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Tilting at Windmills

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February 16, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

VIVE LA FRANCE!....France says there's no question that Iran is trying to build an atomic bomb:

France's foreign minister said Thursday that Iran's nuclear program was a cover for clandestine military activity, in an unusually direct attack on Tehran for a European diplomat.

...."No civilian nuclear program can explain the Iranian nuclear program. It is a clandestine military nuclear program," [Foreign Minister Philippe] Douste-Blazy said on France-2 television. "The international community has sent a very firm message in telling the Iranians to return to reason and suspend all nuclear activity and the enrichment and conversion of uranium, but they aren't listening to us."

Does this mean France is no longer part of the Axis of Weasels? A member in good standing of New Europe? A country whose intelligence services have always been top tier and whose word can hardly be doubted?

Just wondering.

Kevin Drum 12:27 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (181)

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Do bear in mind that France was equally sure about Iraq's WMD capabilities.

Posted by: Wombat on February 16, 2006 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, when will you learn? If they're not Amerikans, they're weasels. How many countries do we have to invade before you libs learn that? sheesh.

Posted by: elfranko on February 16, 2006 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

France has always been more realistic than the talk they spread around to gain influence at our expense. The Muslim veil issue in schools is only one example. The rioting has also concentrated their minds. They know they have a problem. Their other problem is the ossified political structure. The country is run by a small group of school friends from 50 years ago. We may complain about Yale and Harvard but France is basically an old boys club of two or three schools.

Posted by: Mike K on February 16, 2006 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

We are descendants of weasels?

Posted by: Ben Merc on February 16, 2006 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK
They know they have a problem.

They certainly know they have plenty of domestic political problems right now, and they also certainly know what leaders from Galtieri to Bush have realized -- there is nothing like a foreign crisis to muffle domestic discontent in the short-term.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 16, 2006 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

It depends. Did he say "nuclear program", or "nucle-aire prograhm"? Because if he was talking with a funny accent, we simply can't take his word seriously.

Also, did he smell like Gitanes and red wine, and wear a white shirt unbuttoned at the collar with a couple of days' stubble?

Posted by: brooksfoe on February 16, 2006 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

Then again, dicely, they may have looked at the Iranian nuclear program, plus the Iranian missile program, plus the Iranian programs for encouraging terrorism in several places around the world, and come to realize that France is at some risk.

The French may be weasels in a number of ways, but they certainly are not stupid when it comes to self-preservation.

Posted by: Steve White on February 16, 2006 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

France has always been more realistic than the talk they spread around to gain influence at our expense. The Muslim veil issue in schools is only one example.

Um, trying to keep teenage girls from wearing whatever clothes they want is hardly an example of realism.

Posted by: brooksfoe on February 16, 2006 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

So far, all we have from France is words.

Let's see how France acts when things get tough.

Posted by: Monkey See on February 16, 2006 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

Well, so far all we have from the US is words, too. And if the alternative to "words" is "bombs", I hope it stays that way.

Posted by: brooksfoe on February 16, 2006 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Does this mean France is no longer part of the Axis of Weasels?

Uh, NO!

To get out of the Axis of Weasels, France has to advocate ACTUALLY DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

Posted by: Al on February 16, 2006 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

What exactly does the US advocate doing about it? Or have we joined the Axis of Weasels?

Posted by: brooksfoe on February 16, 2006 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

Well, if negotiations are ever going to work here, France and Russia need to get really tough, and China needs to at least be a little tough. When I say tough, I don't mean threatening to bomb or nuke Iran, but to sever them from all good ties, including economic, which Iran does not want or need because of their young, restless population.

Still, the main problem is that Iran can easily argue about our own frailties and failures in sticking to our end of the nuclear agreements. Ultimately, we cannot in good faith negotiate, and we should not go forward any farther, without making a good faith announcement and effort to uphold and greatly expand our own adherence to the nuclear treaties.

Also, we should make non-aggression against Iran a clear carrot of the negotiation, especially since non-aggression is supposed to be part of the UN charter in the first place. If we are just going to make up UN violations for countries as a pretext to attack them, when they displease us or its geopolitically correct, then the UN is just a farce, not a force.

Posted by: Jimm on February 16, 2006 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

Anybody surprized Kevin Drum doesn't take a stand on Iran's nuclear program??

Kevin Drum is the mirror image of the Pelosi/Reid/Kennedy/Dean wing of the Democratic party. Never lay out an agenda. Never take a stand that requires courage. Use any and all events to point out Bush's failures.

Posted by: MountainDan on February 16, 2006 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

France sure has a lot of (de) gall saying a sovereign nation cannot develop weapons needed for national defense.

"No country without an atom bomb could properly consider itself independent."
Charles de Gaulle

"No country with the US and Israel targetting nuclear weapons at it could properly consider itself not threatened with annihilation."
Hostile

Posted by: Hostile on February 16, 2006 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

brooksfoe:

That's kind of a simplistic way of looking at it. France (and its current right-wing government expecially so) is assimilationist. It believes very strongly in the notion of French culture, demands learning the French language as a prerequisite of citizenship and pretends that "ghetttoization" (one of their least favorite words) is a horrible American problem that doesn't exist in France.

Preventing the hajib isn't some arbitrary gesture of intolerance, it's borne of a harcore secularism that refuses to use French public institutions to promote religion.

The problem, of course, is that the French are in complete denial. There's no de jure ethnic discrimination -- but plenty of de facto. Their state-of-the-art public housing have become de-facto segregated slums, which the French cannot countenance, because their pluralist model -- we are all French citizens! -- was supposed to prevent those very things.

What the French are blind to is their own deeply narcissistic cultural chauvinism. We are French! And being French is the best!

Heh.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 16, 2006 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

It will be interesting to see how this cognitive dissonance works itself out. I imagine if one were to do a brain scan of your typical Bush apologist, you would find the image of a greatly twisted pretzel.

Posted by: Cognitive Dissonance Alert on February 16, 2006 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

"France has always been more realistic than the talk they spread around to gain influence at our expense. The Muslim veil issue in schools is only one example. The rioting has also concentrated their minds. They know they have a problem. Their other problem is the ossified political structure. The country is run by a small group of school friends from 50 years ago. We may complain about Yale and Harvard but France is basically an old boys club of two or three schools."

Parlor talk. You know dick about France. "Concentrated their minds." I certainly hope English isn't your first language. You need to have your mind "concentrated" a bit because the diluted form is clearly not serving you well.

Iran will get the bomb, probably in about three years (this is definitely parlor talk on my part). The US government can be an asshole about it (which will most likely be the case since that is generally what has happened in the past, with predictable consequences) and antagonize the Iranian government further or the US government can start treating the Iranian government with respect. I'd bet against that if someone were ignorant enought to cover the wager.

Expect war drums from the US government in September and early October. If the US government were behaving like a rational actor, it would be an empty threat. The current government does not behave like a rational actor so all bets are off. War, maybe.

Do your worst, Mr. K.

Cheers,

Alan Tomlinson

Posted by: Alan Tomlinson on February 16, 2006 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Also, did he smell like Gitanes and red wine, and wear a white shirt unbuttoned at the collar with a couple of days' stubble?

Ah, memories. That guy improved my conjugation considerably.

Posted by: shortstop, adding nothing as usual on February 16, 2006 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

It will be interesting to see how this cognitive dissonance works itself out. I imagine if one were to do a brain scan of your typical Bush apologist, you would find the image of a greatly twisted pretzel.

So true. And yet, we always seem to be the ones choking on it.

Posted by: shortstop on February 16, 2006 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

For all the conflicts between the US and France, France has done more than its share of US-style mucking about in the third world, propping up dictators, overthrowing inconvenient regimes, and the like. The difference is that France has restricted itself to its former colonies. France has preferred the same kinds of leaders that the US has favored: democracy is talked about, but the most important thing is to keep the money and the resources flowing.

Sometimes the interests of France and the neocons coincide; France helped the US overthrow the democratically elected president of Haiti, for example.

So much of the conflict between the US and France is over the spoils: France doesn't want the US to get it all.

Posted by: Joe Buck on February 16, 2006 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK
Preventing the hajib isn't some arbitrary gesture of intolerance, it's borne of a harcore secularism that refuses to use French public institutions to promote religion.

You mean "actively uses French public institutions to suppress religion," a time-honored French tradition dating back to the Terror.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 16, 2006 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

What exactly does the US advocate doing about it?

NYTimes today:

Rice Is Seeking Millions to Prod Changes in Iran
By STEVEN R. WEISMAN
Published: February 16, 2006
WASHINGTON, Feb. 15 The Bush administration, frustrated by Iranian defiance over its nuclear program, proposed Wednesday to spend $85 million to promote political change inside Iran by subsidizing dissident groups, unions, student fellowships and television and radio broadcasts.

Posted by: Al on February 16, 2006 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

Well, only until they dare to disagree with us again.

Posted by: Alexander Wolfe on February 16, 2006 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

Well, nothing like validitating the idea that the opposition is a tool of foreign powers seeking to dominate the region to prod popular change...

Posted by: cmdicely on February 16, 2006 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

Use any and all events to point out Bush's failures.

Freudian slip watch: The tacit admission by MountainDan that the unchecked development of an actual nuclear program by Iran (to say nothing of North Korea), while the US wastes lives, treasure and prestige in invading the one nation of the so-called "Axis of Evil" that not only didn't have a nuclear program, but obviously didn't, is indeed one of Bush's failure.

And, I might add, one that's likely to put the US at risk at least as much as the debacle in Iraq. Yet another reason the Republicans can't be trusted with national security.

Posted by: Gregory on February 16, 2006 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

"Do bear in mind that France was equally sure about Iraq's WMD capabilities."

yep, they were sure he didn't have any.

As their foreign minister said in jan 2003 :-
"Already we know for a fact that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs are being largely blocked, even frozen. We must do everything possible to strengthen this process."

They knew he would like to get wmds but that he didn't have any and had no significant chance of getting them. Which is why they supported continued inspections.

Posted by: Kenny on February 16, 2006 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Nothing good will come of this, it will more then likely be a precipitous removal of some facillities, lets hope it is surgical. I cannot imagine anyone invading Iran at this time, but I guess anything is possible these days. I also can not imagine southern europe sitting by idly, but being Bush's second string whore has been an easy gig, maybe they will just sit on their hands. As usual rotten planning and religious extremism continues to dominates that region.

Posted by: Ben Merc on February 16, 2006 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe after the Muslim gangs torched thousands of French vehicles, the French have woken up to the dangers of Islamic radicals.

Maybe the photos of Islamic radicals burning Western restaurants and embassies has caused the French to wake up.

We can hope.

But I'll wait to see what the French DO when things get tough. If we don't get anything more than words and calls for negotiation, then the French stay in the Axis of Weasels.

Posted by: MountainDan on February 16, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

If we don't get anything more than words and calls for negotiation

You mean, the same thing that the Bush Administration offers?

Posted by: Gregory on February 16, 2006 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK
Maybe the photos of Islamic radicals burning Western restaurants and embassies has caused the French to wake up.

Probably. If, as I suspect, France makes a strong case that Iran has a nuclear weapons program that must be stopped, but holds back to only supporting sanctions -- and in so doing helps push the Bush Administration to a military action that France then condemns, we'll know they've decided to play "lets you and him fight", a time-honored tradition in geopolitics, to redirect Muslim rage away from France and, at the same time, let the US continue to be mired in an expanding war in the Middle East while France goes about its business.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 16, 2006 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

This is clearly an exercise in reverse psychology. By clearly stating that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, France hopes to make the Bush administration and assorted other conservative tools call into doubt their stovepiped "intelligence" on the matter.

Posted by: Tom DC/VA on February 16, 2006 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

Yea! We should name those deep fried potato sticks 'French Fries' in honor of France

Posted by: cq on February 16, 2006 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

If we declared war, we could just shoot the Mullah and the little Hitler (maybe get some lawyers too!) they have over there, leave the nuclear facilities for the people.

Posted by: Matt on February 16, 2006 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe after the Neo-con gangs torched thousands of Iraqi villages, the Iranians have woken up to the dangers of Capitalist radicals.

Maybe the photos of Americans torturing innocent Arab civilians and dead children lying in the streets of Fallujah, whose limbs have been eaten by dogs, has caused the Iranians to wake up.

We can hope.

Posted by: Hostile on February 16, 2006 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

The French statement is important diplomatically. If a diplomatic solution is going to work at all (although I haven't been impressed by the results of things like sanctions in the past) you can't have major nations trying to cut you off at the knees behind the scenes. This is particularly true if they're on the Security Council. If France is on the same side as the U.S. and others at the U.N., it helps.

The "leak" of Iran attack plans is the "stick" of the diplomacy, and you can bet it was done on purpose.

