Podcast: McCain Foreign Policy (Audio Content)

Listen to the Podcast Here: McCain Foreign Policy

The text of McCain’s speech today to Veteran’s is here.
Text of Obama’s speech in Berlin.

Addendum: It’s even worse than I what said on the “a” versus “the” world comment. Obama came to the notion of a/the world united by quoting the MAYOR OF BERLIN DURING THE AIRLIFT: “People of the World now do you duty.” Geez, McCain is awful.

Air Strikes Afghanistan

Per the last post, a new UN report out states that the US airstrikes in Afghanistan have killed 90 civilians.

Now a HUGE CAVEAT: The UN based the number on interviews–no photographic evidence apparently (I would quote the passage but its AP–see the link for the reference to my paraphrase). As a good guess it usually always turns out to be more than the US army officially reports and less than UN type groups say.

But whatever the exact number it has been clear that Karzai has repeatedly called out NATO/US for the use of air strikes in the country killing civilians. He wants the US to use planes to bomb Pakistani targets–yikes.

Again, I have deep reservations (a la Juan Cole, Rory Stewart, and possibly even Jim Webb) about a ground force increase in Afghanistan. The alternative however is either A)continued use of air power which will mean more civilian deaths only increasing the hatred of the presence of foreign troops and/or B)the Taliban taking over and destroying the Karzai government. Unless they can massively train up an Afghan Army double quick time that could actually fight which doesn’t seem particularly likely then they are serious problems in this part of the world.

It is not just as China Hand said, that Pakistan is not Iran to Afghanistan’s Iraq (true) but also the Taliban are not the Sunni tribes of Iraq. They deal with al-Qaeda are not going to turn on them and can’t be bought off.

Iraq, since I obliquely am on the subject, is gearing up for Civil War 2.0, so even Iraq itself is headed back towards chaos so maybe there is no hope for any of them.

Iraq’s Wars

This piece by Patrick Cockburn in The Independent is getting play in the b-sphere. Particularly this ending:

When the US and Britain invaded Iraq, they started three wars. The first is the insurgency in the Sunni community against the American occupation; the second the struggle by the Iraqi Shia, sixty per cent of the population, allied to the Kurds, to take control of the Iraqi state, previously controlled by the Sunni; and the third a proxy war between the US and Iran about which of them is to have predominant influence in Iraq.

With all due respect to Cockburn (he is along with Nir Rosen the best reporter on Iraq in the Western language press) he’s forgetting some wars in Iraq.

–The Kurdish War.
An actual sorta side-war (or bombing campaign) by Turkey in Kurdish territory. And the possibility of a a widening Arab/Turkomen vs. Kurd showdown over Kirkuk.

–The intra-Shia Civil War
Sadr vs. Hakim/Maliki (Mahdi Army vs. Badr Corps/Iraqi Army). This is part of what Cockburn is calling the Third War but more than simply an Iranian/American proxy fight. Because whose America’s proxy in this fight (the Sadrists are for American withdrawal, the Badrists were created in Iran).

–The intra-Sunni war. The Caliphate-seeking al-Qaeda versus the Awakening Tribes. Another round in that battle today it would appear.

In fact it’s arguable that Cockburn’s first war (the Sunni insurgency) is over which came at the price of US recognition of the Sunni community arming/defending itself, that the Sunnis were using al-Qaeda in Iraq for their own political ends, and could be bought off. At the price of further de-stabilization/fragmentation of the government. That war could re-ignite as America withdraws.

But PC’s War #2 (Shia control over Sunni) is bound to re-start as America withdraws. Both sides are armed and itching for a fight.

War #3 obviously holds the potential for destabilization of the entire Middle East and Southwestern Asia. With the possibility of Iranian backed asymmetrical counterattacks (to say an Israeli or US strike) from Afghanistan to Palestine and everywhere in between (Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria).

