A new middle east war?

Our relationship with Iran is getting more and more dangerous.  As more and more of that country’s nuclear scientists are getting assassinated–with most people blaming Israel’s spy agency Mossad possibly with the collusion of the CIA–Iranian leaders are threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz, that narrow gap of water through which much of the world’s oil supply flows.  This is in response to a new round of sanctions that would hinder Iran from selling its oil to the West.  America has vowed to keep the Strait open, and the navy is mobilizing.

Details from Anne Gearan of the Associated Press:

Tensions rising by the day, the Obama administration said Friday it is warning Iran through public and private channels against any action that threatens the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf.

Spokesmen were vague on what the United States would do about Iran’s threat to block the strategic Strait of Hormuz, but military officials have been clear that the U.S. is readying for a possible naval clash.

That prospect is the latest flash point with Iran, and one of the most serious. Although it currently overshadows the threat of war over Iran’s disputed nuclear program, perhaps beginning with an Israeli military strike on Iran’s nuclear structure, both simmering crises raise the possibility of a shooting war this year.

“We have to make sure we are ready for any situation and have all options on the table,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said, addressing a soldier’s question Thursday about the overall risk of war with Iran.

For several reasons, the risk of open conflict with Tehran appears higher in this election year than at any point since President Barack Obama took office with a pledge to try to bridge 30 years of enmity. A clash would represent a failure of U.S. policy on several fronts, and vault now-dormant national security concerns into the presidential election contest.

The U.S. still hopes that international pressure will persuade Iran to back down on its disputed nuclear program, but the Islamic regime shows no sign it would willingly give up a project has become a point of national pride. .  . .

An escalating covert campaign of sabotage and targeted assassinations highlighted by this week’s killing of an Iranian nuclear scientist may not be enough to head off a larger shooting war and could prod Iran to strike first.

The brazen killing of a young scientist by bombers on motorcycles is almost surely the work of Israel, according to U.S. and other officials speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters. The killing on a Tehran street followed the deaths of several other Iranians involved in the nuclear program, a mysterious explosion at an Iranian nuclear site that may have been sabotage and the apparent targeting of the program with an efficient computer virus.

Iranian officials accuse both Israel and the U.S. of carrying out the assassination as part of a secret operation to stop Iran’s nuclear program. The killing came a day after Israeli military chief Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz was quoted as telling a parliamentary panel that 2012 would be a “critical year” for Iran — in part because of “things that happen to it unnaturally.” .  . .

Obama last month approved new sanctions against Iran that would target its central bank and its ability to sell petroleum abroad.

The U.S. has delayed implementing the sanctions for at least six months, worried about sending the price of oil higher at a time when the global economy is struggling.

A senior commander of the Revolutionary Guard force was recently quoted as saying Tehran’s leadership has decided to order the closure of the Strait of Hormuz if the country’s petroleum exports are blocked due to sanctions.

Panetta linked the two crises Thursday, saying an Iranian nuclear weapon is one “red line” the U.S. will not allow Iran to cross, and a closure of the strait is another. “We must keep all capabilities ready in the event those lines are crossed,” Panetta told troops in Texas.

He did not elaborate, but the nation’s top military officer, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, has said the U.S. would take action to reopen the strategic waterway. That could only mean military action, and there are U.S. warships stationed nearby.

via Tensions high, U.S. warns Iran not to block shipping | NewsOK.com.

Critics of the Iraq war said it was all about oil, a questionable claim, since the U.S. did not get oil out of the deal but rather hampered Iraq’s oil capability.  This war, if it happens, would be about oil.   Is that actually a better reason to fight than ideological reasons?

The story blames the Obama administration for bungling its foreign policy and getting us into this dilemma.  Is that fair?

Are you ready for another shooting war in the mideast?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    Gambling in this establishment?

    I’m shocked!

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    Gambling in this establishment?

    I’m shocked!

  • Tom Hering

    “The story blames the Obama administration for bungling its foreign policy and getting us into this dilemma.”

    So Iran would have done things differently if we had done things differently? I’m highly skeptical. Iran seems pretty intractable to me.

  • Tom Hering

    “The story blames the Obama administration for bungling its foreign policy and getting us into this dilemma.”

    So Iran would have done things differently if we had done things differently? I’m highly skeptical. Iran seems pretty intractable to me.

  • SKPeterson

    This simply parallels to a smaller extent our actions against Japan in the run up to Pearl Harbor. If we push the buttons just right, we’ll get Iran to sink a destroyer for us and provide the necessary justification for air strikes and a naval bombardment of Iran’s coastal defenses, ports and oil export infrastructure. If we’re really lucky, they’ll try to respond and we can attack more targets and call for regime change. Maybe even put some troops on the ground in Bandar Abbas to create a “limited” buffer zone while our diplomats build up the international case that Iran is an unstable, aggressor nation and needs to be corralled.

  • SKPeterson

    This simply parallels to a smaller extent our actions against Japan in the run up to Pearl Harbor. If we push the buttons just right, we’ll get Iran to sink a destroyer for us and provide the necessary justification for air strikes and a naval bombardment of Iran’s coastal defenses, ports and oil export infrastructure. If we’re really lucky, they’ll try to respond and we can attack more targets and call for regime change. Maybe even put some troops on the ground in Bandar Abbas to create a “limited” buffer zone while our diplomats build up the international case that Iran is an unstable, aggressor nation and needs to be corralled.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Meanwhile, Iraq seems to be inviting us back. Doesn’t much matter if we are ready or not, its coming. And yes our current president is a dA concerning foreign policy,

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Meanwhile, Iraq seems to be inviting us back. Doesn’t much matter if we are ready or not, its coming. And yes our current president is a dA concerning foreign policy,

  • Tom Hering

    SK @ 3, looks to me like Israel is the one pushing buttons, and trying to force the U.S. into an all-out war with Iran. Whereas we seem to want to limit military conflict to naval actions that enforce international sanctions.

  • Tom Hering

    SK @ 3, looks to me like Israel is the one pushing buttons, and trying to force the U.S. into an all-out war with Iran. Whereas we seem to want to limit military conflict to naval actions that enforce international sanctions.

  • Dan Kempin

    Tom, #2,

    Fair point, though I suppose one could argue that weakness is a provocation. If they wanted. Which I don’t.

    Tom, #5,

    Also a good point. I think the administration would love to stay out of this if possible. I’m concerned, if anything, that they might under-commit.

  • Dan Kempin

    Tom, #2,

    Fair point, though I suppose one could argue that weakness is a provocation. If they wanted. Which I don’t.

    Tom, #5,

    Also a good point. I think the administration would love to stay out of this if possible. I’m concerned, if anything, that they might under-commit.

  • Tom Hering

    Dan @ 6, is threatening to sink their ships, bomb their surface-to-ship missile installations, and pretty much neutralize their military capabilities in the Strait a weak approach?