People who are complaining about Bush possibly planning military action, while at the same time jeering at him for taking the diplomatic route with other nations, need to sit down with some index cards or something and try to figure out exactly what their position is.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 16, 2006 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

Rice Is Seeking Millions to Prod Changes in Iran

So the money we're spending to stop potential nuclear terrorism from Iran is 0.1% of what we're spending to stop guys with IEDs in Iraq.

God bless Bush!

Posted by: tomeck on February 16, 2006 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

Too bad we blew our credibility, broke the army, and damn near bankrupted the treasury for a lie.

Posted by: Newton Minnow on February 16, 2006 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

"Too bad we blew our credibility, broke the army, and damn near bankrupted the treasury for a lie"

I'll second that!

Posted by: sheerahkahn on February 16, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

You seconded that when you voted for Bush in 2004.

Posted by: Hostile on February 16, 2006 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK
The "leak" of Iran attack plans is the "stick" of the diplomacy, and you can bet it was done on purpose.

While it could be, and that would be good, it is worth noting that the same was said about the plans for action against Iraq, which, as it turns out, were not a "stick" for diplomacy, and indeed the entire "diplomacy" was a sham that was abandoned as soon as there was an indication it might not lead to war.

To ignore similar past actions by an actor when attempting to determine the meaning of present actions is simply foolish.

As w. himslef has said "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice...can't get fooled again."

Posted by: cmdicely on February 16, 2006 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

Well I was in Paris at the weekend and they're still eating cheese. In their defense of course they don't serve french fries only frites!

Posted by: yank in london on February 16, 2006 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Yea! We should name those deep fried potato sticks 'French Fries' in honor of France.

This one made me howl with mirth.

Posted by: shortstop on February 16, 2006 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Too bad we blew our credibility, broke the army, and damn near bankrupted the treasury for a lie"

Except the French and Germans are widely known as the worlds wimps for a reason. Neither has much of a military and what they have has no actual experience. Each has a far weaker economy with much higher budget deficits and total debt than the US.

The US will increase GDP by $500B in 2006. France and Germany will be lucky to add $50B.

If there is to be an attack on Iran, unlikely, it will be done by the Air Force and Navy currently mostly unoccupied in Iraq. The Marines and army are hadly broken but aside from targeting assistance would be unneeded in Iran.

If we do use assistance it won't be France or Germany. They are so far behind in terms of technology and training they would endanger any mission. Our allies would be the Israeli's and possible the Brits. Together we'd own Iranian airspace in 15 minutes.

Down the road our key military ally will be the Japanese. They will soon free themselves of WWII restrictions and arm themselves against the Japanese. The 4 most capable Air Forces in the world will be in order: USA, Israel, Japan, Britian. Navies will be: USA, Japan, Britian, China.

Posted by: rdw on February 16, 2006 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Down the road our key military ally will be the Japanese. They will soon free themselves of WWII restrictions and arm themselves against the Japanese.

At war with themselves. Is that what people mean by naval gazing?

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on February 16, 2006 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

Contacts with Franch are lower level and that's all they'll be. Rice and Rumsfeld have zero incentive to work closely with France except in the same way they work with the UN. That is, in a superficial way.

France cannot help. They simply don't have the capabilities or the training or any experience. They obviously cannot be trusted. It may be they have some intelligence that can be used but in terms of actually taking action they can't do anything but they could damage plenty with a leak.

Posted by: rdw on February 16, 2006 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

arm themselves against the japanese

s/b Chinese.

China's neighbors have plenty to be worried about in addition to islamic terrorism.

Posted by: rdw on February 16, 2006 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

"The international community has sent a very firm message in telling the Iranians to return to reason and suspend all nuclear activity and the enrichment and conversion of uranium, but they aren't listening to us."

Well, we shall just have to see whether the obvious fact that the "very firm message" didn't change Iran's behavior one whit prompts any further action. I think cmdicely's "let's you and him fight" line sums it up. Europe is going to wait for the US or Israel to bomb the bejeezus out of Iran's nuclear facilities, and then condemn this outrageous, lawless action. Result: one nuclear threat averted, one more chance to pontificate about American or Israeli aggression, one more opportunity to soothe the domestic Muslim population. What's not to like?

Posted by: waterfowl on February 16, 2006 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

RDW, what have you been smoking?! "our key military ally will be the Japanese. They will soon free themselves of WWII restrictions and arm themselves against the Japanese."

Huh?

I knew that Osaka and the rest of the outlying cities were getting pissed off at the centralization of authority in Tokyo, but never thought it had gotten to the point of civil war....

Heh. Yet another reason to bone up on Kagoshima-ben...

Posted by: tzs on February 16, 2006 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

waterfowl:

Bombing Iran to avert an alleged threat close to a decade away would be an act of geopolitical idiocy.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 16, 2006 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK
Each has a far weaker economy with much higher budget deficits and total debt than the US.

The US budget deficit is larger, as a share of GDP, than either the French or German (US is close to 5, France around 3, German about 4),
though both France and Germany have a larger national debt than the US, as a share of GDP.

The US will increase GDP by $500B in 2006. France and Germany will be lucky to add $50B.

You know, get the present right, and will start thinking about what you have to say about the future.

If there is to be an attack on Iran, unlikely, it will be done by the Air Force and Navy currently mostly unoccupied in Iraq. The Marines and army are hadly broken but aside from targeting assistance would be unneeded in Iran.

And tell us, which services will be affected by the Iranian response to any attack?


Down the road our key military ally will be the Japanese. They will soon free themselves of WWII restrictions and arm themselves against the Japanese.

While its true that the victims of a nation's militarism are generally the citizens of that nation, I'm surprised that you would recognize this.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 16, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

waterfowl:

Whenever I hear armchair warhawks even begin to approach the subject I go into full Islamist Apologist Mode and demand to know what's so goddamned wrong about a nuclear armed Iran.

Nobody, of course, can answer the question ...

And this isn't even *beginning* to engage the consequentialist arguments that bombing Iran would only increase the country's cohesiveness and determination to *definitely* get a bomb.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 16, 2006 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK
cmdicely,

Contacts with Franch are lower level and that's all they'll be.

I'm not sure why this is directed at me since I haven't said anything about contacts with the French. Its like you're arguing with a figment of your own imagination that you've arbitrarily assigned my name too.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 16, 2006 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

tzs,

Japan sits in a dicey part of the world with a seriously growing threat in China including a great deal of historical hatred.

They have the worlds 2nd largest economy and top grade technical and engineering skills. They also have a proud military history. They spend more than France, Germany and the UK on defense and are technically superior. They lag China however and this cannot be comfortable. It's a very natural alliance fothe USA and Japan as the worlds two wealthiest democracies with identical concerns as well as ambitions.

GWB has been working at developing this relationship since he's been in office and in PM Koizumi he has a full partner. We are supporting their big for a security council seat as well as changs to their constitution to allow for vastly increased and offensive-minded defense spending.

Japan is not going to sit there and watch China arm.

Posted by: rdw on February 16, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

That's okay.

The Bush administration has squarely put the U.S. in the Axis of Weasels by giving over control of several U.S. ports to an UAE company.

Yep, the same UAE that served as an operational and financial base for the 9/11 hijackers will now control several U.S. ports, endangering American security.

Why does Bush hate America?

Why does Bush want to destroy American security by aiding terrorists?

It is because Bush wants to ensure that the so-called GWOT continues forever so he and the GOP can justify the continued assault on our liberties in the name of national security, when really conservatives simply don't like the civil rights granted by our Constitution (except when being invoked by a conservative criminal) and never have.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 16, 2006 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: Japan is not going to sit there and watch China arm.

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

Best belly-laugh I've had since rdw's last post.


rdw: [The French] obviously cannot be trusted.

Obviously, they can be trusted more than the Bush administration.

Of course, that's not saying much.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 16, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Bombing Iran to avert an alleged threat close to a decade away would be an act of geopolitical idiocy.

On the other hand, manipulating a geopolitical rival into doing it and thus, even if the threat is not averted and instead increased, redirecting the threat to them more than you, that wouldn't be geopolitical idiocy, thought it might not be the most moral course of action in history.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 16, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

from a 1:13 posting

Probably. If, as I suspect, France makes a strong case that Iran has a nuclear weapons program that must be stopped, but holds back to only supporting sanctions --

Assuming this is you, you're suggesting France will act as if we're partners in working against Iran and then drop out as soon as it's decided action has to be taken leaving the USA to do the heavy lifting.

At least that's how I read it.

My response is GWB/Rice/Rummy will never get into that kind of position. For starters they'd never trust Chirac. As a practial matter, France can only hurt us militarily. If it's going to get hard there's nothing they can do except leak a battle plan.

GWB is entirely capable of using France to effect some front for diplomatic purposes but that's all it'll be.

Posted by: rdw on February 16, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Hmm... the French must have figured out a way to make money off of an attack on the Iranian government that I haven't quite figured out yet...

Posted by: Frank J. on February 16, 2006 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK
Assuming this is you, you're suggesting France will act as if we're partners in working against Iran and then drop out as soon as it's decided action has to be taken leaving the USA to do the heavy lifting.

Well, no.

I'm suggesting that France will act as if it is upset that Iran has a nuclear weapons program (which has the virtue of being true), act as if it thinks that a sanctions regime to compel compliance and inspections is the best approach (also likely mostly honest), act as if it expects the US not to attack (far less honest), and act utterly horrified when the US, without French supports, goes and launches an attack (utterly dishonest, from the PoV of the French government.)

They won't even pretend to be partners with the US in any sense except the sense that both are upset about the Iranian program and looking for a way to end it.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 16, 2006 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK
My response is GWB/Rice/Rummy will never get into that kind of position.

I don't think you understand the position being discussed.

For starters they'd never trust Chirac.

Of course not. That's why they would attack when France was pushing sanctions. Which is exactly what I suggested France would be expecting.

As a practial matter, France can only hurt us militarily. If it's going to get hard there's nothing they can do except leak a battle plan.

I haven't been talking at all about them being involved militarily. I've been talking about them managing the diplomacy and PR in a way that would overtly favor sanctions and, simultaneously, tend to play on the Bush Administration's political instincts to attack Iran as a way of getting a potential long-term security threat, on the one hand, and an economic and geopolitical rival, on the other, to effectively combat each other.

GWB is entirely capable of using France to effect some front for diplomatic purposes but that's all it'll be.

Yeah, what you seem to miss is that works both ways.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 16, 2006 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1,

Whenever I hear armchair warhawks even begin to approach the subject I go into full Islamist Apologist Mode and demand to know what's so goddamned wrong about a nuclear armed Iran.

Nobody, of course, can answer the question ...

Not sure what I've said that casts me as an "armchair warhawk." But we're talking about a country whose President has openly called, several times, for Israel to be wiped off the map. At the moment, they haven't got the means. If they had nukes, they damn well could do it. At least, they could kill a hell of a lot of people. I prefer people with blatantly genocidal intentions to be kept out of reach of dangerous toys.

Have I "answered the question," as per specs?

Posted by: waterfowl on February 16, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

According to these clips the defcits for the US, Germany and France in 2005 were 2.6%, 3.4% and 3.0% respectively.

The US budget deficit falls to $319bn in fiscal year 2005, equivalent to 2.6% of GDP, according to official figures. ... US budget deficit shrinks in 2005. Robust economic growth has boosted tax revenues.

FRANKFURT (AFX) - German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck plans to have a budget deficit of 3.5 pct of GDP this year compared with 3.4 pct in 2005

France forecasts a deficit of 2.9 pct this year, while the commission gave a figure of 3.5 pct in its autumn forecasts published in November.

Even if the commission lowers its French deficit forecast for this year, the figure will still be above 3 pct, one source said.

By contrast, the commission agrees with France's estimated 3 pct deficit for 2005, the sources said. afxbrussels@afxnews.com de/phr/vm/ra


The data for France is not final. They've been above 3% for 3 years.

There is absolutely no question the US economy is in far better shape than both France and Germany. In terms of defense spending comparisons are a joke.

Posted by: rdw on February 16, 2006 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

If there is to be an attack on Iran, unlikely, it will be done by the Air Force and Navy currently mostly unoccupied in Iraq. The Marines and army are hadly broken but aside from targeting assistance would be unneeded in Iran.

You forgot to mention the part about us being greeted as liberators with flowers and parades, and how they'll name the town square in Tehran after George Bush.

... because, you know, that's exactly what happened last time out.

Posted by: DH Walker on February 16, 2006 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK
Not sure what I've said that casts me as an "armchair warhawk." But we're talking about a country whose President has openly called, several times, for Israel to be wiped off the map. At the moment, they haven't got the means. If they had nukes, they damn well could do it.

Which, even with the same rhetoric, doesn't mean they would. Lots of leaders have engaged in bellicose rhetoric (Reagan comes to mind) while armed with nuclear weapons and still not backed it up with much direct action against any serious opponent.

