Britain than America.

That's not so. 190 of the 270 victims were Americans. And it was an American plane, on its way to the US. It just happened to be in the air over Scotland when it blew up. That's what I meant about us trusting the British. That case should have been tried in the US, and then the British wouldn't have had a chance to trade the perp for oil deals in Libya.

I did read Hayder's post, and I read a few posts by American milbloggers about the British in Basrah as well. Makes me think teh Brits were complicit in Steven Vincent's murder, since he was reporting on what seemed to be police death squads operating in the open in Basrah when he was killed.

You are right that we have got to quit relying so much on the Brits and Canadians.

I don't think we need any "special relationships". We just need good relations, where good relations are appropriate. If the shit ever really hits the fan alliances can be made on the fly, as they always are.
Posted by: Craig at April 26, 2010 8:48 pm
Craig,

Why is energy independence impossible?

As for the release of the Libyan terrorist, I was disgusted. I was also disgusted with the way Gordon Brown tried to claim that the decision was a purely Scottish one, made completely independent of London.

Nevertheless, treating allies as pet dogs to be curbed is not a way to keep them as allies, nor to get other allies when needed. I have been opposed to the wasteful and wrong-headed and open-ended nation building projects in Afghanistan and Iraq, but the British have sent more help than anyone else. By a lot. That counts for something.
Posted by: del at April 26, 2010 10:54 pm
Del, what does energy independence mean to you?

Agree with you and Craig on the atrocious British/Scottish decision.

Don't mind releasing terrorists if they repent and transform themselves into good people. I believe in personal redemption. But the Libyan terrorist didn't meet the bill.

"Nevertheless, treating allies as pet dogs to be curbed is not a way to keep them as allies, nor to get other allies when needed." True; but some allies should be prioritized over others. Obama should treat the Japanese and South Koreans better. He has miffed both of them (to appease US nativist protectionists, and to appease China.) Obama has done okay with Singapore and Thailand (Bush didn't do great with Thailand.) Obama has purposely distanced the US from India since his election in an attempt to appease China, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

I think Obama should reach out to Turkey more.

Obama should treat US allies better. But Britain isn't top of the list of allies to be treated better.

"I have been opposed to the wasteful and wrong-headed and open-ended nation building projects in Afghanistan and Iraq, but the British have sent more help than anyone else. By a lot. That counts for something."

Let me push back here if I might. Britain has done something in Afghanistan. But how exactly did they contribute to Iraq? Weren't they part of the problem? Did you see Hayder Khoei's post on the subject?

The British trained Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police were the worst quality in Iraq. How could the British have done such a poor job unless it was intentional? Have you heard what Iraqis think about them and say publicly about Brits? Have you heard PM Maliki talk about the British. In polite language he mentioned how British soldiers were too risk averse to protect Iraqi civilians or to help the Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police that they were suppose to be "ALLIED WITH."

What is the matter with the Brits? How could they have been so incompetent?

And Brits are touchy too. When I use to mention the many mistakes the British made in Iraq on "Abu Muqawama's blog" some Brits would blow up. I haven't heard enough British remorse for not doing right by the Iraqis.

Many countries have contributed to Afghanistan, not just the Brits. The Japanese have already given the Afghans some 2 1/2 billion in grants with 5 billion more in process. This is much more aid than the British gave.

The Japanese are also contributing to training the Afghan police.

India offered more aid than the British provided; but was turned down; even this year.

Italy, Turkey, France, Germany, Netherlands, Canada, Australia have all given substantial aid and many troops. For that matter, even the Jordanians have stepped up with considerable resources.

At the peak of the surge there will be some 54 thousand non US ISAF troops. Of these 10,000 will be brits. Some 44 K will not be.

I'll admit that the Brits have done better in Afghanistan than in Iraq. The 1st Brigade, 205th ANA Corps, that the Brits have mentored is surprisingly good. Its commander BG Ghori and deputy commander Col Shirin Shah are very good officers.

The British trained ANP (Afghan National Police) in Helmand, by contrast, were a disaster.

Curious Del, why do you oppose nation building in Iraq. Isn't Iraq a great success?

On Afghanistan; what choice is there other than to facilitate the Afghans achieving their own success? Do you oppose training, advising, equipping, funding and providing combat enablers to the ANSF? Do you realize that the ANSF are bleeding so that you and the rest of the world can be free? The ANSF pose a massive threat to the Takfiri extremists who threaten us all. This is why the world should support the ANSF.
Posted by: anan at April 26, 2010 11:20 pm
"I doubt Hezbollah would risk attacking America and I wouldn't lose sleep over it. :-)"

anand's buddies in Hezbollah, with help from anand's other buddies in Iran, attacked a Jewish community center in Argentina - the Western Hemisphere - murdering nearly 100 innocent Jews. I'm sure anand isn't losing any sleep over it and in fact is laughing about it as he is in this post.
Posted by: Gary Rosen at April 26, 2010 11:59 pm
Why is energy independence impossible?

