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Dave Lane
04-11-2006, 12:23 PM
Ahmadinejad: Iran will join nuclear club
Comments came amid news Iran has enriched uranium

Tuesday, April 11, 2006; Posted: 1:06 p.m. EDT (17:06 GMT)


TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran has successfully enriched uranium for the first time, a major development in its quest to develop nuclear fuel, former president Hashemi Rafsanjani said Tuesday.

The U.N. Security Council has demanded that Iran stop all uranium enrichment activity by April 28. Iran has rejected the demand, saying it has a right to develop the process.

The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, is due in Iran this week for talks to try to resolve the standoff.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday that Iran "will soon join the club of countries possessing nuclear technology." Speaking to a crowd in northeastern Iran, Ahmadinejad was quoted by the television as saying, "Enemies can't dissuade the Iranian nation from the path of progress that it has chosen."

Iran's nuclear chief, Vice President Gholamreza Aghazadeh, announced further progress in the program, saying Iran has produced 110 tons of uranium gas, the feedstock for enrichment.

The amount is nearly twice the 60 tons of uranium hexaflouride, or UF-6, gas that Iran said last year that it had produced.

Aghazadeh made the announcement during a nationally televised speech in the northeastern city of Mashhad, attended by top military commanders and lawmakers. Ahmadinejad was expected to speak after Aghazadeh to formally announce the successful enrichment.

Tehran is "moving in the wrong direction," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Tuesday. If it persists, the United States will discuss possible next steps with U.N. Security Council members, McClellan said aboard Air Force One en route to Missouri.

Rafsanjani -- a former president who is currently head of the powerful Expediency Council, a key governing body -- released the news of the enrichment first in an interview with the Kuwait News Agency in Tehran.

"Iran has put into operation the first unit of 164 centrifuges, has injected (uranium) gas and has reached industrial production," Rafsanjani was quoted by the agency as saying. The interview was also carried by the Iranian Student News Agency.

"We should expand the work of these machines to achieve a full industrial line. We need dozens of these units (sets of 164 centrifuges) to achieve a uranium enrichment facility," he said.

Enriching uranium to a low level produces fuel for nuclear reactors. To a higher level, it produces the material for a nuclear bomb. Iran would require thousands of operating centrifuges to produce sufficient uranium for either purpose. But once the unit of 164 centrifuges is up and running, its scientists have the opportunity to perfect the technology for larger-scale production.

It was the first announcement that Iran had successfully enriched uranium. in February, Iran began research at its enrichment facility in the town of Natanz.

The United States and some in Europe accuse Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons, an accusation Tehran denies, saying it intends only to generate electricity.
Iran's announcement precedes IAEA visit

The IAEA is due to report to the U.N. Security Council on April 28 whether Iran has met its demand for a full halt to uranium enrichment. If Tehran has not complied, the council will consider the next step. The U.S. and Europe are pressing for sanctions against Iran, a step Russia and China have so far opposed.

In London, a spokesman for the British Foreign Office recalled that Iran was under Security Council orders to "resume full and sustained suspension of all its enrichment."

"The latest Iranian statement is not particularly helpful," the spokesman said, speaking on condition of anonymity in keeping with government policy.

Rafsanjani said the breakthrough would put Iran in a good position for the visit of ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

"When ElBaradei arrives in Iran, he will face new circumstances," Rafsanjani said, according to KUNA.

In Vienna, officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency, whose inspectors are now in Iran, declined to comment on the report.

But a diplomat familiar with Tehran's enrichment program said it appeared to be accurate. He demanded anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss information restricted to the agency.
Rafsanjani's role unclear

It was not clear why the announcement came first from Rafsanjani, who is heading to Kuwait on Wednesday. The ultra-conservative Ahmadinejad defeated Rafsanjani, who had the support of Iran's reformists, in presidential elections last year. Rafsanjani may have been trying to upstage the president and show Iranians that he remains powerful.

Kamal Daneshyar, head of Energy Committee at the Iranian parliament, said the announcement means Iran has mastered the technical hurdles needed to enrich uranium to the 3.5 percent required to produce fuel for a reactor.