People ought to realize that national leaders rhetoric is very often less about what they are inclined to do more than what they want people (usually, their own) to think they are inclined to do, for political purposes.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 16, 2006 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely, I know that, but a nuclear-armed Iran still makes me uneasy. It only takes a single nutcase to kill a few hundred thousand with a nuke, and if this is really popular rhetoric, it doesn't much matter whether it's sop for the masses or not, because obviously in that case Iran is crawling with nutcases.

Posted by: waterfowl on February 16, 2006 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

People ought to realize that national leaders rhetoric is very often less about what they are inclined to do more than what they want people (usually, their own) to think they are inclined to do, for political purposes.

Not to side with the hawks on this one, but considering that Ahmadinejad was involved in the Tehran hostage crisis of 1979, I'd say that he's at least shown that he's capable of taking radican action. Bush's colossal fuckups in the mideast have radicalized a lot of otherwise moderate muslims, as I think the electoral victories for Hamas suggest.

All things considered, if I were Israel, I really, really wouldn't want to roll those dice. Good thing Bush hasn't tied up and wasted our military resources.

(I won't mention international credibility, because there are morons who read this board who think that all that phrase means is "France".)

Posted by: DH Walker on February 16, 2006 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

So, if you frequently, secretly, want to go war with Iran, the last thing you would want is to have any CIA unit working on stopping the proliferation of nuclear resources by Iran.

Geez, how would you start - perhaps out one of their leads, such as Valerie Plame? Hmmmmmmm

They even have cardiac specialists on duty at Leavenworth.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on February 16, 2006 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

Psst.... France is signalling ISRAEL.

Israel doesn't need the intelligence, of course; they knew this a long time ago.

When other nations try to talk Israel out of an option that they might soon see as a matter of national survival, like pulling out Iran's nuclear baby teeth with a clawhammer, this is how it's done: France has publicly recognized a real and growing threat.

But a threat to whom?

Iran is not going to nuke FRANCE, yanno.

France is signalling Israel that if somebody has to take out Iran's nuclear capacity, it would be better for everybody if it wasn't Israel.

And it's not gonna be France, either.

Y'all scoffed when I said it before: the goal is to convince Iran that it is better to be a nearly nuke power, than to be bombed by the U.S. for a couple weeks.

France gets it -- cuz that's exactly the signal they just sent Iran, via Israel.

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 16, 2006 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, what you seem to miss is that works both ways.

I think I understand you and we are not necessarily in disagreement. If we are it's over this:

You 'seem' to be suggesting France will use any opportunity to maniplate the USA into doing it's business for them.

I agree completely. There is nothing new here. France and other nations have done this and will continue to do this whenever the opportunity exists. A terrific adage to cover this is "nations have permanent intererests, not permanent friends".

Where we might disagree is you 'seem' to think GWB can be and will be maniplated.

I don't think he was manipulated in Iraq at all although Colin Powell clearly was played for a dupe by the French. GWB was always going to do what he thought needed to be done with or without Europe.

What I am adding is that the domestic and Int'l politics in the USA are vastly different. This isn't just a post 9/11 world, it's a post NATO world. NATO exists but not like in 2002. There was a pretense in 2002 NATO was a diplomatic and military force with US muscle and joint US/Euro diplomacy. That's not even an illusion now.

Today it's the USA leading coalitions of the willing, or not. We'll be allies with those nations with shared interests who can add value to specific missions. For 50 years the starting point for most of these 'missions' was NATO. Dicussions and plans were held within NATO. There was a united front. No longer. France, as you pointed out, is a competitor. We are not close nor is there much in the way of trust or mutual respect. France is far from a natural ally.

Whatever we do in Iraq France will have little or no influence. They might benefit just as Mexico might benefit. Thus France is not going to be a major player.


Posted by: rdw on February 16, 2006 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

"France has always been more realistic than the talk they spread around to gain influence at our expense. The Muslim veil issue in schools is only one example. The rioting has also concentrated their minds. They know they have a problem. Their other problem is the ossified political structure. The country is run by a small group of school friends from 50 years ago. We may complain about Yale and Harvard but France is basically an old boys club of two or three schools."

Parlor talk. You know dick about France."

Is that leading to an insight or are you just making talk ? How do you know what I know ? Do you speak French ? Have you lived there ?

What a great start !

"Concentrated their minds." I certainly hope English isn't your first language. You need to have your mind "concentrated" a bit because the diluted form is clearly not serving you well."

What does this mean ? Have you ever heard of Samuel Johnson ? Do you read ?

"Iran will get the bomb, probably in about three years (this is definitely parlor talk on my part)."

Especially since many sources assume they have several right now.

"The US government can be an asshole about it (which will most likely be the case since that is generally what has happened in the past, with predictable consequences) and antagonize the Iranian government further or the US government can start treating the Iranian government with respect. I'd bet against that if someone were ignorant enought to cover the wager."

So when did you leave Tehran ? Or are you still there ?

"Expect war drums from the US government in September and early October. If the US government were behaving like a rational actor, it would be an empty threat. The current government does not behave like a rational actor so all bets are off. War, maybe.

Do your worst, Mr. K.

Cheers,

Alan Tomlinson"

Likewise Hassan.

Posted by: Mike K on February 16, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

Elementary Dr. Johnson (quotes from memory):

"The knowledge that he is to be hanged in a fortnight, concentrates a man's mind wonderfully."

Which would be more impressive erudition in Mr. K, had Johnson not also said:

"None but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money."

Which sorta sums up this pastime.

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 16, 2006 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

I go into full Islamist Apologist Mode and demand to know what's so goddamned wrong about a nuclear armed Iran.

Almost every time I read your comments on these issues you seem to be stuck in "Islamist Apologist Mode."

Wasn't it you that held this opinion about Muslim nations?

This is like teasing the retarded kid in class. Everyone knows the retarded kid has poor impulse control. So you tease him, you poke him, laugh at him until he flips out and hurls his milk carton across the classroom, and then the teacher sends him to the principal's office.

Nobody, of course, can answer the question ...

Just because geopolitical analysis is beyond your ability is not sufficient reason to hold the position that no one can answer the question of why a nuclear armed Iran is dangerous.

Try these reasons on for size.

1.) Iran is an active state sponsor of terrorism.
2.) Iran is the only country in the world to have their elected leader publicly moot the idea of launching a nuclear war against another nation and to advocate for genocide.
3.) The animosity between Iran and Saudi Arabia will only increase, and the Saudi's abandoned nuclear efforts will likely be reactiviated. For more background see this report from Senator Sam Nunn's non-profit Nuclear Threat Initiative entitled Will Saudi Arabia Acquire Nuclear Weapons? which is written by a researcher at Monterey Institute of International Studies:

According to Saudi defector Mohammed Khilevi, who was first secretary of the Saudi mission to the United Nations until July 1994, Riyadh has sought a bomb since 1975.[7] Khilevi produced documents in support of his charges that between 1985-1990, the Saudi government paid up to five billion dollars to Saddam Hussein to build a nuclear weapon. According to Khilevi, these payments were made on the condition that some of the bombs be transferred to a Saudi arsenal if the Iraqi project were successful.[8] Khilevi also claimed that Saudi Arabia had provided financial contributions to the Pakistani nuclear program, and had signed a secret agreement that obligated the Pakistani government to provide positive security assurances to Saudi Arabia.

Even before the revelations about Khans activities, concerns about Saudi-Pakistani nuclear cooperation persisted, largely due to strengthened cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. In particular, the frequent high-level visits of Saudi and Pakistani officials during the last several years raised questions about the extent of Saudi-Pakistani cooperation in defense matters and possible clandestine nuclear cooperation between the two countries. For example, in May 1999, a Saudi Arabian defense team, headed by the Saudi Defense Minister Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz visited Pakistans highly restricted uranium enrichment and missile assembly factory, a visit that prompted a formal diplomatic complaint from the U.S. government. Reportedly, Prince Sultan was also briefed by Dr. A.Q. Khan.[1,8,14] Khan also visited Saudi Arabia in November 1999 to attend a symposium, Information Sources on the Islamic World. The following week, Dr. Saleh al-Athel, president of King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology, visited Pakistan to work out the details for cooperation in the fields of engineering, electronics, and computer science.[8] In 2003, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf paid a visit to Saudi Arabia, and Pakistani Prime Minister Mir Zafrallah Khan Jamali visited the Kingdom twice.[6] It is believed that the United States warned Pakistan several times not to provide nuclear assistance to Saudi Arabia.[6]

Also, keep in mind that the Saudi-Pakistani relationship is deep and multi-tiered:

The Sunni Saudis have concluded that nothing will deter Shiite Iran from continuing its quest for nuclear weapons. Pakistan, on the other hand, is openly concerned about the recent armaments agreement between India, its nuclear rival, and Israel, a long-time nuclear power whose inventory is estimated at between 200 and 400 weapons. Iran and India, located on either side of Pakistan, have also signed a strategic agreement whose aim is regarded with suspicion in Islamabad. . . .

To counter what Pakistani and Saudi leaders regard as a multiregional threats, they have decided quietly to move ahead with a two-way exchange -- free or cheap oil for nuclear know-how and expertise.

Pakistani pilots have been employed as contract pilots for the Royal Saudi Air Force for the past 30 years. Several hundred thousand Pakistani workers are employed by the Gulf states, both as skilled and unskilled workers, and their remittances are a hard currency boon for the Pakistani Treasury. . . .

Prior to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, along with the United Arab Emirates, were the only countries that recognized and aided Afghanistan's Taliban regime that had been educated in Pakistan's madrasas (Koranic schools). . . .

To this day, the Saudi clergy continues to fund Pakistan's madrasas that are a substitute for the country's non-existent national education system. The only schools outside madrasas are expensive private institutions. Pakistan, with a crushing defense burden, only spends 1.7 percent of GDP on education (vs. 8 percent in India and 16.5 percent in the United States).

Some 12,000 Koranic schools provide free room and board to some 700,000 Pakistani boys (ages 6 to 16) where they are taught to read and write in Urdu and Arabic and recite the Koran by heart. No other disciplines are practiced, but students are proselytized with anti-American, anti-Israeli and anti-Indian propaganda. By the time they graduate, the majority is convinced that becoming a jihadi, or holy warrior, is the only way to block America's alleged plans to destroy Islam.

Let's review the geopolitical chess board in the Middle East. India and Pakistan are rivals. Saudi Arabia and Iran are rivals. India and Iran are strategic partners. Pakistan is already involved with Saudi defense arrangements and has a deep reliance on Saudi oil and finances that it doesn't want to see threatened.

Now throw Israel into the mix as the wild card and things get even more interesting.

Here's a lesson for you - just because you are unable or unwilling to analyze a situation and think of scenarios that extend beyond a year doesn't mean that other people are similarly handicapped.

Posted by: TangoMan on February 16, 2006 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

You forgot to mention the part about us being greeted as liberators with flowers and parades, and how they'll name the town square in Tehran after George Bush.

Iran is not Iraq. There are not 2 ethnic groups being brutalized by a minority using chemical weapons and other terrorism. Internally Iran is peaceful.

I am not advocating an attack nor do I expect an attack. But if it happens we take out as much of their nuclear and other threatening military capability as possible as well as the top government officials. We would not take over a single city/state government nor interfere with the civil structure in any way. We could do this and minimize the loss of life allowing them to quickly elect a non-theocratic government and move on.

Posted by: rdw on February 16, 2006 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

waterfowl wrote: cmdicely, I know that, but a nuclear-armed Iran still makes me uneasy.

The thousands of massive hydrogen bombs that the USA and Russia still have locked and loaded on ICBMs targeted at each other's cities are a much better reason to be "uneasy", particularly given the very close calls with accidental launches back during the cold war and the fact that Russia's nuclear command and control systems have significantly deteriorated since then.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 16, 2006 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

rdw wrote: GWB is entirely capable of using France to effect some front for diplomatic purposes but that's all it'll be.

George W. Bush is entirely capable of mechanically mouthing a script that he reads off a teleprompter, and regurgitating simplistic programmed talking points, and that is exactly all that he's capable of.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 16, 2006 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

Iran is not Iraq. There are not 2 ethnic groups being brutalized by a minority using chemical weapons and other terrorism. Internally Iran is peaceful.

Ok, so you entirely missed my point: that conservative estimates of how much military commitment will be necessary to achieve particular goals doesn't have the best track record. This exact sort of over-the-top optimistic "we're such badasses" horseshit is what got us into trouble in Iraq, and is one of the biggest examples of Bush administration incompetence. Myself, I was actually called a traitor more than once for suggesting that we'd be in Iraq for longer than three months - something that most conservatives now pretend was obvious from the start.

Of course, your above statements pretty well prove that you haven't learned anything, even from very recent history. And if you think that the Iranian response to an American attack will be to say, "ok, you got us" and elect a secular goverment just so we won't beat up on them anymore, then you really are beyond naive.

Posted by: DH Walker on February 16, 2006 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

They won't even pretend to be partners with the US in any sense except the sense that both are upset about the Iranian program and looking for a way to end it.