Update on Livni

From the Daily Telegraph Con Coughlin:

As foreign minister, she has followed closely the tortuous negotiation process led by the Europeans to persuade Iran to halt its uranium-enrichment programme, and has concluded that the Iranians are only interested in stringing out the process for as long as possible so that they can carry on with developing their nuclear programme.

She recently told an Israeli cabinet meeting: “The Iranians have no intention of halting their nuclear programme.” That will certainly not be the case if Mrs Livni, who is said to have previously worked for Israel’s Mossad intelligence service, becomes prime minister.

And if the Iranians have any sense, they should take note of the important changes taking place in Jerusalem.

The article makes some claims that seem er, telegraphed and overblown as to the development of Iran’s capabilities. [Coughlin is a neocon mouthpiece].  Nevertheless the reporting on Livni seems to gel with other reporting on the subject. 

 

Published in: on August 4, 2008 at 6:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Review of The Truth About Syria

[Photo of Syrian Leader Bashar al Asad, courtesy of Flickr poster madmonk, Creative Commons License).

Back in January I linked to a review of a book called The Truth About Syria by author Barry Rubin (review was written by Lee Harris).

Prof. Rubin noticed that post, contacted me, and graciously offered to send me a copy of the book. It arrived about 2 weeks ago and I just finished reading it. This review is only going to deal at the level of ideas, policies in the book.

For background, here is an interview with Prof. Rubin outlining the basic thesis of the book. I should also say that readers of my blog will know that my views don’t line up totally with Rubin’s. That being said, I highly recommend the book. Agree or disagree with his conclusions, it gives an insight into the mindset of the Syrian regime that penetrates through the fog of disinformation often out there on the subject.

The central achievement of the book in my mind (along the lines of what Lee Harris said) is that Rubin understands that the activities of the Syrian regime are rational from the perspective of a clan-based dictatorship that seeks its own survival.

It is instructive in this regard I think to compare Rubin’s work (and its subject Syria) with John Bradley’s recent excellent book Inside Egypt. The takeaway from each is that both countries are mired in economic stagnation, omnipresent corruption & political repression. In Egypt this has translated into a near total de-legitimization of the regime. For Bradley, contemporary Egypt resembles most closely Iran in the final days of the Shah, i.e. it’s poised for a potential revolution.

The Syrian regime however as Rubin demonstrates (though all of the same factors are in play) is gaining strength and legitimacy domestically. How can this be? The answer lies for Rubin in the fact that Syria unlike Egypt did not take a deal with Israel and America. It has positioned itself as the oppositional force of Arab (and increasingly Islamist) resistance against the hated West. Therefore, according to Rubin, it is in Syria’s rational interest (from the perspective of regime maintenance) to continue to play its long running game of cat and mouse with the West, appearing on the one hand rational and open to dialog and compromise and on the other obfuscating and shuttling any such deals. Plus exporting terrorism and de-stabilization abroad.

Because if Syria struck a deal with Israel and the US (the Golan Heights for recognition of Israel) overnight it would become Egypt. If it opens its economy the regime will fall. If it dispenses with its irredentism it will fall. As proof of this argument, the Mubarak regime in Egypt is increasingly using anti-Shia rhetoric which borders on racism (i.e. Shia Arabs are not really Arabs, they are Persian 5th Column) in order in a sense to revive a Syrian-style opposition and garner support for the regime. It however seems not be working and is pretty transparently fraudulent. With Syria on the other hand, it’s legit in a number of ways (esp. support of Hezbollah).

Now I have to say that’s a depressing conclusion, but try as I might hard to disagree with it. Relative to Israel that is.

My principal disagreement with the book however is the larger frame of Syria as part of an Iranian Syrian-Hezbollah-Hamas axis versus the so-called moderate Arab regimes, e.g. Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The moderate Arab regimes are dictatorships as well so I don’t see them as in any way moderate.