Del, I don't believe it's impossible. I think if we'd started seriously putting money and effort into it ~1973 after the first Arab oil embargo, we might even have something viable by now. But we didn't do that. And as far as I can tell most the efforts on that front even now are just empty rhetoric. Unless we get alternative energy as a gift from God, I don't see any way we are going to have energy independence in a time frame that would make any difference. <--- that's what I meant by "impossible" - impossible to use as a mechanism of containment as you suggested.
Posted by: Craig at April 27, 2010 12:46 am
Gary I mentioned that -"Next you'll be telling us Hizb'Allah had no role in the murder of Jews in Argentina under the orders from Iran."

Anan sees what he wants to see.


http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1165733.html Well we know that both Obama and Iran would love some BS arrangement so both sides could claim victory. The only thing that counts however, is whether Iran gets the bomb.

Imagine Israel supplying weapons to Chechnya or the Taliban.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/25/AR2010042503106.html

I wonder who is more deaf......
Posted by: Maxtrue at April 27, 2010 6:35 am
"Leo, I know you don't mean to be offensive. However, Iraq and Afghan are the birthplaces of human civilization..."

Anan I feel we are digressing or at least I am.

I did not mean to make this discussion about civilization contest. Nor I particularly care which civilization is older, Samerian or American.
I happened to like American and merely trying to understand whether or not Iraq and Afghanistan are capable of becoming more like us.
If they cannot or do not want it is their right and it is fine with me too, but at least I will have no illusions.
My approach is simple, utilitarian - I am not looking for friendship (it may or may not come), but I am looking for security. And their change will give us exactly that.

"...Iraqi oil production in 2002 was about 2 million barrels a day. Iraq [of today] is likely to increase that to 12.5 million barrels a day..."
"...price of oil in 2002 was $9/barrel. The price of oil going forward is likely to increase sharply to over $100 or $200..."
"...Iraq can be the richest country in the middle east..."

Yes, most likely true, but revenue from oil is not the point I am trying to make, but rather how it is used. Saddam was making enough to make his country bloom and his people happy. Saudis are making enough even today. Iran also has a lot to brag about. Yet, these guys are far from being prosperous and happy (well, barring few who are close to oil feedder).

"...Iraqis are different from other Arabs..."

In what sense? From my perspective I am yet to see that.

"...Iraqis value education..."

If this is what you mean by "different from other Arabs"?

From this source https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2103.html
Litracy rate:
Jordan 89.9%
Lebanon 87.4%
Syria 79.6%
Saudi Arabia 78.8%
Iraq 74.1%
Egypt 71.4%
Iraqi figures are from 2000. Today due to a war it could be even smaller, but overall I do not sense they are fairing much better than their brethren elsewhere.

Leo: "Have Iraqi or Afghani psyche changed between before and after American invasion? Did they become less sectarian, less reactionary, more democratic, more Western-like? Because in the end this is all that matters."

Anan: "Leo, might you clarify your question some more?"

I meant to ask whether or not Iraqi and Afghani and us are getting closer. And even if we do, whether or not it is temporary progress or it will be reversed the moment we leave.
Posted by: leo at April 27, 2010 6:36 am
http://ht.ly/1DB8Q

IDF and the J-35 (interesting review)
Posted by: Maxtrue at April 27, 2010 6:54 am
Good points Leo. You are a patient man.
Posted by: Maxtrue at April 27, 2010 6:56 am
"Israel has turned down several Turkish requests for advanced military hardware, according to Israeli and Western intelligence sources. Sources in Ankara say that the impact from Prime minister Tayyep Recep Erdogan's alignment with Syria and Iran and poisonous attacks on Israel is beginning to cut into the Turkish army's operational capabilities. In recent weeks, Turkish naval chiefs tried to find out in particular if Israel would be willing to sell the Barak 8 missile interceptor, whose radar provides 360-degree coverage against incoming missiles or air attack, and which was developed in partnership with India.
Security sources told debkafile that it was decided in Jerusalem not to sell, in case Erdogan decided to allow Iranian military intelligence experts to study the Barak-8 and analyze its technology. This interceptor is a key defensive component for the Israeli missile and warships patrolling the Persian Gulf seas opposite Iran, the Red Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean opposite Syrian and Lebanese shores.
As debkafile revealed exclusively last November, the Turkish Prime minister and Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad signed a secret military pact on Oct. 28, 2009, requiring Turkey's military intelligence, its air force and navy to help Iran repel a possible Israeli attack on its nuclear facilities. It included a provision for the sharing of any data and technology on Israeli weapons systems in Turkish possession, which the IDF might use for a potential strike. Click here for article.
Since that pact was signed, Israel has cut off all advanced weapons supplies to the Turkish armed forces. India too is flatly against letting Turkey getting hold of the Barak 8, in whose development the Indian Navy has invested $330 million since the program began in 2004. New Delhi fears that from Turkey, the technology might leak to Tehran, which India fears is capable of trading its secrets with Islamabad for Pakistani nuclear and missile technology.
Six months ago, India and Israel signed a $1.1 billion contract for the purchase of the interceptor and its installation on most of its navy's warships. The system, complete with launchers, radar and installation sells for $24 million.
The Barak 8 provides warships with all-weather, day-and-night, 360 degrees coverage and is capable of intercepting incoming missiles when they are no more than 500 meters away from target."

