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> Best Policy Toward Iran, Real diplomacy, air strike, or deter?
TedN5
post Apr 5 2006, 06:22 PM
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From the inception of the so called "War on Terror" key officials in this administration have sought to orchestrate a confrontation with Iran, despite its assistance in Afghanistan and neutrality in Iraq. With respect to the nuclear issue, the US refused to meet directly with Iranian officials, then agreed to allow the E3 to negotiate but refused to put anything on the table like lowering unilateral sanctions or security guarantees. US diplomats muscled a report out of the IAEA that said that inspectors could find no evidence of a nuclear weapons program but that they could not provide assurance that such a program might exist. This lack of evidence evidence was then used to get the Security Council to issue a weak resolution basically returning the issue to the IAEA for more examination and another report. Now more and more observers are convinced that those in control of the US military intend to attack Iranian nuclear facilities between now and the 2006 elections or shortly thereafter.

In a Cogent Article in the American Conservative Christopher Layne examines the administration's position (taking it at face value and using a far less cynical approach than I would apply) and concludes that diplomacy is the best course of action but that even a nuclear armed Iran is far better than an attack by the US or Israel.

QUOTE
Iran is in no position to slug it out toe-to-toe against the U.S. in a conventional military conflict, but it has political, economic, and even diplomatic cards that it can use to make it very costly to the United States to employ military force in an attempt to halt or delay Iran’s nuclear-weapons program. If the U.S. does use force against Iran it will be opposed diplomatically by China, Russia, and much of Europe. More important, a military strike against Iran would unleash forces that could trigger a true clash of civilizations, and would make the Persian Gulf and Middle East even more unstable and more anti-American than they already are. Simply put—unpalatable though it may be—the military option is not viable with respect to Iran.

Still, although a nuclear-armed Iran is not a pleasant prospect, neither is it an intolerable one. Tehran won’t be the first distasteful regime to acquire nuclear weapons. The United States has adjusted to similar situations in the past and can do so this time. Rather than preventive war and regime change, the best policies for the U.S. with respect to Iran are the tried and true ones: containment, deterrence, and diplomatic engagement.


Should the US negotiate directly with the Iranians and offer security guarantees?

Is the possibility of a nuclear armed Iran a better prospect than an air strike on Iranian nuclear facilities?

What are your predictions of the overall consequences of an air strike on Iran?
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DaytonRocker
post Apr 5 2006, 07:03 PM
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I really don't know the best course of action because I don't believe anything I'm hearing so far. The same people who were accidentally 100% wrong about Iraq seem to be doing the same thing as 3 years ago with Iran. We're back at the "imminent threat" stage (or words to those effect) while Hans Blix is saying Iran is years away.

As far as I'm concerned, we're still hearing lies. From who, I don't know. But until someone establishes credibility, I think we do nothing except find facts.

But honestly, if I were the leader of Iran, I'd get nukes as fast as possible to protect myself from the US.
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Fma
post Apr 5 2006, 07:17 PM
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Iran is a very tricky issue. The real problem, in my opinion, is the refusal from both sides to try to understand eachother.

Lets look at the situation from Iran's point of view:

Iran is located in a troublesome region. Middle East is the most unstable region in the world. Furthermore, they are not far from Israel, a very belligerent country who has in the past half century, expanded its borders by war. (Israel has nuclear weapons.)

In the "Western" (West Europe and North Atlantic) world, there is a growing anti-Islamic sentiment. More and more people today support the "Blast-em-into-bits" approach to religious fundamentalism. Iran, being a country ruled by religious law will definately feel threatened.

Most importantly, in Iraq there are thousands of American soldiers. An American presence frightens Iran because in the past; America has armed Iraq with WMDs to use them use against Iran. America has worked very had to destroy Iran's regime. They want to have a deterrant.

Lastly, Iran wants to become a "regional power". When there is a nuclear armed country in the same area, it is hard to become a power unless you have the bomb too.

