Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 4, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

QUISLING BRITAIN....Mario Loyola entertains us further:

What we haven't seen yet — but it probably won't be long — are the details of the promises Iran extracted concerning its territorial integrity....Getting the British to agree to back down from the nuclear standoff — getting them to promise not to allow the U.S. to use the airbase at Diego Garcia — would be an enormous victory for the Mullahs. And it shouldn't be long before they start bragging about it.

Does he seriously believe this? That Britain agreed to (a) back off on the Iranian nuclear program and (b) deny the U.S. use of their bases? That's crazy. The British managed to demonstrate that in this case patient diplomacy was a better idea than bluster and threats, and the hawks just can't stand it. The result is bizarre concoctions like this one.

Kevin Drum 2:58 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (60)

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The British managed to demonstrate that patient diplomacy was a better idea than bluster and threats, and the hawks just can't stand it.

Since you don't know the details of the agreement between Britain and Iran, how would you know that? I suspect there were threats made by Britain and President Bush in the background. As conservatives have pointed out, placing troops in neighboring Iraq would put pressure on Iran to act in a more internationally respectable way.
Instead of constantly defying the will of the international community and President Bush on questions of nuclear weapons and terrorism, Iran will have to give in to Bush's demands because of the neighboring American troops in Iraq. I think Ahmadinejad was afraid of what those American troops would do if he didn't give in to Bush's and Blair's demand to immediately return the troops and stop violating the Geneva Conventions in their treatment of the British soldiers. Blair and Bush gave him a face-saving way to do that.

Posted by: Al on April 4, 2007 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps it's Quisling US: didn't we just release or allow the release of one of however many Iranian diplomats we've seized in Iraq? This type of prisoner exchange is a more congruent and likely scenario, trading the products of illegal human seizures. Heaven forbid we admit to this kind of quid pro quo.

Posted by: Trypticon on April 4, 2007 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

They also get to reset Big Ben to Tehren time.

Posted by: steve duncan on April 4, 2007 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Heaven forbid we admit to this kind of quid pro quo.

Well, we don't admit to trading arms for hostages, so why would anyone expect us to admit this?

Posted by: Ringo on April 4, 2007 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Nobody this side of the respective governments knows the details. All the speculation by both right and left is premature.

The terms will leak out soon enough. Let's spend our time arguing over things we know instead of speculating about things unknown.

Posted by: Ron Byers on April 4, 2007 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

See, Kevin? It's NOT as it appears. We DID actually threaten and bluster. It WAS our mighty military, and not a bunch of diplo-wimps, that saved the day. Even if the diplo-wimps DID try to sell out Freedom and Democracy (and probably promised them our wimmin too.)

The wingnuts have too much of their identity wrapped up in their militaristic fantasy-world. You'll never convince them they're wrong, no matter how many "facts" you throw at them. (It's all librul media lies anyway.) They're just too dependent on it.

Posted by: bleh on April 4, 2007 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

Does he seriously believe this? That Britain agreed to (a) back off on the Iranian nuclear program and (b) deny the U.S. use of their bases? That's crazy.

That's the Corner.

Here's a good one--in which K-Lo quotes viewer mail:
Maybe this whole thing was staged by the British to let the sailors be captured a la Hogan's Heroes. Then they could help infiltrate spec ops guys into Iran through the fake tree stump outside of camp. Brilliant when you think about it. Also, Ahmadinejad does have a kind of Col. Klink vibe to him. Just a thought

Yow.

Posted by: DJ Jazzy Jazeera on April 4, 2007 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

I think that the recent breaking into the MSM of the story about the US gvmt funding terrorists operating in Iran also had something to do with it.

Posted by: Disputo on April 4, 2007 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

I see the vapors from Al's meth lab continue to erode the remnants of his brain. The mighty codpiece dazzles him and stirs long surpressed desires. We must mobilize our troops! Stand at full attention! Give it to the Iranians from both sides! Show Generalisimo Codpiece just how much we deserve to lick the sweat from his brow! Go Al! Go! You sexy thing...

Posted by: Trypticon on April 4, 2007 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Note that Loyola says, "it would be an enormous victory for the Mullahs" if they got the UK to agree to a big Quid Pro Quo.

Well, yes, perhaps it would. It would be an enormous victory for me if I extracted a promise of $1 million from the DNC in exchange for my support last November. That doesn't mean it happened.