"This is a major achievement. It means Iran is now able to produce nuclear fuel for its future nuclear reactors without any reliance on foreigners," Daneshyar told the AP.

In the enrichment process, uranium gas is pumped through a series of centrifuges, where it is spun to purify it. But the process is technically difficult, requiring delicate pipe connections between dozens of centrifuges -- or hundreds for larger scale production.

Well neo-cons what say you? Kill them all?

Dave

jiveturkey
04-11-2006, 12:30 PM
If it was invisible uranium I would be impressed.

Dave Lane
04-11-2006, 12:39 PM
No but I hear it can duck radar


Dave

patteeu
04-11-2006, 12:46 PM
What's your solution, Dave?

patteeu

Dave Lane
04-11-2006, 12:51 PM
Diplomacy personally. I'd even try to draw them in to helping stabilize Iraq if I could.

Dave

patteeu
04-11-2006, 01:23 PM
Diplomacy personally. I'd even try to draw them in to helping stabilize Iraq if I could.

Dave

And if that doesn't stop them, then just stand by as Iran goes nuclear?

Bush is trying diplomacy. The ultimate question is how far should we be willing to go to stop the Iranians from getting nukes. Diplomacy? Economic sanctions? Covert sabatoge? Air strikes? Invasion? Nuclear attack? If the Russians and Chinese are unwilling to support sanctions, we aren't left with many options. And we might not have any good options.

Taco John
04-11-2006, 01:56 PM
And your solution is to bankrupt America trying to stop them?

patteeu
04-11-2006, 02:03 PM
And your solution is to bankrupt America trying to stop them?

Money isn't a problem here. If the US budget is your main concern you need to look elsewhere to find the problem. Try the entitlements first.

jiveturkey
04-11-2006, 02:07 PM
I don't think that an invasion should be the first step in military action.

I sustained air campaign is the way to go IMO.

Dave Lane
04-11-2006, 05:55 PM
And if that doesn't stop them, then just stand by as Iran goes nuclear?

Bush is trying diplomacy. The ultimate question is how far should we be willing to go to stop the Iranians from getting nukes. Diplomacy? Economic sanctions? Covert sabatoge? Air strikes? Invasion? Nuclear attack? If the Russians and Chinese are unwilling to support sanctions, we aren't left with many options. And we might not have any good options.

Taking pot shots in the media is hardly diplomacy in my book. I'm talking about making them a partner in the process. Of course I'd do that with AQ at least behind the scenes. Its what the British ended up doing with the IRA and we will have to do in the end with Hamas and AQ if we want to end strife on a long term basis.

Dave

Adept Havelock
04-11-2006, 05:56 PM
And if that doesn't stop them, then just stand by as Iran goes nuclear?



We did when Pakistan got the bomb.

MAD is still a legitimate tactic even in the post cold-war age. It worked for many decades, and will work for the forseeable future.

Realistically, I'm much more concened about Terrorists getting their hands on a surplus "Soviet" nuke than I am about Iran giving them one.

patteeu
04-11-2006, 06:34 PM
Taking pot shots in the media is hardly diplomacy in my book. I'm talking about making them a partner in the process. Of course I'd do that with AQ at least behind the scenes. Its what the British ended up doing with the IRA and we will have to do in the end with Hamas and AQ if we want to end strife on a long term basis.

Dave

And in the end, if DaveLane-style diplomacy fails do you allow the Iranians to go nuclear or do you stop them militarily?

patteeu
04-11-2006, 06:50 PM
We did when Pakistan got the bomb.

Why do you have to bring Clinton into the discussion? :p

I guess it remains to be seen whether the Pakistan bomb is a benign development or the beginning of armageddon. Beyond that, I don't know how much we knew about the Pakistani program at the time and I'm not sure how much of a position were were in to stop it.

MAD is still a legitimate tactic even in the post cold-war age. It worked for many decades, and will work for the forseeable future.