Now, the "Western" Point of View:

Iran has a regime that supresses the freedom of speech. They are also suspected of supporting fundamentalist terrorism. Their president has declared that Israel must be erased from the map. If they have the bomb, they might go berserk and bomb Israel.

Also, Iran is mostly Shia. They would love to see a sympathetic Shia government there. Iran is a threat to the Western intrests in the Middle East.


----

Finding a solution in Iran is hard but war must be avoided at any costs. A war in Iran would feed the mistrust and anger between the "West" and the "Islamic World". It would also feed the religious terrorism and make terrorists find recruits and funding much more easily.

The only course of action I can see is diplomacy and negotiations.

This post has been edited by Fma: Apr 5 2006, 07:19 PM
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Amlord
post Apr 5 2006, 07:33 PM
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Should the US negotiate directly with the Iranians and offer security guarantees?

Is Iran's nuclear ambitions a UN-Iran issue or a global issue? What type of guarantees would Iran accept from the United States?

QUOTE(Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad)
they say it is not possible to have a world without the United States and Zionism. But you know that this is a possible goal and slogan


This is a global security issue, not a bilateral one. Who will advocate a bilateral approach instead of a multinational one given the results in Iraq? If we negotiate bilaterally and talks break down, are we free to attack then? I doubt it.

So what's to be gained from a bi-lateral negotiation between a country that has deceived us in the past and who mistrusts us now? We have no faith that they will keep their word and they hate us. We need a third party for this.

Is the possibility of a nuclear armed Iran a better prospect than an air strike on Iranian nuclear facilities?
Given how fundamentalist Iran is, a nuclear armed Iran is a direct, imminent, and constant threat to Israel's existence.

By the terms of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran cannot develop nuclear weapons. It insists that it not pursuing them. It comes down to credibility, something that is seriously lacking in Tehran.

The other key consideration (as mentioned in the cited article) is whether or not Iran would partner with terrorists. Imagine this scenario: Iran develops and builds a nuclear bomb in secret. Instead of testing it (which would be detectable by us), it deploys it via terrorists. It can then deny having a bomb and thus deny any involvement in the attack. Meanwhile, people die.

I am not saying that this is a likely scenario, but it is certainly one that the President and his advisors must consider.

The article's example with 1950s-60s China was a good one. Mao was seen as a threat. But Mao, after going nuclear, toned down his rhetoric. An interesting example.

But I disagree with the author when he says the following:
QUOTE
Notwithstanding the near-hysterical rhetoric of the Bush administration and the neoconservatives, Iran is not going to give nuclear weapons to terrorists. This is not to say that Tehran has not abetted groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon or Hamas in the Palestinian Authority. However, there are good reasons that states—even those that have ties to terrorists—draw the line at giving them nuclear weapons or other WMD: if the terrorists were to use these weapons against the United States or its allies, the weapons could be traced back to the donor state, which would be at risk of annihilation by an American retaliatory strike. Iran’s leaders have too much at stake to run this risk. Even if one believed the administration’s hype about the indifference of rogue-state leaders to the fate of their populations, they care very much about the survival of their regimes, which is why deterrence works.


How does this account for Iran's current game of chicken with the US and the UN? Isn't it currently risking "annihilation" with its actions? If it is willing to risk this fate in the development stage, how can we say they will not risk it in the deployment stage, especially given the spotty intelligence record of the US on other WMD issues? How could we convince anyone that it was Iran that attacked us if half of downtown Manhattan was gone tomorrow? Who would believe us?

What are your predictions of the overall consequences of an air strike on Iran?

I don't think this will happen without a broad consensus internationally. I do think we have learned something from Iraq. Iran is an important source of oil for most of the world and any attack will disrupt that flow of oil. This is a tricky situation and one that we are not in a particularly good position to deal with.
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TedN5
post Apr 5 2006, 10:11 PM
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QUOTE
(Amlord)
This is a global security issue, not a bilateral one. Who will advocate a bilateral approach instead of a multinational one given the results in Iraq? If we negotiate bilaterally and talks break down, are we free to attack then? I doubt it.