Posted by: Tyro on April 4, 2007 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Territorial integrity is a quaint idea that W. Bush's US rejects.

Posted by: Brojo on April 4, 2007 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

"Al", you've just described what patient diplomacy is, not refuted it. Not engaging in bellicose threats while making it clear about the what realistic consequences for Iraq would be if this matter drug on (and not stupid threats to invade Iran either) is what diplomacy is all about. Britain handled it very well indeed, contrary to the stupid bombast from the usual neo-con suspects about it.

Posted by: David W. on April 4, 2007 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Brits: Wensleydale-eating surrender monkeys.

Posted by: JM on April 4, 2007 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Tip for Al:

Ahmadinejad doesn't get to make those kinds of decisions.

Buhbye.

Posted by: DJ Jazzy Jazeera on April 4, 2007 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

Why not wait and see what the deal was? There are countless things that could have been the cause, ranging from Iran simply realizing it was in a dead-end position and deciding to get points by kindly releasing them, all the way up to some military or blockade threat made under the table. And a lot of things in between.

What we do know for sure is that everyone will grab whatever scenario serves their own agenda. I'd lay odds that Pelosi's visit to Syria will be given the credit in some corners.

Posted by: harry on April 4, 2007 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

Once Loyola figures out that instead the Brits had only to give up a keg of Guinness and Blair's recipe for Minced Meat Pie he'll counter that simply bombing them into submission would still have been better. Because, you see, next time, due to obvious British weakness, the Iranians will ask and get the things he predicted they would get this time.

You shortsighted fool Kevin!

Posted by: KJ on April 4, 2007 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

Al never ceases to entertain. The cyber-ink isn't even dry on his chastisement of Kevin for not knowing the details of the British/Irani agreement, when he starts the next sentence with, "I suspect...".

Your irony is rich indeed, Al, unfortunately, your IQ is not.

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on April 4, 2007 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Well, at least nobody had to die (that we know of) to get them released. I wonder how British Navy patrol behavior in that area will be affected (if any)?

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on April 4, 2007 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK
...enough naval power in the gulf to completely flatten the country... Tucker at 3:09 PM
It was only in Monty Python's The Crimson Permanent Assurance that ships were able to flatten things on land. In the real world, the US military is saying they can't guarantee they would be able to find, let alone destroy, all of Iran's military structure. We tried during the Iraq-Iran war back when Saddam was Mr. Republican's best friend. Posted by: Mike on April 4, 2007 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

It was only in Monty Python's The Crimson Permanent Assurance that ships were able to flatten things on land.

Some ships have these things called "missiles".

Posted by: Ringo on April 4, 2007 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone recall the names of those new russian missles that Iran has? You know the ones that can penetrate the defense around an aircraft carrier.

Posted by: klyde on April 4, 2007 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

For some folks, any resolution which doesn't result in piles of smoldering corpses is proof of weakness...

Posted by: idlemind on April 4, 2007 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

Everyone needs to calm down, stop speculating, stop hyperventilating, and wait for the details to emerge.

There is room to breathe now, so I suggest we all take advantage of it and await the emerging details.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 4, 2007 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK
...They simply are not his equals and they are made of inferior stuff than he. ...mh rat 2:37 PM
Shorter version, only Republican aristocrats like George W. Bush and George H. W. Bush can be president because self-made men are hypocrites. No wonder all those Republicans in the 30's were whining that FDR betrayed his class. They are still whining.
... Kerry was Swift Boated but forgetful that Dean was, too.....Brojo on April 4, 2007 at 3:13 PM
No, Republcians carry out smear&lie campaigns against all democratic candidates. It works election after election. It's the only way they can deceive people into believing there is no difference between parties, suppress votes for Democrats, and make themselves look good. Posted by: Mike on April 4, 2007 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks Al, for reminding us that the only way to project military force in the world is to get bogged down in an unending war, and then use that to intimidate neighboring countries.

By this logic, we'd have to invade, say, 60 countries to occupy places that border every other nation in the world.

Someone remind Al that this is why we buy missiles. And boats.

I guess we should have invaded China when the Soviets were holding Gary Powers...

That'd have showed 'em.

