Topic: Target Tehran (Read 18914 times)
"We think in generalities, we live in details"
« Reply #45 on: 2007-01-17 15:33:28 »
Quote from: Bass on 2007-01-16 10:19:31
[Hermit] Iran has every right to import peaceful nuclear technology and to develop indigenous nuclear technology even if this ends up meaning that, like India, they eventually join the nuclear club.
[Bass] Hermit I would somewhat question your reasoning here. You would put nuclear technology in the hands of a nation that has called for the imminent destruction of Israel, and you still think that they would use this "peaceful" nuclear technology for power plants?...
[Blunderov] Seems the Hermit isn't around just now. Hope he hasn't been spirited away to Guantanemo or similar.
If I may pick this one up?
From whence comes the divine right to dispense, or withold, the right to nuclear technology? Especially when the nuclear technology (and country) in question are scrupulously within the applicable regulations, agreements and conventions-something which cannot be said for most other members of the nuclear club including the USA.
Israeli and Western propaganda has been at great pains to paint Iran as an irrational actor and for this reason not eligible
for the custody of nuclear weapons. Suffice it to say that there is no more substance to this notion than the brazen viciousness of it's proponents. It is, in a word, blatant mischief-making and to swallow one word of it is totally naive IMV.
Somehow the holy screed of MAD, which sufficed to save the world from holocaust in the cold war, is now magically irrelevant in the face of a USA possessed of an obvious lust to attack Iran for its oil resources. It seems strange that a strategy which maintained the peace so well and for so long is now so utterly discounted. One might imagine that very special and cogent arguments might be advanced in justification of such a spectacular reversal of previously received wisdom but scarcely a word has been uttered except to breezily assert that the nation is mad and cannot be trusted not to commit suicide en masse.
IMV it would actually be a very good idea to "allow" Iran to have nuclear weapons if only to prevent the disgusting USA from further violating world peace and human decency at its' continuing fascist whimsy. More than this however, Iran lives in a very bad neighbourhood nuclear weapons wise and it would be downright irrational if it did not wish to have some insurance for itself. It might actually help stabilise the region if it did - but this is very obviously the last thing the USA wants.
A nuclear Iran is not the problem
Whatever happened to the theory of mutually assured destruction?
Monday February 7, 2005
Winston Churchill, as usual, gave the policy a floridly eloquent gloss. Britain, he said, almost 50 years ago to the day, must reach that happy condition "where safety will be the sturdy child of terror, and survival the twin brother of annihilation".
He was talking about mutually assured destruction, or MAD - the theory of nuclear deterrence that dominated the second half of the 20th century and, uncountable billions of dollars later, kept us supposedly safe from obliteration. If our enemy had a bomb and we had a bomb, then neither of us could use it on the other because we'd both be dead in an instant.
And, at least in a negative way, that seemed to work, because the only bombs anyone dropped - on Hiroshima and Nagasaki - were Uncle Sam's message to non-nuclear Japan. MAD was salvation. MAD was security. MAD was the way of life most of us grew up with, the prevailing logic of uneasy peace. So whatever became of our mad, mad world?
It isn't that such deterrence is a busted flush. It allegedly brings realism to Indo-Pakistan relations and keeps Russia and China sweet. Many more billions of dollars have been spent on refining it since Ronald Reagan dreamed his "evil empire" dreams and decided that his own version of Star Wars could shrug away the chance of a sneak attack. But now a strange silence reigns.
Read George Bush's state of the union address from beginning to end and none of the grand old tunes are there; indeed, just the reverse. We had "outposts of tyranny" - and Iran "as the world's primary state sponsor of terror". We had that Condoleezza riff on the globe's "most loathed regime". We heard, yet again, that "Tehran cannot be allowed to develop nuclear weapons". We heard nothing about our leaders' ancestral faith in mutual assurance. It is surely worth wondering why.
The theory, after all, was never disproved. It appeared, in a flurry of spending, to dispose of the evil empire. It worked between dictatorships and democracies, between Khrushchev and Kennedy. It seemingly works for Islamabad. Why, then, so much sound and fury over Iran, so many threats set aside for the "time being" only? Would a Tehran sandwiched between nuclear Pakistan and nuclear Israel, with nuclear Russia to the north and nuclear America everywhere in the skies above, really pose quite the menace Bush pretends?
Of course, it's cheery when countries which could make a bomb renounce that opportunity. Fewer bombs clearly means less risk of accident (or illicit trafficking). Yet sometimes the hysteria involved in prospective proliferation becomes absurd. A bomb of your own can be hugely popular on the streets, as Pakistan and India demonstrate. But it doesn't change anything very substantive. The subcontinent has fought itself into a cul de sac anyway.
