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Tilting at Windmills

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January 31, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

IRAN UPDATE....China and Russia have agreed to report Iran to the UN Security Council following resumption of their uranium enrichment work. Of course, neither China nor Russia has indicated that their opposition to sanctions has changed, so it's not clear how meaningful this is. Not to mention that sanctions have a pretty lousy history of working anyway. Still, I suppose it's a step in the right direction.

The BBC has a roundup of Iranian blogger reaction, including this one from a couple of weeks ago: "They want to deprive Iran of the right to play in the World Cup on the pretext that Iran is building a nuclear weapon." Maybe this guy is onto something....

Kevin Drum 1:31 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (58)

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Comments

Don't you look forward to that day, a few months or a year hence, when we (the UN) gets tough with Iran and impose strict sanctions?

At which point, Iran cuts oil production by a half or 2/3s, and we all go into worldwide recession. 2 mile lines at the pump.

Ah, we are cursed to live in interesting times.

(And hell, they'll either get nukes anyway, or the US or Israel will bomb them, in which case the Middle East situation goes from pretty bad to really, really bad. Fun).

Posted by: teece on January 31, 2006 at 2:02 AM | PERMALINK

Teece,

Yes, the world has few tools to use to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons. I think sanctions and war (bombing and/or invasion) are useless or counterproductive.

In the absense of any real way to change their behavior, it is at least useful to send a signal to the Iranian people that the entire world opposes their loony leaders.

Posted by: Observer on January 31, 2006 at 2:51 AM | PERMALINK

Well sanctions worked well enough in Iraq (for the international community), as I think you have said in the past. Forgive me if it was a commenter and not you.

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Posted by: movie2008 on January 31, 2006 at 3:04 AM | PERMALINK

Will Halliburton violate these latest sanctions, also?

Posted by: gus on January 31, 2006 at 3:27 AM | PERMALINK

There are definitely ways that Russia will come out winning the lottery if serious sanctions get put on Iran, so I don't really trust their publicly stated motives, one way or the other.

China has everything to lose, and will be the real swing party. Russia has done a great job of maneuvering to benefit whichever way this goes, and it's not certain that ridiculously high oil prices that might ensue with sanctions or a crisis with Iran is not their best play.

Posted by: Jimm on January 31, 2006 at 3:42 AM | PERMALINK

Speaking of China, if any of y'all wants to help get the Chinese Parade in SF to accept Falun Gong, then now is the time to do it. The story is that the parade, run by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce here in SF, will not accept Falun Gong because of local business opposition - too much of the Chinese SF community is under the influence/control of the Chinese government, who, of course, don't plan on lifting the 'evil cult' status of Falun Gong anytime soon.

Liberals and Conservatives on the same side for once - whadya say? It's a time-sensitive maneuver - like the Christmas Day cease-fire - when it's over, we go back to our foxholes and we start shooting at each other again. But for the next few days, we can stick it to the Chinese government.

What say you, brave soldiers?

Posted by: Peter on January 31, 2006 at 4:48 AM | PERMALINK


I thought taking things to the UN was the end-all and be-all for lefties?
Wasn't the problem with Iraq that we didn't get the full unconditional support of the great UN?

So why aren't lefties falling over themselves with glee that the Iran situation is going to the UN?
Why aren't they predicting that peace will now break out all over?

Could it be because they are wimpy hypocrites?

Yes!!

Posted by: Portugal on January 31, 2006 at 6:11 AM | PERMALINK

I thought the whole Middle East was supposed to break out in peace and love and democracy after we bombed and occupied Iraq? Bush's democracy domino theory? LOL.

Posted by: Mario on January 31, 2006 at 6:56 AM | PERMALINK

The Russians have a huge interest in heightening tension with Iran since they are the major arms supplier and have multi-billion dollar contracts with the Iranians already. Remember that the evil empire is not dead, it only changed it's name. They should be warned that the first American killed with a Russian made weapon will be considered an act of war. As far as sanctions go, they do not affect the leadership in any positive way, they simply inflict misery on the poorest elements of society who are made to pay the price as in Iraq. Saddam was still living with his gold toilets and his armed guards and the people grew physically too weak to rebel which was the intention and the future leaders, the children, starved to death in U.S. sponsored terrorism

Posted by: murmeister on January 31, 2006 at 7:07 AM | PERMALINK

Clearly Russia and China have concluded that by forcing the Iran question into the UN Security Council they can demand more transparency on the discussion. Once the topic becomes open to international discussion, they can force all nations to cough up the real data they have regarding Iran's nuclear ambitions. That means those nations talking macho with nothing backing it up will be sorely tested in the international discussions. Without absolute truth (not truthiness) being on the table, the international community will not vote in favor any substantial sanctions. "Prove it beyond doubt" has become the international watchword by this diplomatic stroke of the Russians and Chinese.

