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Author Topic: Iran nuclear deal
Greg Davidson
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(Time to practice arguments - these are in draft form)

It's time for accountability. The stakes in the nuclear negotiations with Iran are too high to make decisions based on solely on fear or irrational thinking that has proved false in the past. No BS and no dodging tough questions.

We need to understand if there is any change in the thinking of politician who made wildly wrong predictions about the Iraq War. For example, after Benjamin Netanyahu told the US Congress "If you take out Saddam’s regime, I guarantee you that it will have enormous positive reverberations on the region…", did he subsequently make any fundamental changes to his world-view, or are his opinions today crafted with the same flawed world-view or analytic approach that made him so wrong before? How wrong do a group of politicians and pundits have to be before their assessments are not trustworthy?

Those recommending rejection of this agreement must make a convincing case why the alternatives will be better.

First, if the US rejects a deal that is acceptable to England, France, Germany, Russia, and China, the result will not be a tougher embargo, it will likely be a collapse of the current coalition and embargo (which would leaves Iran with far greater nuclear capabilities in place than if a deal were signed). Does anyone have a compelling case why this is not a high risk of rejecting the deal?

Second, we have seen clear evidence in the failed Green Revolution of a few years ago that Iran is not a monolithic population of 80 million Islamofascists, but instead a deeply divided society with multiple factions. If we wish to influence Iranian behavior, we must understand how our actions will influence internal Iranian power dynamics. The premise of the Administration is that a successful deal may strengthen the moderates relative to the hard-liners, and the loosening of the embargo will empower the broader population relative to the military (which gains economic power due to smuggling). Do those opposing the deal have an alternative analysis, and what do they believe will be the beneficial consequences of a failure to reach an agreement?

Third, if the threat of a nuclear Iran must be addressed, that means war. Given the costs of the Iraq War, what is the plan of the pro-war advocates to successfully win against a country with almost three times the population of Iraq? Iran has almost 10 million men between the ages of 18 and 30, and the US has just under 20 million - how many people will it take to invade? The terrain is worse for warfare than in Iraq. And how many years (how many decades?) will it take before the troops can come home?

Fourth, can someone please explain how the same Iran that some assert is run entirely by militant fanatics is likely to stop their nuclear program after a few weeks of bombing? And if we start another war against a Muslim country without nukes because they support terrorism, and yet we tolerate the one Muslim country with nukes that had ties to the terrorists that attacked us on 9/11 (Pakistan), why won't this send a message that possessing nukes is the only way to defend against attacks from the U.S.?

Finally, every pundit and politician who has asserted that a primary driver of these negotiations is President Obama's desire for a legacy must either answer why the leaders of England, France, Germany, Russia and China are putting so much effort into Obama's legacy, or admit they don't know what they are talking about.

[ July 13, 2015, 02:08 AM: Message edited by: Greg Davidson ]

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Fenring
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The wrong question is whether Netanyahu's predictions were accurate; the right question what policy or action did his predictions serve to induce? This line addresses his agenda. Determining his agenda is relevant, but it's not relevant to determine whether specious claims he makes happen to come true or not. "Iran will have nukes therefore we must attack Iran" can be translated to "Attack Iran because blah blah." The reasons don't matter, they are filler.

All of these questions ride on whether Iran is really a threat to anyone. Not how much of a threat; just are they a threat at all? The nuke thing has been a canard quacking around the room for a long time now, and notwithstanding that, does anyone plausibly think Iran has any intention of invading another nation? Or is the single fear of nukes going to Tel Aviv?

And by the way, Greg, it's already known that possessing nukes is the only way to defend against the U.S. Actually it's a guarantee since when you have them you join the Big Boy's club and get a free pass out of major military engagements.

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D.W.
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Well put Fenring.

I would also take issue with the comparison to potential ground forces. I just don’t see it coming to an occupation / ground fighting. An all air / missile campaign may not be as effective as some hope but it is certainly the plan which would be put in place. If the goal is to set back the nuclear program specifically they wouldn’t bother trying to invade, capture and hold the nation. They would target known and suspected facilities which could house or support a nuclear program.

Otherwise all good questions Greg.

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Pete at Home
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"Given the costs of the Iraq War, what is the plan of the pro-war advocates to successfully win against a country with almost three times the population of Iraq? Iran has almost 10 million men between the ages of 18 and 30, and the US has just under 20 million - how many people will it take to invade? The terrain is wors for warfare than in Iraq."

Is anyone actually advocating invasion and occupation of Iran?

I think Clinton's aereal war against serbia RE Kosovo was immoral, illegal, and against national interest and policy, but i cannot argue that it was not "successful" as far as effecting regime change through ignominious defeat. The same strategy would be effective against Iraan for the exact reasons that Greg laid out.

