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September 19, 2012

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How would you tell if the Iranian leadership was scared? How about if they believed (plausibly) that getting a nuke in the next couple years would make them much safer long term, as the US and Israel would be much more careful not to threaten them?

[HS: In other words, you agree with #1?]

It's 3. During the Iran-Iraq war, the Iranians used 10 year old human wave attacks to make the machine gunners run out of bullets. Read up on the history of the Ishmaeli Muslims aka "Assassins" they are awesome! They would have taken over Central Asia but for the Mongols with their polo ponies and compound bows.

Here's a more interesting question: if Iran's nuclear program is such an existential threat to Israel, why are apartments in Tel Aviv so expensive? The real estate market there suggests smart, wealthy people aren't really that worried about Iran (just like the real estate market in Manhattan suggests Manhattan buyers aren't really worried about global warming and oceans rising).

[HS: Yes, ask why people in Manhattan don't move to some place in nearby Pennsylvania where you can buy a house for 1/10 the price, and you're less likely to die in a terrrorist attack to boot.]

How can the gung-ho Yanks be so trigger happy about Iran?

Brainwashed perhaps?

The inevitability of $7 for a gallon of gas from a war with Iran and subsequently blockaded Persian Gulf is more of a threat to Americans than a few nukes pointed at Israel by Iran's mullahs.

[HS: In other words, you agree with #1?]

3 good points plus a biggie...

(4) They know they are a proxy puppet for Russia, andcan count on Russian support. China as well as they are a big supplier of Chinese crude, which has been increeasing its daily imports of oil each year.

To add to #2, I expect they believe that they can go Taliban and mount an expensive, bloody resistance to an American occupation if it came down to that. Our policy of invading Afghanistan and Iraq, and then have our troops sit around as targets while we funnel in trillions of dollars to create "democracy in the Middle East" has been a huge disaster, and we're nowhere near as terrifying as we would have been if we had just bombed Afghanistan into the Stone Age before promptly leaving.

(1) is true, but an air strike would be focused on nuclear infrastructure. If they thought the US/Israel would blow up the civilian population or their oil infrastructure it would be different.

(4) Iran isn't scared for the same reason that their military eagerly sent hordes of untrained, ill-equipped conscripts to run through mine fields as part of their Basij "human wave attacks" during the Iran-Iraq war.

I think it's mainly because of what happened to Saddam and other dictators. If you disarm yourself and try to be friendly with America, they will invade and kill you.

OTOH, if you posture and threaten and have some nuclear capacity, you can feel safer (look at North Korea as an example) because America's nuclear doctrine doesn't accept "everybody dies" as a win-condition.

Iran is relying on its ability to launch a single massive volley of conventional missiles sufficient to destroy Israel. Apparently it has this ability, and everything hinges on whether or not it does.

There is no way that Iran could defeat Israel any other way. Israel is a western nation, Iran is not. The military discrepancy is that great, HBD in action.

Middle-eastern militaries are poorly trained. Their equipment is poorly maintained. In order to counter Israel's airforce (which they know that they can't beat in the air) they have all invested heavily in air defense (things that can shoot down planes). That means that their own airforces are going to be no stronger than is required to quell internal dissent (because no middle eastern airforce would be strong enough to beat the air defense of another middle eastern nation).

So they have no airforce. Their infantry cannot aim (shooting to kill is a western idea, Iraqi insurgents only learned to aim in 2006). Their armor is probably pretty decent but would be destroyed by either the Israeli airforce or Israeli tanks (theirs is considered the best in the world). Of course Iran and Israel are pretty far apart so projecting air power into Iran is difficult for Israel.

So it really comes down to MAD, using conventional missiles. Iran probably has the capability, and they need to maintain it if they want to survive. If their missile threat is dealt with then it is over for them.

Iran knows that it cannot trust the west (look at what happened to Gaddafi) and it knows that the only way to get respect is to get a nuclear weapon (look at North Korea). Right now they are a cornered dog, hoping to get nukes before Israel anti-missile defenses become good enough to take away Iran's missile threat.

It might be best for everyone, particularly Israel, if Iran were to get a few nuclear weapons.

"I think it's mainly because of what happened to Saddam and other dictators. If you disarm yourself and try to be friendly with America, they will invade and kill you."

Exactly, this isn't about nuclear weapons, that's a story for the rubes. Doesn't matter what they do, war will come for some reason so better to be prepared to fight.