Posted by: PrahaPartizan on January 31, 2006 at 7:08 AM | PERMALINK

Could it be that Portugal is an asshole that doesn't get it that the UN had nothing ro do with Iraq....that was a Rightie GW BUSH Circle jerk led by screw ups like you

Posted by: murmeister on January 31, 2006 at 7:10 AM | PERMALINK

OT: Correta Scott King is dead. We will mourn this loss deeply in Atlanta and around the country.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 31, 2006 at 7:20 AM | PERMALINK

"OT: Correta Scott King is dead."

Yeah I just got the news report. Sadness. She was an awesome, awesome woman. The nation is a better place for having known her. My deepest condolences to all who loved her.

Posted by: Lurker42 on January 31, 2006 at 7:59 AM | PERMALINK

"They should be warned that the first American killed with a Russian made weapon will be considered an act of war."

Don't you just love these armchair diplomats with their wonderful education?

Ugh, me caveman, me warn you.

Posted by: Bob M on January 31, 2006 at 8:26 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

I wish you and your readers would think a little bit about why sanctions have a pretty lousy history. They worked against South Africa, they would have worked against Pinochet -- why don't they work against a Cuba, an Iraq or Iran? It's because you folks on the left are blind in the left eye when it comes to atrocities, or at least responding to them.

Posted by: wks on January 31, 2006 at 8:46 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin:

While Iran may be pursuing nuclear technology for military goals, note that we actually do not have any "solid" evidence of this.

Iran signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NNPT) in 1970, and since Feb 1992 has allowed UN inspectors to inspect the facilities. The current suspicion on Iran stems from three incidents that IAEA has reported:

(a) In Aug 2003, IAEA report leaked to the media said that they have trace elements of Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU), in an Iranian Nuclear Facility.
(b) In Nov 2003, IAEA report indicated that Iran had withheld documents relating to the design of gas centrifuges (for enrichments),

In response, Iran signed an additional agreement (addition to NNPT) to allow more intrusive inspections in Dec 2003.

(c)In Nov 2004, IAEA reported about remaining "uncertainities" about Iran's nuclear program in a report.

The whole scenerio makes me feel that we are going down the same path as we did with Iraq. Asking a country to prove that it does not have "nuclear" ambitions. There are two problems with this. First, proving a negative is difficult. When Saddam said that he does not have WMD, and when UN inspectors could not find WMD, US simply said, "See, how well he hides". Second, for the country in question, it raises deep nationalistic feelings and no government wants to appear weak, or succumb to foreign intrusions. The latter part is particularly troublesome for the Iranians given that Israel has nuclear weapons, and no one gives a hoot about this.

So, instead of sensationalizing the Iran's nuclear issue, the readers may be better served with a healthy dose of facts about Iran's NNPT violations. By the way, according to NNPT does not US have a responsibility to reduce the number of nuclear warheads? So, when BushCo talk about building bunker busting nuclear weapons, we do lose credibility.

Kari

PS:
For a collection of articles about IAEA reports:
http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/iran/nuke/

Posted by: Kari on January 31, 2006 at 8:46 AM | PERMALINK

Kari,

We were discussing the notion that the Bush Administration is 'beating the war drums' on Iran a few weeks ago, and when we asked this question:

How many nuclear weapons does Iran currently possess?

Quite a few people got the answer wrong.

So to take Kari's comments a step further, anyone want to guess how many nuclear weapons Iran currently has?

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 31, 2006 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

anyone want to guess how many nuclear weapons Iran currently has?
My guess would be ...ZERO

Posted by: Botecelli on January 31, 2006 at 9:01 AM | PERMALINK

What's in Vladimir's Heart? On the day that the President is to deliver the SOTU address, Russia pulls release THIS information to the world?

