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Author Topic: "U.S.-Iran tensions may trigger war"
Big C
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The United States got incredibly lucky that the Soviet Union collapsed. I too hope for some type of uprising/coup in Iran that brings a more moderate government into power. Might it be too much luck to hope for? Wouldn't it be neat if the CIA could engineer a coup? Nevermind, they did that already and would no longer dare to subvert a sovereign government.

I don't see much benefit to striking Iran. They might loose Hizballah or Hamas terrorists to attack us in the US. Oil prices will certainly go up. Heck, the whole Middle East might go up in flames.

Trouble is, I think not trying to interrupt their nuclear progam--attacking them, is likely a more dangerous option. They have yet to achieve the capability to directly strike Israel. They have yet to develop/acquire nuclear weapons. If they obtain the warheads before their missiles can reach Israel, will they attack an enemy closer to home? Such as US troop or naval concentrations in Iraq or the Persian Gulf?

[ February 11, 2007, 06:31 PM: Message edited by: Big C ]

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DaveS
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quote:
But, the loss of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or, even, (Allah forbid!) millions? How do you deal with that? You can't. It's a loss. The damage is done. There is nothing you can do to resolve it.

So, from my point of view, the number one priority IS preventing that potential loss of life.

I think when you say "loss of life" you mean American lives, yes? Rather than assume that and respond to what I think that implies, I'd like to have you confirm it. Thanks.
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potemkyn
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To those who would support a war with Iran,

I have argued against this since it first came to light that this will occur. Why is that? Primarily because the assumptions being made about Iran are largely unproven or are conjured after it was decided that war is necessary.

In order to make a war with Iran necessary at this juncture in time, several things must be had.

1. Knowledge that a future war is imminent and will be knowablely worse
2. Knowledge that diplomacy will not succeed under any circumstances
3. Knowledge that Iran will not be detered by anything the US can wield
4. Knowledge that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons
5. Knowledge that Iran will use nuclear weapons aggressively, as a weapon of first resort, and will not rule out pre-emptive or first strikes

If these five things cannot be shown to be true, then there is no case for a war. Of course it is impossible to prove them true. We cannot know the future with any real assurance and we here don't know much about what the Iranians are thinking, so we must relax our standards to allow for even the option of war.

If we are to continue war, a simple decision tree would bring about the best decision possible. You compare US options with their poential costs and how likely those scenarios are.

I won't actually build one here, for obvious reasons, but some things that should be noted are:

1. US and Israeli capabilities with regards to knocking out Iranian nuclear facilities are over estimated. The US does not have the ability to actually destroy Iran's nuclear program at will. It will require troops on the ground, and days of prep work on Iranian air defense sites and military command centers. It will take days to really destroy these sites, in which time, material and personnel can be moved to safety. The result? This will only delay the inevitable. After the sites are attacked, Iran will just rebuild. This time digging deeper, and buying more sophisticated weapons from abroad.

Thus, in order to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons the US must either A) convince the Iranian leadership not to pursue them or B) cripple the nation so much that it can no longer afford to rebuild the sites and defend them.

What's the point of all this? The idea that the US or Israel can stop the Iranian program at will and with limited action is impossible and should be dispensed with immediately.

2. Only a small fraction of dictatorships are territorially expansive and suicidially inclined. Even the number of facist dictatorships like that is small. The conclusion that Iran's leadership is like Hitler is silly for a number of reasons. Most important of these is that there are other world leaders than Hitler! Anyone who opposes the US is automatically like Hitler, and it doesn't fly. Secondly, even if it can be proved that Ahmedinijad is Hitler's identical twin brother or something, that in and of itself in no way shape or form necessitates immediate war with Iran. Hitler was such a threat because he dominated the premiere industrial and military power in Europe and was a world class power. Germany nearly beat the whole world in World War I, all by itself. Iran doesn't have near the industrial capacity or the military capability to pose a threat that Germany did under Hitler. The US is so much stronger by comparison that the comparison is laughable. If you aren't totally sure what I mean, just imagine if Hitler had taken over Romania. So what if he's insane and expansive? Romania can't actually hurt the US and will be easily repelled if it invaded its neighbors.

3. Considering the flaws in the 'Hitler' analogy, it becomes important to consider the problem from another angle. IE Iran is a rational player on the international scene. If this is the case, and there is sufficient evidence that it is, then pursuing diplomacy where sticks and carrots are applied becomes a good idea. Iran responds to good and bad things. Sanction their asses until the US gets full access to their nukes. Or, like the US should have done, build the plants themselves, like the Iranians asked the US to. That way they can see exactly what occurs from the get go. If the US wants to build a fail-safe somewhere into the system, then they could get away with that. The point is, there were plenty of diplomatic options available when the situation first presented itself, and there still exist options. But they only exist for those who haven't already convinced themselves that they are fighting a Hitler with a Germany. A rational Iran will come to the table.

4. A nuclear armed Iran is not necessarily an imminent threat. A nuclear armed Iran prevents the US from actively pursuing an invasion, but other than that, it is conceivable that things won't change much. Some would argue that a nuclear armed Iran would use its nukes to blackmail Israel and the US. Yeah right. Like Iran would use a nuke to prevent Israel from attacking a Hamas training facility. Sure. That makes no sense. First of all, Israel and the US wouldn't actually bow down to such pressue, and secondly, such a move is totally insane. Nuclear weapons aren't even used like that in North Korea, where the situation is even more insane. Even if such a threat was made and actually carried out when Israel and the US said, "whatever," the Iranians would have used one of their only nukes. The result would be their destruction. There is no way that anyone would concievably try to deter anyone else in that manner. Especially since the deterant is a one shot or maybe two shot deal. After that, it's time for a spanking.

