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Discussion Starter #1
The Multilateral Moment?
Our bad and worse choices about Iran.



"Multilateralism good; preemption and unilateralism bad.”

For four years we have heard these Orwellian commandments as if they were inscribed above the door of Farmer Jones’s big barn. Now we will learn their real currency, since the Americans are doing everything imaginable — drawing in the Europeans, coaxing the Russians and Chinese to be helpful at the U.N., working with international monitoring agencies, restraining Israel, talking to the Arabs, keeping our jets in their hangars — to avoid precipitous steps against Iran.

Its theocracy poses a danger to civilization even greater than a nuclear North Korea for a variety of peculiar circumstances. Iran is free of a patron like China that might in theory exert moderate influence or even insist on occasional restraint. North Korea, for an increasingly wealthy and capitalist China, is as much a headache and an economic liability as a socialist comrade.

In contrast, Iran is a cash cow for Russia (and China) and apparently a source of opportunistic delight in its tweaking of the West. Iranian petro-wealth has probably already earned Tehran at least one, and probably two, favorable votes at the Security Council.

Of course, Tehran’s oil revenues allow it access to weapons markets, and overt blackmail, both of which are impossible for a starving North Korea. And Iran’s nuclear facilities are located at the heart of the world’s petroleum reserves, where even the semblance of instability can drive up global oil prices, costing the importing world billions in revenues.

No one is flocking to Communism, much less Pyongyang’s unrepentant, ossified Stalinist brand. Islamic radicalism, on the other hand, has declared war on Western society and tens of thousands of jihdadists, whether Shiia or Sunnis, count on Iran for money, sanctuary, and support. Al Qaeda members travel the country that is the spiritual godhead of Hezbollah, and a donor of arms and money to radical Palestinian terrorists.

North Korea can threaten Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and the western United States, and so poses a real danger. But the opportunities for havoc are even richer for a nuclear Iran. With nukes and an earned reputation for madness, it can dictate to the surrounding Arab world the proper policy of petroleum exportation; it can shakedown Europeans whose capitals are in easy missile range; it can take out Israel with a nuke or two; or it can bully the nascent democracies of the Middle East while targeting tens of thousands of US soldiers based from Afghanistan to the Persian Gulf.

And Iran can threaten to do all this under the aegis of a crazed Islamist regime more eager for the paradise of the next world than for the material present so dear to the affluent and decadent West. If Iran can play brinkmanship now on just the promise of nuclear weapons, imagine its roguery to come when it is replete with them.

When a supposedly unhinged Mr. Ahmadinejad threatens the destruction of Israel and then summarily proceeds to violate international protocols aimed at monitoring Iran’s nuclear industry, we all take note. Any country that burns off some of its natural gas at the wellhead while claiming that it needs nuclear power for domestic energy is simply lying. Terrorism, vast petroleum reserves, nuclear weapons, and boasts of wiping neighboring nations off the map are a bad combination.

So we all agree on the extent of the crisis, but not on the solutions, which can be summarized by four general options.

First is the ostrich strategy — see and hear no evil, if extending occasional peace feelers out to more reasonable mullahs. Hope that “moderates” in the Iranian government exercise a restraining influence on Mr. Ahmadinejad. Sigh that nuclear Iran may well become like Pakistan — dangerous and unpredictable, but still perhaps “manageable.” Talk as if George Bush and the Iranians both need to take a time out.

I doubt that many serious planners any longer entertain this passive fantasy, especially after the latest rantings of Ahmadinejad. Pakistan, after all, has some secular leaders, is checked by nuclear India, and has a recent past of cooperation with the United States. Most importantly, it is more than ever a lesson in past laxity, as the United States and Europe were proven criminally derelict in giving Dr. Khan and his nuclear-mart a pass — which may well come back to haunt us all yet.

Alternatively, we could step up further global condemnation. The West could press the U.N. more aggressively — repeatedly calling for more resolutions, and, ultimately, for sanctions, boycotts, and embargos, energizes our allies to cut all ties to Iran, and provides far more money to dissident groups inside Iran to rid the country of the Khomeinists. Ensuring that democracy works in Iraq would be subversive to the mullahs across the border. Some sort of peaceful regime change is the solution preferred by most — and, of course, can be pursued in a manner contemporaneous with, not exclusionary to, other strategies.