The issue of negotiations is not one of bilateralism versus multi-lateralism. If the US would agree to participate with the E3 in negotiating with Iran and sincerely be willing to offer an end to our sanctions together with real security guarantees for Iran, it would make a world of difference. The problem is that the US has what Iran wants and the E3 don't have anything to offer other than a few economic concessions. It's the same old administration line that the US tried with NK of not talking to the "evil doer" until that proved totally unproductive. Other international forums could be organized for the same purpose so long as the US sincerely participates and seeks a real solution rather than capitulation from Iran. So far the kind of multi-laterism the administration has promoted is an effort to get a multilateral condemnation of Iran not a multilateral solution. It's reminiscent of the run up to the Iraq war when they tried to use the UN to provide justification for an invasion they had planned for months if not years.
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Wertz
post Apr 6 2006, 07:42 AM
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Should the US negotiate directly with the Iranians and offer security guarantees?

No. The United States - especially its executive branch - should shut the hell up and start minding its own damned business. We - under the Bush administration - are the greatest threat to world peace in human history and this administration is the greatest threat to our own security since the country was born. IRAN HAS NO NUCLEAR AMBITIONS - and, even if she did, it is not our concern. In the unlikely event that Iran ever breaks an international agreement, it is for international bodies to contend with. It is time for this unilateral nonsense to END. And time for every member of the Bush administration to cut out their tongues at the root. The world has had enough of us - and rightly so.

Is the possibility of a nuclear armed Iran a better prospect than an air strike on Iranian nuclear facilities?

A thousand times yes. We have no business whatsoever having anything to do with Iran.

What are your predictions of the overall consequences of an air strike on Iran?

I certainly wouldn't put it past our arrogant, deluded, "infallible" leadership, but the results would be catastrophic on a global scale. Not, of course, that such a prospect would stop them. There is no reason on God's earth for us to be even remotely considering air strikes. The fact that such a notion is self-destructive insanity makes it all the more likely that this adminsitration will try it.

There is no possible argument that could justify such an attack by the US - even if Iran were pursuing a nuclear weapons program - which she is NOT.

QUOTE(Amlord @ Apr 5 2006, 02:33 PM)
Given how fundamentalist Iran is, a nuclear armed Iran is a direct, imminent, and constant threat to Israel's existence.

So what? That's Israel's damned problem. And I am sick to death of our foreign policy being dictated by the needs of one of the most frighteningly hawkish countries the world has ever known. Besides, a nuclear armed Israel is a direct, imminent, and constant threat to Iran's existence. And Israel, unlike Iran, actually has nukes. In a just world, we'd be considering air strikes against Israel, not Iran.

QUOTE(Amlord @ Apr 5 2006, 02:33 PM)
The other key consideration.. is whether or not Iran would partner with terrorists.... I am not saying that this is a likely scenario, but it is certainly one that the President and his advisors must consider.
*

Let them "consider" to their hearts' content. Let them consider astronomically unlikely terror scenarios. Let hem consider how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Let them consider the decibel level of trees falling in forests with no one to hear them. But if they act on their considerations in relation to Iran, we are all in mortal peril.


This post has been edited by Wertz: Apr 6 2006, 07:44 AM
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Vermillion
post Apr 6 2006, 08:50 AM
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I generally agree with WerTz sentiment, if not with his specifics.

I do think Iran has nuclear ambitions, but whereas Wertz thinks their nuclear ambitions are irrelevant, I think their nuclear power status is simply inevitable.

The idea that the US can go around pushing the nuclear genie back in the bottle, as it gets easier and easier for any second rate power to build them, is a bit absurd. We need a new dynamic to deal with Iran and all the other nations likely to develop nuclear weapons in the next 15-20 years.