Fair enough. Then I did misread you. I 'assumed' the same progression we had with Iraq which included a suggestion of 'severe' consequences if Iraq did not comply with sanctions.

You are suggesting a progression whereby we might get together with France for some kind of economic or technical embargo and nothing more. No hint of military action.

I don't see it. I don't think anyone associated with this WH has the slightest bit of confidence sanctions of any kind can be remotely effective. They were a total disaster in iraq punishing ONLY the innocent civilians. Further Iran could play havoc with oil markets.

Posted by: rdw on February 16, 2006 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK
cmdicely, I know that, but a nuclear-armed Iran still makes me uneasy. It only takes a single nutcase to kill a few hundred thousand with a nuke, and if this is really popular rhetoric, it doesn't much matter whether it's sop for the masses or not, because obviously in that case Iran is crawling with nutcases.

Yeah, I mean, its not like people in Iran have any reasonable basis for feeling that the UK, the US, and entity created by the former and sponsored by the latter have been really bad things for them.

Admittedly, directing the anger more at Israel than they other two players is a little bit nuts, given the history.

But the Iranian government distracting its people from domestic problems with empty bombast direct at Israel is no more -- arguably less -- evidence of national insanity than the US government doing the same with actual war against Iraq.

And, certainly, for less dangerous for the region, the world, and even the average resident of the United States.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 16, 2006 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

If, as I suspect, France makes a strong case that Iran has a nuclear weapons program that must be stopped, but holds back to only supporting sanctions -- and in so doing helps push the Bush Administration to a military action that France then condemns, we'll know they've decided to play "lets you and him fight", a time-honored tradition in geopolitics, to redirect Muslim rage away from France and, at the same time, let the US continue to be mired in an expanding war in the Middle East while France goes about its business. Posted by: cmdicely on February 16, 2006 at 1:13 PM


To second cmdicely's brilliant observation, I wonder if France has just realized that the Bush administration is as easily manipulated as their supporters are by bluster and scare tactics.

If they go it alone again against Iran, then we'll know that they are.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on February 16, 2006 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

It's an aside, but the argument goes that letting the former Soviet ICBM force rust in peace is safer than anything else you can do with it.

By any cold calculation, a newly nuclear Iran is MUCH more dangerous, if for no other reason than we have had former Soviet nukes for nearly 20 years and none have gone off yet.

Anybody think Iran could even get nukes, much less have 'em for 20 years before SOMEBODY gets blown up?

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 16, 2006 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

The thousands of massive hydrogen bombs that the USA and Russia still have locked and loaded on ICBMs targeted at each other's cities are a much better reason to be "uneasy", ...

Aren't they both things to worry about? Why does being more worried about our/Russia's nukes mean we should be less worried about Iran's?

Posted by: DH Walker on February 16, 2006 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

And if you think that the Iranian response to an American attack will be to say, "ok, you got us" and elect a secular goverment just so we won't beat up on them anymore, then you really are beyond naive.

Iran is more like NY than Iraq. 99% of the people won't be effected in any way, shape or form. They don't need a new government, congress, justice dept, interior ministry, etc. They need elections with a truly open slate. They don't want the theocracy either. Just elected different candidates,

BTW: I don't think this is smart. I'd prefer to stay out and just make it clear to every Iranian if anything happens to us and they allowed it to happen Tehran and every other city with more than 50 people is glass.

Posted by: rdw on February 16, 2006 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder if France has just realized that the Bush administration is as easily manipulated as their supporters are by bluster and scare tactics.

I thought GWB was doing the manipulating?

I doubt France will be doing much manipulating since GWB rarely talks to Chirac.

Posted by: rdw on February 16, 2006 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

"Does this mean France is no longer part of the Axis of Weasels?"

No. First they need to invade Iran to prove their bonafides; that is, they need to be 'blooded' as the VP might say.

Posted by: Hedley Lamarr on February 16, 2006 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

But the Iranian government distracting its people from domestic problems with empty bombast direct at Israel is no more -- arguably less -- evidence of national insanity than the US government doing the same with actual war against Iraq.

Exactly right - which is why rdw's notion that an American attack on Iran would make their populace more friendly to western interests is so insanely clueless.

By his reasoning, the American populace should have rejected Bush so that Al Queda would stop attacking us. Oh, but I forgot - red-blooded Americans have more moral fiber than those craven muslims, who fear us far more than they care about their own issues. What's national pride compared to the awesomeness of the manly W, afterall?

Posted by: DH Walker on February 16, 2006 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK
I 'assumed' the same progression we had with Iraq which included a suggestion of 'severe' consequences if Iraq did not comply with sanctions.

Um, with Iraq, it was a suggestion of serious consequence if Iraq did not comply with inspections, not with the sanctions. There was, of course, considerable disagreement over how to proceed when a vague threat was unsuccessful at getting the desired level of cooperation, the US selling its position with outright, knowing lies designed to illustrate that Iraq was not merely failing to comply with inspections, but in fact had substantial weapons programs and likely stockpiles.


You are suggesting a progression whereby we might get together with France for some kind of economic or technical embargo and nothing more. No hint of military action.

No, I'm not. Whether or not France would be willing to "hint at" or, even outright threaten, military action is entirely irrelevant to what I am saying. They might, they might not. It is simply beside the point. Further, I haven't suggested that the US and France would be "getting together" around any common policy at any point in the progression. They might, they might not, but again, that's largely beside the point.

I don't see it.

That much is obvious.

I don't think anyone associated with this WH has the slightest bit of confidence sanctions of any kind can be remotely effective.

Certainly this White House is rather prone to treating military action as a preferred solution. And certainly France taking a strong position that Iran's supposedly "civilian" nuclear program is a weapons program feeds into the "everyone knows" pattern that was cited as justifying the last attack. It greases the political skids for a US attack, whether or not France endorses the attack. Hence, its a good move if the French government wants to get the US to fight Iran even when France overtly calls for action short of military force.

They were a total disaster in iraq punishing ONLY the innocent civilians. Further Iran could play havoc with oil markets.

As if this was less likely if Iran were attacked.


Posted by: cmdicely on February 16, 2006 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: I'd prefer to stay out and just make it clear to every Iranian if anything happens to us and they allowed it to happen Tehran and every other city with more than 50 people is glass.

See? Now you're starting to understand what "international credibility" actually means.

Posted by: DH Walker on February 16, 2006 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK
I thought GWB was doing the manipulating?

Yes, its rather obvious you thought that.

I doubt France will be doing much manipulating since GWB rarely talks to Chirac.

You are beyond naive if you think any member of the French government needs to talk directly to any member of the American government for the former to manipulate the latter.


Posted by: cmdicely on February 16, 2006 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

Anybody think Iran could even get nukes, much less have 'em for 20 years before SOMEBODY gets blown up?

Anybody think the Soviet Union could get nukes, much less have 'em for 20 years before SOMEBODY gets blown up?

Anybody think Red China could get nukes, much less have 'em for 20 years before SOMEBODY gets blown up?

Anybody think Israel could get nukes, much less have 'em for 20 years before SOMEBODY gets blown up?

Anybody think South Africa could get nukes, much less have 'em for 20 years before SOMEBODY gets blown up?


Posted by: Stefan on February 16, 2006 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK
BTW: I don't think this is smart. I'd prefer to stay out and just make it clear to every Iranian if anything happens to us and they allowed it to happen Tehran and every other city with more than 50 people is glass.

See, the problem is, when you attack people based on things you obviously made up for the purpose of attacking them, you lose the ability to make a credible threat. Because a credible threat relies not only on the belief that you will attack if the target does not comply, but that you will not if they do substantially comply.

So, as long as Bush as in office, there is little "credible threat" available to influence foreign nations. We either let other countries handle it, or we resort to brute force methods.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 16, 2006 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely - You may be right, you probably are right, that the French will pretend to support strong action to kill the Iranian nuclear arms program, but will act horrified when the US and/or Israel puts planes in the air to make it happen. But, France did attack Egypt in 1956 and so there is hope.

Posted by: DBL on February 16, 2006 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK
Anybody think Iran could even get nukes, much less have 'em for 20 years before SOMEBODY gets blown up?

Lots of countries have gotten nukes -- South Africa, Israel, the Soviet Union, Red China.

Only one to use them within 20 years of getting them, though, is the United States.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 16, 2006 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK
You may be right, you probably are right, that the French will pretend to support strong action to kill the Iranian nuclear arms program, but will act horrified when the US and/or Israel puts planes in the air to make it happen.

I've never suggested that France would pretend to support strong action and then act horrified if the US acts.

I've suggested that France will strongly condemn the existence of a program, and suggest sanctions and inspections, and recoil at the suggestion of US force -- though quite possibly largely (all of it, including the acting horrified bit) as a means of getting the US to attack and further embroiled in conflict in the Middle East.

But, France did attack Egypt in 1956 and so there is hope.

The reasons, the underlying political situations, and the global political context were a little different 50 years ago, not to mention the specific governments involved were different.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 16, 2006 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

Yeah, I mean, its not like people in Iran have any reasonable basis for feeling that the UK, the US, and entity created by the former and sponsored by the latter have been really bad things for them.

The existence of Israel harms Iran how, exactly? I don't think Israel has ever interfered with Iran. Apart from, you know, existing, and having all those Jews in it. If those are your conceptions of "really bad things" . . .

And "entity" with respect to Israel is so ubiquitously preceded by "Zionist" that I boggled at not seeing it here.

Posted by: waterfowl on February 16, 2006 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

The moral thing to do is offer Iran American nuclear arms to protect itself from us and our allies.

Posted by: Hostile on February 16, 2006 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK
The existence of Israel harms Iran how, exactly?

Very little, except in the way it warps US policy in the region (though, in this respect, Iran has, historically, born less of the cost than the Arab regimes, but then, the Arab regimes have far more fault, too.)


Which is, after all, why I suggested that there was something nuts about the relative degree of anger directed at the US, UK, and Israel.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 16, 2006 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

The existence of Israel harms Iran how, exactly?

Do you really think that pragmatism and enlightened self-interest reliably trump ideology? What world do you live in?

Posted by: DH Walker on February 16, 2006 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

I agree that the US bears some blame for supporting the Shah, but the same logic that led to that position led to the "don't-remove-Saddam" position. We are apparently supposed to support tyrants, except when we aren't. If we do, we are at fault. Ditto if we do not. And if we just wash our hands of the whole mess and go home, we will still be at fault. Because we are the default fixer-upper of the world, aren't we?

I don't see that Iran has borne any costs from the US support of Israel, beyond having to suffer the presence of Jews in the Holy Land.

Posted by: waterfowl on February 16, 2006 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

Iran is not threatened in the least by the existence of Israel, nor by any Israeli policy that I know of, excepting Israel's commitment to survive.

For a lot of Muslims, though, attacking Israel (which rapidly becomes anti-Semitism) has replaced an actual agenda for political, cultural or economic progress. So it makes sense, in a perverse sorta way, that Iran would be bragging about how if somebody nuked Israel, that would end Israel but only "damage" Islam.

The thing is, this is an insane idea, and Iran is not a nation full of insane people. Like rational people everywhere, they respond to carrots -- and sticks.

Recall the wisdom of Bill Murray in Ghostbusters: "Lenny, if we're right, YOU will have saved the lives of MILLIONS of registered voters."

Iran actually DOES have an agenda for economic, political, and even cultural progress - and being blown up for several weeks by American warplanes would really get in the way.

Y'all need to get over the urge to ignore Israel in this discussion, except in a veiled version of the Muslim nonsense: injecting the idea that the Soviets, or the Chinese, etc., didn't use nukes as soon as they got 'em is a sure sign y'all aren't THINKING this through.

Israel is not going to wait until Iran becomes capable of nuking 'em to do something about it.

They know it. We know it. Everybody knows it. That's why France spoke up.

Nobody would expect Israel to let anybody, least of all France, to protect 'em from Iran.

But Israel isn't a crazy state, either.

They are surely ready to do pretty much anything necessary to keep from being nuked (but, ya notice, they didn't attack Pakistan: they do not regard just ANY Muslim state with a nuclear weapon as a vital threat: anybody think they don't look at Iran as one?), but they are exponentially less likely to attack a nearly-nuke Iran that signals it is prepared to maximize its influence by STAYING that way.

That's the American opportunity. Hell, it's an Iranian opportunity. Even the FRENCH have caught on, fercryingoutloud. Iran would be better off as a nearly nuke power (that economic and political and cultural progress, augmented by a considerable military potential) than being bombed by the U.S. for a couple weeks.

And in case anybody is keeping count: It wasn't 20 years, I think it was exactly 20 (or was it 21?) DAYS from America getting a nuke, and using it.

Which is a far better frame of calculation for what ISRAEL will do about Iran, and thus what the U.S. is quietly telling Iran ("gee, fellows: maybe we'll do it ourselves -- or maybe we'll help the Israelis do it.") than the pre-emptive surrender hallucination you guys seem to have bought into.