It is a long-term therapy and therefore suffers the obvious defect that Iran might become nuclear in the meantime. Then the regime’s resulting braggadocio might well deflate the dissident opposition, as the mullahs boast that they alone have restored Iranian national prestige with an Achaemenid bomb.

A third, and often unmentionable, course is to allow the most likely intended target of nuclear Iran, Israel, to take matters into its own hands. We know this scenario from the 1981 destruction of Saddam’s French-built Osirak nuclear reactor: the world immediately deplores such “unilateral” and “preemptory” recklessness, and then sighs relief that Israel, not it, put the bell on the fanged cat.

But 2006 is not 1981. We are in war with Islamic radicalism, at the moment largely near the Iranian border in Iraq and Afghanistan. The resulting furor over a “Zionist” strike on Shia Iran might galvanize Iraqi Shiites to break with us, rather than bring them relief that the Jewish state had eliminated a nearby nuclear threat and had humiliated an age-old rival nation and bitter former enemy. Thousands of Americans are in range of Iranian artillery and short-term missile salvoes, and, in theory, we could face in Iraq a conventional enemy at the front and a fifth column at the rear.

And Iran poses far greater risks than in the past for Israeli pilots flying in over the heart of the Muslim world, with 200-300 possible nuclear sites that are burrowed into mountains, bunkers and suburbs. Such a mission would require greater flight distances, messy refueling, careful intelligence, and the need to put Israeli forces on alert for an Iranian counterstrike or a terrorist move from Lebanon. Former Israeli friends like Turkey are now not so cordial, and the violation of Islamic airspace might in the short-term draw an ugly response, despite the eventual relief in Arab capitals at the elimination of the Iranian nuclear arsenal.

If the Israeli raids did not take out the entire structure, or if there were already plutonium present in undisclosed bunkers, then the Iranians might shift from their sickening rhetoric and provide terrorists in Syria and Lebanon with dirty bombs or nuclear devices to “avenge” the attack as part of a “defensive” war of “striking back” at “Israeli aggression”. Europeans might even shrug at any such hit, concluding that Israel had it coming by attacking first.

The fourth scenario is as increasingly dreaded as it is apparently inevitable — a U.S. air strike. Most hope that it can be delayed, since its one virtue — the elimination of the Iranian nuclear threat — must ipso facto outweigh the multifaceted disadvantages.

The Shiite allies in Iraq might go ballistic and start up a second front as in 2004. Muslim countries, the primary beneficiaries of a disarmed Iran, would still protest loudly that some of their territories, if only for purposes of intelligence and post-operative surveillance, were used in the strike. After Iraq, a hit on Iran would confirm to the Middle East Street a disturbing picture of American preemptory wars against Islamic nations.

Experts warn that we are not talking about a Clintonian one-day cruise-missile hit, or even something akin to General Zinni’s 1998 extended Operation Desert Fox campaign. Rather, the challenges call for something far more sustained and comprehensive — perhaps a week or two of bombing at every imaginable facility, many of them hidden in suburbs or populated areas. Commando raids might need to augment air sorties, especially for mountain redoubts deep in solid rock.

The political heat would mount hourly, as Russia, China, and Europe all would express shock and condemnation, and whine that their careful diplomatic dialogue had once again been ruined by the American outlaws. Soon the focus of the U.N. would not be on Iranian nuclear proliferation, or the role of Europe, Pakistan, China, and Russia in lending nuclear expertise to the theocracy, but instead on the mad bomber-cowboy George Bush. We remember that in 1981 the world did not blame the reckless and greedy French for their construction of a nuclear reactor for Saddam Hussein, but the sober Israelis for taking it out.

Politically, the administration would have to vie with CNN’s daily live feeds of collateral damage that might entail killed Iranian girls and boys, maimed innocents, and street-side reporters who thrust microphones into stretchers of civilian dead. The Europeans’ and American Left’s slurs of empire and hegemony would only grow.

We remember the “quagmire” hysteria that followed week three in Afghanistan, and the sandstorm “pause” that prompted cries that we had lost Iraq. All that would be child’s play compared to an Iranian war, as retired generals and investigative reporters haggled every night on cable news over how many reactor sites were still left to go. So take for granted that we would be saturated by day four of the bombing with al Jazeera’s harangues, perhaps a downed and blindfolded pilot or two paraded on television, some gruesome footage of arms and legs in Tehran’s streets, and the usual Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Boxer outtakes.

