Monday, January 23, 2006

Iran, Nukes, and Mullahs... Oh My!

Whew... made my first post on the fantastic Iran topic discussed by Joe here

Here's my reposnse:

Joe: Very intriguing post covering a lot of avenues for discussion, but I'd like to comment on a few.
1. The question of Will.
America has always had the Will to act (when absolutely necessary), however we don't usually act in a timely manner (WWII case in point). Unfortunately, the real tragedy in this mess is the lack of creative thinking in the Executive Branch on how to solve it. If the adminstration actually had a plan, I don't expect they would hesitate to use it, so the fact that they are glomming onto the EU approach indicates their intellectual deficiency. Of course the current atmosphere of intellectual dishonesty evoked by both Reps and Dems certainly isn't helping (minus the rare few Congressional leaders who know history and its warnings).
2. ME nuclear arms race.
Definitely unacceptable in its current state, and if it means destroying tens to hundreds of thousands of people to make this point, it may come to that. Depending on how cumbersome or creative we are in the process of making said point. Even though this I agree completely this is not about us, unfortunately we might have to settle it once and for all.
3. IslamoFascism.
What America needs to do is separate the Fascism from Islam. This will probably require applied force and devious political tactics, just as it took the same to separate Roman Christain Fascism from Christianity centuries ago. If Bush or anyone thinks we can do this by slipping payments to reporters and promoting moderate Clerics they must have skipped European history class. As Napolean did, sometimes you have to take the head of the Church hostage to thwart a religion's power and knock its leaders into different perspectives on their authority. Study the history of Roman Churchs political power in depth and the parallels are there. Again, more proof the true problem is within Islam itself as you stated, the corollary problem is that this isn't 1300 AD where power plays are made using swords. Let's just be glad Christians got that mess out of the way before nukes were invented.
4. Pre-Revolution/Revolution in Iran.
I agree, not going to happen. Whoever thinks this an indigenous revolution is about to take place is obivously smoking Mexican Ice. They miss the fact that as military capabilities and hardware have ramped up over the decades, revolution is increasingly unlikely anywhere in the globe so long as a regime has a committed force. Iran has this in their Rev. Guards and boot-stomping brigades. The Northen Alliance didn't stand a prayer against Taliban without our support and Iran doesn't have anyone close to even the NAs capabilities. This route is a dead end, and we shouldn't bother going there unless we're going all in.
5. Israel solving the Iran problem their way.
Also agree, not going to happen. This would be politically worse for centuries (Israel, ME, us) than us taking out the whole country, Lock, Stock, and 2 Smoking Barrels. That's before you even consider their lack of capabilities in that regard. Our best interest is to stay Israel's hand until we can figure out a solution. If Israel does act before we think of something, we might as well pack it in and go home. Since an Israeli attack would almost certainly justify a unconventional reponse, your probably looking at nuclear reprisals from Israel. A good article on a Democrat stategy game referenced by Tom explores this and correctly, IMHO, deduces that Israel doesn't really want to act, they want to force us to act.
6. Preparedness of our Forces.
That's true that it limits our options. But, it just means we have to think a bit harder. If people want to dwell on this, just look at the guys at the top. They put us in that position. But, there's really no point in crying over spilled milk. Besides, it's not necessaily brute force, clumsily applied (hello, Iraq) that wins these thing. As physics teaches us, it all about where and how we apply the force.
7. What Will W. Do (WWWD)?
Ah, here's the joker in the deck. We don't know exactly what we are dealing with, but suffice it to say I think he amounted to about a 4 of diamonds on the last draw in Iraq. Let's hope next time we get an Ace of Spades (not that I would put money on it). Given Bush's lack of history planning for the future (Iraq, energy, healthcare) I'm not naive enough to bet on that horse.
8. Attacking the Mullahs, Joe's choice
Here's a bright idea. Or should I say not bright once the power goes out. If the can't hit the program, hit the support infrastucture. Then you've oestensibly bought all the time in the world to strike at the program components. I agree, no major player is going to go to war over this. I don't know whether I agree the lesson is utimately for the Europeans, Chinese, and Russians. The Europeans are still scarred from their messes finally getting straightened out (who can blame them). The Chinese don't really have the foreign experience to call it like it is, and the Russians are still not recovering from Communism (whether we could help them better notwithstanding). As a result, we shouldn't necessarily see that as anything, but a remote side lesson. The primary lesson is to be learned by IslamoFacism and its tacit and complicit supporters.
9. Attacking the Mullahs, Tom's choice
Tom takes a rather rosy view of the invasion outcome I think. It's true that Iran can't match us force to force. But, given the Iraq experience, most people make the mistake of thinking Iran won't pull the trigger first if they think invasion is imminent. The targets from which they'd have to choose is nice and thick. Israel, Our forces in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan. This means any attack would have to happen with very little warning, and very little. The Democrats strategy game discussion covered the fact that while we might have forces in the region, we do not have the equipment in theater to equip a serious invasion. Worse, we can't really move the equipment in theater without tipping our hand. As far as nation-building, if we've learned we fairly stink at it, or at least translating our big ideals to real live implementations.
10. Hmmm, what to do...
From a political perspective, delay, delay, delay... if we can stretch this drama out until 08 without serious consequences, McCain can potentially take office, and then we might have a better shot at taking the necessary steps. If by chance Iran's willing to draw their sword way before then, what W. does is anybody's guess. He's turned very well into The Spider King and if we are going to accept a king, the sooner a warrior-king rises, the better it'll be for all.
From a military perspective, we've already "shot our load" so to speak in Iraq. Had we rethought this whole little adventure from the beginning we might be looking at a much rosier picture. One interesting strategy would have been feign the Iraq invasion only to turn just over the border and head straight into Iran to Tehran, cathing them completely by surprise. This could have bought us a new regime in Iran and showed Saddam that we were'nt "playing" anymore. Of course, we had Saddam in our pocket before, we could have put him back in it again. But that's here nor there, and I don't expect much creative strategy like that from this ruling group (even the military given their emphasis on overwhelming their enemy). The key is to turn our enemy's efforts against himself is a style reminiscent to martial arts. Attacking the infrastucture, the implied threat being centuries of technological advancement wiped gone in mere weeks is a big chip in the game. Of course, to prove your willing to do it, you've got to start somewhere. Iran's obiviously thinks they sit in an advantageous spot given our poor strategy in Iraq, but that doesn't mean we have to keep playing the same game. The key to being the chip leader is that you can force the action in your favor, but you have to be smart about it. The problem is, when we trade away our smarts for everything else (money, fame, causes, ideologies), what are we but a neighborhood bully just waiting for the wily foe to outwit us.

So, we'll see where this goes eventually. History is moving forward, the question is how many people are stuck pining for 1950...

So here are some fantasy pairings for '08.


Even if you don't like McCain personal social politics, which I don't, I don't see him as all that concerned with restructuring social policy. He is a warrior looking to send this country into the future, and it seems, a rather astute judge of what we "should" and "shouldn't" be fighting about. If the reluctant warrior really wants to assume the mantle of the people's trust, '08 could be the breakout year... question is, how far is he willing to go?

I think perhaps we should have a game whereby people slap their favorite partisan shill. We can call it "Slap a Hack".


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