I posted this from Debka having seen other info collaborating story. It seems fallout continues with US, Indian, Israel, Russian weapon systems all falling into the pot. We may be seeing a strategic re-alignment going on. This connects to the IDF/F-35 link above. Turkey is heading into some problems with NATO, especially if new sanctions take place against Iran.
Posted by: Maxtrue at April 27, 2010 7:36 am
http://www1.voanews.com/english/news/africa/north/Gadhafi-Says-Libya-Should-be-Rewarded-for-Giving-Up-Nuclear-Arms-92177174.html

I trust Gadhafi only a little bit more than Assad....In light of the deals made with him, he has nerve asking to be rewarded. I repeat, one should be quite cautious with Gadhafi. Why have elections? Libya rules itself.

I wonder what Gadhafi's choice of drug is......

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1165709.html

Israelis destroy settlement buildings erected after the freeze. Where is the media asking for a Palestinian gesture in return?

While Politico touted the 55% of Jewish approval for Obama's ME policy weeks ago, the latest poll as I explained to be different to Ben Smith last month, shows a 67% disapproval rating: http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=174006

What we see from immigration reform, Goldman lynching today (verdict BEFORE trial?), frozen military shipments to Israel, deafness towards Syria etc is politics over policy. Obama is cementing a narrative that he will have a hard time changing without fresh changes in substance. I remind the administration that Iran predicted Obama would be America's Gorby. We can all wonder how right they may be....
Posted by: Maxtrue at April 27, 2010 8:09 am
http://cacah-protest.blogspot.com/

Had to post this Michael.....
Posted by: Maxtrue at April 27, 2010 8:28 am
Maxtrue, I read your defense industry daily link, and was surprised to see that the US DoD is quite upset about Israel's dealings with China - specifically their transferal of US military technology to China in recent years. Seems only fair to point that out, considering you are pointing out how upset Israel is about other countries transferring Israeli military technology :)
Posted by: Craig at April 27, 2010 9:50 am
Oh, it is quite complicated, yes? Israel sells to Russia hoping they won't sell S-300s to Iran. The Russians are said to be selling Israel their space base as soon as their new one is ready. In any case, some sales to Russia gives them some leverage. Same goes for stopping China from giving Iran weapons but I suspect most dealings are run past the DOD. Remeber, Hizb'Allah sank an Israeli ship with a Chinese missile. I think the biggest transfer of US military technology to China happened under the Clinton administration. Again, I am not sure what US information the Israelis gave China, but their MIC is built largely on the secret they steal from Russia.

Turkey has trade with Israel. Obviously the US and NATO give a check on that. Everyone should be concerned what Turkey gives Iran.

India and Israel go a ways back. Together they were thwarted by Reagan in bombing Pakistan's first nuclear reactor. They are helping India counter the drones we are selling Pakistan. I have suggested that perhaps the PAK FA might be a better 5th gen than the F-35. There's the Typhoon too. We shall see whether the Israeli trophy system works.

I think the DOD has long thought our relationship with Israel a very good thing. I rather doubt Israel is selling out any US secrets but who would fault them for protecting their ass in this climate?

The Club K system shows pictures of cruise missiles hiding in containers or unmarked transporters. Just take a look here: http://defensetech.org/2010/04/27/next-gen-coastal-artillery/#more-6777

Does that look like a marked Iranian transporter? Now if Navy experts are considering a different strategy, who thinks any of this is NOT transferable? The Quds teams setting up the S of H islands are setting up in Lebanon and elsewhere. Of course, these missiles and clandestine covers can be delivered anywhere. This isn't even advanced technology.
Posted by: Maxtrue at April 27, 2010 10:49 am
Craig, the Chinese J10 is built with Israeli provided F16 tech.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chengdu_J-10

In fact, it was suggested to me that India wants Pakistan to get US F16 A/Bs (which are in storage . . . never used) versus getting the J-10 which is a rip off of a more advanced F-16s.