Realistically, I'm much more concened about Terrorists getting their hands on a surplus "Soviet" nuke than I am about Iran giving them one.

MAD will work as long as both sides behave rationally and both sides believe it is rational to avoid triggering a nuclear war. We've just been through a situation in Iraq where Saddam Hussein believed the rational choice was to leave enough ambiguity in his claim to be WMD-free that most of those interested in the subject would continue to believe he had them. That didn't work out so well for him. A miscalculation like that on a nuclear level could be pretty disasterous for all involved.

I'm not sure why you would be more concerned with surplus "Soviet" nukes than Iranian nukes. Do you think that the former Soviets are more radical (either ideologically or capitalistically) than the Iranians (who have been putting their mark on ME events by proxy for quite some time)?

Adept Havelock
04-11-2006, 07:09 PM
I'm not sure why you would be more concerned with surplus "Soviet" nukes than Iranian nukes.

:rolleyes:
Easy. I know former Soviet nukes currently exist and are taken as the most serious threat by most of the "players" in NBC terror prevention. At least, according to the overwhelming majority of declassified literature on the subject, and the few professionals I know in that field.

"Soviet-era" nukes currently exist, and are a real threat. "Iranian" nukes currently do not, and are not as of yet. Call me a pragmatist. That, and I think those in the arms "black market" are considerably less concerned with realpolitik than the Iranian leadership.

BTW- What makes you think Pakistan's capability came as surprise? They made no secret of their intentions since the first Indian nuclear test in '76. IMO, it was likely as about as big a surprise to the US leadership in the 90's as the complex at Dimona was to the US leadership in the 60's and 70's. :rolleyes:

As for MAD, what's the option? Becoming the only nation in history to launch nuclear attacks on two different nations? Yes, it depends on "rational actors". So does the entire breadth of international relations. Do you really think that the Soviet Leadership was any less of a threat, or less bent on hegemony, than the Iranian leadership? The Iranian leadership is fully aware, as were the Soviets, that any attack that can be traced back to their reactors would be followed by "massive retaliation", to use a quaint phrase. Even the nutjob Ahmadinejad realizes that it's kind of difficult to lead the Caliphite into a new era when it's primary nation (and it's leadership) is a plain of smoldering glass. JMO.

The world went through several other crises in nuclear diplomacy due to poor decision making like Hussien's in the example you cited. Study up on the superpowers' response to the Hungarian Revolution/Suez crisis in '56, the Cuban Crisis of '62, the Czech crisis of '68, the Yom Kippur War in '73, and the Soviet fears generated by the NATO "Able Archer" exercise of 1983. We're still here. In an insane nuclear armed world, MAD is the only sane option, apparently.

It certainly doesn't help that the threat of a rogue Soviet-era weapon was raised by the draw-down in controls funding by the Bush administration untill national attention was focused on it briefly during the runup to the '04 campaign. :p

Iowanian
04-11-2006, 07:44 PM
Israel will be firing that up before it ever goes active.

Adept Havelock
04-11-2006, 07:51 PM
Israel will be firing that up before it ever goes active.

Maybe, but I doubt it. The strike against Osirak stretched the IAF to it's limits. From everthing I've read, the sustained air offensive that would be required by a serious counter-nuclear campaign against multiple hardened targets is beyond the capabilities of the IAF. They may well be among the best trained Air Forces in the world, but their aircraft just don't have the legs, nor do they have sufficent tanker aircraft for such a sustained effort at power projection.

The US might provide tanker support, but if we go that far, what's the difference between that and open war? There's also the pesky problem of other nation's airspace. Are we sure the Saudi's would back this? Our pet Iraqi's sure, but how about the other nations?

I sure as hell wouldn't take the IDF on it's home field. That's for sure. I doubt the Iranian's are dumb enough to either. MAD still works, whether the WMD's involved are Nuclear, Biological, or Chemical. Again, JMO.

Cochise
04-11-2006, 07:52 PM
I don't know what to think about this. Assuming the Iranians are trustworthy and this is the truth, which is a sizable assumption, how far out of a working nuclear weapon could they be? Not far, I would venture to guess, with Soviet technology.