So where do these bad and worse choices leave us? Right where we are now — holding and circling while waiting for a break in the clouds.

Still, there are two parameters we should accept — namely, that Iran should not be allowed to arm its existing missiles with nukes and that Israel should not have to do the dirty work of taking out Iran’s nuclear infrastructure.

The Europeans and the Americans right now must accelerate their efforts and bring the crisis to a climax at the Security Council to force China and Russia publicly to take sides. India, Pakistan, and the Arab League should all be brought in and briefed on the dilemma, and asked to go on record supporting U.N. action.

The public relations war is critical. Zen-like, the United States must assure the Europeans, Russians, and Arabs that the credit for a peaceful solution would be theirs. The lunacy of the Iranian president should provide the narrative of events, and thus be quoted hourly — as we remain largely silent.

Economically, we should factor in the real possibility that Iranian oil might be off the global market, and prepare — we have been here before with the Iranian embargo of 1979 — for colossal gasoline price hikes. This should also be a reminder that Ahmadinejad, Saddam, Hugo Chavez, and an ascendant and increasingly undemocratic Putin all had in common both petrodollar largess and desperate Western, Chinese, and Indian importers willing to overlook almost anything to slake their thirst. Unless we develop an energy policy that collapses the global oil price, for the next half-century expect every few years something far creepier than the Saudi Royals and Col. Moammar Gadhafi to threaten the world order.

The Democratic leadership should step up to the plate and, in Truman-esque fashion, forge a bipartisan front to confront Iran and make the most of their multilateral moment. If the Democrats feel they have lost the public’s confidence in their stewardship of national security, then the threat of Iran offers a Hillary Clinton, Howard Dean, or John Kerry an opportunity to get out front now and pledge support for a united effort — attacking Bush from the right about too tepid a stance rather from the predictable left that we are “hegemonic” and “imperialistic” every time we use force abroad.

Finally, the public must be warned that dealing with a nuclear Iran is not a matter of a good versus a bad choice, but between a very bad one now and something far, far worse to come.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Victor Davis Hanson

Thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
sidewaysducati said:
Sand and heat make glass.
More often the not I tend to think the same way. But its hardly a solution, or rather a pretty bad one. Violence may very well be necessary to solve this issue, but we cant go off an nuke every problem that comes up.
 

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Vash said:
Victor Davis Hanson

Thoughts?
I've seen him in extensive interviews, especially on C-Span II. He's generally not as nutty as the White House top four or five, has a knowledge perspective unlike our leaders, but dry and unimaginative. I'd certainly listen to him but not rush to accept his policy assessment. Kinda' like Nader. Worth listening to, knows a topic, full of good and accurate info, identifies problems, but generally not practical in proposals.

I have some thoughts but not the time to go now and it's not so revealing anyway. More historical. I'd have more to say based on that but fear that my historical perspective and knowledge may be dated, changed substantively since our WMD, democracy, war on terror, terrorist recruiting, or whatever it is we're actually doing over there. I'll certainly be watching. I just hope that our leaders know more than I do this time. ;)

I really just wish there was a chance GW learned something in the first five years. I see glimmers but his handicap was so large going in I think it might take another dozen years to get him up to speed (if ever). I wonder if he feels used yet? He should. I've got absolutely NO FAITH in the judgement of the White House top four.
 

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Vash said:
... But its hardly a solution, or rather a pretty bad one. Violence may very well be necessary to solve this issue, but we cant go off an nuke every problem that comes up.
Very true. There is no diplomatic solution to be had with these people though. It'd be bad enough without their super-nutball religion, but you factor that in and the options get even more limited.

I'd hate to recommend genocide as a solution but...
 

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The American public is resolved to ride out our current Iraq situation. We are there and the price of running is too great. But, no way will we attack Iran. The public is getting war weary and we just can't afford it politically, economically, and militarily.

If Iran tells the UN and world to drop dead and starts making nukes, I'd let Israel use their nukes and then back up Israel the best we could.

