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Phony Moderate
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« on: May 17, 2012, 08:00:28 pm »
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ERUSALEM (Reuters) - A private door opens from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office in central Jerusalem directly into a long, modestly furnished, half-paneled room decorated with modern paintings by Israeli artists and a copy of Israel's 1948 declaration of independence. It contains little more than a long wooden table, brown leather chairs and a single old-fashioned white projector screen.

This inner sanctum at the end of a corridor between Netanyahu's private room and the office of his top military adviser, is where one of the decade's most momentous military decisions could soon be taken: to launch an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear program.

Time for that decision is fast running out and the mood in Jerusalem is hardening.

Iran continues to enrich uranium in defiance of international pressure, saying it needs the fuel for its civilian nuclear program. The West is convinced that Tehran's real objective is to build an atomic bomb - something which the Jewish state will never accept because its leaders consider a nuclear armed-Iran a threat to its very existence.

Adding to the international pressure, U.S. ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro said this week American military plans to strike Iran were "ready" and the option was "fully available".

http://news.yahoo.com/iran-attack-decision-nears-israeli-elite-locks-down-144336381.html
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Zioneer
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« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2012, 08:23:15 pm »
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This is very ominous.
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« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2012, 08:24:45 pm »
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This is very ominous.

Indeed.

Here comes WWIII.
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« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2012, 10:49:19 pm »
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Here comes WWIII.
How do you figure?
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LastVoter
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« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2012, 10:51:50 pm »
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How much are we paying for this?
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« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2012, 11:54:52 pm »
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Outrageous. Easily the most unjustified Israeli act of aggression since 1967.

This will of course, put America's soldiers and diplomats around the world at heightened risk of assault, to no fault of America's own, except for our ill-considered love affair with Israel.
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« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2012, 12:19:20 am »
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Beet, I am hardly in love with the Zionist state, but I won't blame them if they act militarily to impede Iran's march to a nuclear bomb.  While I think it unlikely that Iran would use the bomb if they obtain it, unlikely does not mean no chance, and that is simply a chance Israel can't afford to take, if (and this is a big if) Israel has the capability to prevent Iran from getting the bomb.
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« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2012, 12:24:03 am »
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First of all, Israel does not have the capability. It could only set back Iran's progress, not stop it. Secondly, there being a chance of something is not an argument. There is a chance Pakistan could use its weapons against Israel as well. Where was the Israeli attack then? There is a chance North Korea could use it against the United States. And so on. None of this justifies military action.
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« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2012, 12:35:24 am »
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First of all, Israel does not have the capability.
I'm guessing they'd know better than you if they do or not.
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It could only set back Iran's progress, not stop it.
And if they leave a note saying "try it again and we'll be back"?
Quote
Secondly, there being a chance of something is not an argument. There is a chance Pakistan could use its weapons against Israel as well.
While obviously no friend of Israel, Pakistan is less aggressive towards them than Iran...by a lot.  And are we sure Pakistan has the delivery systems to make it to Tel Aviv?  They may, I don't know.
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Where was the Israeli attack then?
The attack on Iran is going to be challenging, but...hopefully....doable, Pakistan is a bit further away and substantially more complex.  And again, Israel isn't the reason Pakistan got their big bombs.
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There is a chance North Korea could use it against the United States.
Not really.  There is a chance they could use them against our allies, sure, but not against the US...you've seen their missile tests right?
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And so on. None of this justifies military action.
In your opinion, sure.  Other people have different opinions.
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« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2012, 01:00:11 am »
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First of all, Israel does not have the capability. It could only set back Iran's progress, not stop it. Secondly, there being a chance of something is not an argument. There is a chance Pakistan could use its weapons against Israel as well. Where was the Israeli attack then? There is a chance North Korea could use it against the United States. And so on. None of this justifies military action.

If Iran gets the bomb then it becomes the most likely country to have a bomb and use it.  I'd rate the chance of Iran using an atomic bomb within a decade after it has a bomb and the means to deliver it as being in the 1 to 5% range.  Still not very likely, but enough to trigger the doctrine of preemptive war to prevent it.

Whereas, the only chance North Korea will use its bomb is if South Korea invades the North, and that ain't gonna happen.  North Korea is a vile regime, and its leadership should be sent to the gallows for their crimes, but their reasons for developing a bomb are those of national pride and self-preservation of their regime.  To a large degree that is motivating Iran as well, but Iran has other reasons as well, reasons that could lead Iran to use the bomb as something other than as a threat of mutual assured destruction.
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« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2012, 01:03:27 am »
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First of all, Israel does not have the capability.
I'm guessing they'd know better than you if they do or not.