Relative to Iraq, Syria has managed to keep relations (often friendly) with all sides. As a country of mixed Shia, Sunni, (Christians) and Kurds, the Syrian regime has connections with the Sunni insurgency, the Kurdish regional government even though Syria has its own fears of Kurdish separatism (and therefore can act as a go-between for Turkey/Kurdistan), the Shia government and even the Sadrist movement, not to mention Sunni and some Christian refugees from Iraq.

Syria and Iran’s games in Iraq overlap in some measure (fomenting anti-Americanism) and in others don’t (Syria is much closer to the Sunni populations than is Iran which is the hated enemy of the Iraqi Sunni. I think on Iraq Iran and Syria are going to have be dealt with like it or not. The installed regime in Iraq consists of a great many former exile who spent years in Syria and/or Iran. (e.g. Dawa party of PM Maliki). They are going to have the kind of influence and relations with these countries that the US does not want them to have and nothing is going to alter that particular reality. Syria is positioning itself to act as a mediator between say Saudi Arabia/Jordan and the Iraqi government.

Whether that difference could actually be exploited in the policy realm by the West is an entirely different question. But as the US withdraws from Iraq, Syria is going to have increased stature (already does but itwill only increase) and a regime clearly more friendly to it than the hated Hussein. In some fashion or another that is going to have to be dealt with and yet to Syria’s West–support of Hamas in Palestine, Hezbollah in Lebanon, resistance against Israel–the basic dynamic Rubin lays out remains it would seem unchanged.

Published in: on August 1, 2008 at 9:28 am  Comments (2)  
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VDH at it Again

I really don’t know where to begin with this Victor Davis Hanson piece. It is contains so many errors, breezy unsubstantiated assertions, and relatively minor truths conflated into enormous macro-changing realities as to be almost impossible to criticize. But I’ll see what I can do.

The first thing to say is watch this discussion with Nir Rosen and Michael Ware the two Western journalists with the contact on the ground in Iraq (the third would be Counterpunch’s Patrick Cockburn). Rosen an Arabic speaking American has been the only Western journalist to really break through to the local Iraqi level. Ware has more contacts with the US military.

The picture they paint is one of reduced violence yes but largely due to 1) the American military undertaking a shift in realizing the basic fragmentation of the country and the recognition of the militias (The Awakening for the Sunnis, the freeze with the Mahdi Army, and the Badr Brigade and Peshmerga dominance of the ISF) and 2)the ethnic cleansing essentially completed in 2006/7.

What both make clear–contrary the entire premise of VDH’s piece–is that it is just a matter of time before these guys go at it again after the US leaves. The Awakening Sunnis see their enemy–and tell anyone who asks (e.g. Ware and Rosen)–as the Shia government which for them is an Iranian transplant. (more…)

Parsing McCain Re: Iraq

Demophilus writing in The Postmodern Conservative has an interesting post up on McCain’s Iraq position that I’d like to jostle with as a frame for this post.

D. comments on this video linked by Patrick Appel splicing together various McCain soundbytes on Iraq and has this to say:

Am I the only one who actually likes McCain more after watching it? By that I mean that with the partial exception of the “100 years” comment I actually think McCain has fairly consistently argued that adhering to an artificial timetable for withdrawal, regardless of the facts on the ground, would be imprudent. When he talks about staying for a longer period of time, McCain seems to to do so only with large caveats — most notably, that Americans aren’t being killed.

As to the first question, quite possibly.  And as to the latter point, McCain never made clear how you could have a major US presence in Iraq without major casualties/large numbers of attacks.  But otherwise and contra some on the left blogosphere, I think Demo. is right on this one.  McCain has pretty much always said his position is based on conditions.

Demophilus appreciates this (so-called) conditions on the ground based approach versus Obama’s which is a timetable come hell or high water (er low water in the Iraqi context).  [Worth noting that Obama's opinion is no doubt based on his interpretation of the facts/conditions on the ground.  Putting more emphasis on the political/strategic side while McCain emphasizes more the tactical/military side but anyway the CW is this sharp dichotomy Demophilus adheres to so I'll run with it].

