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  1.    #1  
    An article by Yoav Fromer appears today in TNR. Since you have to be a paid-subscriber to TNR to read it, I am submitting it below. It doesn't mean I agree with it necessarily although he makes some valid points.

    Say what you will about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but he has always had a keen sense of fashion. Which helps explain the trendy attire chosen for the clean-shaven British sailors and marines whom, fresh from a makeover, he paraded before television cameras in Tehran on Wednesday. The entire farce--carried live from the presidential palace--was an ideal finale to a theatrical drama that had seemed staged from the outset. And, even worse, everything seems to have followed the script faithfully.

    The British hostages may have already come home, but this standoff has had anything but an "all's well that ends well" conclusion. And all you need to do is watch Ahmadinejad's performance to see why. Casting an absurdly righteous aura of benevolence, the grinning Iranian leader greeted and pardoned the British servicemen one by one as each took his or her turn in front of the cameras. Even one of their fists wouldn't have wiped that smirk off his face.

    Anyone keeping score should chalk this one up as a point for the ayatollahs. If the faltering American war in Iraq was the first mark on the Iranian score card against the West and Israel's disastrous Lebanon war was the deuce, then Ahmadinejad has pulled a hat trick. At this rate, he's heading for a blowout.


    Let's go to the tape. Two weeks ago, Iranian naval units belonging to the elite Revolutionary Guards violated Iraqi territorial sovereignty--not to mention a handful of international laws--and seized 15 British sailors and marines (among them one women). Some outlets have preferred the more neutral terminology of "captured" or "detained," but "kidnap" is the only verb that fits--especially considering that the Brits were conducting a U.N.-sanctioned mission to secure Iraq's borders.

    The Iranians choose their battles well, and it was therefore only natural that British, not American, servicemen were targeted. Seeing two U.S. carrier groups within striking distance and a trigger-happy White House, Tehran instead sought the weakest link. (In fact, it's hardly unreasonable to assume this was planned long in advance as a way to test the limits of Tehran's power.)

    The gamble played out magnificently. Despite blatant territorial aggression, Iran has suffered absolutely no repercussions (with the exception of yet another succinct and characteristically restrained U.N. Security Council reprimand expressing "grave concern"). What's more, nobody has really challenged the Iranian assertion that diplomacy prevailed--never mind that, strictly speaking, a military intrusion into foreign waters aimed at kidnapping foreign citizens operating under an internationally sanctioned mandate is a casus belli.

    Writing in The Washington Post yesterday, Robin Wright noted that, although experts agree that Tehran has claimed a "short-term victory," it is still likely to "pay a long-term price." But, since new estimates foresee an Iranian nuke by 2009, this is particularly unlikely.


    In the good old days, more than a century ago, when Queen and country still mattered and the almighty Union Jack waved proudly over every corner of the globe, the Royal Navy would be quick to react, dispatching the HMS Devastation into the Mediterranean to protect British interests with the help of 12-inch guns. Of course, times have changed, and Tehran has noticed.

    As any nervous Israeli diplomat will tell you these days, a unified Western coalition is the only way to confront Iran and disarm it. But the hostage crisis puts the kibosh on the e pluribus unum fantasy. Until now, we had an ideal symbiosis: The Europeans spoke softly, the Americans carried the big stick. That worked as long as members of the unified Western coalition were equally committed to apply force in the face of an enemy threat. But Great Britain's guarantees over the last two weeks that it was "not seeking a military confrontation" (from Downing Street and the foreign minister) allowed the Iranians to call its bluff without even breaking a sweat--which bodes well for their nuclear program. The Brits (like their European allies), Iran now understands, have neither the inclination nor the ability to take up arms--not even to protect their own troops, let alone to face down someone's uranium-enrichment program. The next time European nuclear negotiators arrive in Tehran, the Iranians won't have forgotten this.

    The international community keeps telling Iran that there is a price to be paid. But, so far, it has yet to collect. Three U.N resolutions since July have yet to halt the enrichment process. Tehran's flagrant interventions in Iraq continue uninterrupted. And its support for Hezbollah remains as strong as ever. Iran has yet to endure any consequential punitive measures in response to what has become a systematic and obdurate belligerence. And this latest development proves no different. It's no wonder Ahmadinejad can't stop grinning.

    Yoav Fromer is the political correspondent in New York for the Israeli daily newspaper Maariv.
  2. #2  
    This is so very true. Our inaction cost us a great deal. Ben
  3. #3  
    The cumulative effect of our lack of collective backbone will eventually find its way into a "big bang" event where we will be forced to have backbone or die.

    By "our" I mean the United States and the European countries that kept their thumbs firmly lodged inside their bums during this Iranian event.

    When the "big bang" event comes it will be far costlier than dealing with things now.