  • Tom Hering

    Dan @ 6, is threatening to sink their ships, bomb their surface-to-ship missile installations, and pretty much neutralize their military capabilities in the Strait a weak approach?

  • Dennis Peskey

    And the good times just keep on coming! Go Navy.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    And the good times just keep on coming! Go Navy.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • helen

    Why wouldn’t Iran want nukes?
    We’ve overtly and covertly assisted Israel to have them, and never a peep out of anyone about that.

    No matter who is in the WH, our Middle East policy seems to be run from Tel Aviv!

    To our detriment, but why would they care? Evangelicals are freely preaching help to Israel, so that it will be destroyed in their hastened Armegeddon. The Israelis know it, laugh at the notion that the evangelicals can manipulate God (when they aren’t laughing at the idea of God) and take our money and weapons.

    We aren’t threatening to bomb N Korea, I notice, and it’s ahead of Iran by all accounts.

  • helen

    Why wouldn’t Iran want nukes?
    We’ve overtly and covertly assisted Israel to have them, and never a peep out of anyone about that.

    No matter who is in the WH, our Middle East policy seems to be run from Tel Aviv!

    To our detriment, but why would they care? Evangelicals are freely preaching help to Israel, so that it will be destroyed in their hastened Armegeddon. The Israelis know it, laugh at the notion that the evangelicals can manipulate God (when they aren’t laughing at the idea of God) and take our money and weapons.

    We aren’t threatening to bomb N Korea, I notice, and it’s ahead of Iran by all accounts.

  • DonS

    The Strait of Hormuz is international waters, and provides vital shipping lanes for 1/3 of world oil supply. It is in our direct interests to keep it open — failure to do so would cause oil prices to skyrocket and throw us into an immediate further economic tailspin. We will keep it open, especially in an election year.

    Of course, if we want a better chance at peace in the Middle East, the Obama administration will work overtime to ensure that the Keystone pipeline project gets built, and that we do everything else in our power to exploit the newly available and discovered vast oil and gas supplies here in North America. We’ll see.

  • DonS

    The Strait of Hormuz is international waters, and provides vital shipping lanes for 1/3 of world oil supply. It is in our direct interests to keep it open — failure to do so would cause oil prices to skyrocket and throw us into an immediate further economic tailspin. We will keep it open, especially in an election year.

    Of course, if we want a better chance at peace in the Middle East, the Obama administration will work overtime to ensure that the Keystone pipeline project gets built, and that we do everything else in our power to exploit the newly available and discovered vast oil and gas supplies here in North America. We’ll see.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    If Iran closes the straits of Hormuz, I’d want a Bush I style coalition to re-open the straits (and fund the endeavor). That way we’d be less likely to be drawn into a large conflict and we’d have regional allies to leave the situation to when we pulled out.

    It’s a lot cheaper to enforce a no-fly / demilitarized zone than to be left holding the bag after a regime change in Iran.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    If Iran closes the straits of Hormuz, I’d want a Bush I style coalition to re-open the straits (and fund the endeavor). That way we’d be less likely to be drawn into a large conflict and we’d have regional allies to leave the situation to when we pulled out.

    It’s a lot cheaper to enforce a no-fly / demilitarized zone than to be left holding the bag after a regime change in Iran.

  • Joanne

    We have fought a proxy war against Iran in Iraq. We are fighting a proxy war against Iran in Afganistan. We are very likely to be drawn into a proxy war against Iran in Pakistan and Syria. No nation in the middle east wants a nuclear Iran, all their spies are as likely, if less capable, than ours, to be sabotaging Iran’s nuclear weapons program. I think the notion that coalition building is the diplomatic reason the hot war has not yet started, is the correct reasoning. Many nations are waiting for the “causus belli,” the one that can’t be ignored, to occur, so that they can seem to be doing only what they were forced to do. However, only America, Britain and Canada will actually do the fighting. America’s withdrawal from Iraq is meant to prove to middle-eastern nations that we will not remain in Iran after the deadly dead is done. I can imagine a demilitarized middle east with quaranteed, uncorrupt elections every election cycle, but it will start off as a pax romana.

  • Joanne

    We have fought a proxy war against Iran in Iraq. We are fighting a proxy war against Iran in Afganistan. We are very likely to be drawn into a proxy war against Iran in Pakistan and Syria. No nation in the middle east wants a nuclear Iran, all their spies are as likely, if less capable, than ours, to be sabotaging Iran’s nuclear weapons program. I think the notion that coalition building is the diplomatic reason the hot war has not yet started, is the correct reasoning. Many nations are waiting for the “causus belli,” the one that can’t be ignored, to occur, so that they can seem to be doing only what they were forced to do. However, only America, Britain and Canada will actually do the fighting. America’s withdrawal from Iraq is meant to prove to middle-eastern nations that we will not remain in Iran after the deadly dead is done. I can imagine a demilitarized middle east with quaranteed, uncorrupt elections every election cycle, but it will start off as a pax romana.

  • steve

    SAL, #11, my guess is Iran isn’t going to announce closing the strait with enough time to form a coalition. If they do it, they’re going to do it quickly. It’s only a 30 mile stretch, and the shipping lanes are only about 8 miles, so in theory it wouldn’t be that difficult; except that the US also has significant resources in the area to monitor and try to head off any attempted closure. My guess, though, is that Iran won’t even try it because it would be the death knell for their own economy and they know it. Most of their oil is in Khuzestan in the south west which means it also has to pass through the strait.

  • steve

    SAL, #11, my guess is Iran isn’t going to announce closing the strait with enough time to form a coalition. If they do it, they’re going to do it quickly. It’s only a 30 mile stretch, and the shipping lanes are only about 8 miles, so in theory it wouldn’t be that difficult; except that the US also has significant resources in the area to monitor and try to head off any attempted closure. My guess, though, is that Iran won’t even try it because it would be the death knell for their own economy and they know it. Most of their oil is in Khuzestan in the south west which means it also has to pass through the strait.

  • Cincinnatus

    Hey, did anyone notice that Obama is at this moment deploying thousands of American troops to Iran? No?

    http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/01/08/187141.html

    Nothing to see here, right? The Democratic Party, after all, is the anti-war party.

  • Cincinnatus

    Hey, did anyone notice that Obama is at this moment deploying thousands of American troops to Iran? No?

    http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/01/08/187141.html

    Nothing to see here, right? The Democratic Party, after all, is the anti-war party.

  • Tom Hering

    Hmm. I searched for confirmation of the “9,000 troops in Israel” story, and I don’t see it being “reported” by anyone but arab sites, and conspiracy blogs. Not that it’s impossible. But if true, it sounds like much too large a force for a surgical strike, and much (much!) too small a force for an invasion. At best, it’s posturing (if true).