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 16, 2006 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK
I agree that the US bears some blame for supporting the Shah, but the same logic that led to that position led to the "don't-remove-Saddam" position. We are apparently supposed to support tyrants, except when we aren't.

No, wrong.

The logic that led to sponsoring the Shah led to sponsoring Saddam.

The "don't invade to remove Saddam" position was based on a number of principles -- religious opposition based on Just War principles, secular opposition based on very similar principles against aggressive war (illustrated by the Nuremberg Principles) and other things, not desire to support a tyrant.

The idea that there are two options "support" and "invade" when it comes to foreign governments is idiotic beyond description.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 16, 2006 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: I don't see it.

Nothing new there.

I don't think anyone associated with this WH has the slightest bit of confidence sanctions of any kind can be remotely effective.

Then why are they imposing them on Cuba.

They were a total disaster in iraq punishing ONLY the innocent civilians.

The same is true of Cuba, so, again, why are they imposing them on Cuba.

Further Iran could play havoc with oil markets.

And destroy it's own economy and source of income for the WMDs it is allegedly seeking?

Brilliant!

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 16, 2006 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

The idea that there are two options "support" and "invade" when it comes to foreign governments is idiotic beyond description.

Well, as the idiot in question, I didn't quite say that. What I tried to say is that the "Saddam stabilizes his country, and we want the Middle East stable" line of reasoning is identical to the "The Shah stabilizes his country, and we want the Middle East stable" line of reasoning. No one so far in this thread has actually pointed out any difference between the Shah's rule and Saddam's. So far as I can tell, they were both ghastly, but Saddam killed more people.

I have still no explanation of why Iran suffers from the existence of Israel at all.

Posted by: waterfowl on February 16, 2006 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

Iran is not threatened in the least by the existence of Israel, nor by any Israeli policy that I know of, excepting Israel's commitment to survive.

Israel's nukes pointed at Iran probably has something to do with Iran's desire to arm itself with same.

I think you meant to say the US is not threatned in the least by a nuclear armed Iran exept that we covet their oil and if they are able to defend themselves we cannot steal it from them.

I read somewhere, and actually posted the link here last week, that if Israel or the US make air strikes against Iran's nuclear facilities that Iran has enough infantry to overurn the US forces in Iraq. Although I would like to see a devastating defeat of US forces in Iraq, I would not like to see it happen to begin WWIII, IV or XXX. I would prefer the Iraqis deliver a mortal blow to US imperialism without involving the poor people of Iran.

Arm Iran with American nukes and ask them to forgive us for overthrowing a democratically elected government and installing the Shah. If we do that, peace has a chance.

Posted by: Hostile on February 16, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

Exactly right - which is why rdw's notion that an American attack on Iran would make their populace more friendly to western interests is so insanely clueless.

Never said this. Never even suggest it. Nor do I think it.

Posted by: rdw on February 16, 2006 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

You are beyond naive if you think any member of the French government needs to talk directly to any member of the American government for the former to manipulate the latter.

By 'talk to' I meant pay any attention to. Further, by Bush, I meant the entire administration. I don't think France has ANY influence with this administration thus I DO think it's virtually impossible for them to do any manipulation.

Posted by: rdw on February 16, 2006 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

Is Matt Drudge dead?

Posted by: cld on February 16, 2006 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: . . . thus I DO think it's virtually impossible for them to do any manipulation.

Sure, and Chalabi never manipulated the administration either.

Another hardee har har moment brought to you by rdw.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 16, 2006 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe if Iran had nuclear weapons, it wouldn't be such a bad thing.

Stalin had 'em.

After all, we could avoid this whole war business.

And squandering all that money.

And slaughtering all those lives.

Unless, of course, it's just about forcing some sovereign nation to knuckle under and cough up the oil.

Posted by: SombreroFallout on February 16, 2006 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

'You mean "actively uses French public institutions to suppress religion,"'

--a deeply needed innovation dating back to the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre.

Posted by: cld on February 16, 2006 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre

An example of extreme Momism.

Posted by: Hostile on February 16, 2006 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

"think you meant to say the US is not threatned in the least by a nuclear armed Iran exept that we covet their oil and if they are able to defend themselves we cannot steal it from them."

Uh-huh, lessee, what else is here....

" Although I would like to see a devastating defeat of US forces in Iraq, I would not like to see it happen to begin WWIII, IV or XXX. I would prefer the Iraqis deliver a mortal blow to US imperialism without involving the poor people of Iran."

and moving right along into...

"Arm Iran with American nukes and ask them to forgive us for overthrowing a democratically elected government and installing the Shah. If we do that, peace has a chance."

Hostile, where do I start....Ah hell, why bother.

Posted by: sheerahkahn on February 16, 2006 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

Hostile, who is pretty clearly a dope ("Arm Iran with American nukes and ask them to forgive us for overthrowing a democratically elected government and installing the Shah. If we do that, peace has a chance..." WTF?) also misunderstands the same thing as Waterfowl: "I have still no explanation of why Iran suffers from the existence of Israel at all."

If you want THEIR reasoning, such as it is, this is how it goes: 'Islam is not a religion, still less a church, in the way that Christianity has churches and Judaism is a faith. Islam is a way of life, like being male or female, and after God gave Islam to humanity through the Prophet (pbuh), it spread rapidly through much of the world -- specifically including the ancient Holy Land where such invaluable sites as the Dome of the Rock are located.

The West does not understand the importance of this history; it does not know the history; it disrespects it. That is why Islam is the House of Submission to the Will of God, which cannot but be perpetually in conflict with infidels, the House of War: what THEY themselves called "Christendom."

Of course, Muslims would say (as in fact the Koran does say) 'both Jews and Christians misunderstood, distorted, and outright lied about their own prophets and holy men, so the idea that Europe was "Christendom" is itself proof of their infidelity. Christendom as a term meant the Crusades, the violent and unprovoked attempt by infidels to take BACK the Holy Land from those who obey God.

They lost -- and that is the lesson for today. It took a hundred years, but the Crusader kingdoms are gone.

Islam was the flower of science civilization, the inventor of the concept of zero, of algebra until (even an Arab would say this, and certainly a Persian) the Turks conquered the Muslim lands, and put a stranglehold on progress. Still, Islam is a superior and more moral way of life, so the Ottoman Empire lasted three times as long as any of the evil and weak empires the West boasts of.

'And under the rule of Muslims who lived by the sharia, the People of the Book lived far better and happier lives than anywhere in Christendom.

Then the Caliphate fell, and in the chaos that followed, European nations bullied and colonized Muslim lands. They falsely promised independence to Muslims -- and yet they promised a Muslim land to European Jews.

(now, there are two narratives on this point, I'm noting the more sane one) 'Then, as if further proof of their evil was necessary, as if forcing their Jews on peaceful Muslims was not enough, European nations tried to MURDER all the Jews of Europe. They failed -- God would not countenance such an atrocity: "bismallahir rachmanahir raheemmmm...."

'But -- European Jews, recognizing that the imperialists had left Muslims weak and that the very nations that had weakened Muslims had a guilty conscience for their OWN sins against Jews,undertook a deceitful and aggressive war against peaceful Muslims living in Palestine.

'To sustain this criminal state (an Iranian might say), Israel and its allies in ALL the nations of the House of War, have continued to disrupt, attack and even invade Muslim nations. They have hired Muslim dictators, like Saddam, as lackeys to invade peaceful Muslim nations (like Iran), and then -- proving their infidelity -- turned on them.

'Now, Israel thinks it can do what it likes. (Insert long and highly tendentious list of Israeli actions, in the worst possible and generally anti-Semitic light)

BUT --"

And this is where you get the Iranian argument that becoming a nuclear power itself would be a wonderful thing for Islam.

The insane idea is that nuking Israel would destroy it, while whatever the retaliation would be could only 'damage' the House of Submission to the Will of God.

The slightly more sane version is the idea that Iran would only want nukes because Israel has nukes pointed at Iran. This may be slightly more sane, but it's completely irrational: Pakistan has nukes, but Israel is unlikely to attack Pakistan for a whole lot of reasons.

Given the nutty nature of its leadership on the utility of nukes, Israel has a LOT of good reason to keep Iran from getting any.

But -- since you asked, Waterfowl, that's the Iranian rationale: Israel's existence is an affront to Islam, exactly the way the Crusader kingdoms were. Islam destroyed them, and it will destroy Israel.

The sane ones simply note that they can wait as long in the 21st century as they did a thousand years ago: demographics is better than ballistics.

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 16, 2006 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK
By 'talk to' I meant pay any attention to.

Doesn't change the point. France's statements are seen directly by other people, and influence the political environment, which is exactly the mechanism of manipulation I was referring to.

Further, by Bush, I meant the entire administration.

Since I referred to the entire French and American governments, that's already been dealt with. See above, its not about our government listening to their government.

I don't think France has ANY influence with this administration thus I DO think it's virtually impossible for them to do any manipulation.

Yes, well, you probably should have stopped that sentence after the word "think" for all your ability to consider how this administration might be manipulated.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 16, 2006 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

I meant the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre as an illustration of why religion should be repressed, all of them.

Posted by: cld on February 16, 2006 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK
What I tried to say is that the "Saddam stabilizes his country, and we want the Middle East stable" line of reasoning is identical to the "The Shah stabilizes his country, and we want the Middle East stable" line of reasoning.

I don't recall anyone making the former argument before the war. I do recall people making the argument that a US-led invasion as the means of removing Saddam would destabilize the Middle East and radicalize it and increase recruitment for radical anti-US groups like al-Qaeda (all of which seems to have borne out.)

That's not an argument that Saddam's regime is good or stabilizing, its an argument that a particular means of replacing it is undesirable, however desirable the goal of replacing that regime might be.

So, I think your beating a strawman, here, essentially inventing a position an attributing it to the anti-war movement to be analogous to the pro-Shah position.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 16, 2006 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

hardeharde W,

I've got it now, it's where you work! Raoul's Discount Warehouse, where every day is a white elephant sale.

Explains your deep economic and social insight.

Posted by: cld on February 16, 2006 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

Why, indeed.

Obviously you do not agree with my assessment the US only wants Iran's oil and is willing to take it any way possible, including nuclear war.

Obviously you do not agree with my desire for a Khe San like defeat of US forces in Iraq to deter US militant aggression. I do not enjoy this desire, but I do not enjoy bombing Fallujah with phospherous, either. I only say devastating defeat because of American hubris that thinks our military infallible. It took many such defeats for Americans to realize the Viet Nam war was wrong. Perhaps it is because many, a lot, most, a majority of Americans thought the Viet Nam war was wrong due to the cost in American lives rather than because imperialism is wrong, but if it stops our aggression, I can accept that.

Obviously you do not think America sinned greatly against the Iranian people when we overthrew their government and installed the Shah, nor do you think the sin great enough to ask forgiveness from the people we harmed. Surprising to me, since I thought I read in another comment you called yourself a Christian.

Arming Iran with American nukes will help promote peace and demonstrate our commitment to it. Most, many, a lot, a majority of Americans just prefer to nuke everyone back to Stonehenge, and think pursuing peace is not part of our macho shoot first and ask questions later heritage. Make Iran our friend, and oil will be easier to purchase on the market and ensure Israel's existence and demonstrate our desire for true peace rather than for conflict. It is not easy for Americans to understand that the way to a peaceful world is for us to give up our warring ways.

Perhps it is just my 'little mind' that is unable to to see your point of view that killing Persians and Arabs is the path to enlightenment.

Posted by: Hostile on February 16, 2006 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK
The insane idea is that nuking Israel would destroy it, while whatever the retaliation would be could only 'damage' the House of Submission to the Will of God.

Insane? I'm pretty sure that such ideas (with the names changed) were part of China's public defense strategy.

Given the geographic size of Israel, the size of the Muslim world, and the likely number of warheads Israel has and its ability to deliver them, its actually quite reasonable to believe that Israel could be essentially wiped out with nuclear strike by a hypothetical, comparably armed, nuclear-armed Muslim state without Israel being able to do more than serious-but-far-more-limited, proportionally, damage to the Muslim world.

Of course, this presumes that no other, larger state would respond to an attack on Israel.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 16, 2006 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

Assume everything you say. Where does that leave the Shah? We sent him lots of money. We now send Egypt lots of money. Are we responsible for the government of Egypt? I hope not.

Posted by: waterfowl on February 16, 2006 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, well, you probably should have stopped that sentence after the word "think" for all your ability to consider how this administration might be manipulated.

You don't make any sense. We both apparently agree neither GWB nor anyone in his administration pays any attention to France. Ergo French manipulation would have to be indirect.

We can at least agree is not enough for France to simply make a prouncement to have influence. Someone actually has to be listening to France.

The 1st obvious choice would be American liberals. They care deeply about French approval.

But does GWB or anyone in this administration pay any attention to American liberals? I think not.