5. As much as the US has put the screws on Iran, they haven't done anything with its allies who are really the ones allowing Iran to buck the world. Start dealing with Russia and India to make them shut down their deals with Iran. Do what you can to actually turn the world against Iran. An isolated Iran is a weak Iran. A weak Iran is one which will deal with the US.

6. Iran might actually have legitimate grievances against the US, and there is nothing immoral or stupid in acknowledging that. In fact, that is the definition of maturity. Addressing those issues might reduce the tension between the US and Iran. It might also embolden them, but so what? As long as there is a "this line and no futher" which is stuck too, then there won't be any trouble. All that needs to be done is stated clearly, this is the line which won't be crossed. Before that point, though, is open to negotiation.

Please, give peace a chance.

Potemkyn

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kenmeer livermaile
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Watching recent events vis a vis America/Iran under this administration, I havew concluded that it has been the aim of certain deeply entrenched privilegees of the military-industrial complex that we have a right big bloody war in the MIddle East.

I've no reason why to suggest. There are enough to run a small raffle on.

I think me old pal Long Tom Sylvarr summed it best when he said it's a war to decide who owns god.

Hey! Let's start us a war! Let's start two or three! If we start enough it will become incumbent upon the USA citizenry to get behind the buggers and wage them with unified commitment! We'll break things so bad the people'll HAVE to fix it!

I think there's more than a little thanatos going around.

[ February 11, 2007, 08:58 PM: Message edited by: kenmeer livermaile ]

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EDanaII
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quote:
I think when you say "loss of life" you mean American lives, yes? Rather than assume that and respond to what I think that implies, I'd like to have you confirm it. Thanks.
Nope. When I say "loss of life" I'm thinking of the damages to three sides: us, them, and the poor bastards that get caught in between us. I don't want war anymore than you do, but I also believe that not all the world's problems can be solved by cooperation. Or, more accurately, I believe that, sometimes, you have to "force" a little cooperation on the uncooperative. Such is war.

Since I believe that we are on the path of war, my concern is not to avoid the war -- although if there is some means by which we can do that, I'm all for it -- but to minimize the loss of life that might result from that war. Which is why I take the position that the sooner we get this over and done with, the better.

Why? Because the longer we wait, the better ready our enemy is to fight us, and, therefore, the more prolonged the war becomes and, therefore, the more lives lost on all three sides.

Ed.

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DaveS
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All right, your argument is not against loss of life, but more loss of life than necessary. So, it boils down to the same thing that Red and Pete are saying that war cannot be avoided. Let's agree to disagree on that, and talk about how the war will be waged (yes, <sigh> the practical aspects). What kind of war will we wage, will we start it proactively (or preemptively, if you prefer that term), how extensive will it be (time and geography), what is the likely range of deaths that will result?

Some possible most favorable scenarios (with no editorializing):
. Precision strike on known nuclear facilities, no ground troops, weeks not months.
. Above with some ground incursion to secure sensitive areas and neutralize other military armaments and facilities.
. Above with security implemented in Strait of Hormuz.
. Something more?

[ February 12, 2007, 11:12 AM: Message edited by: DaveS ]

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Hannibal
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potemkyn

the analogy to Hitler is based on the grounds that Ahmadinejad wants Israel to be wiped off the map, and says that the holocause did not took place. thus "giving a scientific explanation" to why Israel should be wiped off the map, sounds familiar?
non only that, he has this vision that the entire muslim world should be under Iranian controll, sounds familiar too?

Iran is not a match for the USA, thats right, but Iran is not located where mexico or canada are. Iran is far from the USA. for the USA to win a total war over Iran they will have to project a massive amount of equipment and troops.
aside to Israel, Iran is the strongest country in the middle east, (unlike Romania...)
not only that, in a world where there are nuclear missiles you dont have to be the strongest in the world to win.

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potemkyn
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Hannibal,

But here's the deal, if the US or Israel say that any unknown nuke going off in their territroy will constitute a barrage against Iran, then Iran will not be under any illusions that it can 'get away' with dropping off a nuke via suitcase or some such case.

If it is under no illussion that it won't be completely destroyed as a nation and a people, then you have to prove that its leaders don't care that they'll be destroyed and that they cannot be detered from knowingly committing suicide.

If Iran knows it can't get away with nuking the US or Israel, then the only option would be to knowingly commit suicide. You all take it for granted that these two factors are true, inherently. And I say that's a load of crock or at the very best, unproven.

Potemkyn

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kelcimer
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quote:
Originally posted by DaveS:
Kelcimer, it's the scope of the change you are after. You can invade a country to solve a problem between your country and theirs, or on the other extreme to reorder the world in some fashion. I'm saying that war against Iran could become a war to rearrange the world, and you're saying sure, that's the point. Ok, we see it differently. The larger the scope, the more unpredictable the outcome, so you'd better have all your ducks in a row before you do it. Among the ducks, what are you willing to dedicate, sacrifice or spend in the effort. Nobody in this thread has touched those practical aspects. I ask because of how things have gone in Iraq, where we have been committed for 4 years, spent about $400B-$500B so far, tied up most of our military apparatus, and worn down support for the effort (and other reasons). What would your objective be and what are you willing to spend to achieve it?

If you were talking about China then I would be more understanding of what you are saying, in terms of scope and not knowing what will happen.

My objective? I'd like an Iran with no nuclear ambitions, that does not support or sponsor terrorism, that does not embrace or support totalitarian Islam.

quote:
Originally posted by kelcimer:
For a second there I thought you were disagreeing with me.