Yes, they know even better than me that they can't.

Quote
Quote
It could only set back Iran's progress, not stop it.
And if they leave a note saying "try it again and we'll be back"?

Then they'll have to keep an ongoing war with Iran for the rest of their nation's history. At some point, they'd get nuked simply for the sheer hatred they would inspire.

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Secondly, there being a chance of something is not an argument. There is a chance Pakistan could use its weapons against Israel as well.
While obviously no friend of Israel, Pakistan is less aggressive towards them than Iran...by a lot.  And are we sure Pakistan has the delivery systems to make it to Tel Aviv?  They may, I don't know.

Have you ever heard of a suitcase bomb?

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Where was the Israeli attack then?
The attack on Iran is going to be challenging, but...hopefully....doable, Pakistan is a bit further away and substantially more complex.  And again, Israel isn't the reason Pakistan got their big bombs.

And Israel isn't the reason Iran would get their big bombs. Israel isn't the one that invaded and/or occupied countries to Iran's west, east, and north east. However, in the event of an Israeli attack, that changes.

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There is a chance North Korea could use it against the United States.
Not really.  There is a chance they could use them against our allies, sure, but not against the US...you've seen their missile tests right?

Again, have you heard of a suitcase bomb?

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And so on. None of this justifies military action.
In your opinion, sure.  Other people have different opinions.

I have the most basic instinct of humanity, and possibly the animal world as well - behind me. The aggressor is the one in the wrong.
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« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2012, 01:08:49 am »
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First of all, Israel does not have the capability. It could only set back Iran's progress, not stop it. Secondly, there being a chance of something is not an argument. There is a chance Pakistan could use its weapons against Israel as well. Where was the Israeli attack then? There is a chance North Korea could use it against the United States. And so on. None of this justifies military action.
If Iran gets the bomb then it becomes the most likely country to have a bomb and use it.  I'd rate the chance of Iran using an atomic bomb within a decade after it has a bomb and the means to deliver it as being in the 1 to 5% range.  Still not very likely, but enough to trigger the doctrine of preemptive war to prevent it.

1% to 5% is way too high. North Korea is maybe 1% to 5%. The leaders of Iran are far more sane than the leaders of North Korea. North Korea actually sank a South Korean warship - total unprovoked. Iran let the US shoot down one of its civilian airliners in the middle of the Persian Gulf and didn't retaliate. Iran would never do something so stupid as a nuclear attack on Israel. Khamenei is not "that guy." Shiite Islam is actually far more moderate than Sunni Islam.

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Whereas, the only chance North Korea will use its bomb is if South Korea invades the North, and that ain't gonna happen.  North Korea is a vile regime, and its leadership should be sent to the gallows for their crimes, but their reasons for developing a bomb are those of national pride and self-preservation of their regime.  To a large degree that is motivating Iran as well, but Iran has other reasons as well, reasons that could lead Iran to use the bomb as something other than as a threat of mutual assured destruction.

Iran does not have any reasons for unilaterally attacking Israel. This is not 1967. Iran is far away from Israel, and if it were not for Hezbollah, would not really have anything to do with Israel. And the Hezbollah route is about to be closed anyway.
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« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2012, 01:30:49 am »
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First of all, Israel does not have the capability.
I'm guessing they'd know better than you if they do or not.

Yes, they know even better than me that they can't.
So you think they are bluffing?  Or suicidal?  I'm confused.
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Quote
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It could only set back Iran's progress, not stop it.
And if they leave a note saying "try it again and we'll be back"?

Then they'll have to keep an ongoing war with Iran for the rest of their nation's history. At some point, they'd get nuked simply for the sheer hatred they would inspire.

Quote
Quote
Secondly, there being a chance of something is not an argument. There is a chance Pakistan could use its weapons against Israel as well.
While obviously no friend of Israel, Pakistan is less aggressive towards them than Iran...by a lot.  And are we sure Pakistan has the delivery systems to make it to Tel Aviv?  They may, I don't know.