    You can think of any analogy you want. Think of early simple discipline with a child vs. dealing with a trainwreck of a teenager. Think of dog training vs. 12 years of dog pee in your house. Whatever. No moral judgments are intended by these examples. No fair invoking Godwin's Law.

    Here's a more neutral example. Think about charting a course in your ship and keeping the course exactly on point instead of letting the natural variations in direction carry you off course without correction.

    But we can't blame "them" whether it is Tony Blair or George Bush or Nancy Pelosi or anyone else you personally dislike. It's not "them." It's is ME. It is YOU.

    It is MY action. MY resolve. Me. I can control my thoughts, my decisions, my resolve, my willingness to look at things as they are and not as I wish them to be. I have the power to take action rather than shy away from uncomfortable, unpleasant things about which I could easily procrastinate. Therefore I am responsible.

    There is a vast gulf in perception about what is happening in current events. Some people believe there is a course of events that means life or death for those of us in the United States -- if not us, then our children. Some people don't.

    I believe that there is a small group of people who are intent on causing harm. They happen to organize themselves by invoking a particular religion, for the most part. They will kill anyone who disagrees with them, without ceasing, until they are themselves stopped, by death if necessary. They can also be stopped in other ways as well, and those other ways are ultimately the only way to permanently stop them. www.thomaspmbarnett.com.

    The religion is not the problem. I travel frequently in the Middle East and believe that the vast, vast, vast bulk of people who follow that religion would have no truck with the people who are currently causing the problems.

    Think of it this way. You have a few crackpot white power people in Idaho who rant on whilst invoking bizarre interpretations of Christianity. Do you blame Christianity? No. You properly understand that there are a few crackpot white power whackos that need to be dealt with, forcefully if necessary.

    Others may have a different view. They may follow a "muddle through" concept that sooner or later the ship will right itself and these people (the Iranian president, pick you boogeymen) will just leave us alone so we can have a latte and enjoy wifi at Starbucks. If so, we are operating on two different planets and until we resolve this basic difference we are talking past each other. We can do this with respect and calm dialog. But sooner or later we must come to a consensus on this. We create the future.
  4. #4  
    Quote Originally Posted by bclinger View Post
    This is so very true. Our inaction cost us a great deal. Ben
    Are you implying the situation should have been escalated?

    Surur
  5. #5  
    Quote Originally Posted by Tastypeppers View Post
    Others may have a different view. They may follow a "muddle through" concept that sooner or later the ship will right itself and these people (the Iranian president, pick you boogeymen) will just leave us alone so we can have a latte and enjoy wifi at Starbucks. If so, we are operating on two different planets and until we resolve this basic difference we are talking past each other. We can do this with respect and calm dialog. But sooner or later we must come to a consensus on this. We create the future.
    You are not one of those crazies that sleep with a gun under his pillow waiting for the Moslem's to invade USA, are you? America is very very very far away from the middle east. I think with American warships of their coast, and 100 000 American soldiers on their border, the Iranians have much more cause to be concerned.

    Surur
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    #6  
    Quote Originally Posted by Tastypeppers View Post
    I believe that there is a small group of people who are intent on causing harm. They happen to organize themselves by invoking a particular religion, for the most part. They will kill anyone who disagrees with them, without ceasing, until they are themselves stopped, by death if necessary.
    If only those methods had been employed when other religions were purging the world over the course of world history.

    That which ye sow ...
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    #7  
    Iran is a tough situation. You have a population the generally likes Americans and dislikes its own government. However, the current leader is a madman trying to develop a nuclear bomb. If the US sits back and does nothing, then we face the very real possibility of a nuclear armed Iran. If we leave it the the UN, then we will definately face a nuclear armed Iran. Unfortunately, I think a fight is coming.

    Hey Surur, havnt seen you on the off topic boards in awhile. Not since you were wishing death on a fellow treocentraler going off to fight in Iraq.
  8. #8  
    As you can see from my post count, I have been in the other forums, but things get pretty hot in here, (leading to the mass ban a while ago I recall) and I have generally been avoiding controversial topics.

    However, after the Iraq disaster I cant believe the hawks are still advocating attacking a larger, more populous country, sowing further death and destruction. The simple fact is the best case scenario WILL NOT HAPPEN. Iraq was sold to Americans on the best case scenario. This will not work a second time, but its not giving the hawks even pause for thought.

    Probably 1000 American soldiers died since I last posted about them, and what exactly have they achieved? Would things really have been worse if GWB had not "stayed the course"?

    America started the Iraq war, and the only way America will finish it, and stop throwing away lives, is to just leave. That day appears to be coming soon. Already your partners have lost their taste for the war, and British soldiers are coming home in the next few months.

    Nothing good will come from further aggression in the Middle East, and just like a nuclear armed Israel, Pakistan, India, South Africa, France, China, Russia, Uzbekistan or UK has not impacted my quality of life (or prevented me from having a coffee at star bucks) so Iran achieving nuclear status would not perturb me at all. Why exactly is that worth going to war for?