  • Tom Hering

    Hmm. I searched for confirmation of the “9,000 troops in Israel” story, and I don’t see it being “reported” by anyone but arab sites, and conspiracy blogs. Not that it’s impossible. But if true, it sounds like much too large a force for a surgical strike, and much (much!) too small a force for an invasion. At best, it’s posturing (if true).

  • Cincinnatus

    Tom,

    Really? Obviously, you’re correct: I doubt anyone’s planning to “conquer” Iran with 9,000 troops. They are there to participate in a totally innocuous defense drill with Israeli troops (backed up, of course, by an American carrier group). Again, nothing to see here.

    I’ll revert to SKPeterson’s astute observation: this Administration wants to avoid war with Iran like FDR wanted to avoid war with Japan–and we’ll all be totally shocked if Iran strikes first, right? “Posturing”–which is probably the correct word for what’s going on here–is not innocent.

  • Cincinnatus

    Tom,

    Really? Obviously, you’re correct: I doubt anyone’s planning to “conquer” Iran with 9,000 troops. They are there to participate in a totally innocuous defense drill with Israeli troops (backed up, of course, by an American carrier group). Again, nothing to see here.

    I’ll revert to SKPeterson’s astute observation: this Administration wants to avoid war with Iran like FDR wanted to avoid war with Japan–and we’ll all be totally shocked if Iran strikes first, right? “Posturing”–which is probably the correct word for what’s going on here–is not innocent.

  • Tom Hering

    I tried again, but I still can’t find anything I’d consider a confirmation of the story.

  • Tom Hering

    I tried again, but I still can’t find anything I’d consider a confirmation of the story.

  • Cincinnatus

    Tom, are you being dense again? I’m not trying to be insulting, but sometimes it’s hard to tell whether you’re simply being intentionally dull.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/17/world/middleeast/major-us-israel-military-exercises-delayed.html

    The exercises in question are being postponed, but the troops (app. 9000; number not mentioned in this particular article) are remaining for the time being.

    The point, I think, is that in November, you won’t be able to make a choice between the Republican and Democratic candidates on the grounds that one will keep us out of a war with Iran. Unless Ron Paul were the Republican candidate, of course. Personally, I think this is an increasingly major concern for voters and Americans in general. Too bad these voters aren’t being given an effective choice.

  • Cincinnatus

    Tom, are you being dense again? I’m not trying to be insulting, but sometimes it’s hard to tell whether you’re simply being intentionally dull.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/17/world/middleeast/major-us-israel-military-exercises-delayed.html

    The exercises in question are being postponed, but the troops (app. 9000; number not mentioned in this particular article) are remaining for the time being.

    The point, I think, is that in November, you won’t be able to make a choice between the Republican and Democratic candidates on the grounds that one will keep us out of a war with Iran. Unless Ron Paul were the Republican candidate, of course. Personally, I think this is an increasingly major concern for voters and Americans in general. Too bad these voters aren’t being given an effective choice.

  • Trey

    A few things need to be clear. If we go to war with Iran, it is because they persist to acquire a nuclear bomb. This coupled with the Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah penchant toward terrorism makes this prospect dangerous. So not it is not about oil, but about peace in the Middle East, which Iran since 1979 has sought to export Islamic Revolution.

    @ helen #9
    I don’t think I have ever heard Israel saying that Iran does not have a right to exist, rather it is Iran who does not recognize Israel and says they would like wipe Iran off the map. Let’s get our facts straight regarding one of the few democratic nation in the Middle East (Turkey and Iraq although they have a long way to go). Bottom line Israel cannot risk allowing Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.

  • Trey

    A few things need to be clear. If we go to war with Iran, it is because they persist to acquire a nuclear bomb. This coupled with the Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah penchant toward terrorism makes this prospect dangerous. So not it is not about oil, but about peace in the Middle East, which Iran since 1979 has sought to export Islamic Revolution.

    @ helen #9
    I don’t think I have ever heard Israel saying that Iran does not have a right to exist, rather it is Iran who does not recognize Israel and says they would like wipe Iran off the map. Let’s get our facts straight regarding one of the few democratic nation in the Middle East (Turkey and Iraq although they have a long way to go). Bottom line Israel cannot risk allowing Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.

  • Tom Hering

    Well yes, Cincinnatus, I must be dense. (And I would never assume you meant to be insulting, just because you used the modifier “again.”) I can’t find any mention, in the NYT article, of 9,000 troops being in Israel now, for a mid-2012 exercise. Help me out here.

  • Tom Hering

    Well yes, Cincinnatus, I must be dense. (And I would never assume you meant to be insulting, just because you used the modifier “again.”) I can’t find any mention, in the NYT article, of 9,000 troops being in Israel now, for a mid-2012 exercise. Help me out here.

  • DonS

    Trey @ 19: The immediate provocation which is causing the U.S. to move an aircraft carrier into the Straits of Hormuz is definitely about oil.

  • DonS

    Trey @ 19: The immediate provocation which is causing the U.S. to move an aircraft carrier into the Straits of Hormuz is definitely about oil.

  • DonS

    And, I hasten to add, that’s not a bad thing. It is exactly what we should be doing to protect the interests of the oil-consuming world, and the current very fragile economy. Iran has no right to close an international body of water.

  • DonS

    And, I hasten to add, that’s not a bad thing. It is exactly what we should be doing to protect the interests of the oil-consuming world, and the current very fragile economy. Iran has no right to close an international body of water.

  • Cincinnatus

    DonS@22: Protecting an international trade route that is potentially vital to our own interests is indeed a valid use of American forces.

    Might I remind you, though, that Iran wouldn’t be threatening Hormuz if we weren’t, in general, agitating Iran to the best of our ability: posturing with Israel, threatening our own devastating sanctions (which can be regarded in international law as virtual acts of war), assassinating Iranian civilians, stationing large ground forces in their immediate vicinity (Iraq), etc. They didn’t decide to do this at random.

  • Cincinnatus

    DonS@22: Protecting an international trade route that is potentially vital to our own interests is indeed a valid use of American forces.

    Might I remind you, though, that Iran wouldn’t be threatening Hormuz if we weren’t, in general, agitating Iran to the best of our ability: posturing with Israel, threatening our own devastating sanctions (which can be regarded in international law as virtual acts of war), assassinating Iranian civilians, stationing large ground forces in their immediate vicinity (Iraq), etc. They didn’t decide to do this at random.

  • DonS

    Cincinnatus @ 23: Well, of course there is a history of provocations, both ways, in Iran-western relations. We wouldn’t be agitating Iran if they weren’t insisting on developing nuclear weapons. But the immediate provocation is the threatened blockade, and its dire economic effects were it to come to pass, especially given our stupidity in failing to develop and exploit our domestic resources.