The way to convince nations to not develop or t least develop under scrutiny nuclear weapons, is NOT to threaten them with destruction. Any 5 year old will tell you that logically this can only have the exect opposite effect. Nations do not develop nukes as expensive garden gnomes, they develop them to ensure their defences against any attack, or (hopefully not) to give them the means of projectable power.

We need to find a way to ensure that inevitably developed nukes are used only for the former, and not the latter reasons. I mean seriously, if a technologically backwards, poor nation like North Korea can develop these weapons, so can anyone. Threats of violence will only escalate the problem.


I do agree with Wertz on one other issue, this need to proactively leap to Israel's supposed defence at all times is absurd and without precident in modern history.

Now don't get me wrong, Israel is a US ally, and the US should treat it as such including defence if need be. But think of all the actions the US has taken in the last little while justified by the 'defence of Israel', then ask yourself, exactly how many times has Israel ASKED for the assistance of the US to solve its problems, or aid in its defence?

This supposedly 'proactive' defence of Israel is just a convenient excuse for the US to meddle in the Middle East...
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Mrs. Pigpen
post Apr 6 2006, 01:20 PM
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Should the US negotiate directly with the Iranians and offer security guarantees?

I'd say yes, but the Iranian government has already stated that they reject such guarantees as "condescending."

Is the possibility of a nuclear armed Iran a better prospect than an air strike on Iranian nuclear facilities?

Yes. Much more likely. I doubt that there will be air strikes.

What are your predictions of the overall consequences of an air strike on Iran?

Like I said above, I doubt there will be air strikes. The consequences would be dire for US international relations, as well as likely leading to a terribly bloody war in Iraq (Iran is already responsible for many of the IEDs over there) and any potential "gains" irrelevant as those facilities are numerous, hidden well underground, and would be rebuilt anyway.

I know I've stated this before on other threads. The primary issue here is the violation of the NPT (which Iran itself has admitted to, so please let's not debate that one again). If we accept Iran as a nuclear power, we will do so at the risk of compromising all other NPT agreements worldwide. This is the underlying major problem.

This post has been edited by Mrs. Pigpen: Apr 6 2006, 01:23 PM
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AuthorMusician
post Apr 6 2006, 02:06 PM
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QUOTE
The other key consideration (as mentioned in the cited article) is whether or not Iran would partner with terrorists. Imagine this scenario: Iran develops and builds a nuclear bomb in secret. Instead of testing it (which would be detectable by us), it deploys it via terrorists. It can then deny having a bomb and thus deny any involvement in the attack. Meanwhile, people die.


Since we are speculating here, how about this scenario:

Iran develops nukes and gives them to terrorists in the form of suitcase bombs. The crude and untested bombs blow up and glassify Iran, or wherever the terrorists hang. End of problem.

Except the fallout that follows and a big uproar worldwide. Oh yeah, clerics with three eyes and fourteen hands.

Frankly, the only way to deal with Iran is diplomacy. An embargo on Levis? Aggressively pursue alternative energy? High tarrifs on Persian rugs and cats?

Air strikes? Um, seems unlikely to my mind. But then my mind isn't in control of things. Could happen. Wouldn't be surprised.

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DaytonRocker
post Apr 6 2006, 03:09 PM
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QUOTE(AuthorMusician @ Apr 6 2006, 09:06 AM)
Iran develops nukes and gives them to terrorists in the form of suitcase bombs. The crude and untested bombs blow up and glassify Iran, or wherever the terrorists hang. End of problem.

Actually, you've exemplified the absurdity of the notion that a country would develop/keep WMD and give/sell them to terrorists. It is a retarded premise that is continually touted as yet another reason to attack foreign nations.

But your example provides another aspect I really hadn't considered. The problem with the "give WMD to terrorists" is the assumption you can trust a terrorist. What is easier? Get a suitcase nuke and try to sneak it into the United States to blow us up, or stay local and use it for blackmail? Get tons of cash...concessions...more WMD...the list is endless. Saddam would not trust his inner circle with his whereabouts - let alone a terrorist group.