    Surur
  9.    #9  
    I am not that sure, as Yoav alleges in his article, that Iran has gained a whole lot from this event (or previous events it indulged in):

    1. Iran took the British hostage and then demanded Britain to apologize for encroaching on Iranian territorial waters and promises not to do it again. They got nothing of the sort publicly (or, so far as anyone knows privately ~ otherwise why wouldn't they publicize it?). If Iran wanted to use these hostages as leverage to release Iranian agents in US custody in Iraq, they didn't get that either. Instead, they released the sailors without getting anything in return other than a few bizarre photo-edited "confessions."

    2. The Iranians have continued to pursue uranium enrichment and nuclear capacity, and it's true that no one has bombed them and that there has been no major UN sanctions levied against them. But it's also true that they have been met with increasingly stringent economic penalties, relatively successful US efforts to deter Western companies from working with Iran, and now have a balance of payments dispute with Russia that is endangering progress on their existing nuclear reactor facilities.

    3. The US plans to sell advanced weapon-technology to Gulf militaries, has naval carrier groups in the Gulf and is still talking about bombing the Iranian nuclear facilities. Nothing Iran has done is really deterring this action, and it seems the Iranians are not eager to challenge the Americans in the Gulf (though that could change).
    And now the US just escalated its troop presence in Iraq.

    4. Iran made a big splash with its Holocaust conference, so now mainstream European opinion regards the regime as neo-Nazi, or at least as anti-Semitic and bogus. Iran's Shiite allies in Iraq jeered and hanged Saddam Hussien, and continue ethnic cleansing of Sunnis in Baghdad, while the Hezbollah continues to menace Lebanese Sunnis and Christians. The result is that Sunnis around the Middle East, who seemed to enjoy Ahmadinejad's and Nasrallah's insouciance at the West, are back to thinking that the Shiites are the devil and don't trust Iran...
    Last edited by impish; 04/06/2007 at 09:40 PM.
  10. #10  
    Quote Originally Posted by surur View Post
    However, after the Iraq disaster I cant believe the hawks are still advocating attacking a larger, more populous country, sowing further death and destruction. The simple fact is the best case scenario WILL NOT HAPPEN. Iraq was sold to Americans on the best case scenario. This will not work a second time, but its not giving the hawks even pause for thought.
    I don't like the idea of starting another war which will lead to the death of tens of thousands and will fuel the hatred for the West and inspire more terrorists. But a state supporter of terrorism having nuclear weapons leads to the worst case scenario. And anything is better than the worst case scenario.

    Probably 1000 American soldiers died since I last posted about them, and what exactly have they achieved? Would things really have been worse if GWB had not "stayed the course"?
    I think the violence in Iraq would have been much worse had the US pulled out long ago. Sure, fewer American soldiers would have been dead, but the war would likely have continued.
  11. #11  
    One thing that also needs to be factored into the equation is that president "iminajihad" has no real power in Iran. He serve as a figure under the mollas in Iran. It's less about his sanity as it is about their sanity. That being said both the mollas and the president of Iran have said on numerous occations that they would like to erase the great satan...Israel (An important ally of ours) off the face of the earth ("drive them into the sea") Add rhetoric like that to nuclear power and you have the potential for bad things man. I think that attacking Iran is not a good idea AT ALL, but if the UN does nothing to stop them from developing nukes...it WILL be necessary.

    Aaron
  12. #12  
    Quote Originally Posted by samkim View Post
    ...the war would likely have continued.
    ...but without our participation.
    V > Vx > m505 > m515 > T/T > T3 > TC > 650 > 680
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  13. #13  
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Gamble View Post
    ...but without our participation.
    without our participation, we would not have landing strips and green zones in the middle east from with to launch attacks on iran if needed.
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    #14  
    Quote Originally Posted by aairman23 View Post
    without our participation, we would not have landing strips and green zones in the middle east from with to launch attacks on iran if needed.
    We have aircraft carriers not to far off the coast of Iran for that.



    I was in favor of the war (still am), but against the occupation. Nothing good comes out of occuping a country. We should have pulled our troops out after they reached baghdad. Yes, the country would have fallen into a lawless society, just like now.

    If Iraqis dont want to live together in peace, then thats their problem. Not worth the life of one more American soldier.
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    #15  
    Quote Originally Posted by aairman23 View Post
    without our participation, we would not have landing strips and green zones in the middle east from with to launch attacks on iran if needed.
    Has the US alienated the world to the extent that Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Pakistan, Qatar, Turkmenistan, or Turkey wouldn't approve? You know ... Iran's neighbors and those locations where the US has Middle East military bases. Or possibly those in Bulgaria or Romania on the Black Sea?

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