Originally posted by DaveS:
I am. The war against Iraq was "sold" on specific grounds with specific objectives and a preordained outcome. It had to be, or more people would have objected to the war, but it really seems like those leaders believed their own wishful thinking.

I asked, "When has America ever had a clue as to how a particular military endeavor would turn out?" not "When has America ever CLAIMED to have a clue as to how a particular military endeavor would turn out?"

Point to a military endeavor the US has been involved in that ended the way it was thought it would to the level of detail you seem to require.

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DaveS
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quote:
I asked, "When has America ever had a clue as to how a particular military endeavor would turn out?" not "When has America ever CLAIMED to have a clue as to how a particular military endeavor would turn out?"
I don't see how that lets you off the hook. We've already spent vast amounts of money and committed virtually our entire military to the war in Iraq. I don't think it's adequate to shrug and say, who knows? If you have some notion of what success means and how to achieve it, then you have to take a stab at what you at least think it will require for preparation, resources and expenditures. Can you at least say how you would plan to wage the war, or is that also a complete unknown?

If all you can say is "I'm not in the business of making predictions like that and anyway I haven't got a clue", then it's really good that you're not in the position of commanding our military forces. Fortunately, it doesn't appear that the Dems will accept that kind of forecasting this time around.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by DaveS:
All right, your argument is not against loss of life, but more loss of life than necessary. So, it boils down to the same thing that Red and Pete are saying that war cannot be avoided. Let's agree to disagree on that

That's too bad; I was hoping that someone might persuade me that war could be avoided, or rather ended, since we're already in a de facto state of war with Iran whether we recognize it or not.
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kelcimer
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DaveS

I seem to recall I asked that in responce to you saying "We have no frigging clue what the outcome of a military adventure against Iran will be."

You seemed to want have everything very nailed down to a degree I do not believe we have ever done as a nation. I simply would like you to point to a war that America has conducted where you think that we "had a clue" about how it would turn out and for that clue to turn out to be accurate. It would be helpful to have a bar to measure your wants against.

[ February 12, 2007, 03:18 PM: Message edited by: kelcimer ]

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DaveS
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Pete, my arguments against settling on a war strategy haven't been persuasive, so I've tried to focus on the feasibility of going to war. You, Kelcimer, Ed and Red all agree that we're either fighting that war already, so it's a matter of adjusting the intensity, or that war will happen very soon.

I strongly disagree with both of those propositions, so I'm asking for you all to put on your military planning hats and apply those analytical skills to laying out how and when it is going to at least start, and how you will prepare for it. I find it really curious that all of you all are willing to commit the nation to war, but none of you are particularly willing to do that. Ed and Kelcimer have both stated pretty clearly that that is too high a standard to ask for.

"Hey, honey, let's fly to Paris tonight for dinner. What, we can't afford it? Ok, let's drive to New York City for the weekend. What do you mean you sold the car to pay for our trip to Brazil last weekend?! Well...don't keep me waiting, which one???"

Kelcimer, I submit that NK, Viet Nam and Iraq II (if not also Iraq I) were deeply regretted because we didn't have a better handle on how things would go. For instance, would you have favored going to war in Viet Nam if you knew we would lose 56,000 soldiers lives and the war? Would you have fought the war in NK if you could have known we would give up and endure the lasting unsettled outcome for 50+ years? Was Iraq II the kind of war that you would have fought, given that it has already become the most expensive and longest lasting foreign war in our history, and we haven't figured out a way to get out of it? Will a war in Iran be worth 500,000 lives, $2T-$5T if it ends in a political stalemate? I don't know that it will, but given how wildly we underestimated the costs of those other conflicts, this should be considered.

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Redskullvw
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Dave

I don't think that we are even close to military action against anyone in the Middle East. We have such limited understanding of the war as it stands right now, that even convincing half of the American public we need to enter a war is not politically possible given the extremely early ramp up of our presidential election cycle.

I am not advocating war. Period. But I am totally agahast at the seemingly incomprehensible lack of understanding being shown by our diplomats, military leaders, and political officials. The issue is that sometimes, how you define your enemy is not as important as how your enemey defines not only himself, but also you. We seem to cling to the inane dogma that this conflict is not in any way orchestrated by any foreign government. We hold that we are dealing with discrete madmen and their organizations. All we have to do is eliminate these Islamic radicals and the militancy will suddenly disappear and the Islamic world of every day people will suddenly peacefully exist with all the other cultures of the world.

All we had to do in Israel, was convince them to stop shooting at Fatah and Hammas and give them the disputed territories and everything would be peachy. All we had to do in Afghanistan was liberate the nation from the Taliban and pump billions of bucks of aid in and everything would be peachy. All we had to do to suceed in Iraq was topple Saddam and everything would be peachy. The thing is that those leaders we toppled and governments we removed apparently did have a lot of populist support. That their people really did buy into what their religious and secular leaders were telling them. We may laugh at Islamic leaders who refer to the Western Democratic world as Crusader States, because we know that we are far from any such unity under any Christian banner. But the people in the Middle East do believe that we are Crusaders. That we are their rightful enemy. And that it is their obligation to remove not only their own governments that coopperate with the West, but ultimately remove the governments that control the western world.

That is a huge difference in scales of viewpoint on this conflict. We see it as one where the tips of the Islamic community, namely the leadership, are the directors of aggression and our conflict with the Islamic world will be resolved when we remove those tips from the body of Islam. The Middle East viewpoint however, is that we are corrupt to the very base of our civilization, and that it has contaminated the Islamic world with ideas such as freedom, equality, and secularism to such an extent tat they are required as a means of self preservation to eliminate the west and its influence in the Islamic world.