I don't know what to think. Though I supported the Iraq war, I really, really don't want us to have to do this. I hope we don't need to go into Iran and clean that place out. I wish those student revolutionaries would come around.

I think it's ludicrous to assume that a diplomatic solution can come with such a belligerent government.

The second course I suppose would be some sort of covert action. Perhaps we could use special operators to sabotage this, get to scientists on the inside, stop their program without having to actually go to any straightforward military operation.

Maybe we could strike with ship-based missles, or in some way to where Israel takes the credit with our backing.

Though I hope with everything I have that not a shot will be fired to resolve this situation, I can't help but wonder, if 5 years from now military action begins against Iran, will people be saying that all the information we are reading right now was fabricated and that Joe President manufactured it? 5 years before Iraq we had a situation where pretty much the whole world believed that Saddam was doing this and he wasn't doing a lot to quell the rumors.

Whatever happens, I hope that we can resolve this the right way and learn from our mistakes in Iraq.

I wish Mr. Peanut's hostage rescue fiasco had worked out and this guy would have got a new sunroof for his head most of all.

Adept Havelock
04-11-2006, 07:54 PM
Whatever happens, I hope that we can resolve this the right way and learn from our mistakes in Iraq.

I wish Mr. Peanut's hostage rescue fiasco had worked out and this guy would have got a new sunroof for his head most of all.

On both points: Amen, brother!

Cochise
04-11-2006, 07:55 PM
Maybe, but I doubt it. The strike against Osirak stretched the IAF to it's limits. From everthing I've read, the sustained air offensive that would be required by a serious counter-nuclear campaign against multiple hardened targets is beyond the capabilities of the IAF. They may well be among the best trained Air Forces in the world, but their aircraft just don't have the legs, nor do they have sufficent tanker aircraft for such a sustained effort at power projection.

I saw some documentary-like thing about that incident on TV a while back, making the case that it actually was beyond their capabilities and that the United States had carried out the attack under the guise of an Israeli strike.

That might not be the worst option in the future. Iran will accuse us of at least aiding them, if not outright participating.

Braincase
04-11-2006, 07:57 PM
Latest pic of the Iranian President...

Adept Havelock
04-11-2006, 08:00 PM
I saw some documentary-like thing about that incident on TV a while back, making the case that it actually was beyond their capabilities and that the United States had carried out the attack under the guise of an Israeli strike.

That might not be the worst option in the future. Iran will accuse us of at least aiding them, if not outright participating.

I don't know. I think the IDF could have done it, as the Falcon is one versatile aircraft in the hands of a good pilot, and the IDF put it's best into them. Ironically, the F-16's we sold Israel were intended for Iran up until the fall of the Shah. It could have been us. Interesting theory, either way. :shrug:

As for the covert op approach, it might work. Our countries past efforts don't exactly inspire confidence in me, especially given modern forensic science. One thing is certain, there is no easy option. I'm really beginning to think re-establishing MAD might be the best option all around, at least from a realpolitik point of view. You do present some interesting food for thought, though. Somehow inciting a revolution against the Mullah's would be best, but I don't see it as terribly likely.

patteeu
04-11-2006, 08:44 PM
"Soviet-era" nukes currently exist, and are a real threat.

OK, you've got a good point there. As of this moment, the existance of soviet nukes does indeed make them more of a concern.

However, the question being discussed is whether or not we try to prevent Iranian nukes from becoming just as real as soviet nukes. None of us is concerned about nonexistant nukes. The only time it makes sense to even compare our concern over soviet nukes versus iranian nukes is if the iranian nukes become a reality.

BTW- What makes you think Pakistan's capability came as surprise? They made no secret of their intentions since the first Indian nuclear test in the 70's. IMO, it was likely as about as big a surprise to the US leadership in the 90's as the complex at Dimona was to the US leadership in the 60's and 70's. :rolleyes:

I didn't say it came as a surprise. I said I didn't know. In any event, our policy toward Pakistan doesn't dictate our policy toward Iran. Were you one of the people who complained about our "inconsistent" approach to Iraq when we were apparently doing nothing with regard to far greater threats in Iran and North Korea? Foreign policy consistency can be a tool, but it's not a goal in and of itself.


