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> The last helicopter, waiting Bush out...
bucket
post Apr 11 2006, 01:06 PM
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This is what Amir Taheri's most recent article on Iran claims...that Iran's current FP towards the US, UN and nuclear proliferation is to "wait Bush out" They feel once Bush has vacated his leadership in America he will be replaced by an admin who will once again invoke the "last helicopter" foreign policy.

The Last Helicopter
To hear Mr. Abbasi tell it the entire recent history of the U.S. could be narrated with the help of the image of "the last helicopter." It was that image in Saigon that concluded the Vietnam War under Gerald Ford. Jimmy Carter had five helicopters fleeing from the Iranian desert, leaving behind the charred corpses of eight American soldiers. Under Ronald Reagan the helicopters carried the bodies of 241 Marines murdered in their sleep in a Hezbollah suicide attack. Under the first President Bush, the helicopter flew from Safwan, in southern Iraq, with Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf aboard, leaving behind Saddam Hussein's generals, who could not believe why they had been allowed live to fight their domestic foes, and America, another day. Bill Clinton's helicopter was a Black Hawk, downed in Mogadishu and delivering 16 American soldiers into the hands of a murderous crowd.

Apparently Mr. Abbasi, who is said to be "professor of strategy" at the Islamic Republic's Revolutionary Guard Corps University and, according to Tehran sources, the principal foreign policy voice in President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's new radical administration, offers the view of the Bush admin as an "abberation" and only a fleeting victory for America.

Questions...

Do you feel in the context on Iran and the WOT that the current US FP can be viewed as the Iranian govt terms it as a "triumph" ?

Do you also agree that the Bush admin is an abberation and that the standard modern FP of America can accurately be defined as "the last helicopter"?

Finally do you agree with the author's characterization of current Middle East policy as being "waiting Bush out"?


This post has been edited by bucket: Apr 11 2006, 01:13 PM
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Vladimir
post Apr 11 2006, 03:13 PM
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Do you feel in the context on Iran and the WOT that the current US FP can be viewed as the Iranian govt terms it as a "triumph" ?


I wish you would use English words instead of these abbreviations. I take "FP" to be foreign policy; what is "the WOT?" But in any case, I think that current U.S. policy, in the form of the invasion and occupation of Iraq, has been vastly beneficial to Iran. With Shiites in nominal control in Baghdad and with Shiite militias running the Iraq "police" and "military," who could disagree?

Do you also agree that the Bush admin is an abberation and that the standard modern FP of America can accurately be defined as "the last helicopter"?

Bush is by no means an aberation. The last helicopter will unfortunately be necessitated once again by the political untenability of continuing the war. It is merely that Bush is unwilling to confront this obvious fact himself.

Protracted war, real war, requires substantial national unanimity.

But the Bush administration singularly failed to obtain domestic consensus before launching the invasion of Iraq; fully 30% of Americans thought that war was a bad idea. Bush's reckoning, I am sure, was that 70% was good enough for the next six weeks and that opposition would wither with early success. How foolish that turned out to be -- and how ironic also, given that many of us antiwar people were declaring before hostilities began that war would likely be difficult and unpredictable. Now we have war support hovering around 40% and a great many people saying we should get out right away. One can bloviate all one wants on the theme of "support our troops," but in fact, the troops themselves are none too enthusiastic about their service in Iraq, if we may judge by enlistment and reinlistment rates -- even among officers! -- by the openly expressed sentiments of many, including formerly high-ranking retired officers.

The situation in Iraq is not getting any better; if anything, it's getting worse. The American people would consider the present level of sacrifice fully acceptable for anything that were actually critical to the national defense. But no one really believes that success in Iraq is that important. Not even the Administration believes that, or they would be raising taxes and sending in more troops to do the job properly.

Bush says that it'll be up to some future president to bring our troops home from Iraq. That merely says that it'll be up to some future president to admit that the whole thing was a colossal failure and never should have happened in the first place. And with that, you pretty well get the "last helicopter." If we had a parliamentary system, it would happen within the next few months. (I must say, I will be vastly amused if Senator McCain, with his strong views that we should persevere in Iraq, becomes the Republican presidential nominee.)