Option one is the most accurate, considering Obama's or Hillary's foreign policy stance of appeasement and soft tactics.

Would the Egyptian rioters ever dare to attack and kill a Russian, Israeli or Chinese diplomat? They know that would lead to their demise and possible repercussions to their immediate family.

Obama discounting his brief glory from killing Osama and drone attacks, is seen as being a passive appeaser and an indecisive ally to nations such as Israel and Japan.

In 1992 Netanyahu was claiming that Iran was within a hair's breadth of having nuclear weapons.
In 2012 Netanyahu is claiming that Iran is within a hair's breadth of having nuclear weapons.
In 2032 Netanyahu's heirs will be claiming that Iran is within a hair's breadth of having nuclear weapons.
The ability to con the merkin chattering classes is not so startling; given that most of them are hyphenated merkins to start with.
Taking American born Israeli pols seriously is the problem; almost as much as taking Israeli born merkin tv and magazine editors/commentators/on screen/on page personalities seriously.
If Gadhaffi had been smart enough to complete some form of nuke weapon, he would be alive today.


"(1) They don’t take the threat seriously, because Obama is a big wuss and they figure the U.S. is tired of wars after Iraq."

Obama is no wuss. He killed bin laden and countless other terrorists who were primarily threats to America, but he opposed war with Iraq/Iran which are/were primarily threats to Israel

The bush administration made no distinction between threats to America and threats to Israel, but I suspect Obama does and that Iran realizes that, and that's why they're not afraid of him.

Its #1, Obama IS a wuss, he denied three times permission for the bin Laden raid and then worried about that getting out and approved the final one ... after Leon Panetta had already set it in motion.

Iran is not scared of the US. Nor Israel.

Iran wants high oil prices. They said a few days ago it should at least be $150 a barrel. The US cannot survive at that level, or higher. Iran and Russia NEED it there or even at $200 to pay off their goons and thugs and patronage network. That means, sooner or later, war.

Duh, what do you think its about? Jews in Israel? Really? Iran's lunatic nutcase jihadis want to go to war, over ... Jews in Israel? Nope its oil and who controls the Gulf and thus the world price of oil.

Iran's plan, which is straightforward, is to nuke Israel and the US Fleet at Doha, to create a world-wide Muslim rage-fest, and use the chaos to punk out the US of the Gulf, and intimidate or overthrow the Saudi royal family into limiting radically production. Thus oil at $150-$200 at least, Iran is happy, any urban casualties are "Green Revolution" middle class people anyway. Whom they HATE HATE HATE.

Israel is far away from Iran, has only 5 million Jews, and is small and a democracy (which means military adventures = lost elections, due to casualties).

Iran's plan relies on "fighting spirit" ala Japan's plan in WWII, and US weakness, Israel being "a one bomb nation" as Iran boasts. Israel is the target just to rile Muslims up and provide cover for the real objective, domination of the Sunni-run, Shia population Arab Gulf states that set the world price of oil. Russia is behind it too because Putin needs the same thing, expensive oil to make his patronage pay off otherwise he's toast like Khadaffi.

[Khadaffi was an old enemy who killed Americans, so no one is surprised at his demise, the US owed him for Lockerbie and the Berlin bombings. He got killed because he lost patronage control is the real reason, all the US bombs in the world would have done nothing had had lots of cash to spread around.]

The Iranian leadership has absolutely nothing to lose by continuing to pursue weapons. They have nothing to offer their people in terms of economic enrichment, so the best situation they can hope for is to bait America/Israel into waging war against them and in the process convincing the Iranian people that the leadership was right all along and the west really is a force of evil that Iran must rally around and defeat. The people in charge of that country, like the people in charge of any country, are essentially sociopathic megalomaniacs who really don't care about anything else other than staying in power and having their people loyally worship them.

Off topic, but since you're so obsessed with making predictions i thought you might find this web page interesting...

http://www.yorktownhistory.org/homepages/1900_predictions.htm

"Predictions of the Year 2000 from The Ladies Home Journal of December 1900"...some very interesting ones in there.

"if Iran's nuclear program is such an existential threat to Israel, why are apartments in Tel Aviv so expensive? The real estate market there suggests smart, wealthy people aren't really that worried about Iran (just like the real estate market in Manhattan suggests Manhattan buyers aren't really worried about global warming and oceans rising)."