Have you ever heard of a suitcase bomb?
(seriously?  "suit case bomb" is what you're going with here?)Of course I've heard of "suitcase bombs".  And there is no way Pakistan has the technology to make one.  Hell, the closest the US or Soviets ever got was something that could fit inside a footlocker and they are only good for blowing up an airport or something else relatively small.  Pakistan isn't going to risk the...ahem...."fallout" to blow up a couple of buildings.
Quote
Quote
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Where was the Israeli attack then?
The attack on Iran is going to be challenging, but...hopefully....doable, Pakistan is a bit further away and substantially more complex.  And again, Israel isn't the reason Pakistan got their big bombs.

And Israel isn't the reason Iran would get their big bombs. Israel isn't the one that invaded and/or occupied countries to Iran's west, east, and north east. However, in the event of an Israeli attack, that changes.
You think Iran is getting the bomb to protect itself against the US?  If the US wanted to invade Iran why do you think they haven't up until now?  S.Arabia would make more sense here.
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There is a chance North Korea could use it against the United States.
Not really.  There is a chance they could use them against our allies, sure, but not against the US...you've seen their missile tests right?

Again, have you heard of a suitcase bomb?
Twice?  Dude, stop watching so many movies.
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Quote
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And so on. None of this justifies military action.
In your opinion, sure.  Other people have different opinions.

I have the most basic instinct of humanity, and possibly the animal world as well - behind me. The aggressor is the one in the wrong.
Indeed.  Tell Iran to stop trying to blow up embassies.  Tell them to stop funding terrorist organizations.  Even with our biases we still have to admit that our own side isn't perfect here.  Both sides have acted aggressively.  This whole mess isn't going to start when the first JDAM slams into concrete, it started a long ass time ago.
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« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2012, 01:43:58 am »
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AKA "Israel nears decision on [US] Iran attack"
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« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2012, 01:50:39 am »
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First of all, Israel does not have the capability.
I'm guessing they'd know better than you if they do or not.
Yes, they know even better than me that they can't.
So you think they are bluffing?  Or suicidal?  I'm confused.

Well, looking at who is in charge, they are probably acting against their better judgement.

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Quote
Quote
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It could only set back Iran's progress, not stop it.
And if they leave a note saying "try it again and we'll be back"?
Then they'll have to keep an ongoing war with Iran for the rest of their nation's history. At some point, they'd get nuked simply for the sheer hatred they would inspire.
Quote
Quote
Secondly, there being a chance of something is not an argument. There is a chance Pakistan could use its weapons against Israel as well.
While obviously no friend of Israel, Pakistan is less aggressive towards them than Iran...by a lot.  And are we sure Pakistan has the delivery systems to make it to Tel Aviv?  They may, I don't know.
Have you ever heard of a suitcase bomb?

(seriously?  "suit case bomb" is what you're going with here?)Of course I've heard of "suitcase bombs".  And there is no way Pakistan has the technology to make one.  Hell, the closest the US or Soviets ever got was something that could fit inside a footlocker and they are only good for blowing up an airport or something else relatively small.  Pakistan isn't going to risk the...ahem...."fallout" to blow up a couple of buildings.

If it only blew up a couple of buildings, then the response would be simply to attack Pakistan, not to wipe Pakistan off the face of the earth. In other words, they would risk that far before they'd risk a nuclear strike. But of course they wouldn't risk either. Nether would Iran.

Quote
Quote
Quote
Quote
Where was the Israeli attack then?
The attack on Iran is going to be challenging, but...hopefully....doable, Pakistan is a bit further away and substantially more complex.  And again, Israel isn't the reason Pakistan got their big bombs.
And Israel isn't the reason Iran would get their big bombs. Israel isn't the one that invaded and/or occupied countries to Iran's west, east, and north east. However, in the event of an Israeli attack, that changes.
You think Iran is getting the bomb to protect itself against the US?  If the US wanted to invade Iran why do you think they haven't up until now?  S.Arabia would make more sense here.

The US is currently the only country that poses an existential threat to Iran. It's the only member of the Axis of Evil still standing. Every couple of years, there are rumors the US is going to attack Iran.

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Quote
Quote
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There is a chance North Korea could use it against the United States.
Not really.  There is a chance they could use them against our allies, sure, but not against the US...you've seen their missile tests right?
Again, have you heard of a suitcase bomb?
Twice?  Dude, stop watching so many movies.

Which movie featured Korean Air Flight 858?

Quote
Quote
Quote
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And so on. None of this justifies military action.
In your opinion, sure.  Other people have different opinions.