Posted by: Brian M. on April 4, 2007 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

Jeez, everybody, there's simple military solution to this. Bruce Willis has been trying to get into the American military in spite of being over-age for years now. The Brits should let him join their navy. He could then shoot his way into Iran, free all the hostages and fly them all to safety in a plane he would steal from the Iranians.

Posted by: JHM on April 4, 2007 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK
Everyone needs to calm down, stop speculating, stop hyperventilating, and wait for the details to emerge. There is room to breathe now, so I suggest we all take advantage of it and await the emerging details. Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 4, 2007 at 4:07 PM

NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!


wow, I feel so much better....

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on April 4, 2007 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

Would it be too much to ask the people throwing the word "Quisling" around to actually read enough history to know who and what Vidkun Quisling was? He was a committed fascist whose loyalty to his country took second place to his identification with a political movement. And so he sought to drag his country into a common cause with Hitler's Germany, as it invaded and occupied nation after nation in the name of the Master Race.

If Tony Blair is Vidkun Quisling, his country-occupying Supremacist mentor is easy to identify, and it's not Ahmedinejad.

Posted by: derek on April 4, 2007 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

He was a committed fascist whose loyalty to his country took second place to his identification with a political movement.

In other words, he was the prototype for the GOP as we know it today.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 4, 2007 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

Mike, Americans for Jobs was created by some Democrats to derail Dean's campaign.

I agree with you that Republicans use smear tactics as a strategy template.

Posted by: Brojo on April 4, 2007 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not at all qualified to comment on this but then, who here is. The thing I take from this is the artificial and contrived sense of urgency that comes from the hawks. Remembering to breath is a good thing.

Posted by: rmp on April 4, 2007 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

He was a committed fascist whose loyalty to his country took second place to his identification with a political movement.

In other words, he was the prototype for the GOP as we know it today.

American fidelity ranks much lower than 2nd place on the GOP values scale.

Personal greed and cronyism, etc.

Posted by: DJ Jazzy Jazeera on April 4, 2007 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, Britain looked really strong in all this. Iran won't mess with them again.

Posted by: Frank J. on April 4, 2007 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, Britain looked really strong in all this. Iran won't mess with them again.

Frank, ol' buddy, I hate to remind you, but if you're going to call yourself a "humorist" -- as opposed to just another GOP bootlicker -- you have to be funny.

Posted by: Gregory on April 4, 2007 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

Loyola starts with a question and ends with groundless speculation. No one out here in the blogosphere knows what happened. For all we know, the Iranian government simply decided that the situation was untenable and would win them nothing, so they capitulated -- with some covering talk about making a "gift" to Blair.

Unless Loyola can provide evidence of a quid pro quo, his opnions and bluster are absolutely worthless.

Posted by: DNS on April 4, 2007 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

Does this mean that english muffins are now freedom muffins?

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O in 08! on April 4, 2007 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

While I can't comment on the exact circumstances that led to the capture of the Brits, I can comment on Iran's move.

It's a strange concept.

It's radical.

It's humane.

It's called non-violent diplomacy.

The Iranians have thrust a dagger into the swagger of all those who want to "kick some but."

Pelosi's visit to Syria (where diplomatic finesse was displayed), infuriated the hawks.

Now, when my country decides to drop a brazilian (sic) bombs on Iran, very few folks will be cheering.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on April 4, 2007 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

Iran did what they wanted,to show the world how THEY treat prisoners. (I'll enjoy the Fox news panels condemning the 15 for giving in to the Iranians so quickly.) And they did it while the US and allies (well mostly us) had 2 carrier battle groups on station.
Diego Garcia? Might be hard to stop us using it since the British may own it but we're pretty much the only ones there.
http://www.dg.navy.mil/web/

Posted by: TJM on April 4, 2007 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

No quid pro quos!

Here's where the liberals wind up looking foolish. American show of strenght (forces in Iraq and Afgaanistan and bulked up navel power in the P. gulf) forced Iran to lose face and back down.

I hope Carter's taking notes.

Posted by: egbert (means business) on April 4, 2007 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

> Does he seriously believe this? That Britain
> agreed to [long list]?
>
> The British managed to demonstrate that in this
> case patient diplomacy was a better idea than
> bluster and threats, and the hawks just can't
> stand it. The result is bizarre concoctions like
> this one.