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Mynnion
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Of course we also risk destabilizing the ME further. That is likely what Bibi wants.
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Pete at Home
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"
Fourth, can someone please explain how the same Iran that some assert is run entirely by militant fanatics is likely to stop their nuclear program after a few weeks of bombing?"

Mu. GIGO. False premises fallacy.

Iran's government is not entirely run by fanatics. Nor is Pakistan's.


" Askd iffanstart another war against a Muslim country without nukes because they support terrorism, and yet we tolerate the one Muslim country with nukes that had ties to the terrorists that attacked us on 9/11 (Pakistan), "

we HAVE to tolerate Pakistan's atrocities and abuses in its region (including the Taliban which has never been more thann an arm of the Pakistani ISI) because Pakistan has established nukes.

"why won't this send a message that possessing nukes is the only way to defend against attacks from the U.S.?"

It will, but that message is already well known and has been since the 1970s, so no harm in reiterating the bloody obvious. If you dabble in terrorism against the USA or its allies and current political bedmates, only nukes will protect you from repercussions.

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scifibum
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"Clinton's aereal war" made me think of Bill Clinton waging war with his nipples. Weapons of mass distraction.
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D.W.
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That's still a stepping stone Mynnion. To what end?
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:
That's still a stepping stone Mynnion. To what end?

Most likely to effectively neutralize all the nations that were Israel's enemies over the 60's and 70's, except Egypt, which has already been done.
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NobleHunter
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Pete, I've seen comments, albeit not during this round, that the Iranian's nuclear facilities are not particularly vulnerable to bombing. At least, not without significant civilian causalties.

Not to mention, if one listens to the hawks, the Iranians are very close to a bomb and there's a lot we don't know about their nuclear program. If we start bombing them and we don't take out their program, they'll have a nuclear bomb and a proper cassus belli.

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D.W.
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So the thinking is that a destabilization is favorable to 1 or 2 strong threats? I guess if you believe peaceful coexistence is impossible the more fractured and chaotic the better. Thanks, was missing that.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by NobleHunter:
Pete, I've seen comments, albeit not during this round, that the Iranian's nuclear facilities are not particularly vulnerable to bombing. At least, not without significant civilian causalties.


If true, this is a case for a special forces strike like Guns of Naverone or like Obama used to take out Bin Laden. I dont recall lefties saying that Obam. "Invaded" Pakistan, and I presume Greg would concede that we havent *occupied* Pakistan.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:
So the thinking is that a destabilization is favorable to 1 or 2 strong threats? I guess if you believe peaceful coexistence is impossible the more fractured and chaotic the better. Thanks, was missing that.

That was the flawed reasoning for regime change in Iraq but it's not relevant to Iran for the reasons Greg himself disproved before he switched his straw man mid argument. Iran has a more powerful opposition than even, say, Russia. An intelligently fought series of strikes could humilliate and weaken certain Iranian factions.
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Pete at Home
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"Not to mention, if one listens to the hawks, the Iranians are very close to a bomb and there's a lot we don't know about their nuclear program. If we start bombing them and we don't take out their program, they'll have a nuclear bomb and a proper cassus belli"

By Supreme Iranian Revolutionary doctrine, they already have cassus belli against the great satan.

What they lack is a d4elivery mechanism.

I support making a deal with Iran provided we have the will to strike then if they break the deal.

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NobleHunter
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Too many sites for a spec ops raid. It's not a problem that can be solved by sending in a dozen or so guys with C4. Not to mention the track record for American special operations in Iran isn't exactly stellar.

quote:
An intelligently fought series of strikes could humilliate and weaken certain Iranian factions
Sounds as plausible as a short victorious war. Foreign invaders also have a nasty habit of delegitimizing the faction they support. The major incidents I can think of where it worked is where the invaders supported the status quo (mostly the 1848 revolutions). I suppose it worked out that way eventually in France but the initial attempts were horrendous failures.

I meant for international consumtpion. No one gives a fig for Iranian beliefs regarding a cassus belli; they (Russia and China at this stage in the game) care rather more for ones acceptable to "international law".

If Iran or N Korea fires off a nuke based on their idiosyncratic ideas of a jsut cause for war, the international community (read: people who might otherwise object to the US et al. extracting their pound of flesh) will let the US pound them flat.

But if Iran fires off a nuke in response to extended bombing campaign, things get stickier. Especially if they're smart about their target. Russia and China, to say nothing of the other nuclear-armed states, will probably support the precedent that it is permissible to use in nukes in response to attacks with conventional weapons. Their conventional weapons suck and aren't likely to get sufficiently better anytime soon.