But to add to this absurdity, the accidents that could happen make this idea even more useless. Oooops.....we let bio and chemical weapons out. Ooops...we just nuked Tehran by accident.

I will however, diagree with two points made here. One, I do not believe Iran is developing nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. I consider it justified that they need nukes to protect themselves from us. It's worked for Korea quite nicely. They're sitting on too much oil to make peaceful reasons plausible. Secondly, Israel is not "hawkish". Israel has been under the threat of extermination for over a half century. I think it is morally and strategically correct to help them protect themselves. The choice the world is trying to make for us, is to abandon Israel and let the Arabs finish what Hitler couldn't. As someone stated, if the Arabs dropped their weapons, there would be peace in the mideast. If Israel dropped their weapons, there would be no more Jews.
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Lesly
post Apr 6 2006, 03:29 PM
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QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen @ Apr 6 2006, 08:20 AM)
The primary issue here is the violation of the NPT (which Iran itself has admitted to, so please let's not debate that one again). If we accept Iran as a nuclear power, we will do so at the risk of compromising all other NPT agreements worldwide. This is the underlying major problem.
*

I admit I skipped the thread on Iran and its nuclear aspirations, but is Iran in violation of the NPT or is it exploiting existing loopholes?

QUOTE(Slate)
Here's where the first loophole appears. The technology for producing nuclear energy is the same as the technology for producing nuclear weapons. To convert from peaceful to non-peaceful use takes only enriching the uranium or reprocessing the fuel rods into plutonium. The NPT's negotiators knew this. But they counted on two impediments.

So, the Iranian mullahs can argue that under the treaty they have every right to develop nuclear energy, even to enrich uranium, as long as they do so for allegedly peaceful purposes. In other words, the NPT allows a country to step right up to the line that separates nuclear energy from nuclear weaponry—then to declare it's abrogating the treaty, step across that line, and suddenly emerge as a nation armed with the all-powerful bomb. (Article X of the treaty allows a country to abrogate; all the leader has to do is give 90 days notice and declare he's doing it for national-security interests.)

It's worth noting that the nuclear powers, including the United States, have negotiated fairly substantial reductions in their nuclear arsenals over the decades. It is also doubtful that deeper American and Russian nuclear cuts would have kept North Korea or Iran from pursuing nuclear ambitions.

That said, it is senseless for President Bush to chide and threaten other countries for pursuing nukes at the same time that he is funding not merely the maintenance of America's nuclear arsenal but the development of a whole new generation of U.S. nuclear weapons—especially since these new weapons (for instance, low-yield nuclear bunker-busters) are developed explicitly because they're easier to use in wartime. The main goal of a non-proliferation policy is to persuade the rest of the world that nuclear weapons have no military utility, so it is counterproductive to build new nuclear weapons with enhanced military utility.

The NPT needs to be drastically revised to keep pace with technological advances since 1968. However, I doubt veto-power nations on the U.N., including the U.S., will go along with new, more effective restrictions against nuclear munitions.

As for compromising the NPT, Bush set the example for Iran* last year.

*Link fixed (I hope).

This post has been edited by Lesly: Apr 6 2006, 07:44 PM
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Trouble
post Apr 6 2006, 04:17 PM
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QUOTE
Should the US negotiate directly with the Iranians and offer security guarantees?


Yes they should. I question Mr. Layne's assessment of Iranian desires considering the past intellience failures with Iraq. Too many are taking at face value what a few politicians say. If anything Dr. Prather says is even remotely true, there has been significant obstruction on the adminstration's part to avoid talks. To me this tells of a personal political agenda against Iran.

QUOTE

Is the possibility of a nuclear armed Iran a better prospect than an air strike on Iranian nuclear facilities?


No, because this would set off a series of escalating reprisals which could endanger many countries.

QUOTE
What are your predictions of the overall consequences of an air strike on Iran?