MOSCOW Jan 31, 2006 President Vladimir Putin boasted Tuesday that Russia has missiles capable of penetrating any missile defense system, Russian news reports said.

"Russia has tested missile systems that no one in the world has," the ITAR-Tass, Interfax and RIA Novosti news agencies quoted him as saying at a news conference. "These missile systems don't represent a response to a missile defense system, but they are immune to that. They are hypersonic and capable of changing their flight path."

Putin said the new missiles were capable of carrying nuclear warheads. He wouldn't say whether the Russian military already had commissioned any such missiles.

President Bush, Crawford Texas, November 2001:

I wanted to bring President Putin to Crawford. I wanted him to see a state that Laura and I love. I particularly wanted to be able to introduce him to the citizens of Crawford, because this part of the state represents the independent-minded nature of Texans. It represents the hard-working Texans, people who have great values -- faith and family. The people here, Mr. President, love their country, and they like countries that work with America to keep the peace. (Applause.)

We had a great dinner last night; we had a little Texas barbecue, pecan pie -- (laughter) -- a little Texas music. And I think the President really enjoyed himself. I told him he was welcome to come back next August -- (laughter) -- to get a true taste of Crawford. (Laughter.) He said, fine, and maybe you'd like to go to Siberia in the winter. (Laughter and applause.)

It's my honor also to introduce President Putin to Crawford. I bet a lot of folks here, particularly the older folks, never dreamt that an American President would be bringing the Russian President to Crawford, Texas. (Laughter.) A lot of people never really dreamt that an American President and a Russian President could have established the friendship that we have.

We were enemies for a long period of time. When I was in high school, Russia was an enemy. Now the high school students can know Russia as a friend; that we're working together to break the old ties, to establish a new spirit of cooperation and trust so that we can work together to make the world more peaceful.

Apparently, right after that meeting, Vladimir told his people to start making weapons.

Bush also said that day:

There's no doubt, the United States and Russia won't agree on every issue. But you probably don't agree with your mother on every issues. (Laughter.) You still lover her, though, don't you? Well, even though we don't agree on every issue, I still respect him and like him as a person. The other thing is, is that the more we talk about key issues, the more likely it is we come to an understanding. And so the summit enabled us to continue a very personal dialogue. As well, we agreed to some significant changes in our relationship.

I, after long consultations with people inside our government, I announced that our government was going to reduce our nuclear arsenal to between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads over the next decade. That's a tangible accomplishment. I shared that information with President Putin. He, too, is going to make a declaration at some point in time.

[snip]

PRESIDENT PUTIN: There, indeed, exists a number of scenarios of behavior in this situation. And the question was quite professionally put, mind you. You can just dismantle the warheads and rest them by the weapons, and to preserve the so-called strike-back capability, in order to be able to retaliate. But one may, on the other hand, destroy the arsenal. What you would do with those arsenals is subject to negotiations, with the result of those negotiations depending on the level of trust between the United States and Russia.

Yesterday, we tasted steak and listened to music, and all of this with a single purpose and objective, to increase the level of confidence between the leaders and the people. And if we are to follow this road further, we will certainly arrive at a solution, decision acceptable both to Russia, to the United States and, indeed, to the entire world. (Applause.)

Today we found out what Putin's decision was. So if we're talking about engaging the Iranians now, shouldn't we have been doing a better job of engaging the Russians four years ago? Or is that just nitpicking?


Posted by: Pale Rider on January 31, 2006 at 9:15 AM | PERMALINK

So sorry--the first para should have read:

On the day that the President is to deliver the SOTU address, Russia pulls a fast one and releases THIS information to the world?

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 31, 2006 at 9:17 AM | PERMALINK

Most of the nations in the world are well aware that Bush formally claims the right to attack anyone, anywhere, anytime, acting on his exective whim alone.

On the other hand, I'm not aware that Iran has ever attacked anyone, anywhere, or anytime.

So, who's really the rogue state here?

In the absense of any real way to change their behavior, it is necessary to send a signal to the American people that the entire world opposes their loony leaders.

Posted by: Buford on January 31, 2006 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

"Russia has tested missile systems that no one in the world has," the ITAR-Tass, Interfax and RIA Novosti news agencies quoted him as saying at a news conference. "These missile systems don't represent a response to a missile defense system, but they are immune to that. They are hypersonic and capable of changing their flight path."