I heard there was an assasination attempt on Ahmadinejad already. I bet 99.999% of the Iranians just want to live peaceful lives and not have this nut job drag them into a real Amargeddon. Russia and especially China need to take a positive role right about now.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
How typical dad. A few cheap shots at republicans, and some veiled referances to history, as if to say that this whole mess is our fault. Finger pointing makes for good rhetoric, but it lacks solutions.
So for the sake of this topic I'll agree with you entirely. This whole mess is GW's fault. He got drunk at an oil cartel party and left some nuke plans written on a napkin. There ya go.
That didnt make the problem go away, so we still need solutions, now lets hear 'em. What would president Dad do in this situation?


Sideways: I agree, that negotiations alone will not do the trick here. However the military approach needs to be abit smarter then just wiping the country of the face of the planet. Should we target the nukes and nothing else? Should we support local revolutionary groups (And will the prove to be worse then the current regime?) Or should we let Israel handle it like desert lad is suggesting.
For that metter, can Israel handle something of this magnitude?

Another point desert lad: We are far from seeing the full capacity of america's military. Look at the old world wars, where countries would go bankrupt trying to keep fighting. We are nowhere near that level of desperation. The public may not support another war right now, but that doesnt mean that we cannot afford it.
 

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Vash said:
Another point desert lad: We are far from seeing the full capacity of america's military. Look at the old world wars, where countries would go bankrupt trying to keep fighting. We are nowhere near that level of desperation. The public may not support another war right now, but that doesnt mean that we cannot afford it.
Good point. On the basis of our gross domestic product, we were spending 50 times more during WW II than we are on Iraq and Afghanistan today. Another way to put it, we spent more of our national wealth per week during WW II than we spend per year now. But the public is screaming for better schools, infrastructure, health care, fiscally sound social security, etc.

Don't get me wrong, but this is fun in the sense that we have a president of a middle-eastern country that is a true psycho, and is close to acquire "the bomb" saying he will USE it! It's like a Tom Clancy novel. But it won't be so funny if Iran doesn't back down a lot.
 

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Vash said:
How typical dad. A few cheap shots at republicans, and some veiled referances to history, as if to say that this whole mess is our fault.
Damn right it's typical and I can go right down the historical list on a whole host of topics which is how I've come to that "typical" position. You should know that by now. And they aren't cheap shots, they're simple truths readily supported by the history. I can't write you the book here. If you don't already have the historical perspective, you'll just have to refer to some things as veiled references and call the thought out summaries "cheap shots". And if you think for this situation that you're going to find a one sentence answer in a two sentence ideal, damn any perspective and damn the history, then you're doomed to dig holes, shoot your own feet, and perpetuate the madness that is mankind's warring history.

And I DIDN'T say the whole thing was our fault, how typical Vash.;) What I DO say is WE are responsible for OUR decisions and their outcomes. That's hardly saying "the whole mess is our fault". That's like those who turn a disagreement with going into Iraq into "You're a Saddam lover", or you somehow support terrorism. That's pure silliness. And many of today's decisions are the seeds of problems decades down the road. It's looking at the decades ago decisions and discussions (the history) that prove to me that's true, time and again.

I'm not such a simple person weighing issues that, for example, once I determine that Saddam is not a very nice guy, the next logical step is, "Let's blow him up". Most decisions at that level, if they are to be fruitful for the long haul and actually SOLVE a problem, or at least "do no harm", are very complex and THAT'S where we will disagree and why I will not get into one of these without a TON more info. Our president shouldn't have either. If nothing else, you should take time to read Paul O'Neill's book on the inner workings of this administration and if you do, THEN come and tell me you're impressed or support it.

And what I DID say is I don't have enough current info. I'm very suspicious that my knowledge and historical perspective on Iran is dated now that we've done what we have in Iraq. I'm not sure, but I strongly suspect that outlooks may have changed in the last few years, and NOT for the better. How bad is it? I'm not sure. BUT, I sure as HELL won't look to one of the top four, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bush and Condie for the answers. Will you?