After the first bomb drops I see things escalating quickly, and given the new measures to employ nuclear weapons by the Department of Defense, other powers may be drawn into the conflict.

For example, if one bomb falls Iran will answer with an oil embargo. If Mr. Bolton realizes one bomb is insufficient to take out Iran's nuclear ambitions (several hundred sites), he'll be forced to wage a 2-3 week bombing campaign which will take many lives. Since Iran is primarily Shia denominated, expect problems with the Shia ruling body in Iraq. They may even reject US involvement in the region altogether and true chaos will ensue.

If Mr. Cheney has any input, they'll use the bunker-buster bombs with nuclear warheads for penetration. If this happens, expect Iran to answer back with their conventional weapons aimed at Tel Aviv. Any attack on Israel is exactly what the adminstration hopes for and this will be begin a full military assault on the region. George is looking for a reason to bomb, any reason, and coming to the defense of Israel is the most likely one.

What becomes very obvious is america will lose support in Iraq if any military action is taken in Iran. Stable lifestyles will become a thing of the past and this new war will be completely at odds at extinguishing terrorism. Perpetual war will have begun.
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Mrs. Pigpen
post Apr 6 2006, 04:39 PM
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QUOTE(Lesly @ Apr 6 2006, 11:29 AM)
I admit I skipped the thread on Iran and its nuclear aspirations, but is Iran in violation of the NPT or is it exploiting existing loopholes?

The answer is both. NPT signatories agree to accept safeguards, for the purpose of verifying compliance. All nuclear activities and materials must be disclosed, and under IAEA regulation. Of this Iran has been caught in violation, which IAEA inspections revealed to be significant and troubling. Your article, which I agree with, BTW, states this too.

QUOTE
The Iranians haven't been entirely legal in their actions. Article III states that countries must open their nuclear-energy facilities to inspections and other safeguards. Yet the Iranians built their enrichment facility covertly and opened it only after a dissident group revealed its existence to Western intelligence agencies.


Not sure why it matters how the information was gathered, covert or otherwise they were caught in violation....I must admit that I've never heard the excuse in international circles, when caught, that "it didn't count because we did it covertly". I guess it's worth a try though.... huh.gif

QUOTE
The problem here, though, is that there's nothing much the rest of the treaty's signatories can do about this violation (though inspectors are now monitoring the facility). The NPT in general has no enforcement clause.


Indeed, that is the problem. Signed obligations are meaningless unless there is a means of enforcement, which brings us back to what to do with Iran, and why the stakes are high.

Your second link didn't work.

This post has been edited by Mrs. Pigpen: Apr 6 2006, 04:45 PM
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TedN5
post Apr 6 2006, 04:47 PM
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I share a lot of Wertz's sentiments but choose to lower the level of my rhetoric in the hope of influencing those less disillusioned with the actions of our country. I am most concerned by those who dismiss the likelihood of an attack upon Iranian facilities. I know it seems the height of madness given the Iraqi debacle but the signs are all there that it is being contemplated. Here are a few articles suggesting as much:

Michael Keefer

Jorge Hirsch

Leon Hadar

Doug Lorimer

Der Spiegel

There are dozens of other examples all the way back to Scott Ritter in April 2005.
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Ted
post Apr 10 2006, 08:44 PM
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QUOTE
DaytonRocker
But your example provides another aspect I really hadn't considered. The problem with the "give WMD to terrorists" is the assumption you can trust a terrorist. What is easier?


But as you dismiss this out of hand lets remember that Iran HAS given money and weapons to terrorists for decades and will into the future. That they would like to see us and the Isralies all dead goes without saying – the key question is could they get away with passing a nuke to a terrorist who could deliver it to the US or Israel. The suitecase nuke is a reality. All that is needed is the fissionable material that Iran will produce to make their bombs. They will have the missiles to put them on as well. Would they attack the US directly NO. Would they help terrorists – history says yes if they think they can get away with it.