The choice before the United States is preemptive or reactive. I do not see us preparing for either development. At the very least I would have American Multinationals begin to rapidly sell off the assets and investments ing the Middle East. Collapse the Middle Eastern economy by the rapid withdrawal of money. I'd begin using Euros for energy comodity payments, even though it would drive the American Dollar to half its current purchasing power. The advantage to the United States would be that all those petro-dollars held by the ruling governments in the region would deflate, meaning their ability to buy arms on the world market would collapse. I'd remove the American Persian Gulf squadrons. I wouldn't even leave advanced troops in the area at forward bases. If we think we might need new bases during a conflict we better be banking on SeaBee construction, because the current bases as built, have nuclear bulls-eyes on them. I'd do what we can in Iraq over the next 8 months. That the Iraqis lead only 20 out of the 140 opperations in Baghdad last week is a very bad sign. Let the Iraqis kill each other. Maybe then Iran will realize that supplying insurgents in Iraq was not such a good idea, because the Sunnis and the Kurds are going to come out on top.

I'd push like hell for economic strangulation of Iran, until we confirm every single nuclear site is abandoned by the Iranians and then occupied and sealed by the IAEA.

And then I would wait.

Hoepfully the Middle east will collapse in an economic regression. The complete withdrawal of all aid to all Islamic countries in the region except Turkey, would literally devestate the ability of these people to even eat, let alone buy military hardware. Keep Israel chugging along to provide a freindly llaunching point against the rest of the Middle East in case it becomes a military engagement. Governments without economic security usually either buckle down to solving their domestic problems or collapse. Countries trying to feed themselves, or those becoming anarchy do not have the ability or time to waste on military industrialization and weapons system programs.

Take the toys away by draining their dollars.


Of course, should things continue on the way they are going, and Iran launches a nuke at Israel, then our options become much more limited. Enough Americans have died in the last 30 years over the gripes and petty complaints of the Islamic world centered in the Middle East. If they as a culture destroy Israel with nukes, then we should return the favor and literally bomb them back into the stone age. We do not have to have Middle Eastern petroleum. No one does. So I say we nuke Tehran if Jerusalem gets nuked. Then we use conventional munitions, including cluster bombs to destroy every building in the middle east larger than a 2 bedroom house.

No industry or civilian structure would remain. Cordone off the region with a naval and air blockade to prevent anything going in or out of the region. Wait 20 years, then go back in and rebuild the Middle East at the end of a rifle and bayonet.

Unfortunately thet is what I really think it is going to take to break Islam's cultural bias for conflict. So far no compromise, no gift, no bribe, no suplication to the Middle East has worked. Diplomacy with these people is fruitless. And they seemingly resort to violence on grander and grander scales.

I do not see some sort of possibility of true peace with them until they are utterly defeated in military battle. A lot of very innocent people will die, but their pov as to the nature of conflict is too different from our pov. We see it as a problem of minimal numbers of a few bad seeds. They see our entire tree as rotten.

Right now our best option is an economic war. Pull the petro dollars, even if it means we have to suddenly buy Euros to buy oil. As a nation we do not really support a military solution, see Iraq and Afghanistan as vivid examples. We really wont ever use nukes again, so in essence was are a captive giant. The best thing we can do to Iran, and the Iranian nuke problem is to simply destroy the economics of the entire region. Pull the dollars, and no bomb will be made any time soon.

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DaveS
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Red, we cross-posted, so I need time to read and absorb yours. At the top, though, you say:
quote:
I don't think that we are even close to military action against anyone in the Middle East. We have such limited understanding of the war as it stands right now, that even convincing half of the American public we need to enter a war is not politically possible given the extremely early ramp up of our presidential election cycle.
I'm not going to go looking for it, but I'm sure you've said more than once that we have only months to stop Iran by military means, and I know you said that as far back as last spring. BUT!!! I can see the bottom edge of your post as I type this, where you say:
quote:
Right now our best option is an economic war.
Bravo, sign me up!
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Pete at Home
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"Pull the petro dollars, even if it means we have to suddenly buy Euros to buy oil. As a nation we do not really support a military solution, see Iraq and Afghanistan as vivid examples. We really wont ever use nukes again, so in essence was are a captive giant. The best thing we can do to Iran, and the Iranian nuke problem is to simply destroy the economics of the entire region. Pull the dollars, and no bomb will be made any time soon."

Why? How does that work? Why would Euros not buy bombs, or buy dollars from China's reserve in order to buy bombs?

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Redskullvw
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Dave

Yep the military option to stop Iran is running out very quickly, and it is the only one which gives the USA a high probability of permanently erradicating the problem. If we do not wish to oversee a period of history where Iran asserts an aggressive islamic based new persian domination of the Near and Middle East, while holding Europe and India at gunpoint via a nuke, then we have to act almost immediately.

The longer their programs continue the more Uranium they refine, the closer they get to bilding a bomb. And so far its been a grand delay by the Iranians, while we continuously find out that each time we project a worse case scenario for Iranian capacity, our worst case scenarios were far too rosey.

Right now Iran has had enough time to have refined enough nuclear material for a single weapon. They may have 2, seeing as we were all pretty sure they didn't have any centrifuges running at all until two weeks ago when we found out they had hundreds confirmed, and possibly thousands also running, that they have 1, 2 or even 10 nifty little 2 kilogram piles of uranium is impossible to determine.