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 31, 2006 at 9:15 AM

I remember being scolded by someone last week for suggesting that Russia might still be a strategical threat to the US and thus the US wouldn't accept to discard its nuclear stockpile, as good as this action would ideally be.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on January 31, 2006 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe the Russian missle story is connected in some way to this:

MOSCOW (AFP) - The United States is "holding out" on agreeing to support Russia's membership in the World Trade Organisation even though virtually every other country supports it, President Vladimir Putin said at a news conference in Moscow. "All our partners support us," Putin said. "Only the US is holding out."

Posted by: Botecelli on January 31, 2006 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

BC,

So which country should we have been engaged with? Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Russia transferring light water reactor technology to Iran?

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 31, 2006 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

How many nuclear weapons does Iran currently possess?

I'd also guess zero. All this fuss about their nuclear program would make no sense if they already had bombs. Or, at least, the fuss would be of a different nature - containment, instead of prevention.

Why the question? Does anyone has evidence that they already have nukes?

Posted by: Brazil Connection on January 31, 2006 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

I thought the whole Middle East was supposed to break out in peace and love and democracy after we bombed and occupied Iraq? Bush's democracy domino theory? LOL.

Hey, it worked for the Palestinians....oh, wait.

Posted by: Stefan on January 31, 2006 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

So which country should we have been engaged with? Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Russia transferring light water reactor technology to Iran?

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 31, 2006 at 9:57 AM

Ideally, this news you posted would mean that some kind of engagement should be had with Russia. However, it's obvious that engaging Russia is in a whole different league than engaging Iran, which is already difficult by itself. So this is a conundrum. When I talked about Russia last week, answering to a post by someone, I think it was Will, who was defending that the US should discard their stockpile and demand the same from everybody, I said that I have no particular problems with nuclear arsenals in the hands of the US or Europe because these countries are democracies, and I tend to trust democracies. I don't trust Russia or China or Iran or North Korea that much, because they are not. I had no idea that Russia was still pursuing delivery methods at the time of that post - this only scares me some more.

But I also agree with what Kari said in a previous post - when the US talks about developing tactical nukes, they also undermine they non-proliferation stance. It's in a different level (US is tactical, Russia is strategical), but it's all about non-proliferation, which should be the goal for everybody.

As for the light water reactor technology - I thought Russia actually proposed that they would process Iran's fuel for them. Maybe I'm overly mistaken. I'll take a look at the news from last week - unless someone in the thread will be so kind to do it for us.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on January 31, 2006 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

On the other hand, I'm not aware that Iran has ever attacked anyone, anywhere, or anytime.

Sparta and Athens might disagree....

Posted by: Stefan on January 31, 2006 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

By the way, Iranian bloggers are showing a reaction that I also saw in Brazil when our new goverment, about 3 years ago, floated the idea of intensifying nuclear research here, probably towards developing a bomb. The press and the informed public lashed out at the science minister who proposed this, and he had to retract publicly in a hospital bed, with an IV in his arm and in his hospital garb (he had a diabetes accident of some sort).

Posted by: Brazil Connection on January 31, 2006 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

Sparta and Athens might disagree....

Posted by: Stefan on January 31, 2006 at 10:15 AM

Wow, talk about holding a grudge. :)

Posted by: Brazil Connection on January 31, 2006 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

Some idiot upthread: "I wish you and your readers would think a little bit about why sanctions have a pretty lousy history. They worked against South Africa, they would have worked against Pinochet -- why don't they work against a Cuba, an Iraq or Iran?"

- Sanctions worked damn near perfectly in Iraq.
- The rest of the planet trades with Cuba, assmunch.

Speaking of which, what the fuck are you talking about, Kevin?

Posted by: HeavyJ on January 31, 2006 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

Of course it is a step in the right direction. There will either be sanctions (remember, this will come after the UN nukes watchdog issues its report) or we will at last have clarity that the UN will do nothing on the issue. The latter case gives us more clarity about what other options we have to consider. Heads, we win; tails, they lose.

And sanctions almost always work to some extent. Not always (or even often) to the extent of actually accomplishing immediately what they're designed to accomplish, but at least they excert some pressure. They always do.

Certainly, sanctions (combined with a few bombing sorties) worked wonders with Iraq over time. By the time of OIF they had nothing left, not even biochem.