And two can play at this game. How does one explain the sudden willingness of China and especially Russia to allow for not only sanctions against Iran but also allow for trouble with the lucrative nuclear cooperation Russia used to offer?

Did Russia suddenly see the light and give up its "few (proliferation, environment, safety) questions asked" nuclear partner cred and decide against giant piles cash from Iran? And not just Iran, but from every country the Iranian nuclear program inspires in this time of less and less certainty's over tomorrows oil.

This also potentially destroyed some credibility for the idea of a "fuel bank" offering enriched uranium for those who are not allowed to do their own enrichment, but still want some even at times when the outside world is mad with them.

The US cant have offered to stop its construction of a, let say highly experimental, offensive missile "defense" system neatly in between China and Russia. All while denying it isn`t toppling government after government in former soviet republics just to put more missiles, military bases and pipelines outside of Russian control there. Both have been neocon

The US cant have offered to look even the other way even further on Chechnya, though the particular choice of neocons blaming especially Russia for Beslan could have been nuanced a bit.

So why is Putin Bush newest bestest pall?

Posted by: rty on April 4, 2007 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

When I went over to The Corner I was more dismayed by this asinine statement:

concessions by the United States—we know that Iranian officials will now be allowed to visit the five Iranian "diplomats" detained by the United States in Iraq for supporting the insurgency.

So, observing our obligations under the Vienna Convention of 1961 is somehow a concession now? After all, since when has this administration let something as inconsequential as an international treaty affect their foreign policy, eh?

Posted by: majun on April 4, 2007 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

I volunteer to have a Brazilian bombshell dropped on me.

Posted by: Disputo on April 4, 2007 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

American show of strenght (forces in Iraq and Afgaanistan and bulked up navel power in the P. gulf) forced Iran to lose face and back down.

More likely that Bush stole a play from Reagan and secretly traded arms for the "hostages".

No quid pro quos!

Indeed.

Posted by: Disputo on April 4, 2007 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

egbert tells us about the value of "bulked up navel power"

Tomorrow's headlines: "Outies More Aggressive Than Innies in Their Foreign Policy Opinions, Study Shows"

Posted by: DNS on April 4, 2007 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

a dagger into the swagger

Nice phrase.

Posted by: Brojo on April 4, 2007 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

Mr Ahmadinejad Accepts Victory, (Again!) With a Shy Smile...

...So the Denouement come with smiles and the Gifting of the Fifteen British Soldiers to the people of England.

Well...

When Mr Ahmadinejad was making the rounds of the World, even here in the US and writing 19 page long letters that went unanswered to President Bush...I argued that he was an intellectual lightweight, that he could be taken, could be had if only we'd engage him...intellectually, emotionally, spiritually.

But no...he looked to be the Super-Star, and so he was and so he continues.

This is how you win...You're smart, you play the angles, you know how and when to hold 'em, when to fold graciously.

With all of our Media smarts, with Hollywood & New York sitting there, this was a War that could have been won...if the Right didn't enjoy hating Liberals more than advancing Our interests on the broadest of fronts...Hearts and Minds.

This remains my core bitterness against Bush...he's just not smart enough, he's not even smarter than Mr Ahmadinejad who himself isn't the brightest bulb in the bushel...but there he is, besting us again.

And Nancy, Nancy over in Syria she may have had a soothing hand in the release of these soldiers. Grit your teeth, but there it is.

Just think, if we impeach Bush and Cheney, Ms. Polsi becomes PONTUS.

Hummmmm...Now there's a warming thought for this Easter Season, the new breaking of a hopeful Spring upon us, Nancy as President.

(This was going to be a continuation of my theme, The Long Difficulties, generational in length, preaching caution and cunning and intelligence, pressing forward on a dozen different fronts simultaneously...war and peace and diplomacy and trade and media...but it was irresistibly fun to turn this into politics...if only because it is that also).

Best Wishes,

Traveller

Posted by: Traveller on April 4, 2007 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

I see derek already set the record straight at 4;24 pm re use of "Quisling". This sort of thing requires the respect of correct application.

By the by, what clock time is this? Outer Banks?

Posted by: notthere on April 4, 2007 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

I think Ahmadinejad was afraid of what those American troops would do if he didn't give in to Bush's and Blair's demand to immediately return the troops and stop violating the Geneva Conventions in their treatment of the British soldiers. Blair and Bush gave him a face-saving way to do that.

