Saturday, April 29, 2006

More on Iran

I wonder what people think the west could possibly give the mullahs that would stop them from developing nukes, other than nukes themselves.
Without any incentive, all we've got is Ahmadinejad saying: "We're building nukes, whatchya gonna do about it, huh?"
They don't want money, and we're not going to give them additional territory.

This pretty clearly identifies my problem with the 'diplomatic' efforts going on right now. The basic conversation is going:
France: "Stop building nukes..."
Iran: "No"
France: "How much money do you want in order to convince you to stop building nukes."
Iran: "We are not going to stop building nukes."
Germany: "You need to stop building nukes."
Iran: "No"
UK: "Please stop building nukes right now."
Iran: "No"
Russia: "You are making it very inconvenient for us by continuing to build nukes, please stop."
Iran: "Uhh.. no"
China: "We like your oil, but could you please stop building nukes?"
Iran: "No"
UN: "Please stop building nukes."
Iran: "Or else what?"
UN: "Or we'll be very angry and ask you to stop building nukes again."

There is *no* actual negotiation going on right now, and there hasn't been any substantive negotiations going on for over four years. They've been asking the same questions, and Iran's been responding with the same answers.
Iran has been always consistent about their intentions, so I don't know why the west is failing so miserably to understand them. IMHO the west should either do something about it though sanctions or whatever, or accept Iran as a nuclear armed state. This red herring about negotiations is just wasting time, money, and attention which could be focused elsewhere.

Personally, I'm almost ambivalent over Iran having nukes. While they are a threat to us, they're much more of a threat to Iran itself, so if they want to play with fire, part of me says let them blow themselves up. Their people are the ones who are going to be hurt, as they are not willing to stand up to their own government.
I certainly don't wish anybody to be hurt over this, but I'm just really frustrated at the failure of international politics to deal with this issue. If Iran wasn't sitting on huge oil reserves, Russia and China would have voted for sanctions long ago and the regime in Iran would have backed down. But that all doesn't matter, because Iran *is* sitting on top of huge oil reserves.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Myopia surrounding Iran issues

The second order, larger threat posed by the Iranian nuclear bomb program is the resultant middle eastern nuclear arms race. Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Egypt, and various other dictatorships will immediately be forced into building nuclear weapons in order to provide deterrent against unilateral Iranian action.
Do we want the hyperproliferation around the world stimulated by possession of nuclear weapons by Iran? Does the NPT really have any practical use anymore?
Would the world really have survived the cold war if there were five or ten players in the Mutually Assured Destruction regime?

From a fatalistic perspective, this isn't a question about whether to do something about Iran's nuclear bomb building, it's a question of whether we want the middle east to be turned into a radioactive waste dump by a nuclear war?

Iran says 'Bite Me' to UNSC

So... Madnejad & Khamenei have basically said 'screw you' to the UN. While they're pretty much right in their analysis of the UN being completely ineffectual in the past, it is quite a significant departure from Saddam's previous lines.
Where Madnejad & co. say 'screw you' while doing nothing to comply, Saddam previously said 'I am doing everything humanly possible to comply with your wishes' while also doing nothing to comply.
Though the message is the same, the tenor is quite different.
Now, after the complete bypassing of the UN in both Afghanistan and Iraq, at least the bureaucracy of the UN may still wish to remain in some way relevant.
I think there's a long shot in odds that the UN itself may end up doing something about this. Yeah, I know they've never done anything before, but their irrelevance has never been so openly and clearly stated before either. Whereas Saddam was just humoring them, Madnejad is attempting to provoke them.

The trouble with Iran is not just Iran

Conventional wisdom is a) Iran is going to get nukes, b) they are pretty much sane enough not to use them, and c) they are not likely to provide such to terrorist organizations.
The myopia of these claims comes from a focus on Iran which is far too tight. The reason we must oppose a nuclearized Iran, is to prevent general proliferation within the middle east.
Without this, we face a return of the cold war. But this cold war will not be two superpowers competing for supremacy in the world, it will be eight dictatorships on the lunatic fringe of the international community, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Syria, Jordan, and others.
The threat is not just the mullahs in Iran, as dangerous as they may be, but the dramatic nuclear escalation promoted by such actions.

The precipice upon which we now stand is one of deciding whether nuclearization of the middle east should be contained through conventional force of arms. This is not only about policy regarding Iran.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Al Qaeda, Hamas, and Democracy

Probably the most interesting point:
http://www.theage.com.au/news/world/bin-laden-criticism-rejected/2006/04/24/1145861285825.html
"He also inveighed against the Palestinians' Hamas-led Government for breaking what he said was a taboo against "joining infidel assemblies" and entering Parliament."

The point here is that islamic movements, according to Bin Laden and the Muslim Brotherhood are not democratic institutions and should not participate in any kind of democracy, as to be part of a democracy is to put man's law over god's law.
As to "Whose god?" Obviously "their's".... whomever "they" happen to be.
I'm certain this is clear and obvious if you share the mental defects Bin Laden has... to me it's just consistency taken to the point of stupidity.


---- UPDATE, someone claimed that "Bin Laden hates democracy" was news to me ----
No, that Bin Laden is against democracy was not news to me. That he would so willingly sacrafice a potential ally in terror and islamification of the world (Hamas), merely because it participated in a democracy, is what is new. It's not unexpected, it's just poor tactics. I would have expected him just not to mention it because it reflects badly on his movement, much like he didn't mention Iraq.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Generals don't make the call for war in this country.

http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=politicsNews&storyid=2006-04-21T231924Z_01_N21290903_RTRUKOC_0_US-IRAQ-USA-RUMSFELD.xml

Right now, I lean slightly towards Hillary's proposal to have congress perform some sort of an investigation, even if it's a minority investigation only.
I still do not think it was right for these people to air their grievances publically, as they certainly could garner the ear of anti-Bush democrats in congress to go through the proper procedure.
If congress calls these retired generals to testify (and even active generals, perhaps), then it is clearly a case of the civilian government asking questions and making decisions, and not former members of the military pressuring for a change in civilian leadership.

There's a reason our former military members have historically interacted with politics only through official civilian mechanisms (running for office, garnering an appointment, or whatever), and to ditch that precedent really should require extraordinary circumstances. But their indictment carries no smoking gun, it encompasses a lot of things which are both pretty partisan and full of hindsight.
For example, most civilian military analysts were pretty well split on whether to break up the Iraqi Republican Guard, yet that decision was used as part of their rational for seeking the ouster of Rumsfeld. On a partisan example, I would cite the criticism that we did not go to war with sufficient allies.
I think it's true that our job would be a lot easier if France, Germany and Russia were on board, as any disunity in the west is perceived as weakness among the jihadists, but these factors are completely outside their experience. They're not there to decide whether or not to go to war, but rather to give their estimates on what the best strategy would be for winning.