The problem with this argument is that we don't know what prices would be otherwise (in both cases). It may be that a big risk premium is already priced in.

"In 1992 Netanyahu was claiming that Iran was within a hair's breadth of having nuclear weapons."

Would you mind supplying a quote, cite, and link for this claim? I'm very skeptical.

wrong wrong wrong. They aren't scared b/c three carrier groups aren't a threat-specifically, they aren't an existential threat. They can see what we did to Aaddam:we spent six months bringing in ground troops and invaded. If we bring in several divisions of ground troops, and air wings and build a coalition in the UN,they will be scared of us. Being bombed by the US and ISrael (the worst case scenario right now) is survivable, so they are not scared.

s

I would say mostly number 1. The Iranians know Obama isn't going to do anything, so they pretty much have a free hand. But there is an intriguing element to Point 3.

Even if Iran were secular, as a rogue state they would want nukes as a hedge against a US or NATO attack some day. We're not going to attack even a minor nuclear power, no matter what they do. And there are plenty of countries around the world that have nukes that we would rather they didn't, like Pakistan, but most nuclear powers have a "rational" leadership. They don't want to use their nukes and get nuked in turn.

The judgement on Iran is still up in the air. Are they a rational leadership, that wants nukes for all of the perfectly understandable reasons that a rogue state does, or do they really really believe this 12th Iman stuff, and consider first use of nuclear weapons a small price to pay to bring about their particular Armageddon story?

That's not a worry we've had with any other nuclear or potential nuclear power, and I don't know the answer to that. In some ways, our intelligence assessments on the country's leadership is more important that accurately gauging where they are in developing nuclear weapons.

The naval exercises about to happen in the Straights of Hormuz are apparently an annual occurrence - ie they were scheduled years ago - ie understanding the convergence of Western naval power in the region as indicating imminent military action against Iran is almost definitely reading too much into things.

Iran knows that it is very unlikely that the US will invade Iran. Iran is a bigger country with more than twice the population of Iraq. The Iranian Army is not as weak as the Iraqi Army was.

Where would the US invade Iran from? The Iran friendly government in Iraq would never allow an invasion from there. Likewise not possible from Pakistan or Afghanistan. I doubt Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia or Turkey would allow it either. That leaves invading from the sea, either the Persian Gulf or Arabian Sea. That would be militarily very difficult. US military would have to be larger than what it currently is to carry out that kind of an invasion. That means much higher levels of military spending. Iran can see our current deficit and knows that kind of spending is unlikely.

Even if the US could invade Iran quickly and disable most of the Iranian Army, the US military is just not big enough to occupy a country as large a Iran. It was not big enough to occupy the smaller Iraq, which is part of the reason Iraq is still such a mess.

An invasion of Iran is just impractical. What is possible is a bombing campaign directed at military and nuclear sites. Iran is not worried about that, because such a bombing campaign would just make the current conservative (crazy) Iranian government stronger.

[HS: The US doesn't need to invade Iran, just bomb the hell out of it and blow up all of it's military toys.]

Iran isn't scared because the US isn't going to do anything. The US is just there to keep things under control while Israel takes out the facilities.

they know they can take out the carriers if need be, US war games proved it, military brass

they also know that the US doesn't have the money or the will to fight another big war

they know or think they know that Russia has their back, and maybe china too (depending on how the japan thing plays out)

they know netanyahu doesn't have domestic support within israel to attack (amazingly nobody in the us seems to know this)


I'm not sure "belligerent" is really the appropriate term. We are the ones threatening them, so wouldn't we be the belligerents? If you are asking why the Iranians haven't backed down to our threats, isn't the better question, "why would they"? What would Iran get out of capitulation? Even if they really did give up their nuclear program, that buys them nothing in terms of protection from a US attack. Gaddafi gave up his WMD's and the US promptly attacked and killed him. Saddam never had any WMD's and suffered the same fate. The only nation on America's hit list that has survived is North Korea and they survive because of their nukes. And remember, America isn't even Iran's greatest threat. Even if we assumed a hypothetical where America was satisfied, Iran is still surrounded by enemies one of whom invaded Iran not too long ago and causing more Iranian deaths than the US has suffered in all our wars combined. Iran's behavior is perfectly rational. It is US policy in the region that remains mystifying.

There really isn't a face saving way for Iran to slow or stop its nuclear enrichment program at this point.