Posted by: Al

Yeah Al, thats it. You bet! So you allow Bush to disregard the Geneva Conventions, but expect everybody else to adhere to them. Sounds like you want a King, not a democracy. Maybe leaving the US would be a good idea for you, no?

Posted by: Tom on April 4, 2007 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

Bush is our baby goose.

Posted by: Brojo on April 4, 2007 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

Al, you fucking tool.

How do you know what the fuck went on?

Posted by: angryspittle on April 4, 2007 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

Yup - exactly zero evidence for what this NRO Dittohead is claiming.

Posted by: Chuck on April 4, 2007 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

I was driving home listening to NPR, hit the CD button, back to FM, but got the raving right winger Sean Hannity, whose insanely ballistic caller was saying -- even though the sailors were released -- we should still bomb Iran, and I could tell Mr. Roboto Hannity was salivating at the thought.
Theirs is a different world. It was simply repulsive. I could feel the polarized nature of it all, the senseless, hopeless division.

All we are saying, is give peace a chance...

Posted by: consider wisely on April 4, 2007 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

Tomorrow's headlines: "Outies More Aggressive Than Innies in Their Foreign Policy Opinions, Study Shows"

I know of bars where you wouldn't dare say that!

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O in 08! on April 4, 2007 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

Yup - exactly zero evidence for what this NRO Dittohead is claiming.

If you confronted him about this, he'd likely say that he never "claimed" anything. Rather, he merely speculated that if such a deal were made, then should a deal would be a big win for the Iranians.... but that he'd never said such a deal actually happened.

His rather dull-witted readers, however, will merely go on convinced that Iran caused the Brits to wimp out and the Brits gave Iran a huge concession, because that's what he wants his readers to think.

Posted by: Constantine on April 4, 2007 at 10:49 PM | PERMALINK

This never would have happened if HP Sauce was still British.

Posted by: MikeN on April 5, 2007 at 1:29 AM | PERMALINK

"Diego Garcia? Might be hard to stop us using it since the British may own it but we're pretty much the only ones there."
Maybe, but the Brit government is likely to have its decision, to turf the Islanders off to make way for the Yanks, overturned in by the courts very soon. I wonder how Georgie boy will take the news when Tony gets the nerve to tell him.

Posted by: Monty Anderson on April 5, 2007 at 2:12 AM | PERMALINK

HP Sauce isn't British?

Who the f#*k owns it?

I'm going to write my MP.

Posted by: notthere on April 5, 2007 at 3:17 AM | PERMALINK

"Wensleydale-eating surrender monkeys" - fabulous!

As Monty points out, Diego Garcia is indeed likely to become an interesting issue. The basic facts are:

a) We're not going to deny the US the use of the base
b) We are very, very, very probably going to be told by the courts that we shouldn't have complied with the US request to kick all the islanders out of their homes. The base is on one island but we evicted people from all the neighbouring islands too, which is unlikely to stand up in court as reasonable. So at some point we're probably going to piss GWB off and let the islanders go back to the outlying islands from where they can enjoy the peace and tranquility of having B52s taking off over the heads.

Posted by: The Other Al on April 5, 2007 at 5:48 AM | PERMALINK

Theirs is a different world. It was simply repulsive. I could feel the polarized nature of it all, the senseless, hopeless division.

Well, if it's any solace, some day their ability to so authoritatively call for the use of bombs will disappear; they'll be as impotent as hawks in Canada or Italy. Instead it'll be their assinine counterparts in China who'll be in the position to squawk thus (and as surely as they're human this they'll surely do).

Posted by: snicker-snack on April 5, 2007 at 8:17 AM | PERMALINK

"American show of strenght (forces in Iraq and Afgaanistan and bulked up navel power in the P. gulf) forced Iran to lose face and back down."

Well, Egbert, that doesn't make a lot of sense, considering that show of strength was in place when the Iranians took the British sailors prisoner.

What actually happened was a little different:

(1) US seizes Iranian diplomats in Iraq negotiating with our Kurdish allies.

(2) Iranians retaliate by seizing British sailors.

(3) Confrontation is resolved by mutual exchange of prisoners, with face-saving disclaimers.

Not exactly a matter of Iran backing down . . .

Posted by: rea on April 5, 2007 at 8:27 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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