But granting McCain’s relative consistency on the “my strategy is victory which is based on conditions on the ground position”–and there will be howls from others that I shouldn’t grant this but I think it’s more or less accurate–Demophilus and anyone who thinks this is a point in McCain’s favor is missing a fundamental point and is sadly mistaken in my opinion.  There’s something far more worrisome than McCain’s supposed inconsistency on timelines (contra some on the left).

Namely McCain’s definition of victory and his complete misread of the current political situation in Iraq.  While McCain has been somewhat vague on the issue of what exactly constitutes victory in Iraq (in his mind) unless he comes out specifically and says otherwise, I think the baseline is Fred Kagan’s definition of victory for Iraq.  [Because Kagan is one of the chief architects of the surge McCain constantly trumpets].

That definition is as follows:

Success will have been achieved when Iraq is a stable, representative state that controls its own territory, is oriented toward the West, and is an ally in the struggle against militant Islamism, whether Sunni or Shia.

And by reference to militant Shia Islam is clearly meant Iran.  Hence for victory to be dawning in Iraq, Iranian influence has to weakening in Iraq.

One problem.  And it’s a biggie.  That ain’t happening.  Even Crocker admitted as much to Obama in his recent Senate testimony.

Worse–McCain thinks it is.  Here is the transcript of his interview yesterday on This Week.

I quote from page 2 of the transcript (my emphasis):

MCCAIN: Now, the benefits are enormous of a stable ally in the region, of a country that is a friend of ours, a brake on Iranian influence — certainly a brake on al Qaeda and other jihadist organizations.

Hello Charlie.   First as proof of my Kagan baseline definition of Iraq, compare McCain’s definition with the one linked above.  Essentially equivalent.

Second the obvious point that the Shia were never and would never be fans of al-Qaeda (and neither would most Sunnis for that matter nor the Kurds, not to mention Saddam was not in bed with them and that one gets eliminated.  Surge or no, the Iraqis were going to kill al-Qaeda.  The Sunnis only had a devil’s bargain with AQI prior to the Awakening in order to use them to fight the Americans and the Shia.  As soon as AQI turned their guns on the Sunnis, it was lights out for them.  So take that one off McCain’s scorecard.

But thirdly and most importantly, a brake on Iranian influence?

The current government is dominated by Maliki’s Dawa Party and the Islamic Supreme Iraqi Council, the former hid out in Iran during Saddam’s reign, the latter of which was CREATED in Iran and some of whose upper tier leadership receive pension payments from Iran.  Maliki canned the SOFA argument in large part because he went to Iran and they told him he couldn’t sign it.  Iran brokered the deal between Maliki and Sadr.  Iran is pouring millions into the infrastructure of Southern Iraq aiding the massive increase in Shia pilgrimage lanes (in both directions).  Sadr is rumored to be studying in Iran.

And when the US draws down and the Sunni world refuses to accept a Shia Iraq (as will inevitably happen), who do you think in the whole wide world is going to be Shia Iraq’s biggest ally?  Take a wild guess.  Whether we stay for 16 months or 5, 10, 15 more years, that is going to be the case.

A brake on Iranian influence??? Hate to say it (and this isn’t an endorsement by any stretch), the brake on Iranian influence was uh….Saddam Hussein.  That’s why we goaded him into a war with Iran back in the day.  And why the Saudis, Egyptians, and Jordanians, up until the end, even though they didn’t like the guy de facto supported him (and hence disapproved of our invasion) because they saw Hussein (correctly) as a….you guessed it….buffer against Iran.

Knocking Hussein & the Baath party out was inevitably going to lead to massive Iranian influence spreading west.