As for MAD, what's the option? Becoming the only nation in history to launch nuclear attacks on two different nations? Yes, it depends on "rational actors". So does the entire breadth of international relations. Do you really think that the Soviet Leadership was any less of a threat, or less bent on hegemony, than the Iranian leadership? The Iranian leadership is fully aware, as were the Soviets, that any attack that can be traced back to their reactors would be followed by "massive retaliation", to use a quaint phrase. Even the nutjob Ahmadinejad realizes that it's kind of difficult to lead the Caliphite into a new era when it's primary nation (and it's leadership) is a plain of smoldering glass. JMO.

The world went through several other crises in nuclear diplomacy due to poor decision making like Hussien's in the example you cited. Study up on the superpowers' response to the Hungarian Revolution/Suez crisis in '56, the Cuban Crisis of '62, the Czech crisis of '68, the Yom Kippur War in '73, and the Soviet fears generated by the NATO "Able Archer" exercise of 1983. We're still here. In an insane nuclear armed world, MAD is the only sane option, apparently.

It certainly doesn't help that the threat of a rogue Soviet-era weapon was raised by the draw-down in controls funding by the Bush administration untill national attention was focused on it briefly during the runup to the '04 campaign.

I'm not really so worried about Iran launching a nuclear attack against the US or handing a nuclear weapon to a terrorist. I'm far more concerned about a nuclear Iran feeling free to make conventional trouble in the ME or to provide technical assitance to proxy organizations without any fear of reprisal (because they have a nuclear deterrant).

Adept Havelock
04-11-2006, 08:56 PM
OK, you've got a good point there. As of this moment, the existance of soviet nukes does indeed make them more of a concern.
However, the question being discussed is whether or not we try to prevent Iranian nukes from becoming just as real as soviet nukes. None of us is concerned about nonexistant nukes. The only time it makes sense to even compare our concern over soviet nukes versus iranian nukes is if the iranian nukes become a reality.


Well, I was being a bit onery. When you alleged my concern might be because the former Soviet's were "more radical" than Iranians, well, I then felt quite free to be facetious as well. ;)


I didn't say it came as a surprise. I said I didn't know. In any event, our policy toward Pakistan doesn't dictate our policy toward Iran. Were you one of the people who complained about our "inconsistent" approach to Iraq when we were apparently doing nothing with regard to far greater threats in Iran and North Korea? Foreign policy consistency can be a tool, but it's not a goal in and of itself.

Personally, I think I've made it pretty clear I'm a believer in realpolitik. Not much room for absolute consistancy in foreign policy there. I was just pointing out that we've already established precedent (which regardless of my or others belief in realpolitik) will strongly affect international perception toward our future actions in this arena.

I'm not really so worried about Iran launching a nuclear attack against the US or handing a nuclear weapon to a terrorist. I'm far more concerned about a nuclear Iran feeling free to make conventional trouble in the ME or to provide technical assitance to proxy organizations without any fear of reprisal (because they have a nuclear deterrant).

I can undertand both of these concerns. For your first point I'll ask: How many times did the Soviet Union feel free to cross over into the Fulda Gap? Did the Chinese directly intervene in Vietnam, or Korea after 1953? Both had a nuclear deterrent. Was the US emboldened to interfere in Eastern Europe after WW2 or India in Pakistan in the 80's, when one had the bomb and the other did not? Did any of these powers feel as if they were free of any reprisal? There are always other fulcrums (conventional military, economic, technical, social) on which to place the levers of international power politics. As for "war by proxy", that's an issue that predates Alexander, and possibly Ur, let alone the nuclear age. MAD has been proven to be an excellent deterrent to the former, and a decent one towards containing the latter. Again, JMO.

Always nice debating you, patteeu. Might you have any other clay pigeons to offer up on this topic? Either way, have a good evening.