Posted by: peanut on January 31, 2006 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

So where are the calls for sanctions against Russia?

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 31, 2006 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

What about sanctions against russia, china, israel, the "red" states, whereeverthefuckistan? huh? Huh? Really, what about it?

Loser.

Posted by: BGH on January 31, 2006 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

80,000 Americans on "no-fly" lists, electronic eavesdropping up the ying-yang, the President running away with spurious "authority" and flipping the wet at Congress et el : we should be worrying about Iranian threats to domestic U.S. security ?
Oldest trick in the book : foreign "enemies" to distract people from the power grab at home.

Posted by: opit on January 31, 2006 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

Sanctions DO work, Kevin. Especially when they are part of a coherent, sane, coordinated effort like the one that acounted for and destroyed over 90% (now we know it was 100%) of Iraq's WMD.

Here was the 2002 Karl Rove roadmap to the GOP's winning back the Senate, and adding seats in the House:

1. Pick a Middle East country with brand recognition
2. Pick a fight with said country
3. Use Bush visits and macho posturing to push GOP retards into office who could never get in on issues.
4 Use said loyal, grateful GOP retards to extend and expand the GOP's power.

Sound familiar? Rove just TOLD you a couple weeks go that was the plan again.

ANYONE who does not catch and call out the GOP media machine hype on this lunacy deserves what he gets in November. Until we slap the "GOP is serious about your security" card out of their hand, they are just going to keep winning pots, because Conservatives, Republicans, and Moderates can be scared and that means the Security card is worth a King-high straight.

Surprised at you, Kevin.

Iran is Karl Rove KABUKI theater: Spin, hotbutton, posture, divide, conquer. His allegations, accusations, assertions need have no basis in FACT, they are TOOLS.

It's just like Texas High School smashmouth football, where Rove comes from: The coach with the strong running back and dominant offensive line blockers will keep running the same play right at your face and beat your linemen and backers bloody until you show him you have what it takes to stop the run.

So far, we have not even forced a punt once.

Hell, our guys have shown a lot of heart in standing up against Alito, but we've also shown we don't have enough men to even mount a decent goal-line stand. But we surprised them at least, and earned some respect.

We CAN stop the run, we CAN put points on the board. Let's do it.

Posted by: Cyberian on January 31, 2006 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

Hamas says it will abjure terrorism and accept Israel statehood, providing Israel would go back to pre-1967 borders. What would be wrong with that? They fulfilled the magical condition by being democratically elected. So let's be fair.

Posted by: djr on January 31, 2006 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

BGH,

Thanks for the input. It really brought a sense of enlightenment to the discussion that was missing. How long have you been brilliant?

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 31, 2006 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

What the hell is See-No-Evil talking about? Sanctions worked smashingly on Iraq...

Posted by: cdj on January 31, 2006 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

Too much Pecan Pie, not enough Stoli

Posted by: Vladimer on January 31, 2006 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK
Not to mention that sanctions have a pretty lousy history of working anyway.

Please support, with examples relevant to the present situation.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 31, 2006 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

Sanctions didn't work in Iraq,Where the hell have you been the last three years,Wmd,Vx,Sarin they have all these, So where did the sanction work.

Posted by: pssst on January 31, 2006 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

Somewhere in the past couple of weeks someone who appeared to know what he/she as talking about told us it will take Iran ten years to make its first nuclear weapon, so we are suffering yet again from the dangerously half-witted gits in the WH who seem not to have moved on from watching Roy Rogers and Tom Mix when they were the year-age of their mental ages. It is all becoming delicate and dangerous and Our Clowns have neither the brains, education, subtlety, vision, Name It, to cope. Oh for the --- God Forbid --- foreign affairs "touch" of Tricky Dicky!!!!

IS there some other reason than Cowboydom for the rocket-rattling against Iran? Is it another proxy threat on behalf of our colony Israel? Is it about the Kwiatowski suggestion that Iran was proposing an oil bourse in Euros?

I am still waiting to hear why we are not threatening Israel in view of its nuclear weapons.

Posted by: maunga on January 31, 2006 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

For how long does sanctions were kept against Iraq? And the sanctions for Cuba are still inforce, right?

Posted by: Brazil Connection on January 31, 2006 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

maunga gets it.

How long before maunga gets insulted by some ignorant fool?