The central flaw with McCain on Iraq is not that he is now supposedly flip-flopping and upping his sense of how quickly victory is being achieved in Iraq–it is that his definition of victory in Iraq is unrealizable.  It will never happen.  So rather than admit the dissonance between his utopian vision for Iraq and the current reality he is simply conflated the two and sees Iraq more quickly becoming the utopia.  Either A)he’s being totally cynical or B)he’s believed his own bullshit.

Given that I don’t have a very high opinion of McCain’s understanding of the politics/culture/history of Iraq and the region, I tend to think it’s the latter.  Readers however can decide for themselves which is worse/more likely but neither bodes well for a man claiming to be the competent person for head of the Executive Branch of the US/Commander-in-Chief.

Published in: on July 28, 2008 at 10:21 am  Comments (1)  
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Obama’s Berlin Speech

The full text of the speech is here.

My general sense is that it was a (somewhat) interesting failure. I’m not really sure why he gave it–nor am I sure if he knew why he was doing it. But it was a sort of different try. I’m all for failed experiments in that mold.

The right of course is going ballistic over his use of the “world citizen” trope, which philosophically I’m basically in agreement with Poulos. However, the tired right-wing politicization of everything and its historical amnesia, again rears its ugly head deconstructing their own critique because St. Ronald of Reagan actually used the hated phrase (“citizens of the world”) in a SOTU speech. (h/t KB via Yglesias). Oops.

Obviously the Obama paeans to ending global warming, curing all poverty, never again allowing genocide, played well to the crowd and are largely some hot air.

That stuff aside for the moment (bc like i said I still think it was overall a failure), Obama correctly warned that the globalized world we have created can not last so long as the gains are so disproportionately dispersed. The system can only maintain itself in that fashion by systematic, massive violence which undercuts everything the better angels of the West stand for–opportunity, freedom, rule of law/justice, and the like.

But this part actually I found quite sharp

The terrorists of September 11th plotted in Hamburg and trained in Kandahar and Karachi before killing thousands from all over the globe on American soil…

Poorly secured nuclear material in the former Soviet Union, or secrets from a scientist in Pakistan could help build a bomb that detonates in Paris. The poppies in Afghanistan become the heroin in Berlin.

It was a very intelligent frame (imo) to place the struggle against terrorism as a parallel to the battle of ideas against Communism (against the backdrop of the site/anniversary of the Berlin Air Lift). Bush and the neocons mythic belief in democracy (if you assume for the moment it was sincere) already held that people all the time, in every place and age want freedom (hint: they don’t, at least not in the way the West defines freedom). Hence there was no need to argue on a idea-plane for rule of law. Nor was there any worry that committing crimes (e.g. torture) that undercut that standing would reduce the desire for freedom in the rest of the world.

Obama is going back to a road opened up after 9/11 that Bush never took–a united front against terrorism.  Rather than and out and out attempt to unilaterally impose an American century via imperial trouncing around the Middle  East.

Obama posits a view that learned the lessons of the Cold War (containment, the priority of values, and the need for the US to employ its power through institutions/alliances) without actually living in the dark mindset of the Cold War–the paranoia, realizing that the terrorists are not the Soviets, not within reach/have the capacity take over the world. Its post-Cold War in that its not seeing for example, the primary lens (a la Bush-Cheney-Wolfowitz) as nation states but rather the seams/gaps in globalization that trans-national groups can exploit.

Obama is still too enamored I think of the notion that poverty breeds terrorism. Therefore his references to ending it. I understand it’s a selling point, but it doesn’t really add up at least relative to al-Qaeda. Their beef is US foreign policy plain and simple.  I think you could make the point that such poverty is a blight and must be engaged simply on a moral level not vis a vis terrorism.  Otherwise it can back door “national” Islamist movements into al-Qaeda.

Still at the very least Obama understands that the fight against these groups involves thinking about actual objective realities and learning to live with less-than-ideal scenarios, versus McCain who is lost in Cosmic Good/Evil Land as well as the notion that the fight depend simply on emotional constructs like “no surrender” and strategies based on “victory”–and therefore (falsely and in a pathetic manner) accusing your opponent of seeking to lose wars. [The war was won "my friend", the peace was lost].