So who else might be listening to France that they could be manipulated and thus might manipulate the US? The EU? The neighbors ignore France just as much as conservatives. Forget the EU. The UK? Italy? They're in Iraq so clearly they don't pay any attention to France either.

Could France actually do something to manipulate the US or the situation? I give up. I don't see it. There are 10 other nations who will play substantially more important rolls. France is at best a bit player.

Posted by: rdw on February 16, 2006 at 8:01 PM | PERMALINK

What the French are blind to is their own deeply narcissistic cultural chauvinism. We are French! And being French is the best!

Replace "French" with "American" and that pretty much sums up the attitude I see around me everyday.

Posted by: kgb on February 16, 2006 at 8:04 PM | PERMALINK

Sure, and Chalabi never manipulated the administration either.

Chalabi is STILL manipulating this administration. They talk to him. They don't talk to Chirac. Chalabi has infuence. Chirac does not.

Posted by: rdw on February 16, 2006 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: They don't talk to Chirac.

This is almost as funny as your recent lie that top administration officials hadn't had a single trip to Old Europe in months, when in fact both the Commerce Secretary and Rice had been to Old Europe within that time frame, and in fact very, very recently prior to your post.

Caught in that lie, as shown by postings from the administration's own websites, you at least had the decency to shut up and run away.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 16, 2006 at 8:15 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: The 1st obvious choice would be American liberals. They care deeply about French approval.

Another pathetically mendacious jibe intended as defamation.

On the other hand, I remember how deeply American conservatives cared about what Saddam thought, about what Noriega thought, about what South African apatheidists thought, about what the Shah of Iran thought, and even about what Hitler thought.

But does GWB or anyone in this administration pay any attention to American liberals? I think not.

If so, then anti-war statements cannot have any effect on the country's and armed services' moral, as you and your fellow conservative have claimed.

Which means you are either lying about the former, or lying about the latter, or lying about both.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 16, 2006 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: They don't talk to Chirac.

Another easily proven lie . . .

Bush, Chirac to meet in Brussels on February 21, 2005 (That's after the invasion of Iraq, rdw! Just in case you are as clueless as you appear to be!)

Gee, and it was with Bush personally, not just contacts between their staffs!


Posted by: Advocate for God on February 16, 2006 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

its actually quite reasonable to believe that Israel could be essentially wiped out with nuclear strike by a hypothetical, comparably armed, nuclear-armed Muslim state without Israel being able to do more than serious-but-far-more-limited, proportionally, damage to the Muslim world.

Israel is about 40 years ahead of the Iranians who even at that are using foreign talent. Israel also has access to US technology which is 60 years ahead and includes defense technology. It's more likely that Israel has hardened silos ready to launch multiple warheads not just against Iran but against EVERY non friendly Arab nation in the region including Mecca and Medina and the 150 largest cities in the Muslim world. Further they could choose to make each of these cities uninhabitable for many millineum depending on the nuclear material they choose to use.

There's also the strong possibility any kind of a launch fro as far away as Iran is as likely to land in the West Bank or Jordan as Israel.

I actually don't think Iran intends to use their weapons. They are designed to control the Arab word and Europe. The French have already been spooked.

Posted by: rdw on February 16, 2006 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK

Does this mean France is no longer part of the Axis of Weasels?

No. they will make a lot of noise, then stab in the back anybody who takes any action.

Posted by: republicrat on February 16, 2006 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

"Could France actually do something to manipulate the US or the situation?"


The French have a long and wonderous history of screwing around under the counter, especially in the Middle East, where they are now reaping what they've sown at least as much as the US, and, arguably, more.

They parachuted in Khomenei, after all.

Posted by: cld on February 16, 2006 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

I'll be anxious to see a coilition of the willing this time. I bet bush can't sell this one any better than social security private accounts. If he's real serious though he'll get those twins to volunteer.

Posted by: darby1936 on February 16, 2006 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

LOL -- Waterfowl, you asked a question twice, and I answered it twice: get it now?

Dicely: I dunno as it is exactly a ringing defense of the sanity of a proposition to say, well, "Mao believed it."

But the key difference is simply that China remains a largely unitary place, culture and ethnicity: there are lots of ethnicities and smaller cultures in the orbit, but China is still basically the Han.

From a Chinese point of view, nuclear weaponry was never gonna do what the Mongols couldn't (or wouldn't -- Ye Lu Qucai, and all that). The catastrophic loss of life in an all out 1965 countervalue nuclear war would have, from Mao's point of view, still left plenty of Chinese -- after all, he'd seen the Yellow River dykes blown up to slow the Japanese down, he figured that's what war looks like.

He was wrong. (Besides, what he really meant was 'let the Americans and Soviets nuke EACH OTHER.')

But more to the point, the dirty little secret of Islam is that it is on some level an Arab religion made up of people who are not Arabs: the Iranians are Persians (or take a look at Darfur), and the biggest Muslim nation is Indonesia.

It exceeds the design tolerances of humanity to ask (or expect) that Persians or even Wahabis (to mix apples and aardvarks) would invite their own annihilation for folks who are UNLIKE them in every respect except faith -- especially when the sane faithful have a persuasive and authoritative argument that such nihilistic slaughter is not only suicidal, but blasphemous.

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 16, 2006 at 9:51 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: They don't talk to Chirac.

Another easily proven lie . . .

Bush, Chirac to meet in Brussels on February 21, 2005

You're an idiot.

In a slick political move Bush made his 1st trip of his 2nd term to Europe to quell the 'when is GWb going to make peace with the EU" mania from the press corps. It worked beautifully.

What came of it?

He'll also talk to jacques at G-8 and other necessary meetings. But actually discuss anything? I don't think so. He calls tony blair almost every tuesday. He never calls jacques. jacques is dead to him and jacques knows it.

Posted by: rdw on February 16, 2006 at 9:59 PM | PERMALINK

theAmericanist,

Yes, yes, I got your gist. Muslims hate Israel simply because it's not Muslim, and everything should be Muslim. But that doesn't explain the really virulent hatred of Jews that comes across in the Islamic media. The Middle East's Islamic governments may persecute Christians (well, they do persecute them, in droves if they find them, one by one when pickings are slim), but their government media organs don't ordinarily offer up malicious caricatures of Christians, as they do of Jews. There is something not sane at the back of that.

Posted by: waterfowl on February 16, 2006 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

It's relatively new, too.

I'm no expert on the history of anti-Semitism, which is a kind of mental illness, I think -- but I'm pretty sure that in all the centuries of Christian anti-Semitism in Europe, there was very little of it in Muslim lands: dhimmitude is a medieval concept, but compared to, ya know, the ACTUAL performance of medieval Europe, it's downright progressive.

So I don't think the anti-Semitism you see in Arab papers, especially, is entirely because Jews aren't Muslims.

I think it is more because Arabs are weak, and they know it. Israel is proof that the Arab nations were (are) militarily weak and politically stupid. There isn't a sensible person on the planet who doesn't know that refusing the 2-state solution in 1948 was an unmitigated disaster for the Palestinians, the Arabs, and Muslims as a whole.

The Palestinians are an interesting (and alarming) example. What makes a "nation" is endlessly fascinatin' for an American, being as how we're based on a proposition, a civic faith. Other nations are based on genetics (like Germany), or a language (like the French); most evolved from simple geography (Britain -- it's the biggest island close to Europe, which pretty much explains everything).

The only thing that gives Palestinians a national consciousness, is hatred of Israel. Think about it -- what else does it mean to be Palestinian, or to support the Palestinian cause?

There's no "we hold these truths to be self-evident" involved, no civic faith. The government is utterly corrupt, so it's not about the practice of self-government. There's no economy to speak of. The pan-Arab, largely Islamic thing is wholly anti-Israel.

And until quite recently, the only state in the entire Middle East where a Palestinian could be a citizen -- was Israel itself.

That's why I still think Iran is an opportunity in crisis drag: they're not Arabs, they're Persians; they're not Sunnis, they're Shi'ites -- and they're not nuts.

Iran as a nearly nuke power gets all the cred from being defiant, with none of that messy rubble from actually, you know, defying us (or scaring the Israelis, who do not scare easily).

The question isn't Bob McK's dumbass "gee, what would be wrong with a nuclear Iran" (which is the pre-emptive surrender, 'screw Israel' hallucination), but: what would be so bad about a NEARLY nuke Iran?

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 17, 2006 at 7:27 AM | PERMALINK

rdw,

Your posts concerning France and Germany contain so many inaccuracies and idiotic statements that it's hard to know where to begin. Let's have a look at military statistics, shall we. Here is a chart from 2001 which shows the biggest military players:

http://www.acp-cpa.ca/fr/depenses_militaires.pdf

As you can see France and GB are pretty close, respectively 3rd and 4th behind the US and Russia. Germany comes close behind. The US is far ahead but the US also spends far more in terms of share of GDP than anyone else. The truth is that there are only 4-5 countries on earth that have a significant military force that can be projected overseas, France (like GB) is one of them.

Also, saying that France and Germany don't have the technology is really quite funny. FYI, Airbus and Arianne Espace are both based in France and are now world leaders in 2 of the most advanced technological industries with strong connections to the military. I would say that Japan, China and Russia are actually all behind in that respect.

French can't be trusted ? Well, who said that there were no WMDs and that the war was not justified ? And who said that Iraq was on the verge of getting 'nuquelar' weapons using forged documents as evidence ? I don't know who i can trust the most in these matters, but i know for sure who i don't trust, and that's the Bush administration.

French bashing can be fun but that's not a license for saying anything. The french have been very irritating to US conservatives because they were just pointing out the obvious and exposing all the lies of the Bush administration. Iraq was a bad idea, France dissented, so what ? That doesn't mean that they will do the same for the next crisis. I actually think that France will be on the side of the US when Iran is dealt with, not just diplomatically but also militarily.

Posted by: Grigou on February 17, 2006 at 7:49 AM | PERMALINK

They parachuted in Khomenei, after all.


Did they? This suggests France was somehow in control of the situation. Aside from providing Khomenei safe harbor, as they do with many rich and well-connected refuges, what active role the French Govt play? The story of the last 100 years is of a French Govt reacting to events, badly, never in control of any of them.

WWI, WWII, Vietnam, Middle East, North Africa, etc. is a story of one French debacle after another.

Posted by: rdw on February 17, 2006 at 8:04 AM | PERMALINK

Let's you and him fight. Sounds like a Bush cultist talking. It must be nice to let some junkie on the radio think for you, right dittoheads?

Posted by: gus on February 17, 2006 at 8:29 AM | PERMALINK

The truth is that there are only 4-5 countries on earth that have a significant military force that can be projected overseas, France (like GB) is one of them.

France is NOT one of them. They are technologically advanced relative to those not in the top 5 but well behind Israel and the US. France is unable to transport any significant numbers of troops outside it's borders in any meaningful way, any meaningful distance. They were invisible in Indonesia when the US, Japan, Australia and others were providing desperately needed relief operations.

Aside from some capable but inexperienced special forces units the military has become a civil service job with a rather elderly age profile. They have many soldiers with time but none with experience. Military service is a jobs program in France.

The only projection France can do is using missles. They have a small navy and an advanced air force but it lacks transport capabilities. The Serbs operated with impunity until the USAF showed up. They would still be operating with impunity.

In terms of spending and capability the US is alone. Next in spending are China and Russia well ahead of a pack which includes Japan the UK and France. Germany only spends about 75% their levels.

The more important consideration is experience and success. Although the UK and France spend about the same the UK has very experienced troops at all levels of command, battle tested equipment and a very close working relationship with the finest troops in the field. Japan is constrainted by it's constitution but still has a technology advanced military and there's no question once these restrictions are removed will further dwarf France as a power.

Israel is small but incredibly lethal with by far the most experience and proven technological and strategic savvy. Given a choice between France or Israel as an ally no one would choose France.

The US has wisely delinked from France, Germany and Canada and moved closer to Australia, South Korea, Japan and India. The UK of course remains key.

As far as French technology the USA and Israel are a minimum two generations removed and continue leapfrogging the French and the Russians. They simply do not have the funds, the innovation skills, nor the development capabilities.

More important is that the French and Germans actually do believe in soft power. They're dealmakers. Fighting is gauche. Our move away was inevitable. They have no proven capabilities nor record of success. No experienced soldiers or pilots. They are chronically weak economically and entering a demographic crises. We simply cannot be close allies.

Posted by: rdw on February 17, 2006 at 9:01 AM | PERMALINK

France dissented, so what ? That doesn't mean that they will do the same for the next crisis. I actually think that France will be on the side of the US when Iran is dealt with, not just diplomatically but also militarily.

They have nothing to offer militarily. They are dangerous to the USA because they cannot be trusted. It's hard enough dealing with whackjobs in Iran why on earth add France to the mix and create a 3 ring circus? They always have a separate agenda, or two, and would be more than willing, even anxious, to cut their own deal and screw the US.

I don't take this personal. They'd screw the UK or Germans just as quickly.