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 31, 2006 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

1. Pick a Middle East country with brand recognition
2. Pick a fight with said country
3. Use Bush visits and macho posturing to push GOP retards into office who could never get in on issues.
4 Use said loyal, grateful GOP retards to extend and expand the GOP's power.

This is why some people think that the Democrats are untrustworthy on security. Plenty of Democrats are always claiming that there is no real external threat, that it was just made up by the Republicans so Republicans can win elections.

The first point in the Democrats' plan to regain control of the Congress has to be that the foreign enemies are more dangerous than the Republicans. It may make sense and be effective for the Democrats to claim that they can do a better job protecting Americans from foreign enemies; but they can't make headway by claiming that the foreign threat is exaggerated or made up.

Posted by: contentious on January 31, 2006 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

I'm reading that sanctions in Iraq were established in 1990, and lifted in 2003 after the US invasion. Am I correct in assuming that sanctions are destined to choke a country into complying to international demands for something, either by making a government change its ways due to economical difficulties or by facilitating a popular movement of any kind to change such government? If that's the reason for imposing sanctions, and after 13 years of them the US was forced to invade Iraq to make its government comply to something - I'm sorry, but
I don't see what good they did.

I'm not saying that this means I think Iran should be invaded as well; I'm just discussing the effectiveness of sanctions.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on January 31, 2006 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

From Juan Cole's blog; http://www.juancole.com/

United States Instigated Iran's Nuclear Program 30 Years Ago
William O. Beeman
Brown University


' The White House staffers, who are trying to deny Iran the right to develop its own nuclear energy capacity have conveniently forgotten that the United States was the midwife to the Iranian nuclear program 30 years ago. Every aspect of Iran's current nuclear development was approved and encouraged by Washington in the 1970s. President Gerald Ford offered Iran a full nuclear cycle in 1976, and the only reactor currently about to become operative, the reactor in Bushire, was started before the Iranian revolution with U.S. approval.
Kenneth Timmerman, in Countdown to Crisis: The Coming Nuclear Showdown with Iran presents a misleading description of this plant, claiming again and again that the facility might be used to produce nuclear fuel.
As the late Tom Stauffer and I wrote in June, 2003, the Bushire (Bushehr) reactor--a "light water" reactor--does not produce weapons grade Plutonium. It produces Pu 240, Pu241 and Pu242. Although these isotopes could theoretically be weaponized, the process is extremely long and complicated, and also untried. To date no nuclear weapon has ever been produced with plutonium produced with the kind of reactor at Bushire. Moreover, the plant would have to be completely shut down to extract the fuel rods, making the process immediately open to detection and inspection. (The plant IS shut down to change the fuel rods, but only every 30-40 months to provide longer and better energy generation)
By contract, the Dimona reactor in Israel--a "heavy water" reactor--is an example of a reactor that is ideal for producing weapons fuel. It produces Pu239 and the fuel rods can be extracted "on the fly." without any need to shut down the plant or alter its operation. The fuel rods are exchanged every few weeks.

Posted by: brodix on January 31, 2006 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK
If that's the reason for imposing sanctions, and after 13 years of them the US was forced to invade Iraq to make its government comply to something - I'm sorry, but I don't see what good they did.

The US wasn't forced to invade. The programs that the sanctions were designed to force Iraq to abandon were, in fact, abandoned.

The US chose to invade; on the part of the Executive, this was for reasons largely unrelated to the purpose of the sanctions, on the part of other decision makers (i.e., some in the Legislature) it was at least in part to due to deliberate deception regarding the matters at which the sanctions were directed, carried out by the Executive, for the purpose of securing authorization for war.

The US decision to go to war based, in large part, on false claims about the WMD programs that the sanctions were aimed at ending doesn't prove that sanctions don't work.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 31, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

The US wasn't forced to invade. The programs that the sanctions were designed to force Iraq to abandon were, in fact, abandoned.

What programs were those? WMD programs? True, they were abandoned, if they were ever started. But the administration choose to invade because they alleged those programs were still in effect in spite of the sanctions. Is that right? Disregard for now the 'true' motives for the invasion, if they weren't in fact those.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on January 31, 2006 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK
But the administration choose to invade because they alleged those programs were still in effect in spite of the sanctions. Is that right?

"Because..."? No. Yes, the administration alleged, among other things, that the programs were in effect.

