Friday, December 08, 2006

A Response to Critics

Don't like my stand on foreign policy issues? That's fine--always open to debate and argument. (No ad hominem attacks, though.)

But for those critical of some of my recent pieces (in National Interest, the Boston Globe, the IHT, and elsewhere)--arguing that the U.S. is losing global influence and that we have to set some unpleasant priorities--I have four questions for you.

1. Is Iran's development of a nuclear capability one of the major challenges to U.S. interests?
2. Can meaningful pressure be brought against Iran without the support of Russia or China?
3. Can the United States put together a meaningful coalition in the absence of a UN resolution?
4. Is the United States prepared to shoulder the burden and pay the costs of unilateral action?

Those who answer yes, no, no, no to these questions and nonetheless advocate "sticking it" to Moscow, Beijing, and Paris (among others) are the ones who need to explain why their policy makes sense, and not simply say they are champions of freedom.

(A different debate can occur with those who answer no to question one and advocate a stronger U.S. role in the Eurasian space, or who answer yes to #3 and/or #4 that the U.S. should not be making any quid pro quos. I disagree with those answers and think that the balance of facts argues against it, but at least that is a coherent position to take).

I do not understand why there is all this agonization about Iran's nuclear capability.

It has been known for more than a year that the power to undo an Iranian nuclear capability does not exist in the international arena.

I cannot think of any actions (including military) that US, a coalition of the willing etc. can undertake that would lead to the dismantling of the nuclear enrichment program or heavy water reactor program in Iran.

Takeyh and Sir Michael Quinlan ( the former top official at Britain's Ministry of Defense) had already pointed out this out a year ago.

I would like to point out that a zero-output, heavy water reactor for the production of plutonium using natural uranium fuel can be easily hidden and Iran has all the know-how for it.

Really, if US & EU were smart they would have followed the ideas of Perkovich in 2005.

So, this whole issue is really over. US can go and drop a few bombs and kill a few thousand Iranians but that will not undo a nuclear Iran - that is now impossible.

I also would like to point out the stupdity, arrogance, and contempt that is displayed by the latest US & EU draft which aims to prevent Iranian students from studying nuclear physics.

It reminds me of how Germans would shoot any Russian that could even barely read and write in villages - slaves or would be slaves did not need to know how to read or write.

I know that Ahmadinejad and in fact the non-Western peole will glean the appropriate conclusions from that proviso.

If this is diplomacy may God saves us from un-diplomatic moves.
America can make absolutely no progress in Iraq, against Iran, regarding Russia's neosoviet tendencies, involving Syria, Lebanon, NK, al Quaida, evildoers, or any of the many crisis and conflicts all American must confront so long as the Bush government remains in power.

First, - the fascist warmongers and profiteers in, or beholden to the Bush government are singlularly and exclusively profiting wantonly from these many horrorshows, and have no incentive to "change course" or track a new way forward.

Second, - while various constituents of Americans can bicker about this or that strategy, and resort to superhuman feats of mental gymnastics attempting to imagine or conjure a "change of course", or "a way forward", "victory" in Iraq, - the simple truth is THERE IS NO POSSIBLE WAY TO ATTAIN ANYTHING LIKE VICTORY IN IRAQ! Iraq is a crime scene of epic proportion, and until, Americans left, right, and center recognize that terrible truth, - we can never make any progress.

Third, - the rest of the world views the Bush government in much the same terms I describe, - fascist, brutish, selfcentered, predatory, imperialist, and criminal. It is only the hysterical blindness here in the land of Oz that somehow fails to accept this OBVIOUS FACTBASEDREALILTY.

The Bush government is a criminal regime. No country has any real incentive to negotiate anything with the fascist warmongers and profiteers in the Bush government.

America cannot establish any real diplomatic relations with any of these nations while a criminal regime commandeers the office of the executive.

All the world is realigning to counter the hegemony and predation of the fascist warmongers and profiteers in the Bush government.

Until America removes, impeaches all of the criminals in the Bush government, - there is no way forward!

We can only blabber and bicker, watch as event unfurls, - and pray some jihadist freak doesn't get his hands on a significant quantity of polonium 210.

Deliver us from evil.

There is an apparent selective blindness in socalled realist circles ignoring the criminal conduct, fascist policies, and wanton profiteering of the Bush government.
Sun Tzu tells the general to analyze whether the nation can win before engaging the army. This was not honestly conducted before the Iraq invasion. It should be conducted now, before we try this "last push" idea that is gaining traction.

At this point, I can't answer the question. I tend to think it's too late.
Ah, Sun Tzu. Perhaps best read in the original Chinese. But since there are only 50,000 students of Chinese in the US guess better read in translation. We of course have more and more people who can read everything you write in the original.
Great comment, Wong Fei Hung. America needs to rework our infrastructure if we're going to be the global leader we imagine ourselves to be. One major improvement is foreign language training.
My answers.

1. Yes, but most Americans don't see it that way at this point.

2. I don't believe that meaningful pressure can be brought against Iran with or without the support of Russia and China. Iran is doing what it is for both reasons of national interest and internal politics. The internal politics have momentum of their own.

3. I don't believe that the U. S. can put together a meaningful coalition with or without a UN resolution at this point. There are too many players who are allied against us and too many (particularly but not only Europeans) who are convinced that just a little more negotiation can resolve differences without the use of hard power (which includes economic sanctions).

4. No. It's more pleasant being an adolescent than being an adult.
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