Point is once Iran acts by testing a nuke publicly, or usinging it as a great Revolutionary Guard celebration against Israel, we have lost any military option short of full scale invasion, by million man armies on multiple fronts. I do not see the USA ever using nukes. We just cannot do it for moral reasons, unless it is a direct response to a nuke used against us. We might make an exception for Jerusalem, and use one nuke on Tehran. But, otherwise what we are rapidly approaching is a new middle east dominated by the conventional military powerhouse, which is also the terrorism powerhouse, as well as potentially the nuclear powerhouse.

There will be absolutely nothing we can do to stop them from gaining direct political and military control over the Middle East. Unless we want to send a few million Americans under arms, or use a few ICBM nukes.

In a sense its already over. Since we won't or cant use conventional forces, or nukes, the only option I have left is economics. And of those options, the economic solution is not only the least liklly to work, it is also the least effective in terms of impact. Because any impact it has will only last long enough to delay the eventual outcome of at least one government in the Middle East, beinging armed with a nuke and hostile to the western world. It also means that the USA must be willing to slash at least half it's purchasing power, and also divest itself of innumerable and valuable economic assets that will permanently damge it much like what happened to Great Britain when she gave up her colonies.

Frankly the economic solution su cks donkey reproductive organs. But given that our leaders cant even recognize that the next few weeks and months are for all the marbles for the next century, it is the only delaying tactic I can think of that will make sure my kid isn't forced to be an atomic trooper in the Middle East Crusades of the 2020's.

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Redskullvw
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Pete

The various governments in the Middle east have soaked up dollars as hedge funds for decades. They are assured stability, because they can't conceive of the United States ever willingly acting against its own currency stability or value. If suddenly the bank reserves of all the nations in the middle east lost half of their value, because suddenly the United States was doing international trade with Euro's instead of Dollars, exactly how long do you think it would take before the natives raided their banks in a panic?

Bank panics further drive down valuation of currency. Iran of course has Euros, but if all of her neighbors suddenly couldn't afford to trade with Iran, exactly how long would it be before Iran ran out of Euros and became as poor as everyone else in the Middle East? Essentially what I am saying is trigger the largest collapse of a regional market since Germany's in the 1920's-with one exception- there will not be enough cash reserves in the world wide economy to restore liquidity to the collapsed Middle Eastern economies.

We are talking about a devaluation of a dollar to install a recession on our own doorstep, giving up economic domination permanently, while hopefully throwing the middle east into the worst depression in history and hopefully wholesale collapse of the governments of that region.

All so we don't fight a protracted conventional war or use nukes.

In principle, it is very doable, and has maybe a 20% chance of working. It also pretty much assures we sunset and China rises. It is definately a crap solution, but it is essentially the only viable alternative given the domestic political climate.

Personally, we should use Tactical Nukes on Iran right now. Leaves the USA as undisputed world power in all measures, and leaves open limited retailiations against us. And its over and done with so quickly that arguing about it is moot, meaning anti-war hippie wannabes can't do jack about the results.

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kelcimer
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quote:
Originally posted by DaveS:
Kelcimer, I submit that NK, Viet Nam and Iraq II (if not also Iraq I) were deeply regretted because we didn't have a better handle on how things would go.

That's nice, but that wasn't the question.

quote:
Originally posted by DaveS:
I find it really curious that all of you all are willing to commit the nation to war, but none of you are particularly willing to do that. Ed and Kelcimer have both stated pretty clearly that that is too high a standard to ask for.

That's a false argument you're implying.

[ February 12, 2007, 04:48 PM: Message edited by: kelcimer ]

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DaveS
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quote:
That's nice, but that wasn't the question.
You mean our prior experience conducting wars is not relevant?
quote:
That's a false argument.
I was echoing back where you said:
quote:
You seemed to want have everything very nailed down to a degree I do not believe we have ever done as a nation.
I'm only asking for your estimates, best guesses, minimum requirements. I'm not looking to hold you to it, but to use that as a starting point for our own little planning exercise. And, yes, I'll quibble with whatever you come up with.
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Redskullvw
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Dave

We have never, as a country, engaged in a religious war. This however will be a religious war, in terms of how our enemy perceives it and how he defines the west in general, and the USA in particular. Although we will still stick to the old model of war being between secular viewpoints or political affiliations, our enemy will see it in very different terms of it being a war of believer vs non-believer. We really wont know how things will go, because this war will be unprecedented in the religious differentials as well as cultural and geographical differentials.

Simply put this war is a true blank page.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Redskullvw:
Personally, we should use Tactical Nukes on Iran right now.

If you mean to target their nuke and other WMD facilities, then I'd agree that under the circumstances may be the safest alternative. Unfortunately the administration has renounced any development of tactical nukes. In a cold war environment, staying out of tactical nukes made good sense, but under the current type of conflict, tactical nukes may simply be the only way of preventing the Aminajabs of the world from carrying out their dark fantasies.

[ February 12, 2007, 05:13 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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martel
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Pete, Red, and Ed-
I still don't really see why this will lead to a war. Ahmadinejad has been unleashing quite virulent rhetoric against Israel, but I do not see this as tatamount to a promise to nuke them as soon as he has the capability. He is a politician, not a professional terrorist (although he may dabble in his spare time.) It seems he has far too much to lose to lead his nation into a war where they will certainly be obliterated (despite Europe's apparent apathy, do you really think they will sit by while Israel is nuked? And Britain and France still have nukes too.) If he was suicidal, he'd be working for Al Qaeda or Hamas, not the Iranian government (although the line between the Iranian government and Hamas seems rather blurred at the moment.)