As you know, I get a lot of e-mails on this type of stuff. :-) Israel sells all sorts of US tech to Russia and China. Israel supplied Serbia in the mid and late 1990s . . . including months before the Serb/NATO war. Serbs and Israel are close traditional allies who feel threatened by Takfiri extremists.

Maxtrue, I hadn't heard about many of the points you made. Would like to touch base offline if possible. Please e-mail MJT if interested.

India doesn't trust the Khamenei dictatorship. After all, Indian advisors helped Saddam against Iran 1980-1988. As a result any sharing of Indian tech with Iran would raise serious concerns.

"As debkafile revealed exclusively last November, the Turkish Prime minister and Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad signed a secret military pact on Oct. 28, 2009, requiring Turkey's military intelligence, its air force and navy to help Iran repel a possible Israeli attack on its nuclear facilities. It included a provision for the sharing of any data and technology on Israeli weapons systems in Turkish possession, which the IDF might use for a potential strike. Click here for article."

This would be extremely concerning if true. Turkey should have offered this carrot conditioned on positive Iranian behavior on the nuclear issue, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and regarding freedom inside Iran. In other words; Turkey should have used this as a card to facilitate a strategic partnership between NATO, Iran, India and Russia against the Takfiri extremists; and the welfare of the Iranian people. Turkey shouldn't be offering Iran carrots in advance of positive Iranian behavior. Khamenei and the IRGC Kuds force are behaving sub-optimally at present to put it lightly.

LEO:
"I happened to like American" Something we both agree on [Craig and MJT and Maxtrue too to make it a fivesome :-) ]

"merely trying to understand whether or not Iraq and Afghanistan are capable of becoming more like us." Iraqis and Afghans might wonder if we Americans are capable of becoming more like them. I think the answer is yes we are; and we Americans will be richer and better off for it. :-)

"I am not looking for friendship (it may or may not come), but I am looking for security. And their change will give us exactly that."
You are right to not expect friendship. Our (America's) goal should be to strengthen Iraq and Afghanistan; since their strength benefits us. Iraqi and Afghan success is victory for America; and sufficient reason for our involvement. Friendship on top of that would be icing on the cake.

If you look at things from an Iraqi or Afghan perspective; they wonder if America is on their side; and they are not always sure. The Iraqis and Afghans are against the Takfiri extremists; more so than we Americans are. If we stand with the Iraqis and Afghans, all well and good. If we Americans support Al Qaeda linked crazies; then the Iraqis and Afghans will fight both the Al Qaeda crazies and us Americans.

There is deep concern in Iraq and Afghanistan about Saudi influence on America. They didn't like seeing Pres Bush bow and kiss the hand of the Saudi monarch, like a Saudi poodle. Iraqis don't like American obsequiousness to Jordanians, Egyptians, and other members of the Arab League. Well at least Bush didn't kiss Assad's and Khamenei's feet . . . so we aren't all bad. ;-)

Gulf money funds the AQ and Taliban linked extremists; and is the primary security threat to both Afghanistan and Iraq.

"Saddam was making enough to make his country bloom and his people happy." No he didn't. Iraqi oil production never crossed 3 million barrels a day because Saddam was too stupid and incompetent to increase Iraqi oil production. Oil prices in Iraq were very low in the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s, unlike now.

"Iran also has a lot to brag about." Iran doesn't have much oil production. Nothing comparable to what Iraq will soon produce. Iraq is projected to be the largest producer of oil in the world. Iran produces a lot of natural gas (NG.) As you know, NG prices are near an all time inflation adjusted low.

In absolute dollar terms; Iraq's energy net revenue projections are an order of magnitude greater than Iran's. And in per capita terms . . . well you can do the math.

Iraq's per capita oil production is likely to rival Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, UAE, and Saudi Arabia. Iraq's plural open diverse culture, freedom and democracy; is something that none of these countries have to the same degree. Put Iraqi freedom and plural diverse culture together with 12.5 million barrels of oil/day and you can begin to imagine Iraqi potential.

Keep in mind that Iraqis "HATE" takfiri extremists and will hunt them to the ends of the earth; irrespective of what America and the rest of the world do. Iraq is a massive strategic defeat for the global extremist movement.