MarcBulger
04-11-2006, 09:16 PM
Dave you are such a friggin moron...How do you make Radical Islamists a partner to any peace.

patteeu
04-11-2006, 09:33 PM
Personally, I think I've made it pretty clear I'm a believer in realpolitik. Not much room for absolute consistancy in foreign policy there. I was just pointing out that we've already established precedent (which regardless of my or others belief in realpolitik) will strongly affect international perception toward our future actions in this arena.

Fair enough.

I can undertand both of these concerns. For your first point I'll ask: How many times did the Soviet Union feel free to cross over into the Fulda Gap? Did the Chinese directly intervene in Vietnam, or Korea after 1953? Both had a nuclear deterrent. Did either feel as if they were free of any reprisal? There are always other fulcrums (economic, technical, social) on which to place the levers of international power politics. As for "war by proxy", that's an issue that predates Alexander, and possibly Ur, let alone the nuclear age. MAD has been proven to be an excellent deterrent to the former, and a decent one towards containing the latter. Again, JMO.

The Soviets didn't storm the Fulda Gap, but they did feel free to blockade Berlin (maybe a little before the Soviets were really nuclear), invade Czechoslovakia, and invade Afghanistan among others. The reason they didn't attack central/western Europe through the Fulda Gap was because we were prepared to respond to a conventional attack with nuclear weapons. Are we going to lay down the same law to the Iranians?

As for your examples regarding China, look at it the other way. The US, because we were a nuclear-armed superpower, felt free to go to war in both Vietnam and Korea.

When we talk about proxies under MAD, just remember how many regional conflicts there were. Nicaragua and the central american wars. Angola, Afghanistan, Vietnam, the Israeli/Arab wars, etc. etc. If MAD with Iran means that we have to watch as Hezbollah is turned loose on the region, I'm not sure it's a win for us even if Iran has no intention of attacking us or our interests directly with their nukes.

But of course, all of this is speculation. I just hope that whatever decision we end up making is the right one. I have confidence in our current foreign policy leadership, but I know that I'm probably in the minority around here.

Adept Havelock
04-11-2006, 09:33 PM
Dave you are such a friggin moron...How do you make Radical Islamists a partner to any peace.

Once again Marc, thank you for offering your powerful intellect, extraordinary knowledge, subtle wit, and wise words to our continuing debates. What vast wilderness would we be lost in without you?

Dave Lane
04-11-2006, 09:55 PM
And in the end, if DaveLane-style diplomacy fails do you allow the Iranians to go nuclear or do you stop them militarily?

Let them go.

Dave

Logical
04-11-2006, 09:57 PM
And if that doesn't stop them, then just stand by as Iran goes nuclear?

Bush is trying diplomacy. The ultimate question is how far should we be willing to go to stop the Iranians from getting nukes. Diplomacy? Economic sanctions? Covert sabatoge? Air strikes? Invasion? Nuclear attack? If the Russians and Chinese are unwilling to support sanctions, we aren't left with many options. And we might not have any good options.I admit I don't expect diplomacy to work. That said what we need is a surrogate to take out there capability and not do it ourselves. Whether that be British, Israeli, French whatever the best course is for us to appear to be staying above the fray and out of this situation.

patteeu
04-11-2006, 10:02 PM
Let them go.

Dave

OK, thanks.

Dave Lane
04-11-2006, 10:05 PM
Dave you are such a friggin moron...How do you make Radical Islamists a partner to any peace.


At some point we will have to to draw them into the peace process. Plus and this is the real key, once they have a voice and political power they actually have something to lose and they tend to never give it up.

Dave

Dave Lane
04-11-2006, 10:08 PM
I admit I don't expect diplomacy to work. That said what we need is a surrogate to take out there capability and not do it ourselves. Whether that be British, Israeli, French whatever the best course is for us to appear to be staying above the fray and out of this situation.

Maybe we could send Jack Bauer ;) They are going to get the bomb all we can really do is retard their progress. I am less scared of them than North Korea actually and NK already claims to have a bomb.