I do not think one statement ("Israel must be wiped off the map") should be taken as proof, as appears to be happening, that he would nuke Israel.
Consider India and Pakistan. Yes, slightly different situation, but what happened was: India, sworn enemy of Pakistan, develops nuclear weapons. Pakistan and her allies do not go berserk. Why? They were confident in the sanity of the Indian government (although they did get nukes, to be safe.) My guess is that Ahmadinejad is using the nukes as a safeguard against possible U.S. or Israelian military intervention.
Your argument that war is inevitable and we should only prepare for it sounds to me like that of the diplomats of 1914, who, had they stepped back and cooly looked at the chain of events unfolding, could have prevented war (although I understand, there are differences.)

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DaveS
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quote:
...Simply put this war is a true blank page.
This is no small war you envision, nor can it be confined to two nations. Every man, woman and child has to fully understand and appreciate that, because we will need to convert this country into an army of religious warriors (sorry Pete, it will be Totalimericanism, not LDS). The rest of the world will have to sign up for one side or the other. If you're right, we're sunk even if we win, perhaps no better off than if we lose, so yes, I don't agree.

I was pleased with your conversion to economic warfare, but the devil leaps out of the details. I don't think we can convert the global economy to a struggling currency, but even if we could, I don't think a purely economic approach will work. Sometime last year someone here commented that Iran is fundamentally an agrarian state that has a poverty wage of about $1/day. They can do with a little less far better than we can do with a substantial drop in our standard of living. If the cost of oil triples, we can give up those strawberries and oranges from California out here in the midwest, and California won't have anyone else who wants to buy them. The economic dominoes will fall on our heads much more concussively than they will on theirs.

Pete, we've still got huge stockpiles of nukes, from boutique size to teratotons.

[Edit: trivial EMC]

[ February 12, 2007, 06:30 PM: Message edited by: DaveS ]

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TLynch
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"U.S.-Iran tensions may trigger war"


~GOOD. The more dead radical muslim leaders littering the streets of the world the better. DEATH TO IRANIAN MULLAHS! DEATH TO IRANIAN MULLAHS!

*Just like they and their citizens chant "DEATH TO AMERICA! in the streets every Friday after "church" mass. But yea, Islam is a religion of PEACE and HARMONY. Hogwash, they are just trying to pretend to be as tolerant and loving...I was glad to hear that terrorist on Sean Hannity the other day. The Imam who spoke at the Democratic winter session...man I don't think I will ever vote Democrat again. I am not anti-American so why would I vote for a party full of anti-Americans? Screw em.

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martel
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....timecube?
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G2
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quote:
Originally posted by martel:
Pete, Red, and Ed-
I still don't really see why this will lead to a war. Ahmadinejad has been unleashing quite virulent rhetoric against Israel, but I do not see this as tatamount to a promise to nuke them as soon as he has the capability. He is a politician, not a professional terrorist (although he may dabble in his spare time.)

I think this is a fundamental problem that Red has been pointing out. You (and many others) think he's a politician, maybe a part time terrorist but that's a small part of who this guys is. He's also a religious zealot that believe God is on his side and may very well believe that with God's support he could be invincible and doing the will of God in destroying the West - starting with Israel and working through Europe to the great Satan of America. There will be little room for political methods to work with someone carrying out the will of God.
quote:
Originally posted by martel:
It seems he has far too much to lose to lead his nation into a war where they will certainly be obliterated (despite Europe's apparent apathy, do you really think they will sit by while Israel is nuked? And Britain and France still have nukes too.

Hey may actually believe he can win - sounds crazy to you and me but he may actually believe it. There was a time I thought Europe would defend Israel but I have doubts given the recent ways they've handled their own internal issues with Islam by pandering and trying to placate. I would never count on France's support anymore.
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Jesse
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A CIA backed coup in Iran would just put us back in the same spot in 20 years or less.

The same is true of any "tactical" strikes, even Nuclear. If we don't follow up with invasion and real rebuilding, all we do is take the average Iranian from a guy who mutters "Yeah, yeah, great satan, whatever, blah blah, I'm hiding a Friends DVD I want to get home and watch" into the America Hating rabid Jihadist of media induced nightmares.

We haven't made a serious offer with a carrot since the day the Shah fled. We've ranted and raved about how this donkey only understands sticks, and trying carrots would be useless.

Redskull, you know it's pretty much irrelevant if the US or anyone else would use nukes in response to a nuclear attack by Iran or any unconfirmed source against Israel. Israel has an estimated 300 warheads of their own, an early warning system, and varied means of delivery. Every town of over 100,000 in Iran is going to glow no matter what the US does.

Here's my general question :

It's 1947 and we know (in this scenerio) the Soviets will have Nuclear Weapons in two years. Communism is on the march across the Globe and our allies are threatened. The Soviets have repeatedly said that they will eventually destroy us.

Their people aren't like us, they don't value freedom, they're brainwashed with an ideology completely antithetical to our way of life, and they don't have the same respect of human life we do.

What do we do?

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Pete at Home
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"Ahmadinejad has been unleashing quite virulent rhetoric against Israel, but I do not see this as tatamount to a promise to nuke them as soon as he has the capability."

I never said it did. I suspect rather that he'll start by using the nukes defensively while sponsoring 9/11 like terrorism on a weekly basis. Afghanistan's support of terror was limited because they officially denied it, and since hteir resources were limited. Iran has resources to dwarf anything AQ did while using nukes to threaten off any conventional attack. Threaten to nuke Israel, Bagdad, Mosul, etc. if anyone crosses into their territory, while massively and openly sponosoring worldwide terrorist attacks. They could also use the newfound invulnerability to mass murder dissidents and ethnic minorities, who they've already talked about tagging like Hitler did in the early stages. With nothing more than a nuclear DEFENSE, they'd be as dangerous as Hitler.