I'll be looking for things that update my perspective. Until then my opinions on THIS very narrow, very specific topic, would be knee-jerk at best. The broader picture, full of history, including Carter's 1979 State of the Union speech, give me a VERY good perspective on the BROADER picture and those opinions are anything BUT knee-jerk. And they are one small piece of a foundation of knowledge that has lead me to my summary of the RNC. Hopefully, my suspicions on the evolved, very narrow situation in Iran are wrong.:thumb:

I just wish Powell would open his mouth a little more. His loyalty is admirable but there comes a time when the stakes are high enough that it's time to speak up. I'll bet he could bring something of value to the table on this subject. I WOULD weigh his opinions.

Happy politicking!:)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
You are still trying to change the subject. Allow my own cheap shot, Alito could take a page from your book of dodging questions.
Seriously now, yes I want your view on this very very narrow problem. Namely Iran has a very very shady nuclear program. Are we in agreement that sucha program exists? good.
Now you say that we should take responcibility for our decisions, so how does that translate into practical auctions? Allow Iran to become a nuclear power? It is certainly an option. Is that what you recommend we do? Forget about who is in the white house right now, I just appointed you commander in chief. Congrats on the promotion. I'm sure your first move will be to fire the entire cabinet, which is fine, but what is it you propose we do afterwards?
Should we
a. Press on with negotiations?
b. Offer more incentives to Iran to cancel their program?
c. Funnel funds and weapons to Iranian anti gov't forces and aid in a coup?
d. Use stategic strikes to take out suspected nuclear sites (an act of war)
e. Use our full military might to invade the country and dispose of its gov't?
f. Allow Iran to become a nuclear power? And if so should we abandon our allies that would most likely be threatened by this new power?
g. Some other option I have not listed? Cmon, speak up. Dont look to Powell for answears, lets hear yours.
 

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I told you, I don't have time to write a book right now and my research isn't up to date on the sentiments of the people of Iran. I'm suspicious that we've predictably fucked it up royally when we went into Iraq as we did. I've heard the leader, his rhetoric, just not sure how deep or strong ill sentiment runs in the population. Hard to debate his claims for need with us next door. Might have had a believable stand if we were at the UN in NY, not in his backyard, Baghdad.

I'd right a book on what SHOULD be done in foreign diplomacy right now. And it'd include a wide range of issues and a few apologies. You'd say it's skirting the issue and I'd tell you it IS the issue. They're NOT seperate entities but one hazy mess. I'll not be going there. I just hope that what we get in the handling of this isn't "typical".;)

For one line simple big ideas and simple big solutions, you've already got your "go to" guy. Just listen to him.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I just wanted to see if you ever offer solution, or just stick to finger pointing... looks like you've answeared that just fine...
 

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Vash said:
...Sideways: I agree, that negotiations alone will not do the trick here. However the military approach needs to be abit smarter then just wiping the country of the face of the planet. Should we target the nukes and nothing else? Should we support local revolutionary groups (And will the prove to be worse then the current regime?) Or should we let Israel handle it like desert lad is suggesting.
For that metter, can Israel handle something of this magnitude?...
All good questions, but I don't know enough about it to answer them (I'll try anyway, to excercise my typing hand).

Targeting the nukes and or the development would be the way I would think. Supporting revolutions doesn't usually pan out, if I remember my history.

And Israel, I have no idea. Aren't they one of those countries who we give jets and guns and money and technology to constantly to keep them up? Aren't they like a weak extension of the U.S.'s hand? Now with Sharon failing to spring back to life as was promised by the ever deaf dumb and blind media, who will lead them? They seem to be in at best a transitional period, so I'd count on nothing from them.

I'm not so sure there's any more to worry about now than there ever has been in regard to nukes. Every country that has them knows that if they use them it will set off a chain reaction of retaliation and pretty much mean the end of everything, either from radiation death or the nuclear winter that would follow. The only real danger is if a country that doesn't mind being destroyed gets hold of them. Is Iran that country? Who knows.
 

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Vash said:
I just wanted to see if you ever offer solution, or just stick to finger pointing... looks like you've answeared that just fine...
I respectfully reply, bullshit. I can't make a simplistic answer to a complex problem and I can't dicuss most issues intelligently with you because you have a shallow depth of knowledge and I can't type the volumes needed to fill the void. And on this particular topic, as I've stated time and again, I'm not decided that I have the necessary facts or background yet to have a strong opinion. And you know what? I probably already have more than most, just not enough to voice anything strongly yet.