Iran can either voluntarily give up their nuclear program, or have it destroyed in a war. The latter is more honorable.

Gaddafi's fate showed how stupid it is for regimes hated by America to give up weapons of mass destruction and to try to cozy themselves up to America.

"Khadaffi was an old enemy who killed Americans, so no one is surprised at his demise, the US owed him for Lockerbie and the Berlin bombings."

Not that I agree with whiskey, but that's bullshit. We paid him back for the Berlin bombings with the 1986 airstrike, and we considered the Lockerbie case closed when Libya admitted responsibility and paid compensation. After that we owed him NOTHING. No further revenge was justified.

Attacking Libya and killing Khaddafi after they admitted responsibility, paid compensation, and accepted our offer of friendship was profoundly immoral.

As a few people have pointed out - Russia has Iran's back. It's pretty much that simple. #3 is a joke - the leadership of Iran doesn't believe in that nonsense any more than Brezhnev believed in Marxism. Ideology is what you use to keep the masses in line, the Mullahs live very well and they have no intention of leaving their earthly paradises for the next world.

Iran is a proxy for Russia. Iran could be toppled fi we just had Russian support just as North Korea could be toppled if the Chinese supproted it. They do not as those two big powers have interests wich align with having a smaller client state that is a bit of a wild card. Iran and Russia share the oil card. As oil rises, so does Russian and Iranian current accounts. Having a wild card in Iran keeps oil prices up for Russia. Iran is also a non-US aligned nation in the ME. Russia needs those buddies. It's no surprise to see that Russia was hyperaggressive with 3rd world client expansion in the '70s as oil prices skyrocketed. These countries strut their stuff when oil is high.

The same big brother-little brother routine can be applied to NK. China uses NK as a non-US aligned chess piece against US interests in the Far East. Both China and Russia can condemn famines or aggressive regime tactics, but behind closed doors, they are happy. It's a shame that the American press is not as honest when analyzing this situation.

"HS: The US doesn't need to invade Iran, just bomb the hell out of it and blow up all of it's military toys."

Half, if you ever have children, I hope they enlist. Having snooty right-wingers call for expensive and meddlesome bombing campaigns without having much skin in the game is even more pathetic than snooty leftists who beg for higher taxes.

Leftist elites are lame but are at least willing to sacrifice larger percentages of their abundant monopoly money on things they think are good, while chicken hawks put up practically nothing.

I'll say it again: Half Sigma is the neocon of HBD.

"they know netanyahu doesn't have domestic support within israel to attack (amazingly nobody in the us seems to know this)"

Neither do I. Support from whom?

"I'll say it again: Half Sigma is the neocon of HBD."

I thought the neocons _invented_ HBD. Charles Murray anybody?

JP wrote: "Attacking Libya and killing Khaddafi after they admitted responsibility, paid compensation, and accepted our offer of friendship was profoundly immoral. "

That's one of the reasons I opposed the Libyan war. Not only was there no US national security interests involved, but it taught dictators and rogue states that there is no way to rejoin the international community once you've left. That's why I think for Syria, their civil war is a fight to the death. We've given them no options.

[HS: The US doesn't need to invade Iran, just bomb the hell out of it and blow up all of it's military toys.]

As I said, Iran isn't worried about that because it would just make the current conservative (crazy) Iranian government stronger. It would give them a pretext for arresting all of its political opponents.

The big threat to the Iranian government is a revolt like the Arab spring. A US military strike would rally the Iranian people to their government and make that kind of uprising very unlikely.

Or they don't care because Persia is an ancient country which shouldn't even acknowledge the existence of the US.

"Having snooty right-wingers call for expensive and meddlesome bombing campaigns without having much skin in the game"

If you pay taxes, you have skin in the game.

The "chicken hawk" sneer remains as stupid today as it did in 2001.

Glad you're not a "wuss", HS. I applaud what big balls you have and honor your enlistment into the military.

[HS: The United States has a civilian government and as such civilians and not people enlisted in the military get to decide whether we attack someone or not. Furthermore, my military advice would save lives, because I do not favor an invasion of Iran, just a bombing campaign that only puts fighter pilots at risk, and they did volunteer for the job. They will be keeping Americans and the whole world safe from nuclear terrorism.]

"Here's a more interesting question: if Iran's nuclear program is such an existential threat to Israel, why are apartments in Tel Aviv so expensive? The real estate market there suggests smart, wealthy people aren't really that worried about Iran"

It suggests no such thing.