  • DonS

    Cincinnatus @ 23: Well, of course there is a history of provocations, both ways, in Iran-western relations. We wouldn’t be agitating Iran if they weren’t insisting on developing nuclear weapons. But the immediate provocation is the threatened blockade, and its dire economic effects were it to come to pass, especially given our stupidity in failing to develop and exploit our domestic resources.

  • Cincinnatus

    DonS@24:

    The question of domestic petroleum resources is a bit of a non sequitur; though I hesitantly agree with you in asserting that we should develop such resources, completing the Keystone XL pipeline isn’t going to cause our Mideast problems to evaporate magically and instantly.

    Like many in the American foreign policy elite, you’re being a tad myopic. For over four decades, we’ve done literally everything possible to agitate Iran against us short of actually invading them. And then we treat Iran as the surprise enemy, the rogue state, when it threatens (rather baselessly; I mean, really, how successful do they really think such an overture would be?) to retaliate in some way. Instead of contemplating our long record of intervention and aggression in Iran’s face, we respond with narratives like this:

    -”We wouldn’t be agitating Iran if they weren’t insisting on developing nuclear weapons[!]” A development, of course, that is the maniacal pursuit of a rogue nation, right? Has nothing to do with the fact that Israel several decades ago, with our assistance, developed its own nuclear weapons (and has allegedly deployed them in tactical form, though such allegations are unconfirmed)
    Again–and I never tire of repeating this–echoes of Pearl Harbor should be tingling your ears. And this isn’t even to mention the fact that the Islamist character of Iran’s current regime is also very directly our fault. I don’t want Iran to have nuclear weapons, but let’s be realistic here.

    Or this:

    -”But the immediate provocation is the threatened blockade[!]” Again, apparently, a totally unexpected and unmerited act of rogue aggression by a nation full of crazies who hate America, right? Has nothing to do with decades of economic sanctions, unilateral support for Israel, etc., right? A nuanced understanding of the history of our involvement in the region isn’t likely to assist us in formulating a proper response, right? Let’s just keep on with the Wilsonian/Bushian jingoism.

    Yes, at this point, some kind of war with Iran appears inevitable. The only candidate I’ve heard saying anything different is Ron Paul, and he isn’t going to win. The only question is whether it will be the United States or Israel giving the orders, I guess.

  • Cincinnatus

    DonS@24:

    The question of domestic petroleum resources is a bit of a non sequitur; though I hesitantly agree with you in asserting that we should develop such resources, completing the Keystone XL pipeline isn’t going to cause our Mideast problems to evaporate magically and instantly.

    Like many in the American foreign policy elite, you’re being a tad myopic. For over four decades, we’ve done literally everything possible to agitate Iran against us short of actually invading them. And then we treat Iran as the surprise enemy, the rogue state, when it threatens (rather baselessly; I mean, really, how successful do they really think such an overture would be?) to retaliate in some way. Instead of contemplating our long record of intervention and aggression in Iran’s face, we respond with narratives like this:

    -”We wouldn’t be agitating Iran if they weren’t insisting on developing nuclear weapons[!]” A development, of course, that is the maniacal pursuit of a rogue nation, right? Has nothing to do with the fact that Israel several decades ago, with our assistance, developed its own nuclear weapons (and has allegedly deployed them in tactical form, though such allegations are unconfirmed)
    Again–and I never tire of repeating this–echoes of Pearl Harbor should be tingling your ears. And this isn’t even to mention the fact that the Islamist character of Iran’s current regime is also very directly our fault. I don’t want Iran to have nuclear weapons, but let’s be realistic here.

    Or this:

    -”But the immediate provocation is the threatened blockade[!]” Again, apparently, a totally unexpected and unmerited act of rogue aggression by a nation full of crazies who hate America, right? Has nothing to do with decades of economic sanctions, unilateral support for Israel, etc., right? A nuanced understanding of the history of our involvement in the region isn’t likely to assist us in formulating a proper response, right? Let’s just keep on with the Wilsonian/Bushian jingoism.

    Yes, at this point, some kind of war with Iran appears inevitable. The only candidate I’ve heard saying anything different is Ron Paul, and he isn’t going to win. The only question is whether it will be the United States or Israel giving the orders, I guess.

  • DonS

    Cincinnatus @ 25: As a reminder of the actions of a rogue nation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran_hostage_crisis

    I don’t think war with Iran is inevitable. It depends on what Iran decides to do with respect to its nuclear program, which largely depends upon whether they believe we are serious when we say that we are not going to permit them to become a nuclear power. But given the fragile state of the world economy, and its continued reliance on Mideast oil, we cannot tolerate any threat, no matter how tenuous, to disrupt that supply. The mere threat of disruption dramatically affects world oil markets, and with oil already overpriced at $100/bbl, any further price shock will ensure continued economic trauma.

    About 20% of the world’s daily oil consumption (17 mill bbl/day out of 88 mill bbl/day) flows through the Strait. http://www.eia.gov/cabs/world_oil_transit_chokepoints/full.html The key is, how much of that 17 mill bbl/day could be replaced by quickly increasing production from other sources? Obviously, nothing we can do now will affect this crisis, but it is in our long term interests, particularly if we want to stop having to engage in repeated Middle Eastern wars, to increase oil and gas production in safe zones, the safest of which is North America. So, increasing domestic energy supplies is certainly not a non sequitur to limiting future foreign wars.

  • DonS

    Cincinnatus @ 25: As a reminder of the actions of a rogue nation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran_hostage_crisis

    I don’t think war with Iran is inevitable. It depends on what Iran decides to do with respect to its nuclear program, which largely depends upon whether they believe we are serious when we say that we are not going to permit them to become a nuclear power. But given the fragile state of the world economy, and its continued reliance on Mideast oil, we cannot tolerate any threat, no matter how tenuous, to disrupt that supply. The mere threat of disruption dramatically affects world oil markets, and with oil already overpriced at $100/bbl, any further price shock will ensure continued economic trauma.

    About 20% of the world’s daily oil consumption (17 mill bbl/day out of 88 mill bbl/day) flows through the Strait. http://www.eia.gov/cabs/world_oil_transit_chokepoints/full.html The key is, how much of that 17 mill bbl/day could be replaced by quickly increasing production from other sources? Obviously, nothing we can do now will affect this crisis, but it is in our long term interests, particularly if we want to stop having to engage in repeated Middle Eastern wars, to increase oil and gas production in safe zones, the safest of which is North America. So, increasing domestic energy supplies is certainly not a non sequitur to limiting future foreign wars.

  • Cincinnatus

    DonS:

    1) As a reminder of the cause of the actions of a rogue state, recall that the Islamist government which took American hostages was established by the United States after we toppled the previous government that had been friendly to the West.

    2) You keep speaking of the “world’s” oil, as if that were something that should deeply concern any sincere American. But only about 9% of American oil supplies come from the entire Middle East. I’m not interested in risking American lives to make sure the stock market remains high and the price of oil low, and I have even less interest in doing so to protect Europe’s oil.