I have the most basic instinct of humanity, and possibly the animal world as well - behind me. The aggressor is the one in the wrong.
Indeed.  Tell Iran to stop trying to blow up embassies.  Tell them to stop funding terrorist organizations.  Even with our biases we still have to admit that our own side isn't perfect here.  Both sides have acted aggressively.  This whole mess isn't going to start when the first JDAM slams into concrete, it started a long ass time ago.

LOL. Iran hasn't blown up any embassies. And even if it did at some point years ago, it would not be justification for a new attack now.
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« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2012, 02:00:39 am »
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Iran is building the bomb mostly to protect itself from a future US attack. Right now the US is all fatigued of war, but what about 10-15 years from now? Guess who the biggest target would be then? And regardless of whether or not the US would invade Iran, Iran sees what happened to North Korea when they got the bomb. North Korea can now do whatever it wants short of using the bomb and get away with it. And most of all there is no chance of them ever being invaded. There is a very real chance of Iran getting attacked or even invaded by the US, and getting a nuke is an excellent insurance policy against that. If anyone disagrees there is a good chance of the US invading or attacking Iran, they obviously haven't been following the Republican primaries very closely.
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« Reply #16 on: May 18, 2012, 02:07:00 am »
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Not an unlikely scenario, but assuming Obama will be re-elected (and the same is obviously true for a possible President Romney) I guess that a concerted effort of the US and Israel to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons will only happen after the November election. Obama certainly doesn't want to get involved in another kind of foreign military action during an election campaign. I mean, he's no war President, is he? Tongue
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« Reply #17 on: May 18, 2012, 02:22:54 am »
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Well, looking at who is in charge, they are probably acting against their better judgement.
To what end?
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If it only blew up a couple of buildings, then the response would be simply to attack Pakistan, not to wipe Pakistan off the face of the earth. In other words, they would risk that far before they'd risk a nuclear strike. But of course they wouldn't risk either. Nether would Iran.
Indeed, you are probably correct.  As Ernest said in this thread and I've said in several past threads, the odds of Iran using a nuke against the US or more likely, Israel is quite small, but it's still there.  I can't blame Israel for being nervous and seriously considering an attack if they seriously think it would lesson the chance.
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The US is currently the only country that poses an existential threat to Iran. It's the only member of the Axis of Evil still standing. Every couple of years, there are rumors the US is going to attack Iran.
But why do you think we haven't attacked yet?  Nobody on your side of the argument ever answers this question.  You seem to know everything except that.  Weird.
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Which movie featured Korean Air Flight 858?
And here I thought we were talking about suitcase nukes.  Sure, N.Korea or Iran may again try and blow sh**t up with conventional means.  As I'll show in the next paragraph, Iran hasn't stopped trying it.
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LOL. Iran hasn't blown up any embassies.
Which is why I said "trying".  You may have missed them (or more likely, willfully ignored them), but Iran has, in the past year, tried to blow up (or at least attack) 5 different embassies.  Thailand (twice), Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia and India.  That is an act of aggression in my book.  Even if they are often comically inept (as in Thailand), it's still an act of aggression.
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« Reply #18 on: May 18, 2012, 03:05:02 am »
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Why would US attack Iran when it's got Iraq and Afghanistan to worry about. There are only so many targets it can attack without having to change recruitment tactics for the military which would be very unpopular at home. (I mean conscription and/or draft).
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« Reply #19 on: May 18, 2012, 03:28:02 am »
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You may have missed the part where we left Iraq.

Also, why must an attack mean an occupation?  There is no way anybody is going to try to occupy Iran.
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« Reply #20 on: May 18, 2012, 03:40:17 am »
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You may have missed the part where we left Iraq.

