Talk the Casbah
News Scoop! Snooping on the Scooter suit
If you've been reading with fascination Slate's gang coverage of the Scooter Libby trial (replete with insider drama!) you might want to check out BTC News, a Frayster production with its own correspondent in the courtroom.
For the rest of you, consider Iran. They've got strategic interests. They've got an implacable opponent. And they've got another thing coming. courtneyme109 is ready to invade:
America will build a coalition of sorts and launch a massive blitz on the top 20% of Iran's ruling clerics using cruise and conventional missiles, attack aircraft and old school special ops. […] While Iran's rulers have some redundancy in their command and control posts, these are actually quite few in number as are the few calling the shots. […]
Make no mistake, Iran is WEAK, the regime is hated and with a figleaf coalition in place, the only flak America would catch would be from other weak despots who see their number rise up on the hit parade.
Militarily, Iran is still a basket case. Iran banged on the gates of Basra for six years and never made it in during the horrible Iran Iraq war. Traditionally, troops don't serve despots so valiantly and it will be so here.
So, don't get played by all this jazz about America is helpless - that's the bait for our enemies. Cheer up, that plan and the one turning Iraq into a giant sucking killing machine for our enemies is working.
The Saudis, as they have threatened to do publicly, are quietly depressing the global price of oil to bankrupt Iran.
Some 85% of Iran's export revenue comes from oil. The Saudis, who in theory also like high oil prices, are doing nothing to stop them sliding down from last year's highs.
By the way, anyone who gets alarmed by the Iranian president's rhetoric should reflect on what happens to oil prices whenever he threatens to wipe out Israel. That's right, they go up, enriching Iran in the process...
The primary, and in fact the only material, danger arising from an Iranian nuclear arsenal is the effect on Israel's nuclear monopoly. There is no credible theory which would support any expectation that Iran would engage in any first strike option. Iran has no history of such aggressiveness. Its political elite clearly does not wish to initiate such hostilities and with good reason-- right now, Iran sits in the catbird seat, with more ability to influence and control the region without resort to overt war like tactics. It is only Israel and its puppet show of bought and paid for US office holders which talk about such options. An opponent with everything to lose and virtually nothing to gain by brinkmanship is, virtually by definition, an opponent who is safely deterred. […]
If Israel truly fears a nuclear exchange, then the only reasonable means of preventing it is mutual disarmament. One might support a nuclear free zone throughout the Middle East. If that were the stated objective, rather than simply disarming one potential belligerent while leaving the other with an estimated 200 nuclear warheads, it might make sense to impose sanctions and issue vague military threats against either party who fails to negotiate in good faith.
A balanced and objective evaluation of both the Israelis and the Iranians would tend to show, I believe, that Israel is by far a greater risk for initiating a nuclear conflict. They are the ones who talk and act with exaggerated desperation; it is they who have invaded and occupied their neighbors. It is they who built and maintained their nuclear weapons program in secrecy and outside the regime of international law. If I were an Iranian, I would not feel at all safe so long as Israel had a nuclear arsenal and Iran did not.
Degsme would respond with a strong dose of introspection:
American Exceptionalism tells us that while the British lost the Revolutionary War because of the zeal and beliefs in independence of the local peoples, the same applied neither in Vietnam, nor applies in Iraq, nor when Khomeini booted our beloved Shah, nor will it apply when we bring down the "corrupt" government in Iran today.
It tells us that the 2000 elections in the USA were somehow different than the most recent elections in Iran. […]
Sorry, it just doesn't wash. If anything is a common thread as to what gets US Foreign Policy into a cluster in the Middle East, it is the inability of American politicians to see beyond American Exceptionalism.
Keep a lookout for switters, sneaking out the back of the discussion:
Dang. Looks like somebody forgot to tell us that you can create something in a vacuum, namely, an insurgency. If only we'd seen this coming 4 years ago. Who would've thought?
We don't have to choose sides. Let's just let them blow each other up. Clearly American G.I.'s have left center stage as the targets of choice. So we just gradually sneak out. It's like when you're at a party and you start a conversation, and the conversation gets a little heated and more and more guests join in and start to disagree dramatically. Pretty soon lines are demarcated and sides chosen and nobody even remembers who started the conversation in the first place because they're too busy arguing about the conversation itself. And that's when you slip out the back door through the kitchen (after having grabbed a six-pack out of the fridge on you're way out, of course).
Let's do that. Let's slip out the back door through Kuwait (after having grabbed a six-pack of barrels of oil).
Geoffrey Andersen, co-editor of the Fray, is a law student based in California.