McCain’s Self-Contradictory Imperialism on Iraq

As Eric Martin (along with others) has pointed out the McCain campaign has officially come out in favor of the neocon/neo-paleocon position of outright colonialism in Iraq.

From Michael Goldfarb, McCain’s blogger/spokesman:

The deputy director of communications for the McCain 2008 campaign, Michael Goldfarb, yesterday said, “John McCain has said he will only support a withdrawal based on conditions on the ground. It is our belief that the Iraqi leaders share that view. The disposition of a sovereign, democratically elected government is one of the conditions that will be taken into account.” [emphasis added]

The term for this setup is satrapy.  It is exactly the same thing that the British tried in Iraq–to smashing success.

But I haven’t seen any bloggers point to an even deeper inconsistency/out-right contradiction in this statement by McCain.  Namely McCain is on record (via the Fred Kagans of the world) as defining victory in Iraq as a “democratically elected trans-ethnic stable strong central government in Iraq that is an American ally/Iranian foe in the war on terror and a beacon of hope to the Middle East.”

Forget for the moment that such a dream is in fact a utopia (i.e. exists nowhere), notice how McCain’s own downgrading of the importance of the Iraqi government can’t work with his goal of a strong Iraqi government. In other words, McCain’s own campaign/policy undercuts his own goal in the region.

At the very least, the definition of the right on victory should be redefined as everything above plus “and agrees with the right-wing US policy stance.”  Even more utopian in nature, but reality won’t stop McCain & Co., because they have a strategy of “victory”.

Yet again the neocon right can not come to grips with the fact that the US can not simply make people do what it wants–especially by writing more op-eds and going on Cable News–that others have their own interests (not always aligned with ours), and will act in a rational manner relative to their own interests.  They will act in ways that they think best help achieve their goals (which are not our goals).  Which yes (horror of horrors) may involve using others (like say the US) and telling them what they want to hear but not actually having the same set of objectives.

The ISCI/Dawa relationship to the US has always been to get training, arm them, have them kill some Sunnis, help with their takeover of Baghdad, force them to install a pro-Shia government (Sistani’s call for elections), so that they can then go about their dominance of the place.  And they want to both stay allied to Iran and yet not become a pure Iranian puppet–and have at times played the US to decrease Iranian influence and Iran to decrease/diminish US influence.  In other words, they have played a fairly smart game.   See how little of their goals line up with Bush/McCain’s goals for Iraq.  And you see why at some point, the house of cards was going to get called by the Shia and that time has come.

Which is why Max Boot’s inanity in today’s Washington Post (as further evidence of the new neocon meme of imperialism) doesn’t get off the ground.

Rather than seeing a pattern of “ambiguous statements” by Maliki and foolish public posturing, you see a guy who has continually wanted the US out and is closer to Iran than the US, always has been, always will. And given that Maliki has always seen himself as the protector of the Shia (not the Prime Minister of Iraq) this would suggest that this has consistently been the view of the majority of Iraqi Shia (i.e. US out).

Published in: on July 23, 2008 at 7:59 am  Comments (2)  
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Today’s Scare the Bleep Out of You Opinion on Bombing Iran

A twofer today one from Marty Peretz in The New Republic who links to this op-ed in the NyTimes by Benny Morris.

Both articles assert that Israel is heading towards an attack with Iran. That the consensus across the Israeli political spectrum is bombs away. [There are other reports which state that the Israelis are hampered by needing US air-space which the US may not grant.]

There a number of assumptions, each and every one of which you must think correct go down the bombs away road of Peterz/Morris.

1)Iran isn’t doing what they say they are doing (which is build peaceful nuclear energy not a bomb).