Finally do you agree with the author's characterization of current Middle East policy as being "waiting Bush out"? Whose Middle East policy? But I am sure that for the Iranians and, for example, for Assad, that is the general idea. Why not? It makes sense, doesn't it?
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bucket
post Apr 11 2006, 04:15 PM
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WOT= War on Terror/Terrorism
Abbreviations are common to the English language.

QUOTE(vladimir)
Bush is by no means an aberation. The last helicopter will unfortunately be necessitated once again by the political untenability of continuing the war. It is merely that Bush is unwilling to confront this obvious fact himself. 


So will Bush have to be out of office before that occurs? That is what the term "waiting Bush out" implies.

QUOTE(vladimir)
Now we have war support hovering around 40% and a great many people saying we should get out right away.


For someone who is unfamiliar with standard American abbreviations you do seem to claim much understanding of the American public. I think your lack of knowledge of what WOT stands for shows how superficial your understanding is.

"A great many" as you term it still represent a significant minority, one thing I think most Americans know and understand that no matter how bad it is now it would only be worse if we were to immediately withdraw. I also believe Americans as a whole support and value the ever increasing globalization of our world and understand that what will happen in Iraq will not remain in Iraq. I personally feel the "last helicopter" policy is no longer one that we as Americans can have the luxury of, especially in the Gulf region. Afghanistan did not remain contained, and neither has Iran. Containment is a nonexistent reality when you have a nation full of valuable resources.

QUOTE(vladimir)
  Whose Middle East policy?

The article I provided lists many examples of varying degrees of policies and actions ME nation's are currently pursuing that could be considered "waiting" or stalling for time.
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Ted
post Apr 11 2006, 06:07 PM
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QUOTE
Do you feel in the context on Iran and the WOT that the current US FP can be viewed as the Iranian govt terms it as a "triumph" ?

Certainly they enjoy the opportunity to thumb their noses at us on the nuclear issue but the reality is that this is far more complicated. No western country or the UN/IAEA for that matter would like to see a nuclear armed Iran. They have not “won” yet and may not regardless of what we do. IMO the UN is beset with politics and a toothless organization. Iraq was a perfect example of a stalled UN in dealing with potential conflict.



QUOTE
Do you also agree that the Bush admin is an abberation and that the standard modern FP of America can accurately be defined as "the last helicopter"?

No I believe Reagan was as decisive as Bush and as willing to go nose to nose with any country if our national interest was at stake.

QUOTE
Finally do you agree with the author's characterization of current Middle East policy as being "waiting Bush out"?


Absolutely. The hope is that the next election brings in a moderate/liberal (the more liberal the better) and that the issue gets sidelined and they quietly (at first) become a nuclear power. If that happens (and Israel does not intervene) the game is over and we and the world may have to live with a nuclear supporter of terrorism and a US hater right in the center of the Middle East. A very bad situation.
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Amlord
post Apr 11 2006, 06:36 PM
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I'm going to take the liberty of re-phrasing the questions to keep the essence and drop some of the abbreviations.

In the context of Iran and the WOT, can the current US foreign policy can be viewed as a "triumph"as the Iranian government terms it?

I don't think we can come to a conclusion yet. So far, the United States has, for better or for worse, begun the process of reshaping the Middle East. According to the White House, we have done so to protect our national security. For the most part, I feel this justification is correct. However, without follow through, how can we judge the long term success?

Do you also agree that the Bush administration is an abberation and that the standard modern foreign policy of America can accurately be defined as "the last helicopter"?

I do believe our foreign policies in the past have been short term. The question is: is this because the leadership is short-sighted or because Americans are short sighted? In other words, is Bush an abberation that can change the way Americans think (because he is a different kind of leader) or is Bush an abberation that will soon be overwhelmed by the stereotypical momentary American interest level?

At this point, Americans are once again acting like they can only focus on the short term. Of course, if we prematurely abort the mission in the Middle East, not only will it have been for naught, it will have created a power vacuum which will be a huge benefit for Iran instead of a detriment.