I mean, the US will still retaliate but the mess will be a lot messier and more costly.

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D.W.
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So there is the, preemptive camp who fears we don't have time for "wait and see". Then the "we need to give them enough rope to hang themselves with" camp. Is there anyone (here) who believes that negotiation could result in a nuclear plan that has zero military application and would be OK with that?
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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
Iran has almost 10 million men between the ages of 18 and 30, and the US has just under 20 million - how many people will it take to invade?

First off, fact check. This one shouldn't have passed your sniff test. The US has closer to 40 million men between 18-34 than 20 million, and in a country where we have equality why wouldn't you include potential fighting women? Which if you did, you'd realize there is pretty much a combat age man or women (without even straining the age range) for every man, woman and child in Iran.

Second, it's things like this that make me not want to respond:
quote:
For example, after Benjamin Netanyahu told the US Congress "If you take out Saddam’s regime, I guarantee you that it will have enormous positive reverberations on the region…", did he subsequently make any fundamental changes to his world-view, or are his opinions today crafted with the same flawed world-view or analytic approach that made him so wrong before? How wrong do a group of politicians and pundits have to be before their assessments are not trustworthy?
The left has been totality overboard in predictions of doom and gloom for every conflict (except the ones they initiate) since Vietnam, why aren't you interested in holding them accountable? Why are you only interested in those on one side?

But more to the point, predictions are just predictions. Could Netanyu have predicted that President Obama would deliberately squander the gains of the prior administration? Should he have qualified his statement, with, "unless the American's do something silly like elect a leader who refuses to take reasonable steps to keep a consistent policy in place"?
quote:
It's time for accountability. The stakes in the nuclear negotiations with Iran are too high to make decisions based on solely on fear or irrational thinking that has proved false in the past.
The "stakes are too high" to "make decisions based solely on fear"? What do you think you're appealing to there? You're appealing to fear, in an appeal not to make decisions based on fear, that's a bit ironic.
quote:
How wrong do a group of politicians and pundits have to be before their assessments are not trustworthy?
Apparently very wrong, since from the below you want to skip considering whether the group of very wrong politicians who are actually negotiating the deal have trustworthy assessments and only consider their critics so harshly.
quote:
Those recommending rejection of this agreement must make a convincing case why the alternatives will be better.
Okay. There's every probability this agreement won't prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, Iran without nuclear weapons would be better. Now what's your compelling response?

I'm not even in the pro-rejection camp yet, I'm in the need more information camp.
quote:
First, if the US rejects a deal that is acceptable to England, France, Germany, Russia, and China, the result will not be a tougher embargo, it will likely be a collapse of the current coalition and embargo (which would leaves Iran with far greater nuclear capabilities in place than if a deal were signed). Does anyone have a compelling case why this is not a high risk of rejecting the deal?
Yes if the embargo were to collapse after demonstrating once again that the administration is a joke on the international stage it would be bad. And that's certainly a risk of rejecting the deal.

Now justify why that's a worse result (ie to the prestige of a barely creditable administration) than approving an inadequate deal. Even better explain, why if this is a risk we should care about, the Administration isn't doing everything in its power to get an approvable deal in the first place. This Administration has not demonstrated the least ability to work with those it dislikes domestically.
quote:
Do those opposing the deal have an alternative analysis, and what do they believe will be the beneficial consequences of a failure to reach an agreement?
So there are only two possibilities? How about the beneficial consequences of the Administration reaching a deal that can actual be approved?

Again though, failing to reach a bad deal is a good thing, it's only failure to reach a good deal that is a bad thing. I'm not convinced by the arguments that Iran is full of complex people that we just need to try and understand better, it's their turn to make concrete steps and not just ours to hang our hopes on "vaporware" possibilities.
quote:
Third, if the threat of a nuclear Iran must be addressed, that means war.
Isn't this why we're in negotiations?
quote:
Given the costs of the Iraq War, what is the plan of the pro-war advocates to successfully win against a country with almost three times the population of Iraq?
Prior to the Gulf War Iraq had the largest and most powerful army in the region. We're completely capable of fighting an assymetric war to victory, what we are not capable of is quelling dissent after a victory.
quote:
The terrain is worse for warfare than in Iraq. And how many years (how many decades?) will it take before the troops can come home?
The conflicts in these regions are ideological in a way that's different than previous wars. Defeated enemies in Europe and even Asia policied themselves and made efforts to live up to their obligations and make changes. Defeated enemies here do not.