We will be on the same side and we'll work arm-in-arm. But it will be uncomfortable keeping one eye looking forward and one eye covering our back.

Patton had a great line in WWII. "I'd rather have a German division in front of me than a French division behind me". This is nothing new. We know what we have in this 'ally'. IF GWB allows France in the room he's merely following Lincolns political strategy in picking his cabinet. "I like to keep my friends close and my enemies closer".

Posted by: rdw on February 17, 2006 at 9:16 AM | PERMALINK

rdw: You're an idiot.

And you are a proven liar.

At least twice now just about France and Europe.

And obviously you didn't read the links which stated that substantive matters were discussed. Statements by the administration itself.

Your self-serving delusions and speculations that Bush didn't discuss anything of import with Chirac aren't so and aren't supported by any evidence, no matter how much you want to believe that what you believe is true.

Were you there during the discussions?

No?

Then you don't know squat beyond what was reported, but pretend that you do.

Nor do you know how often Bush calls Blair.

You are spitting into the wind, moron, and easily caught in your deceits.

So, who is the idiot, then.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 17, 2006 at 9:22 AM | PERMALINK

rdw: WWI, WWII, Vietnam, Middle East, North Africa, etc. is a story of one French debacle after another.

Bay of Pigs, support for Pinochet, support for Rios Montt, support for and arming of Saddam, support for the Shah (prior to Carter), Vietnam, Middle East, Iraq (of the-war-that-will-pay-for-itself fame), the "GWOT", arming of the Taliban, North Korea (from 2000 on), opposition to the intervention in Bosnia and Kosovo, Iran (from 2000 on), etc. . . . is a story of one American conservative foreign policy debacle after another.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 17, 2006 at 9:28 AM | PERMALINK

rdw: Our move away was inevitable.

Why don't you just link to those wacko militia sites you are getting this from instead of trying to regurgitate it ad hoc.

It just makes you look even more idiotic than the militiamen.

Get out of your bunker every once and a while and you might actually obtain some real facts to replace the delusions you've constructed.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 17, 2006 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

Having spent much of my professional life as a partisan critic of the Right, I think Advocate sorta misses the small matter of the collapse of communism: an AMERICAN triumph, to be sure -- but I wouldn't write off the role Reagan played.

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 17, 2006 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

the Americanist: Having spent much of my professional life as a partisan critic of the Right, I think Advocate sorta misses the small matter of the collapse of communism: an AMERICAN triumph, to be sure -- but I wouldn't write off the role Reagan played.

The collapse of communism must come as a shock to the leaders of China and Cuba.

As to the collapse in the USSR and Eastern Bloc, this was primarily due to internal forces, the actions of other forces such as the Pope, and the Soviet obsession with Afghanistan, their own Vietnam, which bankrupt their nation under circumstances which nearly but didn't bankrupt America because of fundamental flaws in the implementation of communist economic theories, and possibly in the theories themselves.

Reagan's contribution to the defeat of communism in the USSR and the Eastern Bloc nations is highly overrated.

Bluster, which is what Reagan's actions mostly amounted to, is vastly oversold as an effective foreign policy tool.

Just ask Saddam.

And the vast majority of French citizens were effective fighters against the Nazis. WWII could hardly be listed as an example of failed French foreign policy, will, or character, unless you are willing ton include Britain and the US in that mix of failure also.

The country can hardly be blamed for the actions of a handful of Vichy leaders who were the beneficiaries of a very powerful Nazi war machine.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 17, 2006 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

rdw: They are dangerous to the USA because they cannot be trusted.

Corrected version: The Bush administration is dangerous to the USA because they cannot be trusted.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 17, 2006 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

rdw: I don't take this personal. They'd screw the UK or Germans just as quickly.

Of course you do.

You obsessive hatred for the French drives every one of your foreign policy conclusions.

Which is funny from someone who claims rabid hatred of Bush is what drives all liberal political strategy, despite overwhelming evidence that Bush is incompetent as a leader and a liar to boot, if not also a criminal.

Perhaps it is time you took your own advice and moved beyond your obsessive hatred of the French (or anyone else who has the audacity to call Bush the liar and incompetent that the is) and actually perform an objective analysis of real facts, rather than the make-believe facts that inform your conclusions.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 17, 2006 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

And obviously you didn't read the links which stated that substantive matters were discussed. Statements by the administration itself.

Please, don't be so childish. Of course they said substantial things were discussed. They also had pictures taken of them shaking hands and smiling. They're best friends!!

We are competitors. We are not allies. France wasn't even in NATO when it was functional. Europe stopped being important politically in 1989. They were already substantially anti-american. We saw the proof of what we suspected when the EU was helpless against the Serbs. Since then they've grown much weaker and more anti-american .

We simply cannot turn our backs on these people or remain closely involved. They have duanting economic, demographic and social problems that are certain to get worse. Knowing the tragic and bloody history of Europe these last 100 years it seems silly to say their best days are behind them but that's true.


GWB paid his perfunctionary visit and has since moved on wth the Business of America which is in Eastern Europe, Asia, the Middle East and to a lessor extend South America.

GWB has signed free trade agreements with Chile and the nations of Central America and has active negotiations with Columbia (yesterday) Panama, Ecuador and Peru as well as regular high level contacts with Lula of Brazil.

Tony Blair and GWB speak almost every Tuesday for an hour.

GWB is taking his 2nd Asian tour next month with the key stop being India for more trade and defense talks. Rumsfeld, Rice and Zoeller have made several trips already.

GWB also announced a few weeks back we are negotiating a free trade deal with South Korea. He has already signed FT deals with Singapore and Australia.

The meeting in India will also include discusion on the Asian-pacific partnership which includes Japan, China, South Korea and Australia. This will replace Kyoto in due time.

There's so much going on. Almost none of it in France.

Posted by: rdw on February 17, 2006 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

The country can hardly be blamed for the actions of a handful of Vichy leaders who were the beneficiaries of a very powerful Nazi war machine.

Of course they can and they should be.

The French had little to do with the liberation of France and nothing to do with victory in WWII.

The French infantry fought bravely in WWI and WWII but were disgracefully led.

Posted by: rdw on February 17, 2006 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

You obsessive hatred for the French drives every one of your foreign policy conclusions.

The opposite is true. I am advocating ignoring the French. I don't want them driving any foreign policy decisions. I am saying they are at best irrelevent to our foreign policy decisions and at worst could do damage. They have zero to offer militarily and can't be trusted diplomatically.

Posted by: rdw on February 17, 2006 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

The collapse of communism must come as a shock to the leaders of China and Cuba.

The Chinese abandoned communism as an economic system 25 years ago. The cuban economy collapsed 45 years ago. The hot new car in Havana is a 56 chevy.

Do you know that clown still gives 6 hour speeches?

Posted by: rdw on February 17, 2006 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

Reagan's contribution to the defeat of communism in the USSR and the Eastern Bloc nations is highly overrated.

Doesn't the internet just suck?

You could say that but any high schooler could look up the record and in 10 minutes find video of Reagan trashing communism predicting it's demise and prominent liberals defending it predicting a long life.

You will not have the opportunity to rewrite this history.

Posted by: rdw on February 17, 2006 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

The only thing that gives Palestinians a national consciousness, is hatred of Israel.

You are very wrong. The Palestinian nation is written about in T.E Lawrence's book The Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Written long before Israel existed, the book establishes the respect the Palestinian nation had amongst the Arab leadership fighting the Ottoman Empire.

Posted by: Hostile on February 17, 2006 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

RDW, you are very wrong about Reagan. Any pre-schooler could go on the internet and find out Truman's Doctrine was followed by every President since 1948, up to and including Reagan. Republican Stalinists have rewritten history and you think it is Gospel.

Posted by: Hostile on February 17, 2006 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

Truman's Doctrine was followed by every President since 1948, up to and including Reagan.

I never suggest otherwise. I've pointed out before that Reagan stood on the shoulders of those who went before him and the broadest set belonged to Harry S.

I've also agrued that Harry, Ike and RR deserve their top 10 rankings. I take a back seat to no one in my admiration of HST.

What I did say was that in the 1980's the Democrats took the exact WRONG position and it is well documented. They fought against RR's aggressive anti-russian programs EVERY TIME and lectured RR on the importance of learning to live with them. This is the main reason academia has become such a joke. They've been pitiful.

You do know RR was a wild cowboy before GWB right?

Your party took an anti-military leftist turn in 1968 and hasn't recovered since. There is no resemblence of the Democratic party of Truman-Kennedy-Johnson compared to the post 68 group.

Turman would be embarrased by both Carter and Clinton.

BTW: HST is actually ranked low by academic historians. They're not the 'give em hell' types. They're sophisticated.

Posted by: rdw on February 17, 2006 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

The Soviet Union's collapse was internally driven by totalitarian terror fatigue, and had very little to do with Raygun's increasing military spending, which served the US commonweal poorly.

Posted by: Hostile on February 17, 2006 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Does this mean France is no longer part of the Axis of Weasels?

...president Jacques Chirac's recent warning that France would be prepared to use nuclear weapons against any state or state-supported terrorist group that launched a terrorist attacks against it.

President Chirac is a conservative type of president, AND not some new kind of neo-con sytle of criminal of the so called conservative (nothing conservative about Bush, or his spend) Republicans of today new neo-con party.

Goldwater would have said much the same things President Chirac did in the face of Bush having caused the Mideast to become destabilize, exactly the way France, Russia, Germany and China warned would happen if Bush went to war in Iraq.

Chirac is actual smart, has a real education and uses it unlike Bush Jr.

Chirac doesn't represent France in via infomercial capacity in the same way Bush is simply a spokesperson for Cheney and Karl.

Chirac isn't just some presidental face for a corrupt bunch of hooligans that drunkenly shoot up the Texas hill country and along with a unwise hunt buddy that was stupid enought to get in way of Dick Cheney's 12-gauge shotgun in new neo-con shoot up everything that moves party.

Chirac doesn't have to threaten government officials and press members with vengeful acts of retaliation if any of his conservative party members fail to do exactly what he wants unlike Bush's criminal administration constant does with toward any wayward GOP or the nation press members.

Chirac is more like Bush Sr.

The fact that wannabe conservatives, like for example Glen Reynolds, have this blind hated of anyone Bush points his finger at is simply an example of blind cultism. Chirac IS a conservative. Bush is just an infomercial face for Dick Cheney. Bush doesn't know what to think until Cheney or Karl tell junior what to think, what to feel and what to say. Bush isnt a real president - he just plays one on TV.


Posted by: Cheryl on February 17, 2006 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

The Soviet Union's collapse was internally driven by totalitarian terror fatigue, and had very little to do with Raygun's increasing military spending, which served the US commonweal poorly

I don't agree with this even a little bit but it's still not the point. The point is what the record shows. The record show REAGAN and ONLY REAGAN predicting their demise.

The record ALSO show liberals the world over lecturing the great unwashed we had to learn how to "Share the planet since it's the only one we have and they're going to be here a long time".

Reagan made a fool out of the ENTIRE liberal establishment. He was right. They were exactly wrong and it's all right at our fingertips.

What was that line of his? "Dustbin of History' or some such? He was an unsophisticated cowboy don't you know? Tell me what an older liberal fears most, videotape or search engines?

Posted by: rdw on February 17, 2006 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

Chirac is actual smart, has a real education and uses it unlike Bush Jr.

Jacques is the most hated man in France. His polls are the lowest in the history of polls. No one believes a word he says nor that the French will defend themselves. They'll do what they did in 42.

GWB is very uneducated. Harvard MBA's are a dime a dozen.

Posted by: rdw on February 17, 2006 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

rdw,

You are right, the french are evil, they suck, their army is worthless, they can not be trusted for anything and we should always listen to what dear leader says especially when the french say otherwise. Thanks for simplifying my world view.

Posted by: grigou on February 17, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Oy -- not to prolong this, but since I started it: I think it is a mistake for progressives to fail to give Reagan, and the broader conservative movement that started out against Nixon's detente (Paul Nitze, the Committee on the Present Danger, etc.) , credit for their unrelenting hostility toward the Soviet Union in its last generation.

That hostility was constantly in the face of the Soviet leadership, informing all of their decisions, in the transition from the guys who knocked off Krushchev, through Andropov, Gorbachev, and Yeltsin.

Conservatives WAY overdo Reagan's contribution, to the whole 'they can't compete with our military spending', but progressives underplay it, which is just as bad, historically -- but it is DISASTROUS, politically.

Personally, I'd give at least as much credit to the Pope, to JPII, as to Reagan. "Be not afraid", when the Pope went to Poland, was worth MUCH more than "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."

But let's face it: there were damned few world leaders from JFK forward who had a tenth of Reagan's passion for freedom behind the Iron Curtain.

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 17, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Personally, I'd give at least as much credit to the Pope, to JPII, as to Reagan. "Be not afraid", when the Pope went to Poland, was worth MUCH more than "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."