MP:

No one is especially eager for a military assault on Iran’s maturing nuclear capacity. But almost no one doubts that Iran wants that capacity to be military, and so everyone rational is forced into thinking about how to curb–better yet, destroy–that appetite.

Starting off a sentence with “no one is especially eager for a military assault” inevitably leads to “but I will lay out the case for doing so nonetheless.” True to form is Peretez. Now the “almost no one” who doubts Iran’s nuclear ambition would be The UN Atomic Energy Agency and the US National Intelligence Estimate, but never mind that.

2)So assuming one is true (FSOA) the next assumption is economic sanctions won’t work (which I actually think is correct). Because there is no carrot involved. The sticks are either sanctions are we bomb you. Not exactly a great bargaining offer.

3)Taking regime change off the table, i.e. Grand Diplomatic Bargain could never work. They don’t even raise the possibility that this could even be countenanced, much less the need to criticize this approach, assuming as all like-minded “rational” people pushing civilian deaths as a way to stop er civilian deaths

4)A bombing could work:

MP:

Bombing the atomic facilities, dispersed and underground, would not be easy. But my information tells me that it is eminently doable.

Ah yes that great font of (secret) knowledge: my information.  But two can play at the this game for “my information” (which I got from The Google) tells me differently.

Moreover:

The consensus of which I write has emerged due to the failure of international diplomacy and coercion to do the job. The Israeli consensus is also exactly what a consensus is supposed to be: more or less, across the board.

In true hawk fashion the “international diplomacy” in question consisted of essentially all sticks (no carrots) and never bargaining in good faith. Never dealing with the issues the countries actually have to deal with–in other words, there was no diplomacy. It was never tried with any effort or intention. Other than do what we say and then we won’t sanction and/or bomb you to smithereens.

Morris has a decidedly even more deranged/pessimistic view of the matter.

The problem is that Israel’s military capacities are far smaller than America’s and, given the distances involved, the fact that the Iranian sites are widely dispersed and underground, and Israel’s inadequate intelligence, it is unlikely that the Israeli conventional forces, even if allowed the use of Jordanian and Iraqi airspace (and perhaps, pending American approval, even Iraqi air strips) can destroy or perhaps significantly delay the Iranian nuclear project.

But he still says they should give it the green light. (No matter!!!). The results of which are (I s–t you not) the double bank shot theory that this failed first bombing run will bring forth a massive Iranian counter attack which will then give Israel the grounds to (wait for it) DROP NUKES ON IRAN. [Remembering this is the "liberal" NyTimes that printed this horror].

The other option after the failed bombing would be like every other country in the post-nuclear age to live with MAD (mutually assured destruction). Nukes=ending great power war.

But that leads to Assumption #5, the Iranian regime consists of crazy irrational Muslims so this won’t work (they are too mad for MAD as it were):

Benny Morris (my italics):

Given the fundamentalist, self-sacrificial mindset of the mullahs who run Iran, Israel knows that deterrence may not work as well as it did with the comparatively rational men who ran the Kremlin and White House during the cold war. They are likely to use any bomb they build, both because of ideology and because of fear of Israeli nuclear pre-emption. Thus an Israeli nuclear strike to prevent the Iranians from taking the final steps toward getting the bomb is probable. The alternative is letting Tehran have its bomb. In either case, a Middle Eastern nuclear holocaust would be in the cards.

Yeah those rational men like Khruschev who smacked a shoe on the desk and yelled “We will bury you.” If only we some rational dudes like that in Iran things would be peachy. WTF? Double and Triple WTF?

I mean, gee whiz if only….

Alternatively, if the views of Benny Morris do in fact in any way shape or form mirror those of the supposed Israeli gov’t/military consensus, then buy your stock in oil now (it’s gonna jump big time) and get Rapture Ready for the apocalypse will be at hand.

Update I: For the reader wanting more, I recommend Joe Klein’s takedown of Morris.

Published in: on July 21, 2008 at 2:21 pm  Comments (5)  
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