Dave

patteeu
04-11-2006, 10:09 PM
I admit I don't expect diplomacy to work. That said what we need is a surrogate to take out there capability and not do it ourselves. Whether that be British, Israeli, French whatever the best course is for us to appear to be staying above the fray and out of this situation.

That would be nice, but aside from possibly the Israelis (who would need our help anyway as Adept correctly, IMO, points out), I don't think anyone else can get this job done.

Adept got me to thinking though. What if Iran does end up getting nukes. It might be a good excuse for the Iraqis to let us build permanent bases on Iran's doorstep as a deterrent ala our forces in Germany and South Korea.

Logical
04-11-2006, 10:09 PM
Maybe, but I doubt it. The strike against Osirak stretched the IAF to it's limits. From everthing I've read, the sustained air offensive that would be required by a serious counter-nuclear campaign against multiple hardened targets is beyond the capabilities of the IAF. They may well be among the best trained Air Forces in the world, but their aircraft just don't have the legs, nor do they have sufficent tanker aircraft for such a sustained effort at power projection.

The US might provide tanker support, but if we go that far, what's the difference between that and open war? There's also the pesky problem of other nation's airspace. Are we sure the Saudi's would back this? Our pet Iraqi's sure, but how about the other nations?

I sure as hell wouldn't take the IDF on it's home field. That's for sure. I doubt the Iranian's are dumb enough to either. MAD still works, whether the WMD's involved are Nuclear, Biological, or Chemical. Again, JMO.

The big difference is that tankers can refuel far enough away that no one will know we participated. There is also the option of getting another one of our allies to do the refueling. Staying in appearance above the fray is IMO critical.

Dave Lane
04-11-2006, 10:13 PM
That would be nice, but aside from possibly the Israelis (who would need our help anyway as Adept correctly, IMO, points out), I don't think anyone else can get this job done.

Adept got me to thinking though. What if Iran does end up getting nukes. It might be a good excuse for the Iraqis to let us build permanent bases on Iran's doorstep as a deterrent ala our forces in Germany and South Korea.


I'm not sure how much good Israel is at this point the ME tends to see Israel as the 51st state anyway so ultimately the blame will rest on our doorstep. Now if France or England went in I'd be for that one.

Actually the fact that we could invade on a couple of weeks notice Iraq or not is pretty good deterrent beyond even the nuclear option.

Dave

Adept Havelock
04-11-2006, 10:32 PM
Fair enough.
Thank you for your graciousness.

The Soviets didn't storm the Fulda Gap, but they did feel free to blockade Berlin (maybe a little before the Soviets were really nuclear), invade Czechoslovakia, and invade Afghanistan among others. The reason they didn't attack central/western Europe through the Fulda Gap was because we were prepared to respond to a conventional attack with nuclear weapons. Are we going to lay down the same law to the Iranians?

Why not? After all, it worked before. Hasn't the NK/SK truce held for over 50 years? Past success is a fairly good indicator of future probability.

Regarding your examples: Berlin Crisis- US had approx. 137 nuclear weapons, with long-range delivery capability via B-50's (Nuclear capable extended range B-29's). SU had, at most, 2. No long range delivery capability. Still, the SU tried a blockade, and backed down after other levers were applied (Berlin Airlift and political/economic pressures). Our nuclear advantage did nothing to prevent this crisis.

Sadly, Czechosolvakia can be seen as an internal revolt within an empire being crushed. Many advocate it was done by the SU to reassert itself after their tanks, tactics, and advisors were soundly thrashed when Isreal set the (then existing) mid-east speed record for fighting a war in the 1967 6-day war. The fact that Prague and Czechosolvakia in '68 was still largely intact (unlike Budapest in '56) is a testament not solely to the nuclear issue, but rather the other levers of power politics being applied.

Afghanistan? They felt free to invade and occupy. Look how well that turned out. For the costs of a few dozen advisors, some small arms, and mule packs carrying stingers, we gave to them what we got in Vietnam. With the bonus that it helped accelerate the collapse of the Soviet State.