Also, why must an attack mean an occupation?  There is no way anybody is going to try to occupy Iran.
Because US is recovering and preparing for an attack on Iran? Maybe waiting for the right opportunity?
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« Reply #21 on: May 18, 2012, 03:59:06 am »
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As an answer to "why must an attack mean an occupation?", that don't make no sense.
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« Reply #22 on: May 18, 2012, 04:39:42 am »
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One thing that has become apparent to me over the past year is that Israel developed its nuclear arsenal without the strategic maturity to appreciate what that might mean for its security over the long term, except for suddenly having the ability to inflict total destruction on an adversary.  While America's ubiquitous nuclear umbrella and the technological difficulty of acquiring a deterrent has helped prevent the cascade style proliferation that some once thought possible, Israel should have known from the moment it began its nuclear development that, simply as a result of its environment, its nuclear monopoly was tenuous, and every one of its potentially antagonistic neighbors could recognize the value of following Israel along the nuclear path and succeed in that endeavor.  Furthermore, if Israel is going to continue with the charade of an undeclared nuclear program, it will by definition preclude the type of arrangements that helped America and the Soviet Union maintain geopolitical stability during the Cold War, which I believe is actually the greatest danger of a hypothetical Iranian nuclear weapon.  Iran, however, is only a symptom of Israel's strategic conundrum; once you acquire a credible nuclear arsenal, its logic is inescapable, and if Israel cannot accept that it might have to one day engage in M.A.D. and nominally relinquish control over its fate, it should have never opened the pandora's box to begin with.  Israel's problem is ultimately psychological, a result of the historical legacy embedded in its identity, and not genuinely rational.  I would go even farther and observe that, if Ronan Bergman's February account was accurate and not effrontery, I came away convinced the Israeli leadership has a pathological need to be in control of a country on the verge of extermination.

Israel is a sovereign state, and as such has the right to act in its perceived national interest.  That description is a form of obfuscation, however, because Israel is also a security dependent of America, and its behavior has a disproportionate impact on our credibility and diplomatic agility.  Its only tangible value to America is whether or not it can contribute to the realization of our foreign policy; it is incumbent on Israel to harmonize its policy to accommodate that agenda.  If Israel is unwilling or incapable of fulfilling that, the relationship is nothing more than a heart warming burden for a superpower to adopt at its peril.  More broadly, the Libyan intervention elicited a substantial amount of discussion, most of it trite and predictable, about the nature of American leadership, accusing Obama of a reluctance to fulfill our pre-ordained role at the center of every international development, unfurling the flag for some principle or another.  In actuality, the only abrogation of American leadership occurs when we subordinate our interests to those of another government, which happened with increasing frequency under Obama's predecessor, as in Georgia.  No matter how essential the relationship may be portrayed by some, all of the impassioned sophistry at their command cannot obviate the reality that America and Israel have progressively divergent national interests, and while Israel may be able to rationalize a strike on Iran, it has the potential to be quite harmful to us irrespective of the outcome.  If Israel cannot respect a core interest of its patron, it should be held accountable.  Unfortunately, I doubt that will happen.
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« Reply #23 on: May 18, 2012, 04:45:35 am »
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Whereas, the only chance North Korea will use its bomb is if South Korea invades the North, and that ain't gonna happen.  North Korea is a vile regime, and its leadership should be sent to the gallows for their crimes, but their reasons for developing a bomb are those of national pride and self-preservation of their regime.  To a large degree that is motivating Iran as well, but Iran has other reasons as well, reasons that could lead Iran to use the bomb as something other than as a threat of mutual assured destruction.

The North Korean situation is relevant, to the extent that Pyongyang's nuclear program has continued to expand in sophistication and magnitude despite its self-induced international isolation, and it, like Iran, has a legitimate security rationale for acquiring a nuclear deterrent.  As with Iran, the D.P.R.K. is a regime that is frequently portrayed as inscrutable, mercurial, and ideological, a perception it has deliberately cultivated, probably to its advantage.  But North Korea, unlike Iran, actually engaged in a conflict with America that is still formally ongoing, its southern neighbor had a nascent nuclear program under Park Chung-hee that only ended after American diplomatic intervention, and Kim Il-sung's policy of equidistance from the Soviet Union and China meant that he never felt comfortable accepting the protective embrace of either patron.  What I object to is your attempt to emphasize Iran's theology as an unquantifiable factor while implying that North Korea is somehow a more rational actor, which is risible, because the role of identity is just as critical in dictating the D.P.R.K.'s behavior as it has been for Iran.  As I have mentioned here before, North Korea was Kim Il-sung's attempt at rectification; at the core of the D.P.R.K. is a visceral loathing of every circumstance that has harmed the Korean people in the past.  The North's perpetual anxiety, along with the nature of its political system, rendered Pyongyang's decision to acquire a nuclear arsenal inevitable -- indeed, if Jonathan Pollack's 'No Exit' is accurate, Kim Il-sung began contempating it soon after the Soviet Union, from his perspective, capitulated over Cuba.  For all of the concern about Israel being rhetorically threatened with destruction, the D.P.R.K. has repeatedly claimed it will start a war with the South, its invective against Lee Myung-bak over the past month has been grotesque, and only eighteen months have elapsed since the Yeonpyeong incident.  In fact, while our natural inclination might be to connect the D.P.R.K. and Iran, a far more intriguing comparison is between North Korea and Israel, in the sense that both were created out of extreme trauma inflicted upon a nation deprived of statehood and dignity, a legacy that has colored every action both have taken since.  North Korea is the product of a unique Korean experience and culture coupled with an external belief system in a fashion functionally similar to the transformation of Iran after its revolution.  If you believe that Iran might use a hypothetical nuclear arsenal against Israel, then the North, inaugurating an exhortatory Chollima march in response to a devastating famine, is irrational enough to start a conflict with the South.  