Would they attack Israel and provoke a nuclear war in the Middle East -- ???? a definite maybe the result of which would be economic disaster for the west and esp. the US.
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post Apr 10 2006, 09:26 PM
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Iran most certainly does have nuclear ambitions I don't understand what is gained in denying this? That isn't the argument or disagreement among any reputable analyst. The dispute is what should we do about it?

I doubt UN sanctions will go through. China is far too interested in making good reliable oil connections for anything serious to ever go through and I don't see with what or how we would encourage China to think or act differently. China isn't the target for Iran's terrorist organizations.

It really unfortunately will line up to appear or be easily portrayed as the West VS. Iran or probably as any good theocracy will manipulate it to be the West vs. Islam. I think most European countries are as serious as he US is about not allowing the current Iranian govt to go nuclear and I don't feel that it will be seen in Europe as American instigation or American mishandling like so many here in the US seem to feel it is.

I also think how so many here love to exploit and remind us all about the deep unbreakable divisions amongst the Shia community and the Shiite community in Iraq it is just as important to remember these divisions are not only confined to Iraq, they are regional.

I do feel sanctions between the US and the EU could provide some serious financial pressures on Iran domestically. The largest advantage to the whole carrot and stick approach we have collectively been pursuing is because of European nation's open trade and relations with the Iranian govt we have a lot of leverage.
I just don't feel anything accomplished through sanctions would likely be long lasting.

I feel the biggest most effective policy would be regime change in Iran and I don't at all feel this needs to be accomplished militarily.
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Ted
post Apr 14 2006, 05:46 PM
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QUOTE
Bucket
The largest advantage to the whole carrot and stick approach we have collectively been pursuing is because of European nation's open trade and relations with the Iranian govt we have a lot of leverage.
I just don't feel anything accomplished through sanctions would likely be long lasting.

I tend to agree but IMO there will never be effective sanctions, especially from the Europeans. In fact I just cannot see them going for this since they do so much lucrative business with Iran. The same was true of Iraq and we saw how badly the UN SC dealt with that.

Iran is not a poor country so sanctions would not work well and the longer they went on the more they would be circumvented. Goods would just start going through countries not part of the sanctions and right into Iran. It worked poorly in Iraq as well. Saddam sold 5,000 barrels of oil a day illegally and probably a lot more, and stole 22 billion from Oil for Food.

Regime change is the answer and IMO this will happen without force. In fact I am sure Iran is using this conflict to unite factions in Iran that would normally be working against the current regime – and it works.


The real issue is can we prevent Iran from getting nukes and using them.

TEHRAN, Iran — The president of Iran again lashed out at Israel on Friday and said it was "heading toward annihilation," just days after Tehran raised fears about its nuclear activities by saying it successfully enriched uranium for the first time.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Israel a "permanent threat" to the Middle East that will "soon" be liberated. He also appeared to again question whether the Holocaust really happened.
"Like it or not, the Zionist regime is heading toward annihilation," Ahmadinejad said at the opening of a conference in support of the Palestinians. "The Zionist regime is a rotten, dried tree that will be eliminated by one storm."
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,191819,00.html


This post has been edited by Ted: Apr 14 2006, 05:51 PM
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nighttimer
post Apr 15 2006, 06:27 PM
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The unofficial, unspoken policy of this, and virtually ever other Administration of the last 50 years is there will never be nuclear weapons allowed in an Arab nation that is hostile to Israel. It's not written down anywhere and no Chief Executive will ever admit it, but nothing in the way America conducts its foreign policy in the Middle East leads me to think differently.

I still believe it is political polls as much as geopolitics driving George W. Bush in his "line-in-the-sand" hardline stance against Iran. The folly of a military strike against Iran is probably making for a lot of queasy stomachs at the Pentagon. Iran is a much tougher nut to crack than Iraq ever was.

Which doesn't seem to disturb the neo-cons one bit.