Seoul also has high property values, that doesn't mean South Korean real estate businessmen aren't worried about a North Korean artillery barrage that cripples or destroys Seoul.

"(1) They don’t take the threat seriously, because Obama is a big wuss and they figure the U.S. is tired of wars after Iraq."

They think Obama is a mentally unstable anti-white racial minority (because he is) and that he would take Islam's side in any confrontation between Israel and Iran because Israel from Obama's perspective is an evil, white, colonial power hurting brown people.

"Or they don't care because Persia is an ancient country which shouldn't even acknowledge the existence of the US." -- Nicolai

I'm reminded of a line from Eastwood's "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil". When someone slights one of the characters for not coming from a wealthy family he replies, "Yes, I am 'nouveau riche', but then, its the 'riche' that counts, now isn't it?"

BTW, I agree with Sigma that the US should either have an ally attack Muslim nuclear programs or have our own airforce take them out.

Unlike rational, atheistic Communists, the Muslims are too unstable to be trusted with nuclear weapons. The Atlantic magazine had an article a few months ago about how the intelligence community was scared to death of a nuclear war between Pakistan and India because of how poorly the Pakistanis were at safeguarding their nukes. Per the Atlantic article, the Pakistani military was moving nuke warheads around in lightly guarded trucks.

Unfortunately, people have drawn the wrong lessons from the Iraq war about Muslims and WMDs. The Iraq war only proved that trying to turn Muslim nations into democracies is a failure because, as we see in Egypt, the prole liberated prole Muslims will just vote in a Muslim terrorist party that is worse than the overthrown dictator. What we should have done instead was invade Iraq and then installed a friendly pro-Western American dictator to run the place with an iron fist on our behalf.

However, the Iraq war didn't prove Muslims should be trusted with nukes.

Even if Iran isn't stupid enough to fire a nuke at Israel, they would still ramp up their terrorism against the West and be more likely to do something provacative like shut down Hormuz to shipping because nukes would make Western retaliation less likely.

"I'm not sure "belligerent" is really the appropriate term. We are the ones threatening them, so wouldn't we be the belligerents? If you are asking why the Iranians haven't backed down to our threats, isn't the better question, "why would they"? What would Iran get out of capitulation? Even if they really did give up their nuclear program, that buys them nothing in terms of protection from a US attack. Gaddafi gave up his WMD's and the US promptly attacked and killed him. Saddam never had any WMD's and suffered the same fate. The only nation on America's hit list that has survived is North Korea and they survive because of their nukes. And remember, America isn't even Iran's greatest threat. Even if we assumed a hypothetical where America was satisfied, Iran is still surrounded by enemies one of whom invaded Iran not too long ago and causing more Iranian deaths than the US has suffered in all our wars combined. Iran's behavior is perfectly rational. It is US policy in the region that remains mystifying."

Thank you FatDrunkandStupid for pointing out the obvious. It's amazing what a country of armchair warmongers we've become. On the bright side, if we do attack Iran it will keep our defense contract industry fat and happy for another few decades (until the bottom drops out entirely). We better get them before they get their nukes, b/c once they do we might actually have to behave a little bit.

"It suggests no such thing.

Seoul also has high property values, that doesn't mean South Korean real estate businessmen aren't worried about a North Korean artillery barrage that cripples or destroys Seoul."

Right, TUJ, because rational people pay millions of dollars to put themselves at material risk of getting blown to smithereens. The logical conclusion is that Korean real estate buyers don't think a North Korean artillery barrage on Seoul is likely, since the North Koreans understand that they would get pummeled if they launched one now.

Similarly, Israel real estate buyers are more sanguine about the supposed threat by Iran than Half is.

It's politically useful saber rattling for the Iranian leadership, just like 9/11 was for the US leadership. As for why people live in mahanttan vs the interior of the USA, it's because NYC is a money sink, and it's more profitable for them to live there vs the US interior.

"As for why people live in mahanttan vs the interior of the USA, it's because NYC is a money sink, and it's more profitable for them to live there vs the US interior."

If you believe that we are at imminent risk ocean levels rising due to global warming, you'd want to live somewhere like Denver, not in Manhattan, which would be under water. That people pay millions to buy Manhattan real estate suggests they're not seriously concerned about this; they just say they are, to signal their inclusion in the correct social/intellectual class.