It does seem that Middle East leaders cannot assume that a man with Bush's mindset will win the White House in 2008. In that light, they need to think about what their future is down the road. If that means allying with Iran (because its leadership is likely to be more stable than that of the US) then maybe that's what they should do. Of course, that adds up to even more headaches for Bush's successor and the blame rests on the fickle will of the American electorate.

But, I heard Joe Biden say the other day that Bush has a concrete plan for reducing troop levels in Iraq to 100,000 by the end of this year and down to 30,000 by the end of 2007. Perhaps Bush will be the one to order the soldiers aboard the "last helicopter" this time. A man can only be beat down in the press and on the street for so long before going with the flow, I guess.

Finally do you agree with the author's characterization of current Middle East policy as being "waiting Bush out"?

I don't see it that way. More and more it seems that Iran is poking the proverbial hornet's nest deliberately. I don't know why. Perhaps their President really is hoping for the apocalypse. It sure doesn't seem like Iran is lying low though.
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moif
post Apr 11 2006, 07:12 PM
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Do you feel in the context on Iran and the WOT that the current US FP can be viewed as the Iranian govt terms it as a "triumph" ?

I think one of the biggest problems in public political thinking is the constant black and white attitudes that pervade it. Everywhere I look these days I'm faced with monochromatic perceptions that resemble nothing but a fairy tale reality where the 'good' wage a constant struggle against the 'bad'.

I don't like GW Bush because I can't like him. Even when he's clearly right, his obnoxious character is so repulsive that agreeing with him is like a slap in the face... but, the fact remains he is the most successful American politician in the current era. No matter that he is a pathetic public speaker who constantly trips over his own poorly articulated points, never mind he is amazingly unpopular both in and outside the USA, the plain truth is, in his foreign policies, he has succeeded thus far in everything he set out to acheive.

And what of Iran? That nation is like an old nut, difficult to crack open, but the nutcracker is in place none the less, with its jaws firmly clamped on either side of that sad mountainous nation with its ridiculous religious leadership.

How can the US 'triumph' against Iran?

Simply by placing the Iranians in this impossible position the Americans have already triumphed! Iran is surrounded by an ever tightening US pressure.

It has some strength, yes, of course. It is a difficult nation to deal with and it has Russian and Chinese help, but so what? What good are a few super torpedo's if you can't see the submarine that's launching the Tomahawks into your nations infrastructure? How much help is a Russian advisor against a satelite guided stealth bomber?

Iran is under pressure now. It has a hostile power surrounding it and it has no where to turn. 'Waiting' for the last helicopter sounds astute until you realise its the only option... no, the only hope the Iranians have left!

Waiting for the seige to end and hoping the USA will tire of its military adventure and withdraw is the obvious course of action, but in no way is it an advantageous position. What if Condoleeza Rice wins the next election? What then? Wait another 4 years? 8?

And who says a Democrat president will even pull out of the region any way? To do so would be to throw away a tremendous advantage. Its not unheard of, but its not likely either.


Do you also agree that the Bush admin is an abberation and that the standard modern FP of America can accurately be defined as "the last helicopter"?

No. Victory is not always bought by military success. True victory is when you win despite military failure. The war in Vietnam is an ample demonstration of this.

And American special forces were pulled out of Somalia, so what? What did the US gain by leaving them there?

This, is really about Gain. Success. Victory. How ever you wish to define it its always really the same thing, whether you are an American or a Roman. The winner is the one that survives and can impose their reality upon the aftermath.
I have no doubt that when the Islamic Republic of Iran has followed the rest of history's tyranny's into the dust of oblivion, the USA, will remain, a democratic nation.


Finally do you agree with the author's characterization of current Middle East policy as being "waiting Bush out"?

Yes, but only because they have no other option short of starting a war that would inevitably annhilate them.



edited for spelling

This post has been edited by moif: Apr 11 2006, 07:15 PM
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Vladimir
post Apr 12 2006, 01:46 AM
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QUOTE(bucket @ Apr 11 2006, 04:15 PM)
WOT= War on Terror/Terrorism
Abbreviations are common to the English language. 

For someone who is unfamiliar with standard American abbreviations you do seem to claim much understanding of the American public.  I think your lack of knowledge of what WOT stands for shows how superficial your understanding is. 