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DaveS
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This is heady stuff. You and Red see us perched on the edge of the apocalypse, and the only way to avoid it is to start the war that you fear before they start it. That doesn't reassure me that you really have an answer we can live with or live through.
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Pete at Home
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The question is not whether we "start" this war, but rather how we should attempt to end it. They've already started it. Our chances of survival diminish with the length of their head start.
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Jesse
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Eh, we're really in a "cold war" with Iran supplying it's proxies while we supply ours.

It's important to remember, that no matter what they supply, Iran did not create a "will to fight" in Iraq or Lebanon, anymore than the Soviets created nationalism in Vietnam, or caused Cubans to hate Batista.

The outcome of them getting a nuke could actually be entirely counter to what most of us predict.

They blow their oil wad financing brushfire wars across the middle east, "safe" behind their dinky nuclear shield, while their people come to realize the the Great Satan really isn't going to invade a Nuclear power. When the external threat is no longer taken seriously, how much power do the mullahs hold? Not much more than the Komissars.

Having played out their only major natural resource, and having almost inevetably suffered a nuclear meltdown or two, lacking viable alternative infrastructure technology (which we will have, if we've got any sense), without any real means to provide anything resembling modern services to their people (this already becoming a problem internally as the promises of the revolution fail to materialize) and with a population infected by our tenacious memes and a professional class that's half female...

How did that one end last time, and against a much more powerfull advesary?

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Pete at Home
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"They blow their oil wad financing brushfire wars across the middle east, "safe" behind their dinky nuclear shield"

Aside from the scale and scope of these "brush fires," that's pretty much what I said.

"while their people come to realize the the Great Satan really isn't going to invade a Nuclear power. When the external threat is no longer taken seriously, how much power do the mullahs hold?"

Surely you do not actually believe that the mullahs only hold power because of the will of the people, and because of popular fear of the USA. Iranians as a people are less anti-American than than certain European countries on a bad day, let alone as anti-US as our "allies" Pakistan and Egypt, or even the popular culture in Jordan.

"Having played out their only major natural resource"
???? When and how does that happen?


"How did that one end last time, and against a much more powerfull advesary?"

But a *sane* adversary, Jesse. Big fragging difference. If a Stalin or a Mao was running the show in the 1990s, rather than Gorbachev, things would have gone differently. The guy earned his Nobel Prize. Aminajab and the Ayatollatalitarians aren't cut from the same stripe.

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DaveS
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Yes, that's what I mean. You see a war in progress that is getting worse by the day, and I see confrontational rhetoric, nationalist sloganeering, some support for terrorist groups and insurgencies, nasty and foul-mouthed, but so far well-contained within a geographical space. Don't point out the similarities with Hitler or WWII in response. If history is such a great teacher, then how have we managed to get ourselves in such a bind?

It won't advance your or Red's argument to remind me once again how the people leading our country are idiots, because that wouldn't inspire me to have them lead me into another war, either.

From a military standpoint, the best option available to the US is to back everybody in the ME who has a chance of winning, as long as the results will keep the region in a tense inimical equilibrium for a long time. Given a choice, we take stability over peace. We work with Israel to ensure they retain their security, but they have to give a little here, too. They must agree not to fire a single shot at another country, no matter what, or we let them feel some pain. Israel is the bomb that can blow up the world, so they must not light the fuse.

We support Saudi Arabia, Israel, Egypt and Pakistan now. We should do whatever it takes to draw Iran into Iraq to keep them busy, give aid to both the Kurds and Turkey to keep them quiet, let Afghanistan fester, since they pose no threat and keep a lid on Lebanon and Syria. Them that can all keep selling oil, because they need the money in case of a national crisis. The price of oil actually goes down, as a result.

We can do all that with money, power diplomacy and surreptitious arms supplies and not lose a single soldier. Meanwhile, we dedicate $100B to finding and neutralizing Al Qaeda and similar groups in whatever country they have taken up residence, be it Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, etc. We will lose a few soldiers and spies, but that is unavoidable. Mostly, however, we buy intelligence and collaborators everywhere. We out-KGB the KGB.

Then we spend another $100B destabilizing the economies of anybody we don't like or whose chain we want to yank, like Iran, Russia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, even Venezuela. Remember, we want them to lose sleep. No soldiers lost here, either.

We spend another $50B to keep our friends and make new ones. Western Europe, Australia, Viet Nam all get a taste. Japan and SK have nowhere to go, so they get nothing. We withdraw half of our troops from SK to give everyone over there something to think about. We even make friends again with Russia at the G8. China can worry about NK and Tibet for a while.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we spend another $100B on a crash program to develop conservation techniques, alternative fuels, more efficient technologies. And to regain the support of the American public, we launch a charm offensive at home, boosting social services, liberalizing policies, maybe inviting Hugh Hefner to the White House for a chicken dinner [Smile] . Hef and Laura even do a tango together while George beams from his chair near the dance floor.

By my count, this will cost about $400B and hardly a shot will be fired by us or at us. We'll know in 2 or 3 years if this going to work. But we need to start right away, because Hef may not last much longer.

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martel
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Just to point out:
There are technically elections in Iran, and an Ahmadinejad-backed slate of candidates lost big a couple months ago. So keep in mind that he does not have the full support of the people.