I'm sorry if that seems harsh but I don't think I've been left an alternative. We've had enough discussions for that to be clear to me. It also should NOT be taken as a personal afront as you're young and it takes a long time and a lot of reading and observing to acquire the knowledge. That's if you pay attention, which I believe you do, and keep your mind open until you've got some real depth of understanding of any given issue, which I know I do.

Just don't take that very good "American" ideal that you've signed on to as a complete entity with all of the answers. It's NOT. It's a GREAT starting point but knowledge and history will demonstrate time and again that it's the right ideal but needs some help along the way to be realized to its intended end. Most republicans I know don't know that. They too often accept the ideal as a policy, and REFUSE to look any deeper, or adjust their outlook when all of the facts suggest they must. McCain is an example of an exception to that. GW is a textbook example of the epitome of that.

And the government we've got right now WILL be going down in history as one of the worst we've ever had. You may live long enough to realize that. I may not. I hope for your sake that you don't get burned in the mess. Many already have and there are many more to come.
 

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Now who would have thought a discussion about nuclear arms involving Vash, Dad and a drunken Republican would have gotten all heavy?

Hmmm. It boggles the mind.:rolleyes:
 

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sidewaysducati said:
All good questions, but I don't know enough about it to answer them (I'll try anyway, to excercise my typing hand).

I'm not so sure there's any more to worry about now than there ever has been in regard to nukes. Every country that has them knows that if they use them it will set off a chain reaction of retaliation and pretty much mean the end of everything, either from radiation death or the nuclear winter that would follow. The only real danger is if a country that doesn't mind being destroyed gets hold of them. Is Iran that country? Who knows.
That's a good paragraph with an appropriate question. Just how big of a problem IS this.... REALLY! And is it realistic to think we're going to STOP nuclear proliferation? I don't think so. We could put some pressure on the French to quit their historical function as the world's technology whore. Sell anything to anybody. But we're NOT going to stop it.

The real[I/] answers to these issues for the long haul are the same as most. We need to have a respect and tolerance for people that we don't often exhibit and it ends up in situations like this. We need to take away the reasons to HAVE such major disagreements or serious distrust. Propping up third world dictators, aiding and abetting in their abuse of their country, isn't how to do that. Remember the Shah of Iran? And Rumsfeld certainly remembers Saddam. He negotiated many a weapons deal with him, right there in Baghdad. Why do these populations hate or distrust us?

Unselfishly assisting in things like Africa's AIDS epidemic IS a way to treat people. So would cleaning the land mines out of North Africa that are left over from WW II and are still blowing up a few unfortunates every year. Egypt and Lybia at least have asked for that, but they've continued to be ignored. Quit buying oil from West Africa when we KNOW that the proceeds are going into just a few street punk's pockets while the country's existing in abject poverty. Would actions like that cause a whole society to want to get WMD and destroy the US? I don't think so. Maybe we should try it that way, consistantly, for once in history. Get Europe to join in helping, too. They're the source of the real looong term stuff anyway, the distrust of the west, which we're part of.

Where's GW's speech about that? I'm sure it's just around the corner, next time he can assemble a friendly crowd, isolate the ones he can't be sure of, so he can stage one of his impromptu cheerleading sessions. That's the kind of guy that I'll put MY trust in!