As for your examples regarding China, look at it the other way. The US, because we were a nuclear-armed superpower, felt free to go to war in both Vietnam and Korea.

In Korea, we felt obligated by treaty to defend SK from NK (I personally belive Stalin was looking at Korea as a possible "Spainish Civil War" for WW3.). After much back and forth, and some highly questionable acts by senior commanders (Macarthur and Lemay), a return to the status quo ante bellum was found. This has now been maintained for 50 years via MAD.

In Vietnam, we felt free to intervene in a limited sense. Most of the political restrictions on that war were placed there to insure it remained a local conflict, conventionally fought. The presence of Chinese, Soviet, and American soldiers and strategic weaponry held in the periphery went a long way to keeping the war from escalating into a general war that could have provided a dangerous flashpoint.

When we talk about proxies under MAD, just remember how many regional conflicts there were. Nicaragua and the central american wars. Angola, Afghanistan, Vietnam, the Israeli/Arab wars, etc. etc. If MAD with Iran means that we have to watch as Hezbollah is turned loose on the region, I'm not sure it's a win for us even if Iran has no intention of attacking us or our interests directly with their nukes.
Perhaps it's not a "win". In realpolitik, a "win" is not always possible. Hence, you seek the next best thing. An Iran unwilling to attack us, our allies, or our interests with conventional or strategic weapons is a draw that I could live with. Wouldn't be any different from the decades I spent in the shadow of the Soviet Bomb. Proxy wars are as old as man. We will be rid of them when we either go extinct, or the entire species qualifies for sainthood. My point is there will be proxy wars in this region regardless of Iranian nuclear capabilities. Either way, I see low intensity "proxy warfare" a vastly superior option to open warfare with NBC weaponry. Indeed, I think a clearly established policy of MAD will minimize most of these dangers.

But of course, all of this is speculation. I just hope that whatever decision we end up making is the right one. I have confidence in our current foreign policy leadership, but I know that I'm probably in the minority around here.
And may it please remain so. I too hope that we act wisely, and learn from our mistakes. I really think a realpolitik approach ala Truman and Eisenhower is our best option (Containment backed with MAD) as I don't believe we can dissuade Iran from joining the club. I also think starting a war to deny them the capability is an even worse idea than Iraq. I'll also agree that you are likely in the small minority that still trusts Bush and his Foreign Policy team. To them, I fear realpolitik is just a funny word they heard in a lecture somewhere.

Getting a bit bleary-eyed now. Have a nice night patteeu. Always nice debating you. Heck, it gives you a chance to practice your dark arts a bit, even if only against an overwrought academic as opposed to a fellow member of the trade.


Adept got me to thinking though. What if Iran does end up getting nukes. It might be a good excuse for the Iraqis to let us build permanent bases on Iran's doorstep as a deterrent ala our forces in Germany and South Korea.

One last note before I go. I don't care for the notion of perm. bases in Iraq, but if Iran does get the bomb, I think I'd have to back establishing the Mideast version of the IGB, with forces corresponding to what we had at Fulda, Bitburg, and Frankfurt and the rest during the 80's. Not just a tripwire force ala the Korean Border, but a serious corps level deployment. Along with a very strong warning, similar to what the Soviets were told about Central Europe.


Thanks to all posters here. It's been a pretty damn interesting discussion. I've enjoyed it, and learned a few things myself. Have a good night everybody.

Boyceofsummer
04-12-2006, 01:19 AM
animation
The Nuclear Bunker Buster
Robust Nuclear Earth Pentrator

http://www.ucsusa.org/global_security/nuclear_weapons/nuclear-bunker-buster-rnep-animation.html

jiveturkey
04-12-2006, 07:33 AM
animation
The Nuclear Bunker Buster
Robust Nuclear Earth Pentrator

http://www.ucsusa.org/global_security/nuclear_weapons/nuclear-bunker-buster-rnep-animation.html

That site mentions a union and scientists leaving me to belive that it's satan's lair. Everything that they state on the animation needs to be cleared by Christian leadership:)