Look up the transcript of US Forces Iraq commander Gen Odierno from yesterday. Gen Odierno said that Iraq is likely to be an important force for regional stability; or stability outside Iraqi borders. Read between the lines.

"Saudis are making enough even today. Yet, these guys are far from being prosperous and happy" Saudi is the mother snake of global extremism today.
Posted by: anan at April 27, 2010 11:02 am
I think the DOD has long thought our relationship with Israel a very good thing. I rather doubt Israel is selling out any US secrets but who would fault them for protecting their ass in this climate?

Just repeating what I read in the link you provided, Maxtrue :)

I've had concerns about the way Israel was supplying US tech to Iran ever since the 1980s. I would be very surprised if Israel is not supplying US tech to other US adversaries or potential adversaries. Which is why I'm fairly unsympathetic to Israeli complaints that we are not willing to turn over the source code for the avionics suites of our 5th gen fighters.

I don't really have an opinion about whose 5th gen is better, other than that in general the US makes pretty good planes, and everyone else doesn't. But maybe that's just my nationalism showing through :)

I got the impression from reading your links that the US has pretty much decided we don't even need to build 5th gen fighters to maintain air supremacy. Maybe that will change when competitors get closer to actual deliveries of their own versions.
Posted by: Craig at April 27, 2010 11:44 am
"They didn't like seeing Pres Bush bow and kiss the hand of the Saudi monarch, like a Saudi poodle".

Anan, you mean Obama, right? Could he have bowed more?

I dispute your thinking the Saudis are the number one exporters of terrorism. At least in the last ten to twenty years. First, I rather doubt the Royals are giving AQ money so they can behead them. It is true the Saudis gave lots of money to the original Brotherhood and even now supports terror operations in Iraq rather than send legal combatants/police to help protect Sunni Iraq. The Saudis despite their weapons rather pay extremists to fight extremists, though Yemen might present a tougher nut.

In any case, Quds and Hizb'Allah have far more global reach. First Iran using various points like Belarus or Syria fly stuff to Caracas. There Hizb'Allah, FARC, HAMAS and Quds seek to deepen network while being free to construct and design. All these guys will to do is to have A pay B to get C to have D deliver the package. It might very well have NK or Chinese origins. We will likely never know. From Mexico a missile could reach the US. From ships a missile or drone can reach the US. Not to destroy us, but terrorize us and cause economic harm. What would we do?

The point is that we can not really know who hit us. Just look at the hand wringing KNOWING that NK just committed an act of war. Iran wants nukes to make us think twice about retaliation. Between Syria, NK and Iran, who knows the exact fingerprint of ALL enriched material? We are kidding ourselves if we think we will get this genies back in the bottle. The networks and technology is getting too mature not to present serious consequences.

I think Iran is a far greater menace with a proven track record including murdering Jews in an Argentinian Temple. Quds is quite capable of mischief in our back yard. Just look at the spill from the Gulf rig and see how easy it would be to cause harm.

As far as Israel, I believe they helped the US and Pakistan arm Afghan resistance fighters. As far as anyone giving China our most secret technology, the award goes to Bush. He ignored reports of cowboy Chinese pilots and did not change protocol which should have included the destruction of our spy plane rather than landing it in enemy territory. I can't estimate the billions we gave China.
Posted by: Maxtrue at April 27, 2010 11:45 am
If we stand with the Iraqis and Afghans, all well and good.

Anand, who are we supposed to stand with in Afghanistan? Karzai?
Posted by: Craig at April 27, 2010 11:47 am
What I was hoping you got from my links is that Gates screwed up and eliminated the one weapon that can deal with the proliferation of air defense and other 5th gen fighters. While I said PAK FA will likely run circles around the F-35, the Raptor is a different story. Cost and purpose was what the DOD said was wrong with the Raptor. They appear wrong. Now a fleet of larger X-37s would be a start.......

If Israel was supplying that much to Iran, the Iranian air force would be capable of flying. The US anti-tank weapons come from various sources other than Israel. Iran's most dangerous weapons come from Russia and China so I don't know what dangerous transfers the Israelis made to Iran.

By the time the DOD wakes up to the threat (man are they watching for S-400 deployments), it will be too late. The F-35 won't do and the Raptor plants will have been dismantled. A new jet will take too much time. Who knows, without air refueling, we can't do that much anyway. And the day ground fire rips up the F-35s, vets will be waxing nostalgic for the Warthog, Terminator Salvation or not......

The best game changer we have is the laser. Still, without the money, it will advance slowly.
Posted by: Maxtrue at April 27, 2010 11:56 am
I was wondering the same question Craig. One could even include Pakistan and Yemen.....
Posted by: Maxtrue at April 27, 2010 11:57 am
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