Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Eyes wide shut

Babble on.

The capacity to delude oneself knows no political boundaries. The Bush administration convinced itself Iraq would embrace peace, freedom, and democracy immediately after the fall of the Baathist regime. The anti-American left convinced itself Afghanistan would be the new Vietnam...no, actually they meant Iraq would be the new Vietnam, or maybe Baghdad would be the new Stalingrad...OK, lots of people will die, and it's all Bushitler's fault. Both sets of predictions have proven wildly inaccurate.

The latest idea that qualifies for the You're Kidding Yourself Hall of Fame is that Iran will give up its pursuit of WMD's if we ask them nicely enough. Predictably enough, Pravda Canada has published a column today that espouses exactly that position.

Addressing the political considerations behind states' nuclear programs — Iran's fear of a resurgent Iraq, for instance — could produce better results by leading, at least, to the containment of both official and unofficial nuclear powers within a broader diplomatic framework.

But here's the problem: Iran's theocrats don't care about infidel diplomacy. I refer you to the Kazemi incident for the most recent glaring example of that fact. Canadian diplomats talked themselves blue in the face, and it accomplished precisely nothing.

Furthermore, many in the Star's camp have opined that the Bush administration has inadvertently caused the recent proliferation rash by backing away from voluntary restrictions on the Big 5 nuclear powers. This position ignores the realities on the ground - namely that India, Pakistan, and North Korea all developed a nuclear arsenal during the Clinton 'let's play nice with the UNSC' years.

The uncomfortable fact is that some people, including the fundamentalist thugs who rule Iran, don't respond to anything except violence or the immediate and credible threat of violence. Those who suggest otherwise need to open their eyes.

Babble off.

Update: From The Guardian (via Belmont Club): "Hawks say the nuclear issue is too urgent to brook further delay. And therein lies the rub. Bringing Iran in from the cold is a time-consuming business. But the Bush administration, as usual, is in a hurry." Translated, Simon Tisdall is saying "Lalalalalalala...I know you're building an atom-bomb and you sponsor Islamist terror, but I can't heeeaaaar youuuuuuuuu!...lalalalalalalala...."


At 2:09 p.m., Blogger Greg said...

The Bushies would have more credibility on this issue if they weren't simultaneously gutting the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty by insisting that there be no international verification system created, "for national security reasons" (read we don't want foreigners looking into our business). As usual for the Bushies, its do what we say, not what we do. Finally, you have to ask yourself, why is it ok by the Bushies, for Pakistan to have the bomb but not Iran?

At 2:24 p.m., Blogger Babbling Brooks said...

Hey Greg, how has the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty worked for you so far? Let's see, India, Pakistan, North Korea all have nukes. Iraq was working on them, as was Libya, Iran...

Let's turn your question around. Why should the U.S. handcuff itself when the treaty obviously isn't working?

At 3:16 p.m., Blogger Greg said...

While I am thinking of an coherent answer to your question, answer mine. Why is it so terrible the Iran has the bomb (to the point where you are advocating war), while it is ok for Pakistan to have one? In my eyes both regimes are awful and both support terrorism. Why do we let Pakistan get away with pardoning a scientist who has sold nuclear technology to anyone (and I mean anyone) who has the money, while we demand Iran stop developing their weapon? It just does not make any sense to me.

At 3:54 p.m., Blogger Babbling Brooks said...

It's not OK that Pakistan has the bomb. The U.S. has said that all along (feel free to look up Madeline Albright's comments from 1998 if you need to). But here are a couple of key differences between Pakistan and Iran:
1. Pakistan is negotiating with it's main regional rival (India). Iran is not negotiating with anyone - Iraq, Israel, anyone.
2. Pakistan is cooperating in the War on Terror (caveat: since 9/11). Iran still actively supports terrorist groups such as Hezbollah. It's more likely that Iran would allow a terrorist group to get its hands on nuclear weaponry than that Pakistan would.

Any way you slice it, Iran is a much bigger threat.

At 4:21 p.m., Blogger Greg said...

I find your second point highly suspect, there are elements in the Pakistani security services who are actively helping Bin Laden. Both countries have fractured political structures with elements that are pro western and others strongly anti western. It seems the west and in particular the Bush administration are willing to cultivate the pro western elements in Pakistan but not in Iran. The question is why?

At 10:14 p.m., Blogger Babbling Brooks said...

I disagree that the west - including the U.S. - isn't trying to cultivate pro-western sentiment in Iran. But to your point, it's easier to work with Pakistan because the pro-western reformers there are in power. In Iran, the situation is reversed.


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