A government consultant with close ties to the civilian leadership in the Pentagon said that Bush was "absolutely convinced that Iran is going to get the bomb' if it is not stopped. He said that the President believes that he must do "what no Democrat or Republican, if elected in the future, would have the courage to do," and "that saving Iran is going to be his legacy."

One former defense official, who still deals with sensitive issues for the Bush Administration, told me that the military planning was premised on a belief that "a sustained bombing campaign in Iran will humiliate the religious leadership and lead the public to rise up and overthrow the government." He added, "i was shocked when I heard it, and asked myself, 'What are they smoking?'"


http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/

Regime change in Iraq brought about by substained bombing? Wow. Good to know we've got bombs smart enough to only kill the bad Iranians. dry.gif

I'm not ready to put anything past the nutcases currently in charge of this country. Nobody is thrilled with the idea of an armed and dangerous Iran, but at some point we're going to have to confront the fact that the Nuclear Club membership is getting larger, not smaller. To the extent that playing Chicken Little with Iran and hoping they use their nuclear technology for good, not evil purposes, I can fully agree than sitting on our thumbs is not a strategy.

I just don't believe the President can be allowed to unilaterally drag us into another war without Congressional authorization, U.N. sanctions or other non-lethal options being tried first. Certainly Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a bellicose, fist-shaking moron. So is Kim II Sung. So is Hugo Chavez. So is Fidel Castro. So is George W. Bush.

Being a belligerent jerk is not a justifiable cause to go to war. It is a constant source of disappointment for me that when faced with difficult decisons, the one typically favored by this gang of thugs in Washington is to kill a whole lot of people. hmmm.gif

This post has been edited by nighttimer: Apr 15 2006, 06:43 PM
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bucket
post Apr 16 2006, 05:15 AM
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QUOTE(nighttimer)
The unofficial, unspoken policy of this, and virtually ever other Administration of the last 50 years is there will never be nuclear weapons allowed in an Arab nation that is hostile to Israel.

How about a policy of not allowing any nation who is hostile to us? Isn't Iran hostile to us?
Besides Iran is not an "Arab nation."


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lederuvdapac
post Apr 16 2006, 08:35 PM
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Should the US negotiate directly with the Iranians and offer security guarantees?

Yes. The United States' policy towards Iran has been terrible for a number of years and there is no reason to think they could possibly get any better with the current conflict and promise of military action.

My belief is that we stop all this foolishness and open up Iran to the modern world. Free trade is what can bridge the gap and we have been wasting the opportunity not only to profit from the Iranian consumer base but profit from a closer relationship based on economic need. If we look at Iran from a practical standpoint, it is the least anti-american nation in the middle east. The mullahs are hanging on by a thread as the generation of young people (70% of the populace) are obviously becoming more progressive. The US would is not playing the hand it is being dealt and it could have devastating affects. Tough talking Iran wont accomplish anything unless you can back it up with strong military action and we have nowhere near the capacity necessary. The talk also energizes the Iranian fundamentalists and affects the moderates of the country towards the mullahs as it is an "Us" v. "Them" mentality. If we opened up to Iran than the economic growth would help with poverty and give the Iranian people a better view of the US. Economics is the best way to exploit the situation (even though exploit may not be the PC word). Nations that trade with eachother dont fight wars.

Is the possibility of a nuclear armed Iran a better prospect than an air strike on Iranian nuclear facilities?

In all seriousness, my only problem with a nuclear powered Iran is the technology or the weapons falling into the wrong hands such as Al Qaeda. And thats a serious problem. But the state of Iran having a nuclear weapon isnt really a huge deal. I mean the USSR had 10,000 nukes...should we be afraid if Iran could create 10 in a few years time? Anyway, we have so many weapons that the government knows any use of such weapons is a one way ticket on the pain train. MAD...the perfect acronym.


What are your predictions of the overall consequences of an air strike on Iran?

I dont want to make any predictions on such a thing as the implications could be too devastating. What if Iran took that army of theirs and crossed the Iraq border? You want to talk about chaos?
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