I don't think giving Reagan credit takes away from credit given to the Pope. He deserves, and mostly gets, a great deal of credit, for his efforts in bucking up the oppressed of Central Europe and confronting the USSR.

I would argue that the conservatives giving RR so much credit are the same people giving Pope John Paul so much credit. It is those who refuse to give RR any credit who also refuse to give the Pope credit (a large number of them have contempt for religion and especially this conservative Pope). They credit internal failings within the USSR making collapse inevitable AND/OR Gorby's sophistication.

In terms of total impact however there's little question RR was more decisive within the USSR. As Stalin remarked when told of comments from the Pope, "How many divisions does the Pope have?" Secular totalarian govts do not collapse based on the words of a Pope.

Reagan and Pope John Paul as well as Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon were all important. I would argue Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon had a country united in fighting the cold war while Reagan had to fight the US liberal establishment as well as the Europeans.

Of all them I am probably most impressed with Harry however. FDR did absolutely nothing to prepare him for a horrible job and he was amazing.

Posted by: rdw on February 17, 2006 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, but FDR picked him.

And -- rdw? You can never say the bullshit you just did, cuz now you know it's wrong: I've got liberal Democratic credentials out the wazoo -- and I give Reagan and the Pope credit.

LOL -- and, well, consider how I honor Truman's memory.

As it happens, my son's pre-school day care center was in the church that Harry Truman attended -- and there is a pew, still there, which was Mr. Truman's. The church history says that when Truman went to church, which was often, he always sat on the aisle.

So I made a point of sitting once, at each end of that pew.

And I'm proud.

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 17, 2006 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

and I give Reagan and the Pope credit.

Fair enough!

But you obviously are not part of the liberal MSM or academia because they do not.

Quite true FDR picked Harry. Not for the right reasons but he did pick him.

Posted by: rdw on February 17, 2006 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

LOL -- only a damned fool would ever imagine that the historical record includes the actual reasons FDR did almost anything.

One of my favorite FDR stories is about Joe Kennedy's nomination as ambassador to Britain. Kennedy was after all a leading isolationist and possibly THE most visibly anti-British politician in America -- but it was clear that America was (and had to) back Britain, and things were dire.

So Kennedy wanted the job. It was a brilliant move on his part, since it would inoculate his own kids -- namely, Joe, Jr. -- from the old man's isolationism, etc.

FDR was willing to give it to him -- it was a good move for Roosevelt, for all the same reasons. FDR needed a united Democratic party, much less a united America, and Kennedy knew damned well how important he was -- and potentially could be, to that effort: he felt like he was doing FDR a major favor, to be interested in going to Britain as ambassador.

BUT -- it was necessary to show who needed whom, here.

So FDR called Joe in. The meeting, the story goes, took place in the residence, and the only ones present were FDR, Kennedy, and "Pa" Watson, the President's chief of staff.

FDR is said to have glanced at Kennedy, standing rather awkwardly, then back to Watson: "I can't tell."

Watson didn't say anything -- and neither did Kennedy, unsure what was going on.

FDR says: "Joe, please go over there by the fireplace, won't you?" Kennedy does.

"Please roll up your pant legs, Mr. Kennedy," Watson says. "Both of them. Higher."

Something isn't working.

And the President says: "Drop your pants, will you Joe? We need to see something."

LOL -- I dunno as a modern politician would do this, but it was the late 1930s, after all, when men were men, so Kennedy -- baffled -- complies, standing there with his pants down and his knobby knees showing, above the garters and below his boxers.

FDR turns to Watson, and says: "You're right. We can't -- it would be very bad for our whole effort, send the wrong signal."

Kennedy had expected some sort of joke, and nobody was laughing. He's red-faced, pulling his pants up -- and angry: "Will somebody tell me what the hell this is about?"

Watson explains: "You're knock-kneed, Joe. The President was thinking of nominating you to the Court of St. James -- but you'd have to wear knee breeches. You're knock kneed. It doesn't show in long pants, but, well: you'd have to be presented to the King, and it just won't do. We can't have our Ambassador to Britain at this time looking like he's scared to meet a King."

So Joe Kennedy, furious and speaking slowly, explains that he. will. be. the. first. American. ambassador. to. the. Court. of. St. James. to . wear. long. pants.... if the President wants him, to, of course.

FDR breezily agrees, interview over.

Not a man to underestimate, Franklin Roosevelt.

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 17, 2006 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

rdw,

The French had total control over Khomenei, until the Shah's regime went out of control, then he was abruptly an international figure.

Since the Suez incident the French developed an institutionalized attitude of petty local meddling in the Middle East, just in the interest of keeping trouble rolling, just because they could.

It was in this way that they provided support, and most importantly, organizational know-how, to Khomenei's nascent revolutionary organization, which is today trying to build a nuclear bomb.

If they hadn't allowed him the freedom to develop this organization, in obvious undermining of US, and most Western, interests, it would never have happened.

They have provided similar support for both the PLO and Syria for decades.

Posted by: cld on February 17, 2006 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

Not a man to underestimate, Franklin Roosevelt.

Stalin didn't under-estimate him. He knew he could have his way with him. And he did. FDRs legacy was the cold war. Churchill warned FDR but Joe rolled him anyway.

Posted by: rdw on February 17, 2006 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

"Harvard MBA's are a dime a dozen."


Given the size of the Bush family dimes, that's probably true.

Posted by: cld on February 17, 2006 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: The Chinese abandoned communism as an economic system 25 years ago.

Still telling those lies, eh, rdw?

The cuban economy collapsed 45 years ago.

Which is irrelevant. Communism still holds sway there. Therefore, it has not been defeated. Why do you throw up strawmen? Because you've been caught in lies.

The hot new car in Havana is a 56 chevy.

Equally irrelevant to what system is in power in Cuba. The point made was not that communism was successful or unsuccessful economically, but that it had been destroyed. It has not, neither in Cuba nor China.

Do you know that clown still gives 6 hour speeches?

And yet two minutes of a Castro speech contains more substance and honesty than all of your posts combined.

Doesn't the internet just suck?

It does for you, since it is how I've now proven you to be a liar twice. Once when saying the administration had made zero recent trips to Old Europe and again when you said Bush hadn't talked with Chirac.

You could say that but any high schooler could look up the record and in 10 minutes find video of Reagan trashing communism predicting it's demise and prominent liberals defending it predicting a long life.

As I said, Reagan was big on bluster, but bluster doesn't win wars, cold or otherwise.

Since that is clearly the best you can do, point to Reagan's predictions, which is talk not action, I think we can both agree that you've proven my point: Reagan did nothing significant to defeat communism anywhere.

Predicting is not acting. Predicting is not "doing something." Predicting doesn't "defeat" something.

Unless you think my prediction that the Steelers would win the Super Bowl means I defeated the Seahawks.

Proving once again what a true idiot you are.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 17, 2006 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

At least some commenters like theAmericanist actually have a theory of action for why Reagan helped, albeit in a very, very small way, defeat communism in the Eastern Bloc, but all you have is "he predicted it" nonsense.

A hardee har har to your specious and puerile reasoning.

And, btw, just for the record North Korea hasn't been defeated either.

Last time I checked, even doofus conservatives like you recognize it is still a communist nation.

Don't bust a brain cell trying to figure it out, though. You've got precious few to spare.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 17, 2006 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

RDW -- you're a damned fool who doesn't know when to quit.

It is more than likely that FDR knew exactly what he was going to do with Britain about Stalin at the end of the war, but he died 4/12/45.

It's idle speculation, of course, but it seems likely to me that had he lived another year, FDR would have done to Joe Stalin what he did to Joe Kennedy.

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 17, 2006 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

It's idle speculation, of course, but it seems likely to me that had he lived another year, FDR would have done to Joe Stalin what he did to Joe Kennedy.

How many divisions did Joe Kennedy have?

Listen, I think FDR was a terrifc President but he was far from perfect. We have a record and it shows Joe playing Franklin like a violin. I can accept the fact he was at the end of his life and dying but Yalta was a still complete failure for the allies and especially FDR.

Any comparison between the two Joe's is absurd. Stalin would have had Roosevelt shot before he showed him his knees.

Posted by: rdw on February 17, 2006 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

Given the size of the Bush family dimes, that's probably true.

CLD,

So you think George bought and paid his way thru Harvard? You have a lower opinion of the Ivy League than I do.

Posted by: rdw on February 17, 2006 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

rdw, "You have a lower opinion of the Ivy League than I do."


I guess we've found a point of agreement after all.

Posted by: cld on February 17, 2006 at 10:42 PM | PERMALINK

RDW: you're not as familiar with the Second World War as you think.

And -- speaking as an American -- if you think Stalin could have had FDR shot: fuck you.

FDR carefully arranged for Hitler and Stalin's armies to kill as many of each other as possible. He prevented Stalin from making a separate peace, while delaying American (and British) military action to relieve the pressure on the Soviets.

It's just silly to imagine he didn't have an endgame in mind -- and that Yalta crap is mighty old.

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 18, 2006 at 5:09 AM | PERMALINK

He prevented Stalin from making a separate peace, while delaying American (and British) military action to relieve the pressure on the Soviets.

Nonsense. Joe Stalin toyed with FDR in one of the worst diplomatic mismatches of all time. There was never a chance Joe was making any kind of peace with Hitler after being attacked and he squeezed every bit of material out of FDR he could get knowing HE was going to march West past Berlin as far as he could AND KEEP IT.

He also humiliated FDR regarding HIS attacking Japan. He made empty promises to FDR he has no intention of keeping. He did no such thing although FDR died expecting it. If not for the Manhatten project and Turmans balls an invasion of Japan would have been an American bloodbath with Joe Stalin watching the Japanese and Americans slaughter each other and using the opportunity to take even more land.

Stalin played FR like a YoYo.

You are going to have a hard time the next many years. FDR was deified becasue that's what academic historians do for liberals. I'm sure you've seen the dramatic slide of Woodrow Wilsons rankings. Of course they ranked him in the top 5. WW was a pinhead. Except he praised peace plans and leaque of nations were total failures and set up WWII. WW has fallen out of the top and based on a far more critical reviews will be sliding further.

We are seeing the same pattern with FDR. The New Deal did NOT end the depression and probably prolonged it. We know from the brilliant sucess of supply-side economics that raising taxes an creating huge Govt programs was the exact worst thing to do.

The more serious re-appraisal however is the diplomatic preparations for the post-war period. FDR was the chief enabler of the Iron curtain. He made the cold war a certainty and effectively enslaved 250M under communism. Stalin ate his lunch with Churchill as a witness. Worst he did absolutely nothing to prepare Truman and he knew he was dying.

FDR deserves a high ranking. But we also deserve to know of his many flaws. I would rank Truman higher and I hope you get to see an honest reassment.

Posted by: rdw on February 18, 2006 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

Yup, Stalin played FDR like a violin, leaving the American people the richest most powerful nation on eatch. Thanks Uncle Joe!

Posted by: Hostile on February 18, 2006 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

LOL -- I think FDR's historial achievements are reasonably safe from you, rdw.

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 18, 2006 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

...on earth.

Posted by: Hostile on February 18, 2006 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

Yup, Stalin played FDR like a violin, leaving the American people the richest most powerful nation on eatch. Thanks Uncle Joe!


That was Truman and Ike and Reagan. FDR is the guy who abandoned thsoe poor people behind the Iron Curtain. There's a reason when they talk about the great leaders of the last Century Winston Churchill is at the top. He not only had the much harder task he did it much better and he was correct regarding Roosevelts strategic mistakes. He also didn't throw loyal Brits in jail because he weren't white.

The most accurate description of FDR I've seen was a quote something like, "He's got a 2nd rate mind matched with a 1st rate disposition." He was smart enough once 1940 rolled around to let better men run the war and the economy and for that deserves a great deal of credit.

Posted by: rdw on February 18, 2006 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

I think FDR's historial achievements are reasonably safe from you, rdw.

I quite agree. I won't be writing any of the biographies to come out taking the 1st objective look at what actually happened.

It's rather comical watching modern day liberals have their hissy fits because GWB is wiretapping Al Qaeda. George is a boy scout compared to Franklin.

Doris Kern Goodwin and Douglas Brinkley are good examples at what has passed as objective biographers in the past. Each has been tainted by scandal. The next generation will be far less adoring.

The model here is Wildrow Wilson. It still amazes me he was once ranked 4th. FDR will always be top 5 but hardly the saint of current liberal attitudes.

Posted by: rdw on February 18, 2006 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

It's kind of silly to "rank" Presidents, the idea has (portentuous phrasing) "linear assumptions with non-parametric data".

But I dunno as FDR's achievements: saving the American market economy, establishing the alliance of democracies that killed fascism, winning the biggest war in history, leading the way to nuclear weapons AND the postwar United Nations system, and killing himself in the job are much in jeopardy from revisionists.

Stand beside somebody when you measure their size.

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 18, 2006 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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