    And, yes, domestic oil reserves are a non sequitur in the present discussion. All that North American oil isn’t going to come online soon enough to avert a confrontation with Iran over Hormuz.

  • Cincinnatus

    DonS:

    1) As a reminder of the cause of the actions of a rogue state, recall that the Islamist government which took American hostages was established by the United States after we toppled the previous government that had been friendly to the West.

    2) You keep speaking of the “world’s” oil, as if that were something that should deeply concern any sincere American. But only about 9% of American oil supplies come from the entire Middle East. I’m not interested in risking American lives to make sure the stock market remains high and the price of oil low, and I have even less interest in doing so to protect Europe’s oil.

    And, yes, domestic oil reserves are a non sequitur in the present discussion. All that North American oil isn’t going to come online soon enough to avert a confrontation with Iran over Hormuz.

  • Cincinnatus

    Oh, and you know what the best answer to the Iran crisis would be? Stop standing in Israel’s way (and/or being their attack dog) while simultaneously provoking Iran and simply allow Israel finally to launch the preemptive surgical strike against Iran’s nuclear sites they’ve wanted to execute for years. We can stand back. Those two can render the Middle East a glass parking lot for all I care. Smart empires (and prudent Machiavellian leaders) know that it’s always best to let an intermediary do your dirty work. There is no need whatsoever to put more American lives and treasure at risk in that godforsaken desert.

  • Cincinnatus

    Oh, and you know what the best answer to the Iran crisis would be? Stop standing in Israel’s way (and/or being their attack dog) while simultaneously provoking Iran and simply allow Israel finally to launch the preemptive surgical strike against Iran’s nuclear sites they’ve wanted to execute for years. We can stand back. Those two can render the Middle East a glass parking lot for all I care. Smart empires (and prudent Machiavellian leaders) know that it’s always best to let an intermediary do your dirty work. There is no need whatsoever to put more American lives and treasure at risk in that godforsaken desert.

  • DonS

    Cincinnatus @ 27: I’m not claiming that the U.S. is an innocent party. I’m just saying that, for whatever reasons, Iran is currently, since 1979, a rogue nation which has proven decisively its willingness to resort to almost any measure to attain its objectives, including brutally kidnapping diplomatic personnel, in contravention of every international diplomatic convention there is, torture, murder, etc. It is an internationally lawless and brutal nation, not an innocent party that we have needlessly provoked, as you are implying.

    You keep speaking of the “world’s” oil, as if that were something that should deeply concern any sincere American. But only about 9% of American oil supplies come from the entire Middle East. I’m not interested in risking American lives to make sure the stock market remains high and the price of oil low, and I have even less interest in doing so to protect Europe’s oil.

    It’s not about the U.S., but the world oil market. Even if we only get 9% of our oil from the Mid East, we are fully subject to the volatility of world oil prices. If they spike $50 per bbl because Iran succeeds in disrupting the flow of oil through Hormuz, we will pay that money regardless of the fact that we don’t get much of that Hormuz oil. American lives will most certainly be at stake if our economy tanks again because of that price and supply shock. “Europe’s oil” is our oil. You know that. It’s a fungible commodity.

    And, yes, domestic oil reserves are a non sequitur in the present discussion. All that North American oil isn’t going to come online soon enough to avert a confrontation with Iran over Hormuz.

    Hmm. Talk about living in the moment! I already acknowledged that American oil and gas production wouldn’t impact this particular crisis. But, are you saying there won’t be a next one? Sheesh — if we want to stop having these crises, we need to develop energy supplies that are stable and safe. That’s all I’m saying.

  • DonS

    Cincinnatus @ 27: I’m not claiming that the U.S. is an innocent party. I’m just saying that, for whatever reasons, Iran is currently, since 1979, a rogue nation which has proven decisively its willingness to resort to almost any measure to attain its objectives, including brutally kidnapping diplomatic personnel, in contravention of every international diplomatic convention there is, torture, murder, etc. It is an internationally lawless and brutal nation, not an innocent party that we have needlessly provoked, as you are implying.

    You keep speaking of the “world’s” oil, as if that were something that should deeply concern any sincere American. But only about 9% of American oil supplies come from the entire Middle East. I’m not interested in risking American lives to make sure the stock market remains high and the price of oil low, and I have even less interest in doing so to protect Europe’s oil.

    It’s not about the U.S., but the world oil market. Even if we only get 9% of our oil from the Mid East, we are fully subject to the volatility of world oil prices. If they spike $50 per bbl because Iran succeeds in disrupting the flow of oil through Hormuz, we will pay that money regardless of the fact that we don’t get much of that Hormuz oil. American lives will most certainly be at stake if our economy tanks again because of that price and supply shock. “Europe’s oil” is our oil. You know that. It’s a fungible commodity.

    And, yes, domestic oil reserves are a non sequitur in the present discussion. All that North American oil isn’t going to come online soon enough to avert a confrontation with Iran over Hormuz.

    Hmm. Talk about living in the moment! I already acknowledged that American oil and gas production wouldn’t impact this particular crisis. But, are you saying there won’t be a next one? Sheesh — if we want to stop having these crises, we need to develop energy supplies that are stable and safe. That’s all I’m saying.

  • SKPeterson

    Tom H (and everyone else) – Here’s the original Jerusalem Post article:

    http://www.jpost.com/Defense/Article.aspx?id=250249

    No mention of the actual numbers or of deployment time lines, but it’s enough to set everyone’s alarm bells off.

    Vis-a-vis Iran, I would think that Turkey would be interested in what is happening as well. Here’s one view which indicates that Iran’s policy is to respond to threats with threats. So, basically what the Iranians are saying is that if we blockade them, they will blockade Hormuz. If Israel or the U.S. bombs them, they’ll bomb Turkey (never mind the how’s, or the triggering of NATO that would entail). In fact, the easiest thing for Israel to do is bomb Iran, wait for Iran to retaliate against them, but especially against Turkey, the sit back and let the US and NATO take out Iran. Plus, the Turks would love to have a full-fledged excuse to go after the Kurds in eastern Turkey, Iran and Iraq. Fun and games will be shared by all.

  • SKPeterson

    Tom H (and everyone else) – Here’s the original Jerusalem Post article:

    http://www.jpost.com/Defense/Article.aspx?id=250249

    No mention of the actual numbers or of deployment time lines, but it’s enough to set everyone’s alarm bells off.

    Vis-a-vis Iran, I would think that Turkey would be interested in what is happening as well. Here’s one view which indicates that Iran’s policy is to respond to threats with threats. So, basically what the Iranians are saying is that if we blockade them, they will blockade Hormuz. If Israel or the U.S. bombs them, they’ll bomb Turkey (never mind the how’s, or the triggering of NATO that would entail). In fact, the easiest thing for Israel to do is bomb Iran, wait for Iran to retaliate against them, but especially against Turkey, the sit back and let the US and NATO take out Iran. Plus, the Turks would love to have a full-fledged excuse to go after the Kurds in eastern Turkey, Iran and Iraq. Fun and games will be shared by all.