Iran was instrumental in reaching the Bonn Agreement immediately after America's invasion of Afghanistan, purportedly made an overture to the Bush administration to normalize relations (although I don't know whether that is believable), and was rewarded for its cooperation by being included in that farcical 'axis of evil' construct.  The behavior most frequently cited as evidence of Iran's irrationality or inherent malevolence, its employment of children in its war against Iraq, actually showed the depths of the regime's desire to survive, not simply an appetite for wanton brutality.  The reason why North Korea has continued to take the South right to the edge, but never beyond, just like Pakistan and India's mutual dance of danger, is because all of them are motivated by the desire for self-preservation, and there is no reason to assume that characteristic is not applicable to Iran as well.

If Iran gets the bomb then it becomes the most likely country to have a bomb and use it.  I'd rate the chance of Iran using an atomic bomb within a decade after it has a bomb and the means to deliver it as being in the 1 to 5% range.  Still not very likely, but enough to trigger the doctrine of preemptive war to prevent it.

With all due respect, and being rather blunt, nonsense.  I don't think that unfounded and inherently subjective statistical assertions are conductive to the discussion of this subject.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2012, 06:05:30 am by seanobr »Logged

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« Reply #24 on: May 18, 2012, 08:22:18 am »
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I think Iran is rational enough not to launch a preemptive attack on Israel out of the blue.  But it's possible to take this logic too far.  Would you say that because both the US and USSR had rational leaders during the Cold War, that there was never any risk of nuclear war whatsoever, and we had nothing to worry about?

I think the danger is that in a crisis situation, there would be a miscalculation, and either Iran or Israel would attack the other, thinking that they've been backed into a corner.  To quote Fred Kaplan:

link

Quote
Second, the United States and the Soviet Union were able to maintain a “balance of terror” for several decades of Cold War tensions, without pushing the button, in part because both sides learned—and applied—the lessons of deterrence as they went along. They put missiles in blast-hardened silos and untargetable submarines. They set up early-warning radars and a hotline for managing crises. They installed coded locks (“permissive action links” or PALs) on their missiles, to minimize the chance that some loony general might launch a first-strike on his own. There is no assurance that the Iranians will do any of these things with their arsenal.
 
Third, there is the matter of geography. Moscow and Washington are 5,000 miles apart. If they were 900 miles apart (as Tehran and Jerusalem are), there probably would have been a nuclear war at some point in the last 50 years. It takes a half hour for an ICBM to fly from Moscow to Washington; that’s just barely enough time for the president to decide what to do if a blip on the radar screen suggests an attack is underway. It takes about five minutes for a short-range missile to fly from Tehran to Israel. That’s probably not enough time.

There were several times during the Cold War when America’s finely tuned radars mistook a flock of geese for a flight of Soviet missiles or when a software glitch produced a false warning of an attack. In all these instances, the leaders could afford to wait a bit to see how the signals panned out. According to David Hoffman’s frightening book The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy, there was an incident in 1983 when a Soviet early-warning satellite picked up signals of an American missile attack. The signal in this case was never straightened out; the system kept warning of an attack all the way until the point when the warheads would have exploded, had there really been an attack. Luckily, the Soviet lieutenant colonel at the monitoring station, thinking that this couldn’t really be happening, decided—on his own authority—to tell his commander that it was a false alarm and, therefore, there was no need to launch the Soviets’ own ICBMs. He was lying: According to the warning system, the attack was real. But by lying, he probably prevented World War III.

It’s not at all clear that an Iranian or Israeli officer would keep his cool under similar circumstances (or that he’d be so laid back to begin with)—especially if the false warning coincided with a diplomatic crisis or a military exercise or some other moment of extraordinary tension.

Of course, that just tells us that Iranian nukes are something to worry about.  Whether it's actually possible to prevent them from being developed rather than just delay things by a year or two at potentially enormous cost of escalation is another matter.
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