It's either extremely long term occupation, or Roman style changing the education system or both. We have no tolerance to do it, and neither does anyone in Europe.
quote:
Fourth, can someone please explain how the same Iran that some assert is run entirely by militant fanatics is likely to stop their nuclear program after a few weeks of bombing?
They aren't, but "a few weeks of bombing" is how Democratic presidents do it, you'll need boots on the ground to achieve the result.
quote:
And if we start another war against a Muslim country without nukes because they support terrorism, and yet we tolerate the one Muslim country with nukes that had ties to the terrorists that attacked us on 9/11 (Pakistan), why won't this send a message that possessing nukes is the only way to defend against attacks from the U.S.?
Not clear that's a "message" so much as a reality. So what. Pakistan plays ball to some extent.
quote:
Finally, every pundit and politician who has asserted that a primary driver of these negotiations is President Obama's desire for a legacy must either answer why the leaders of England, France, Germany, Russia and China are putting so much effort into Obama's legacy, or admit they don't know what they are talking about.
Why? Are people not capable of having different motivations and moving in the same direction? The assertion is that President Obama will take any deal no matter how bad because he cares about his legacy more than the deal. If that weren't the case, the deal reached would be far more likely to be approved by Congress.

Each of the other countries has self interested reasons, not least of which is anticipation that Iranian's will do business with them and that US companies will have disadvantages in the Iranian market. I was just reading yesterday German expectations of a tens of billions of dollars in Iranian trade when the sanctions lift, China and Russia both do crazy things for oil rights.

Why don't you explain why the fact that other countries might have legitimate self-interested reasons for getting a deal done is somehow proof that the President isn't self interested in his legacy and putting that ahead of the country? There's plenty of history of the US getting the short end of the stick in pursuit of our goals (or a political party's goals). What percentage of the UN do we fund again? What gains did we get out of Kyoto to offset the transfer of advanced environmentally friendly technology and unlimited right to pollute through carbon to third world countries? Bad deals for marginally political gains, are more the norm than the exception here.

[ July 13, 2015, 04:42 PM: Message edited by: Seriati ]

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Greg Davidson
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Thanks, Seriati, I knew I could count on you to keep me sharp.

(1) Census data from 2010 shows 30.7 million Americans between ages 18 and 26 (that's ~4.4 million of each age - extrapolate 6 more years thru age 30 and you get 56 million Americans 18-30, 49% of them male comes out to ~22.5 million American males in that range, not the 20 million I had mentioned) link. Iran has 60% of its population under 30 years old, the US only 40%. Since you later advocate for boots on the ground, exactly how many boots are we talking? Iraq peaked near 300,000 troops - for a country nearly three times the size (and a likely additional front in Shiite Iraq, are we talking 1 million American military personnel? Two million boots for 10 years?

(2) You offer one of the most ridiculous sentences I have seen in a long time, the assertion that "President Obama would deliberately squander the gains of the prior administration". With respect to the "gains", the goals of the Surge in Iraq were clearly laid out (link) and President Bush was quite specific in what he called for (sorry the direct link does not work, but go to the following article and click on the words in the first sentence explicitly by the White House and you will get a direct link to George Bush's words. There was a massive failure to achieve the "gains" that Bush said were necessary for the effort to be a success. And could you please provide substantiation on the intentionality of President Obama squandering the suspect gains.

(3) "There's every probability this agreement won't prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons" - I don't even know what the first three words mean, but I assume that you are asserting a high degree of certainty that this arms deal won't work. Let's check, what were the odds that diplomacy could get the chemical weapons out of Syria? What were the predictions of different sides? I believe that the Obama Administration had a very cautious position on predictions, but felt the value in pursuing further, and the Republican opposition were certain that it would not work. In our our neighborhood, shall I go back on Ornery and check everyone's predictions, and compare it to what actually occurred?


(4) Here's where it sounds weird to me when President Obama's critics sound like high school sophmores worrying about if the other kids are making fun of them ("if the embargo were to collapse after demonstrating once again that the administration is a joke on the international stage it would be bad"). Can you explain why the Bush Administration was unable to build nearly as effective a coalition in putting economic and diplomatic pressure on Iran? What justifies the conclusion that the Administration that has been more effective in bringing pressure on Iran should be considered "a joke"?

(5) "This Administration has not demonstrated the least ability to work with those it dislikes domestically", or alternatively, the opposition party specifically adopted a strategy of uniform opposition because they prioritized domestic politics over addressing national problems. Republicans opposed policies that they had previously favored and voted for as soon as a Democratic Administration advicated for them. My personal favorite were the 115 Republican Congress members who asserted that economic stimulus did not create jobs and then went back to their districts and took specific credit with the news media for jobs explicitly created by the stimulus.

(6) "Pakistan plays ball to some extent" - unless you actually calculate the death toll from Americans killed by terrorism in the United States, in which case it is extremists supported by Pakistan with almost 3,000 and how many killed by terrorists supported by Iran?

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