Oh dear oh dear, I shall have to go out and buy a dictionary of "standard American" abbreviations now, such as "WOT" or just continue to betray my "superficial" understanding.

But, dear interlocutor, I merely expressed the wish that you communicate in the language. The last time I noticed, it was generally considered the responsibility of people who write to make themselves understood. Thanks, in any case, for clarifying this particular, to me abstruse, usage.

I really do not understand your point about Bush. Is it that, unless he somehow dies before he gets out of office, he will have proved himself more macho than Carter, Clinton or his father -- by failing to confront the self-evident bankruptcy of his war policy, and leaving his mess to the next president?

This post has been edited by Vladimir: Apr 12 2006, 01:49 AM
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bucket
post Apr 12 2006, 03:09 PM
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Moif your discomfort with Bush but not necessarily his policies is completely understandable from my point of view. I feel much of the current US admin's foreign policy is achievable and desirable. It is more or less the the implementation of these polices that I find disagreement with. So it becomes a difficult position to support polices that are put into practice with unsavory and without question unwarranted means. Regardless this difficult positioning is most often made all the more possible in thanks to the views offered by the political opposition. Reading things like this and you are reminded as to why it is important to remain "uncomfortable".
SEN. KERRY: That’s not the way to do it, Tim. What you need and what I’ve suggested is that you have a date in the accords like summit where you bring all the parties together—and I mean all the parties. You need to bring Iraq’s neighbors together. Khalilzad has now been authorized to talk to the Iranians. Bring the Iranians, bring the Syrians, bring the Jordanians, the Saudis, the Egyptians and others. You have a conference at which you have the United Nations, the Arab League and all of the factions. And you sit there, and you pound out the differences.


QUOTE(Ted)
No I believe Reagan was as decisive as Bush and as willing to go nose to nose with any country if our national interest was at stake.

I fail to see how the Reagan's admin. action in dealing with Iran can be considered going "nose to nose".
Refusing to carry through with military tactics against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in Lebanon during the Lebanese civil war, even after they killed over 200 of our men and even after France had already retaliated with air strikes, and we ridicule them for surrendering! And after more minor skirmishes with Iran and Syria Reagan does what?...he pulls out of Lebanon. That certainly does lend to a view of the American "appetite for war and conflict" and it certainly is not one of confrontation or aggression , unlike how the current Bush admin is perceived.
You are aware that many claim this is the start or the inception of what we now call the "war on terror" and that it occurred under Reagan's watch.

This post has been edited by bucket: Apr 12 2006, 03:11 PM
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Vladimir
post Apr 12 2006, 04:38 PM
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QUOTE(bucket @ Apr 11 2006, 04:15 PM)
"A great many" as you term it still represent a significant minority, one thing I think most Americans know and understand that no matter how bad it is now it would only be worse if we were to immediately withdraw.  I also believe Americans as a whole support and value the ever increasing globalization of our world and understand that what will happen in Iraq will not remain in Iraq.  I personally feel the "last helicopter" policy is no longer one that we as Americans can have the luxury of, especially in the Gulf region.  Afghanistan did not remain contained, and neither has Iran.  Containment is a nonexistent reality when you have a nation full of valuable resources. 
 


Concerning what Americans think about the war, I do not claim to be a very great expert. But here are some useful references:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/03/13/...in1396372.shtml

http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/art...nt=179&lb=hmpg1

http://www.pollingreport.com/iraq.htm

While none of these polls appears to have asked whether the respondents favored withdrawal, that point is really inessential to my argument (I do note in the third source that 64% of Americans say our troop commitment in Iraq should be reduced). The latest polls support my essential point that long-continuing war in Iraq is politically untenable. Bush may be able to leave office without having corrected his disastrous decision to invade and occupy Iraq, but the next president won't have that option. It seems to me that to assert the contrary, in light of these numbers, is really just so much bravado. We will soon enough be out of Iraq, and without any Iraqi military bases or oil contracts to show for our troubles. Not soon enough to suit me, but soon enough.

This post has been edited by Vladimir: Apr 12 2006, 04:57 PM
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