[HS: Manhattan isn't a swap, most of it is well above sea level. An increase in sea level of a few feet won't submerge the island. They can build some levees around the lower-lying areas downtown.]

"Right, TUJ, because rational people pay millions of dollars to put themselves at material risk of getting blown to smithereens. The logical conclusion is that Korean real estate buyers don't think a North Korean artillery barrage on Seoul is likely, "

You have no idea what you're talking about. South Koreans live in constant fear of being attacked by the North:

South Korea Fears New Attack From the North

https://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/02/world/asia/02korea.html

You're wrongly concluding that countries with militarily hostile neighbors are not in any danger because their day to day life can appear normal.

That property prices are high in Tel Aviv and Seoul only suggests their residents have become accustomed to living in a military flashpoint, not that their cities are in little danger.

And how is the opinion of real estate developers relevant to national security policy?

Are you saying that if real estate developers think there's a low risk of their city being destroyed that military planners shouldn't do anything at all to prevent or negate the possibility of suffering a devastating attack?

"A US military strike would rally the Iranian people to their government and make that kind of uprising very unlikely."

We shouldn't care about Muslim public opinion. The Muslims will turn against us at the drop of a hat. Instead we should be concerned with preventing them from being able to cause mischief. To that end, we or Israel should attack their nuclear problem to keep a nuke out of their hands.

"Half, if you ever have children, I hope they enlist. Having snooty right-wingers call for expensive and meddlesome bombing campaigns"

As long as we are defending every major democracy in the world and since the anti-Israel "conservatives" rarely complain about our support for the security of other democracies, pro-Israel supporters have every right to insist the United States either directly or indirectly assists Israel in defending itself without having charges about "dual loyalties" to Israel thrown around.

Who here actually believes they don't have nukes already?

You guys do realize that the Manhattan Project really didn't take that long with 1940s technology right?

Sure, the Iranians are half a century behind us... oh wait, that makes them 1960s technology. And whatever they have stolen/bought.

And it's been longer than the Manhattan Project to.

They have fission bombs, and they have them right now. It is simply not in their interest to go public with it.

Not quite #1. I imagine the Iranians are quite worried about being bombed. But they may still think it's a smaller risk than going another decade without nukes, in a world where domestic political concerns in the US can and often do drive us to go invade some annoying but weak third world country for reasons unrelated to our national interests.

I see this as the defining issue for them:

a. On one side, without nukes, they've been the target of attacks that we or Israel would call acts of war, if done to us, and those attacks almost certainly originate from us and Israel. We've invaded and wrecked one of their neighbors, and invaded another that was already a wreck and continue bouncing the rubble around. Our foreign policy over the last couple decades involves a lot of invasions, bombings, etc., that seem hard to predict, and driven more by domestic politics than the national interest, and those domestic political considerations will keep driving us toward war with Iran as long as the Israeli and Saudi lobbies are pushing us in that direction.

b. On the other side, North Korea and Pakistan have nukes, and it looks plausibly like that has protected them from US intervention. Is there any doubt that we'd be at war with Pakistan if it didn't have nukes, at this point? After we more-or-less caught them sheltering Bin Laden, while our troops and installations in Afghanistan are bombed by people the ISI is funding? Libya gave up their nuclear program, and that example probably sticks in the minds of the Iranian leadership.

Imagine yourself as the leader of a country which was on bad terms with the US, surrounded by places we'd invaded. Imagine further that the sorts of changes to your policies that would appease the US would also turn you and your kind of people out of power, and might not even appease us. The way it looks to me, we have given them a huge incentive to get nukes, with our sociopathic foreign policy. That doesn't make them nice people (they're not) or make it any less bad for them to get nukes (whcih would be an extremely bad thing). But it does make it very unlikely they're going to negotiate away their nuclear program. How'd that work out for the last guy who tried it? How about ambiguity about what WMDs they have--how'd that one work out?

Longer term, we might want to think through what incentives we create when we do stupid crap like invade Iraq and bomb Libya. But short term, I imagine it will be almost impossible to get the Iranians to give up their nuclear program, not because they're not scared enough to do so, but because they're too scared to do so.

[HS: Pre-nuclear North Korea was protected by their ability to level Seoul with enough artillery shells to almost equal the destruction of a nuclear bomb, and pre-nuclear Pakistan was protected by our lack of interest.]

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