  • SKPeterson
  • SKPeterson
  • Cincinnatus

    SKPeterson: I hadn’t heard about Iran’s threats towards Turkey, which demonstrates that my “expertise” on this question is elementary at best.

    But my impression is that threats like these are mere posturing–at best a furtive attempt at deterrence. Does Iran really think it could defeat NATO? I highly doubt it. Its actual leadership is far less insane than its media depictions would suggest, and it knows that Iran’s government stands in tenuous relation to the international community and to its own people. Media depictions, by the way, are part of the problem: our media outlets get ratings out of promulgating the more hysterical quotations by Khameini (which quotes are themselves often taken grotesquely out of context, including the infamous bit about “wiping Israel off the map”), even though he has little if any real power in the actual governance of Iran.

  • Cincinnatus

    SKPeterson: I hadn’t heard about Iran’s threats towards Turkey, which demonstrates that my “expertise” on this question is elementary at best.

    But my impression is that threats like these are mere posturing–at best a furtive attempt at deterrence. Does Iran really think it could defeat NATO? I highly doubt it. Its actual leadership is far less insane than its media depictions would suggest, and it knows that Iran’s government stands in tenuous relation to the international community and to its own people. Media depictions, by the way, are part of the problem: our media outlets get ratings out of promulgating the more hysterical quotations by Khameini (which quotes are themselves often taken grotesquely out of context, including the infamous bit about “wiping Israel off the map”), even though he has little if any real power in the actual governance of Iran.

  • SKPeterson

    Cincinnatus @32,

    One would certainly hope that the Iranian leadership is somewhat sane and cognizant of the basics of self-preservation. However, continued exercises in heated rhetoric have a way of escalating things out of hand. As another historical example, who imagined the horrors to be unleashed in WWI in the run up to the war? Posturing over the Serbs, continued threats, counter-threats and diplomatic muscling and marshaling by Great Britain, Germany, Austria, France and Russia trumped the fact that three of these countries had cousins on the throne who were friends! If Wilhelm or George had known that the war would cost the life of their cousin Alexander and his family would they have allowed it to proceed? Things have a way of getting out of hand and doing so quickly. If Iran gets poked enough the government may lash out blindly and not care where the chips fall. That is the big danger here.

  • SKPeterson

    Cincinnatus @32,

    One would certainly hope that the Iranian leadership is somewhat sane and cognizant of the basics of self-preservation. However, continued exercises in heated rhetoric have a way of escalating things out of hand. As another historical example, who imagined the horrors to be unleashed in WWI in the run up to the war? Posturing over the Serbs, continued threats, counter-threats and diplomatic muscling and marshaling by Great Britain, Germany, Austria, France and Russia trumped the fact that three of these countries had cousins on the throne who were friends! If Wilhelm or George had known that the war would cost the life of their cousin Alexander and his family would they have allowed it to proceed? Things have a way of getting out of hand and doing so quickly. If Iran gets poked enough the government may lash out blindly and not care where the chips fall. That is the big danger here.

  • kerner

    Cincinnatus 27: you said:
    “1) As a reminder of the cause of the actions of a rogue state, recall that the Islamist government which took American hostages was established by the United States after we toppled the previous government that had been friendly to the West.”

    Wait a minute. That isn’t how I remember it. I grant you the following quote is from Wikipedia, but evidently historians don’t remember it that way either:

    In the late 1970s, American President Jimmy Carter emphasized human rights in his foreign policy, including the Shah’s regime, which by 1977 had garnered unfavorable publicity in the West for its human rights record.[27] That year, the Shah responded to Carter’s “polite reminder” by granting amnesty to some prisoners and allowing the Red Cross to visit prisons. Through 1977, liberal opposition formed organizations and issued open letters denouncing the Shah’s regime.[28] [29]

    At the same time, Carter angered anti-Shah Iranians with a New Years Eve 1978 toast to the Shah in which he said:

    ‘Under the Shah’s brilliant leadership Iran is an island of stability in one of the most troublesome regions of the world. There is no other state figure whom I could appreciate and like more.’[30]

    Observers disagree over the nature of United States policy toward Iran under Carter as the Shah’s regime crumbled. According to historian Nikki Keddie, the Carter administration followed “no clear policy” on Iran.[8] The American ambassador to Iran, William H. Sullivan, recalled that the U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski “repeatedly assured Pahlavi that the U.S. backed him fully”. On November 4, 1978, Brzezinski called the Shah to tell him that the United States would “back him to the hilt.” At the same time, high-level officials in the State Department believed the revolution was unstoppable.[31] After visiting the Shah in summer of 1978, Secretary of the Treasury W. Michael Blumenthal complained of the Shah’s emotional collapse, reporting, “You’ve got a zombie out there.”[32] Brzezinski and Energy Secretary James Schlesinger were adamant in their assurances that the Shah would receive military support.

    Another scholar, sociologist Charles Kurzman, argues that, rather than being indecisive or sympathetic to the revolution, the Carter administration was consistently supportive of the Shah and urged the Iranian military to stage a “last-resort coup d’etat” even after the regime’s cause was hopeless.[33] In addition, some Iranian supporters of the Shah believe Carter betrayed the Shah.[34][35]

    My own recollection at the time was that the Carter administration follwed a pretty much “hands off, it’s not our business” policy. Carter was ambivalent because he wanted to promote human rights globally, and he didn’t see supporting authoritarian, but friendly, regimes as consistant with promoting human rights. But he didn’t help topple the shah, Carter simply witheld our help to the shah. Which is, frankly, exactly the policy you usually advocate, isn’t it? Stay out of the internal affairs of sovereign states?

    Anyway, the Khomeini regime hated us immediately and took our embassy personnel hostage without any provocation whatsoever, and we have been enemies ever since.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruhollah_Khomeini

    Apparently, Khomeini’s hatred for the USA has its roots in his opposition to the shah, and even opposition to the shah’s father, both of whom he saw as agents of westernization in Iranian culture, i.e. moral decay and secularism, and diminishing respect for and influence of Islamic clergy. Animosity towards the State of Israel also contributed to this, but it appears to be more of a secondary issue. Basically, Khomeini was an Islamic “culture warrior” to the nth degree. We didn’t need to do anything overt to pi$$ him off. We just had to exist as a negative (to him) cultural influence in Iran and the Islamic world.

    Not that US support for Israel didn’t anger him further, although why he had any more right to be concerned about who controls Palestine than we do is an interesting question.

  • kerner

    Cincinnatus 27: you said:
    “1) As a reminder of the cause of the actions of a rogue state, recall that the Islamist government which took American hostages was established by the United States after we toppled the previous government that had been friendly to the West.”