But I suppose that's just fingerpointing, skirting the issue, and "typical", so I'll leave it alone.;)
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Dad: I'd much rather see a leader make a mistake then take no action. A leader must be able to make a decision. Its never going to work according to plan, its going to have some mistakes, and those can be dealt with. Sitting around and contemplating the historical perspective is only giving others the time needed to strike at us, or our interests.
I'm downright amazed at your naive attitude toward forign policy. Life is not a disney movie. Treating people with respect and dignity is all good, but it will not stop any hostilities. The simple truth is that there are limited resources around and lots of people competing for them. We are the most powerfull and richest tribe, and that is why we are the target for the rest of the world. Of course they want what we have, its not the freedom, its the money.
Look at any war in history, and its always about money. Historians write long pages of propaganda filled with bullshit reasons, but in the end its one of two scenarios. Side A has something Side B wants, so side be comes over and tries to take it. Or Side A attacks Side B first. Throw in alliances and you have a description of every single war since troy.
No we arent going to put a stop to nuclear prolifiration, which is something we should've thought about long ago, and spent more effort on developing defences. But we havent, so we are doing it now. The system isnt ready, so we must keep other tribes from developing those weapons while we try to get ready.
How would helping african countries help convince iran to give up nuclear weapons? Do you honestly expect them to just change their minds? Oppressive regimes rely on having an enemy to stay in power, I say this time and time again, because I've seen it time and time again. The mullahs must convince their people that america is out to kill them all, otherwise the people would dispose of the mullahs.
Showing weakness is no way to conduct forign policy. We can pay N. korea to abandon its nuclear program and 5 years later they will start again and demand more money. Then other countries are going to catch on, and everyone is going to want a piece. Our survival depends on showing a strong, unified front. The message must be clear, attacking american interests carries deadly conciquences, just as simple as that. We dont negotiate or apologize to criminals for making laws that interfere with their behaviour. We shouldnt apologize to criminal regimes. They can play by the rules just like everyone else.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
This is about the strangest turn of events. I'm still wondering if this could be a hoax

link

France defends right to nuclear reply to terrorism
By John Thornhill in Paris and Peter Spiegel in London
Published: January 19 2006 12:34 | Last updated: January 19 2006 16:50

Jacques Chirac, France’s president, has threatened to use nuclear weapons against any state that supported terrorism against his country or considered using weapons of mass destruction.


In a high-profile speech on Thursday to update military officers on France’s strategic doctrine, Mr Chirac said the end of the cold war had removed neither the threats to peace nor the justification for a nuclear deterrent.

Citing the dangers of regional instability, growing extremism and the proliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, Mr Chirac said France’s nuclear deterrence remained the fundamental guarantee of its security.

Although Mr Chirac conceded that the country’s nuclear arsenal could not deter fanatical terrorists, he said it could help prevent states sponsoring those terrorists.

“The leaders of states who use terrorist means against us, as well as those who would consider using, in one way or another, weapons of mass destruction, must understand that they would lay themselves open to a firm and adapted response on our part,” he said. “This response could be a conventional one. It could also be of a different kind.”

Mr Chirac’s comments come in the midst of deteriorating European and American relations with Iran, which last week indicated it would restart research into a nuclear programme. Analysts said Mr Chirac’s comments could directly affect the ability to negotiate a settlement with an increasingly belligerent Tehran.

“It expands the role of nuclear weapons and it makes it more difficult to argue against an Iranian nuclear weapons programme,” said John Wolfsthal, a nuclear arms expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “It reaffirms the discriminatory nature of the current system.” Opposition politicians in France denounced Mr Chirac’s comments as irresponsible.

France, which acquired an autonomous nuclear deterrent in 1964, spends almost €3bn ($3.6bn, £2bn) a year, or just under 10 per cent of its defence budget, to maintain its nuclear deterrent, including about 350 warheads. However, some politicians have questioned its relevance and complained about its cost in a post-cold war world.

François Heisbourg, director of the Paris-based Foundation for Strategic Research, said Mr Chirac was signalling that France’s nuclear weapons were now aimed at political rather than demographic targets, the objective being to deter the command and control capacity of rogue states rather than to threaten to annihilate cities in the old Soviet bloc.

“This is a significant shift of emphasis that is made possible by the enhanced accuracy of nuclear weapons,” he said. “It also pulls together the nuclear deterrent with the issue of state-sponsored terrorism. That is a departure from the traditional French stance, which has been to emphasise the general nature of its vital interests.”

However, Mr Heisbourg said the new doctrine could raise a potential credibility problem – what yardstick would be used to measure a response to a terrorist attack? He said the president’s speech could also influence the international debate surrounding Iran’s nuclear programme. “It is rather difficult to persuade someone to renounce the acquisition of nuclear weapons when you are explaining how wonderful they can be,” he said.

Mr Chirac said France’s nuclear deterrent also formed a “core element in the security of the European continent” as the 25 members of the European Union developed a common security and defence policy.

His warning that nuclear weapons could be used against terrorist states puts him more in line with the US’s new controversial nuclear posture, unveiled in 2002, which also cites nuclear arms as a credible deterrent to rogue states armed with non-conventional weapons.
 
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