No, the prevailing theory of nuclear deterrence today is far different. It sits snugly alongside George W's lectures on democracy rampant. It says that the only real superpower alone can be trusted to upgrade and hone its nuclear arsenal; that true safety means leaving everything to the White House.
But why on earth should such arguments run in countries like Iran, which have no reason to hail American hegemony? Iran has nuclear enemies all around, as we've seen. Iran may well hunger after the respect now accorded to Pakistan. In theory - old theory - a Tehran bomb would only complete the regional balancing act. In theory - old theory - it would have stopped Saddam launching his hideous war. What's so worrying here?
There's an answer to that, naturally; a Tom Clancy-style spiel featuring terror groups, greedy scientists, berserk mullahs and the rest (basically cold war porridge re-heated for a new audience). Yet, in truth, it's a thin little theme. Is civil nuclear power fading from use? To the contrary, nuclear power is a continuing fact of 21st-century life that many poorer nations in search of development feel obliged to fund and acknowledge.
In sum, the current international block on nuclear proliferation isn't going to endure. It didn't stop Islamabad or Delhi. It won't, over time, stop central Asian republics from growing uneasy in their nuclear isolation, ringed by bomb-toting countries - or Damascus and Tehran from feeling permanently threatened by Israel's bomb.
The critical difficulty, of course, is perspective. If you even write about Israel's bomb in public, you're deluged with emails saying it can never be given up. Never? Not even in the tranquil Middle East of Condoleezza Rice's present imaginings? No, never. It is the final seal on Israel's security. Why don't you Brits give up your bomb first, those Israelis ask angrily.
And there's the rub. We could do exactly that. Like Germany, Japan, Australia, South Africa, we could walk away. But no British government has the guts. We like to be part of this club of safety's sturdy children. It gives us a certain muzzy status.
We don't want to lose our costly comfort blanket in an uncertain world. But nor do we want to ponder the future of the blanket industry. Thinking about such things makes us oddly uneasy. Better to go through imbecile motions - threatening Iran's Shias, say, just as Iraq's Shias sweep to power over the border - than contemplate steps to a bomb-free world. Better to demonise Islam further by shivering over an Islamic bomb.
In a sense, it's almost reassuring to see Moscow and Washington falling out again this morning: twin brothers of annihilation able to snarl but not think afresh, glad to be mad in their crazy cocoon.
"We think in generalities, we live in details"
« Reply #46 on: 2007-01-20 02:29:36 »
[Blunderov] Complaining about something that is, or was, within one's power to change is usually described as 'whining'.
Washington 'snubbed Iran offer'
Iran offered the US a package of concessions in 2003, but it was rejected, a senior former US official has told the BBC's Newsnight programme.
Tehran proposed ending support for Lebanese and Palestinian militant groups and helping to stabilise Iraq following the US-led invasion.
Offers, including making its nuclear programme more transparent, were conditional on the US ending hostility.
But Vice-President Dick Cheney's office rejected the plan, the official said.
The offers came in a letter, seen by Newsnight, which was unsigned but which the US state department apparently believed to have been approved by the highest authorities.
In return for its concessions, Tehran asked Washington to end its hostility, to end sanctions, and to disband the Iranian rebel group the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq and repatriate its members.
But as soon as it got to the White House, the old mantra of 'We don't talk to evil'... reasserted itself
Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had allowed the rebel group to base itself in Iraq, putting it under US power after the invasion.
One of the then Secretary of State Colin Powell's top aides told the BBC the state department was keen on the plan - but was over-ruled.
"We thought it was a very propitious moment to do that," Lawrence Wilkerson told Newsnight.
"But as soon as it got to the White House, and as soon as it got to the Vice-President's office, the old mantra of 'We don't talk to evil'... reasserted itself."
Observers say the Iranian offer as outlined nearly four years ago corresponds pretty closely to what Washington is demanding from Tehran now.
Since that time, Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah inflicted significant military losses on the major US ally in the region, Israel, in the 2006 conflict and is now claiming increased political power in Lebanon.
Palestinian militant group Hamas won power in parliamentary elections a year ago, opening a new chapter of conflict in Gaza and the West Bank.
The UN Security Council has imposed sanctions on Iran following its refusal to suspend its uranium enrichment programme.
Iran denies US accusations that its nuclear programme is designed to produce weapons.