    Wait a minute. That isn’t how I remember it. I grant you the following quote is from Wikipedia, but evidently historians don’t remember it that way either:

    In the late 1970s, American President Jimmy Carter emphasized human rights in his foreign policy, including the Shah’s regime, which by 1977 had garnered unfavorable publicity in the West for its human rights record.[27] That year, the Shah responded to Carter’s “polite reminder” by granting amnesty to some prisoners and allowing the Red Cross to visit prisons. Through 1977, liberal opposition formed organizations and issued open letters denouncing the Shah’s regime.[28] [29]

    At the same time, Carter angered anti-Shah Iranians with a New Years Eve 1978 toast to the Shah in which he said:

    ‘Under the Shah’s brilliant leadership Iran is an island of stability in one of the most troublesome regions of the world. There is no other state figure whom I could appreciate and like more.’[30]

    Observers disagree over the nature of United States policy toward Iran under Carter as the Shah’s regime crumbled. According to historian Nikki Keddie, the Carter administration followed “no clear policy” on Iran.[8] The American ambassador to Iran, William H. Sullivan, recalled that the U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski “repeatedly assured Pahlavi that the U.S. backed him fully”. On November 4, 1978, Brzezinski called the Shah to tell him that the United States would “back him to the hilt.” At the same time, high-level officials in the State Department believed the revolution was unstoppable.[31] After visiting the Shah in summer of 1978, Secretary of the Treasury W. Michael Blumenthal complained of the Shah’s emotional collapse, reporting, “You’ve got a zombie out there.”[32] Brzezinski and Energy Secretary James Schlesinger were adamant in their assurances that the Shah would receive military support.

    Another scholar, sociologist Charles Kurzman, argues that, rather than being indecisive or sympathetic to the revolution, the Carter administration was consistently supportive of the Shah and urged the Iranian military to stage a “last-resort coup d’etat” even after the regime’s cause was hopeless.[33] In addition, some Iranian supporters of the Shah believe Carter betrayed the Shah.[34][35]

    My own recollection at the time was that the Carter administration follwed a pretty much “hands off, it’s not our business” policy. Carter was ambivalent because he wanted to promote human rights globally, and he didn’t see supporting authoritarian, but friendly, regimes as consistant with promoting human rights. But he didn’t help topple the shah, Carter simply witheld our help to the shah. Which is, frankly, exactly the policy you usually advocate, isn’t it? Stay out of the internal affairs of sovereign states?

    Anyway, the Khomeini regime hated us immediately and took our embassy personnel hostage without any provocation whatsoever, and we have been enemies ever since.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruhollah_Khomeini

    Apparently, Khomeini’s hatred for the USA has its roots in his opposition to the shah, and even opposition to the shah’s father, both of whom he saw as agents of westernization in Iranian culture, i.e. moral decay and secularism, and diminishing respect for and influence of Islamic clergy. Animosity towards the State of Israel also contributed to this, but it appears to be more of a secondary issue. Basically, Khomeini was an Islamic “culture warrior” to the nth degree. We didn’t need to do anything overt to pi$$ him off. We just had to exist as a negative (to him) cultural influence in Iran and the Islamic world.

    Not that US support for Israel didn’t anger him further, although why he had any more right to be concerned about who controls Palestine than we do is an interesting question.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kerner @ 34 – Cincinnatus was referring to the interference of the US (jointly with Brtain, at the beginning at least), with Iran, starting wth the ’53 coup d’etat against Mosaddegh, a democratically elected leader, in favour of a US backed, absolutist Monarch, Pavlavi, all because of what?

    Oil.

    Eisenhower started it. Khomeni just worked with the embers given to him – the embers of 2.5 decades of bitterness. And Ahmadinejad is continuing the same campaign, especially snce his own regime is not that strong, and a common enemy is the oldest trick in the book to hide your own weakness. Of course he is an idiot, and all other expletives one can think off. But he comes with a long story behind him. Also, ever wonder why Bush I never removed Sadam, even though he could have done so very easily? Saddam was the counterweight, the equal but opposite idiot to the Iranian problem.

    But previous bungles have just been made worse….. especially by surrounding Ahmadinejad with American forces – Turkey, Iraq (till recently), Afghanistan, other Arab states etc. It plays right into his paranoia and his politics.

    That is the problem.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kerner @ 34 – Cincinnatus was referring to the interference of the US (jointly with Brtain, at the beginning at least), with Iran, starting wth the ’53 coup d’etat against Mosaddegh, a democratically elected leader, in favour of a US backed, absolutist Monarch, Pavlavi, all because of what?

    Oil.

    Eisenhower started it. Khomeni just worked with the embers given to him – the embers of 2.5 decades of bitterness. And Ahmadinejad is continuing the same campaign, especially snce his own regime is not that strong, and a common enemy is the oldest trick in the book to hide your own weakness. Of course he is an idiot, and all other expletives one can think off. But he comes with a long story behind him. Also, ever wonder why Bush I never removed Sadam, even though he could have done so very easily? Saddam was the counterweight, the equal but opposite idiot to the Iranian problem.

    But previous bungles have just been made worse….. especially by surrounding Ahmadinejad with American forces – Turkey, Iraq (till recently), Afghanistan, other Arab states etc. It plays right into his paranoia and his politics.

    That is the problem.

  • kerner

    Klasie:

    You could be right about the events Cin was referring to. But I have now noticed something that does not fit the Ron Paul dialectic about why Islamic nations hate us, etc. The theory is that we ae interfering in their affairs, so their animosity has been built by our bad behavior.

    Well, maybe up to a point, but that does not expalin the virulant hatred for the US and all things western from the mullahs who control Iran.

    I do recall that we supported the Shah in 1953 because we considered the elected regime to be pro communist. OK, let’s assume that that was a mistake, and a bad one. 25 years later, when Khomeini and his followers toppled the shah, the US politely got out of the way and let the Iranians settle their internal affairs without interference. This was criticized at the time (“The shah is our friend.” If we had just supported the shah, we wouldn’t have the problems we have now.”, stuff like that).

    The result of the “keep our hands off and everyone will love us” approach was the rise of one of our most dedicated enemies. And I hardly think that joe average Iranian sees the USA as a former colonial oppressor today; I doubt that even the Mullahs see us that way.

    What the mullahs, starting with Khomeini, have against us is our cultural influence, not our capacity to use military force. That our interference in their internal politics has been minor (especially since 1976) isn’t the point at all. They just don’t want Iranian girls wearing mini skirts and listening to rock ‘n’ roll. They know that it will be inevitable if they don’t preach vehement hatred for the US, so that’s what they do. And they go out of their way to prevent us from making friends with anyone in the Muslim world.