This link is not the original news article, as the NY Times and Washington Post's archive searches are very frustrating. But he mentions what happened, in case you haven't heard of this (you probably have, but I'll post it anyways.)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/28/AR2006122801056.html

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Pete at Home
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There were technically elections in the USSR for decades, and Gorby's being in charge in 1990s had nothing to do with the popular vote. The unelected powers decide who can run, and they also decide how much powers to withold the elected government, in case the people should make the "wrong" choice.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by DaveS:
Yes, that's what I mean. You see a war in progress that is getting worse by the day, and I see confrontational rhetoric, nationalist sloganeering, some support for terrorist groups and insurgencies, nasty and foul-mouthed, but so far well-contained within a geographical space. Don't point out the similarities with Hitler or WWII in response. If history is such a great teacher, then how have we managed to get ourselves in such a bind?

Maybe because most aren't paying attention to history's lessons. Glad that you're picking up on them, though, even though you resist what history is screaming at you.

Another reason is that during WWII, we didn't value life as much as we do now, and we didn't have nukes in the beginning, so the choices seem tougher.

Another reason is that the word "Nazi" has been used as a play synonym for evil for so long that hardly anyone's ever really sat down and asked themselves honestly what they'd have done in the position of our predecessors, knowing only what they knew then. We're paying the price of reading history too smugly. Yes, the Allies defeated a terrible evil, but things were much more complicated then than our stories give it credit for, so we now use our own complexity as an excuse to not see the bleeding obvious.


quote:
It won't advance your or Red's argument to remind me once again how the people leading our country are idiots, because that wouldn't inspire me to have them lead me into another war, either.
[Frown] Can't say I blame you. But there are worse things in the world than being led into war idiots, sad to say.


quote:
From a military standpoint, the best option available to the US is to back everybody in the ME who has a chance of winning, as long as the results will keep the region in a tense inimical equilibrium for a long time.
That policy might have made sense once, but time is no longer on our side, as Aminajab's beast "crouches towards bethlehem to be born."


quote:
Given a choice, we take stability over peace. We work with Israel to ensure they retain their security, but they have to give a little here, too. They must agree not to fire a single shot at another country, no matter what, or we let them feel some pain. Israel is the bomb that can blow up the world, so they must not light the fuse.
We can't control Israel or tell anyone that they can't fire a shot while being burned alive.

quote:
We support Saudi Arabia, Israel, Egypt and Pakistan now. We should do whatever it takes to draw Iran into Iraq to keep them busy, give aid to both the Kurds and Turkey to keep them quiet, let Afghanistan fester, since they pose no threat and keep a lid on Lebanon and Syria. Them that can all keep selling oil, because they need the money in case of a national crisis. The price of oil actually goes down, as a result.
I don't follow.

quote:
We can do all that with money, power diplomacy and surreptitious arms supplies and not lose a single soldier. Meanwhile, we dedicate $100B to finding and neutralizing Al Qaeda and similar groups in whatever country they have taken up residence, be it Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, etc. We will lose a few soldiers and spies, but that is unavoidable. Mostly, however, we buy intelligence and collaborators everywhere. We out-KGB the KGB.
From where we stand now that would take generations, and we don't have that kind of time.

quote:
Then we spend another $100B destabilizing the economies of anybody we don't like or whose chain we want to yank, like Iran, Russia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, even Venezuela. Remember, we want them to lose sleep. No soldiers lost here, either.
Not much chance of that. China's in a better position to play that kind of game, and they'd counterbalance whatever we tried to do, just for the sheer exercise of testing their power against ours in a way that's safe to them.

quote:
We spend another $50B to keep our friends and make new ones. Western Europe, Australia, Viet Nam all get a taste. Japan and SK have nowhere to go, so they get nothing. We withdraw half of our troops from SK to give everyone over there something to think about. We even make friends again with Russia at the G8.
The USA, Europe, and Russia cannot be reconciled to one side. It will always be two against one, at least as long as Putin runs things, and right now that looks like forever. Our games with old Europe in Kosovo are what put Putin in power, and he cannot abide the idea of the US and Europe being united on anything.

[stops when I realize you're not serious]

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DaveS
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Despite the lapse into a little side humor (fatigue), every policy suggestion was serious.
quote:
Them that can all keep selling oil, because they need the money in case of a national crisis. The price of oil actually goes down, as a result.

I don't follow.

If the ME is in turmoil, the oil producers will produce as much oil as they can in fear of the day that they won't be able to. If that happens, it becomes a buyer's market.

[ February 12, 2007, 09:32 PM: Message edited by: DaveS ]

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DaveS
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quote:
That policy might have made sense once, but time is no longer on our side, as Aminajab's beast "crouches towards bethlehem to be born."
...
We can't control Israel or tell anyone that they can't fire a shot while being burned alive.
...
From where we stand now that would take generations, and we don't have that kind of time.
...
The USA, Europe, and Russia cannot be reconciled to one side.

Hence the death of diplomacy, economic "warfare" and any other non-military solution, by your lights. I have no further arguments to support my viewpoint, which is not at all the same thing as saying that you are either right or persuasive, instead only that you are convinced that the situation is beyond salvation and you have an inexhaustible supply of arguments why that is so. Too bad, because the world you see is far more threatening than the one I see from my vantage point. If the people in the Administration who see it like you do manage to get control of the policy machine, my world will become as dangerous as yours, right up until it disappears.

I was looking forward to hearing you or Red answer Jesse's question about Russia acquiring nukes. I'm sure it would have been complicated and esoteric, and irrefutable.

Ciao.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by DaveS:
quote:
Them that can all keep selling oil, because they need the money in case of a national crisis. The price of oil actually goes down, as a result.

I don't follow.

If the ME is in turmoil, the oil producers will produce as much oil as they can in fear of the day that they won't be able to. If that happens, it becomes a buyer's market.
Ah. Does history bear that out? When there is ME turmoil, do oil prices historically go down?
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