That doesn't prove anything about sanctions. It proves something about putting blind faith in the executive branch, but I would think that point had been made enough times in history, anyway.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 31, 2006 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

This is why some people think that the Democrats are untrustworthy on security. Plenty of Democrats are always claiming that there is no real external threat, that it was just made up by the Republicans so Republicans can win elections.

The fact that BushCo totally exaggerated the so-called "threat" posed by Iraq -- which was thoroughly contained and deterred -- in no small part as a domestic election wedge, then thoroughly botching the occupation, all the while shortchanging its operations against al Qaeda, and moreover insisting on paying for the whole shebang with a tax cut, is reson enough that the Republicans are untrustworthy on security.

Posted by: Gregory on January 31, 2006 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, the administration alleged, among other things, that the programs were in effect.

That doesn't prove anything about sanctions. It proves something about putting blind faith in the executive branch, but I would think that point had been made enough times in history, anyway.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 31, 2006 at 2:11 PM

I agree with you on the executive branch argument. I'm still confused about the whole NSA situation, especially because your media outlets apparently cannot create a definite picture of what happened, but this wanton disregard for your civil rights concerns me.

But I don't agree on the sanctions thing. Help me up a bit, if you don't mind. What was the purpose of the sanctions? To force Saddam to stop any WMD programs he might have or want to have? And if so, what were the conditions for lifting sanctions? That Iraq proved that they ceased to pursue WMDs?

Posted by: Brazil Connection on January 31, 2006 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

Pale Rider/Brodix:

You both have succinctly made the type of arguments that would force an intelligent discussion of the issue that would have a broader appeal.

(1) How many nuclear weapons does Iran have NOW? (Pale Rider)

(2) With what we know about Iran's existing nuclear facilities, how long would it take Iran to make a nuclear weapon? (Brodix)

(3) As Iran obviously does not have the missile capacity to reach US, who in the region would be most affected by Iran armed with nuclear weapons? (I think Brodix alluded to this by contrasting the nuclear facilities of Iran and Israel).


Perhaps, a discussion about these questions will lead to a more meaningful discussion about the NNTP itself, and how US could promote NNTP by being more reflective in its actions.

Kari

Posted by: Kari on January 31, 2006 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

I HAVE AN IMPORTANT ANNOUCEMENT.

Korea is making the same noises about nuclear weapons. And their political hyberbole is equal to that of the craziest Persian.

The difference is geography - and ethnicity

Why are you letting the GOP frame the issue of WHO IS a threat and who is not?

The same contingent that wanted war on Iraq wants war on Iran [and then Syria & Saudi Arabia]

Palestinians will outnumber Jews in Israel within 2 decades. Palis will have a plurality in just under a decade.

Actually, that's the biggest difference between Muslims and Koreans.

One group threatens the demographic that dictates foreign policy to both parties.

Israel is no democracy - and can't afford to be. But they don't get the South African treatment - hell, they even go to the Olympics!

It's because Israel and their American contingent frame the issue - own the megaphones - and determine who the enemies are.

Can anyone imagine a radio station making fun of the holocaust, high hats and pig tails and living another day? taking in another dollar?

yet the Muslim equivalent of that goes on day in and day out in markets in New York and Los Angeles.

The enemy has been designated by a miniscule portion of our population.

And the American war machine will be ground into the dirt on behalf of this ethnocentric lunacy.

Posted by: Ashley on January 31, 2006 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

Kari,

I'd love to. First, we need to address the issue of Ashley and her 'hair on fire' wingnut hate speech.

Ashley,

Get yourself a couple of big dudes from downtown and have yourself a little party with them, and don't spare the baby oil. Might loosen you up a little.

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 31, 2006 at 11:11 PM | PERMALINK

contentious:>"The first point in the Democrats' plan to regain control of the Congress has to be that the foreign enemies are more dangerous than the Republicans."

Absolutely, it's the only way to get fools like you to vote Democratic.

Don't confuse the truth with a good political strategy. The truth is that the most dangerous organization on the planet today is America's Republican party.

opit, you're right of course about that oldest trick. But that kind of simple, obvious as the nose on your face wisdom doesn't go far on this site.

Even savvy libs stay spun about a few things, like the 'Iran is run by nuts!' meme.

Question ALL MSM common wisdom.

Posted by: Joey Giraud on February 1, 2006 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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