    And by what right do they complain about our support for Israel as though they were aggrieved parties? Teheran is 968 miles from Jerusalem. Who controls Palestine has no effect whatsoever on Iran. Iranians aren’t even Arabs. And, Persians have had no claim to control over Palastine since the Arabs chased them away in the 7th century.

    You can (as I have many times on this blog) argue that the US policy is that of foreigners interfering with the local affairs of others. But Iran is, at the very least, no better. While I do see problems with unqualified US support for the Israelis against the local Arabs, I have considerably fewer qualms with US opposition to Iran sticking its nose in where it doesn’t belong either. Especially when Iran seems intent on building its own “empire” that is hostile to us and that thinks it can close the straight of Hormuz whenever it feels like it.

  • kerner

    Klasie:

    You could be right about the events Cin was referring to. But I have now noticed something that does not fit the Ron Paul dialectic about why Islamic nations hate us, etc. The theory is that we ae interfering in their affairs, so their animosity has been built by our bad behavior.

    Well, maybe up to a point, but that does not expalin the virulant hatred for the US and all things western from the mullahs who control Iran.

    I do recall that we supported the Shah in 1953 because we considered the elected regime to be pro communist. OK, let’s assume that that was a mistake, and a bad one. 25 years later, when Khomeini and his followers toppled the shah, the US politely got out of the way and let the Iranians settle their internal affairs without interference. This was criticized at the time (“The shah is our friend.” If we had just supported the shah, we wouldn’t have the problems we have now.”, stuff like that).

    The result of the “keep our hands off and everyone will love us” approach was the rise of one of our most dedicated enemies. And I hardly think that joe average Iranian sees the USA as a former colonial oppressor today; I doubt that even the Mullahs see us that way.

    What the mullahs, starting with Khomeini, have against us is our cultural influence, not our capacity to use military force. That our interference in their internal politics has been minor (especially since 1976) isn’t the point at all. They just don’t want Iranian girls wearing mini skirts and listening to rock ‘n’ roll. They know that it will be inevitable if they don’t preach vehement hatred for the US, so that’s what they do. And they go out of their way to prevent us from making friends with anyone in the Muslim world.

    And by what right do they complain about our support for Israel as though they were aggrieved parties? Teheran is 968 miles from Jerusalem. Who controls Palestine has no effect whatsoever on Iran. Iranians aren’t even Arabs. And, Persians have had no claim to control over Palastine since the Arabs chased them away in the 7th century.

    You can (as I have many times on this blog) argue that the US policy is that of foreigners interfering with the local affairs of others. But Iran is, at the very least, no better. While I do see problems with unqualified US support for the Israelis against the local Arabs, I have considerably fewer qualms with US opposition to Iran sticking its nose in where it doesn’t belong either. Especially when Iran seems intent on building its own “empire” that is hostile to us and that thinks it can close the straight of Hormuz whenever it feels like it.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kerner – refer back to my post. Radicals need an enemy. Just like the North Koreans. They need a demon – without it, they wither. What better than the one that has served so well in the past, and has invaded 2 neighbouring countries, and supports the one country that seems to be the eternal thorn in the flesh of the Arab world? It is almost inevitable.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kerner – refer back to my post. Radicals need an enemy. Just like the North Koreans. They need a demon – without it, they wither. What better than the one that has served so well in the past, and has invaded 2 neighbouring countries, and supports the one country that seems to be the eternal thorn in the flesh of the Arab world? It is almost inevitable.

  • SKPeterson

    Kerner – I’ll give you another example. Our relationship with Great Britain after the Revolution. We still traded and engaged, but our relationship with the British did not begin to improve until after the Civil War; it was definitely a touchy, prickly affair, and we were largely the same people socially and culturally. Throw in a mix of religious and cultural differences and I can see 25 years being reasonably within expectations. Also, from what I have read, the younger generation of Iranians is largely pro-American – unless we bomb and kill them, then all bets are off. As another example, how many older Americans, say those who are now in their 80′s or 90′s, absolutely refused to purchase an automobile made by those “damn Japs.” Decades had passed since the war ended. And we had won. These sorts of things have a way of taking on a life of their own, especially when they can be put to effective political use. Finally, another question. Why were the series of Balkan conflicts so vicious? Because they were arguing over Tito? No, they were recapitulating 4 or 500 year old grievances.

  • SKPeterson

    Kerner – I’ll give you another example. Our relationship with Great Britain after the Revolution. We still traded and engaged, but our relationship with the British did not begin to improve until after the Civil War; it was definitely a touchy, prickly affair, and we were largely the same people socially and culturally. Throw in a mix of religious and cultural differences and I can see 25 years being reasonably within expectations. Also, from what I have read, the younger generation of Iranians is largely pro-American – unless we bomb and kill them, then all bets are off. As another example, how many older Americans, say those who are now in their 80′s or 90′s, absolutely refused to purchase an automobile made by those “damn Japs.” Decades had passed since the war ended. And we had won. These sorts of things have a way of taking on a life of their own, especially when they can be put to effective political use. Finally, another question. Why were the series of Balkan conflicts so vicious? Because they were arguing over Tito? No, they were recapitulating 4 or 500 year old grievances.

  • kerner

    So…does that mean that we concede that often there are forces in the world that unreasonably hate the USA? And that there IS a point when it is ok for the US to wage war against countries (or quasi military forces) that unreasonably hate us, even if they haven’t invaded our borders in the conventional sense?

  • kerner

    So…does that mean that we concede that often there are forces in the world that unreasonably hate the USA? And that there IS a point when it is ok for the US to wage war against countries (or quasi military forces) that unreasonably hate us, even if they haven’t invaded our borders in the conventional sense?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    You don’t attack someone for hating you – that smacks of Banana Republicanism. You don’t attack someone for being a (possible) threat – that is Imperialism. You attack someone in self defence. When that is done pre-emptively, you better be damn sure about your case, and about the lack of ulterior motives. You don’t attack someone to expand your access to resources, your trade routes etc either – that is also Imperialism. You can defend your existing, legitimate interests, sure. But again, there are fine line, and thin ice, etc etc.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    You don’t attack someone for hating you – that smacks of Banana Republicanism. You don’t attack someone for being a (possible) threat – that is Imperialism. You attack someone in self defence. When that is done pre-emptively, you better be damn sure about your case, and about the lack of ulterior motives. You don’t attack someone to expand your access to resources, your trade routes etc either – that is also Imperialism. You can defend your existing, legitimate interests, sure. But again, there are fine line, and thin ice, etc etc.

  • kerner

    Well, I certainly agree about the fine line and the thin ice. But I do get sick of the meme that every hostile nation/group out there is only hostile because we have misbehaved. Sometimes they are hostile because there is something wrong with them.

  • kerner

    Well, I certainly agree about the fine line and the thin ice. But I do get sick of the meme that every hostile nation/group out there is only hostile because we have misbehaved. Sometimes they are hostile because there is something wrong with them.


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