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Tilting at Windmills

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November 24, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

AN IRANIAN NPOD....Pretty funny. Reminds me of those high school assemblies in the dim past where we'd get to hear the Soviet line on life in America.

Kevin Drum 4:34 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (35)

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Comments

There's an Iranian Yakov Smirnoff out there. I just know it.

Posted by: Matt on November 24, 2007 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

[deleted, and all future comments will be as well.]

Posted by: The Objective Historian5 on November 24, 2007 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

And as Blue Girl, Red State writes; the comments are the worse generally for it. [Deleting your moronic rants.]

I never said any such thing! I said I occasionally enjoy laughing at your delusional wingnuttery. I certainly see no value in anything you say and find you, frankly, a moron.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on November 24, 2007 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

holiday. stay off the computer kevin.

Posted by: jimmy on November 24, 2007 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

Looks like Matthew had some really good turkey and is enjoying the weekend immensely. Who knew he could throw a pound of excellent snark that far?

Posted by: jcricket on November 24, 2007 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

Is it snark?

Only country to use nukes - check.
Run by religious fanatics - check.
Suspended rule of law - check.
History of meddling in other country's affairs - check.
Believe God wants us to have all the world's natural resources - check.

Really, who are the good guys again?

Posted by: craigie on November 24, 2007 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

"Iran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency said Friday that his country could suspend uranium enrichment if the United States and Western Europe agreed to acknowledge that its nuclear program was peaceful."

Soltanieh's statement may seem superficial, but there may also be an important message in there. Specifically, acknowledgement (or proof) that Iran's nuclear program is peaceful has nothing to do with Iran's enrichment activities.

Enrichment and related activities are declared, and the IAEA has stated that it has "been able to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material". The problem is potential undeclared activities. Shutting down enrichment would do nothing to improve the ability to verify that there are no undeclared activities.

The focus should be on getting Iran to implement the Additional Protocol, not enrichment activities. Implementing the Additional Protocol would be a for more substantive and important confidence-building measure.

Posted by: has407 on November 24, 2007 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

Sorry, Iran and the US are hardly two heads on the same coin. America's mission is and always has been the extension of freedom, human rights, democracy and free markets throughout the world. This is the way forward.

Iran, OTHO, seeks to spread its Midevil messages of Hate and authoritarianism and terror throughout the world.

Really, I don't believe I even hve to get into this, but then I forget how deluded you leftists are when it comes to your own country.

Posted by: egbert on November 24, 2007 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, I'm not sure what you mean by 'pretty funny'. Think about it, if you were advising the Iranians - or any other country in the US's sights - wouldn't the obvious suggestion be to arm up (like North Korea)? What's funny is that the 'peace thru strength' crowd doesn't accept that other countries follow that same motto. When you have a rogue state like the US knocking at our door, its only rational to be prepared for the worst.

Posted by: scudbucket on November 24, 2007 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

Ah egbert, you mendacious little ignoramus, don't you have a date to go hunting with Cheney or somehting?

What nation has Iran invaded lately?

If you want to act like American Exceptionalism is an actual ideal, shouldn't America behave in an exceptional manner?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on November 24, 2007 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

I had a marketing teacher in HS who was fond of reciting the old trope that in the Soviet Union you could get one of two sizes, too big or too small. I finally challenged him and reminded the class Henry Ford said the consumer could purchase a Model T in any color he wanted as long as it was black.

Posted by: Brojo on November 24, 2007 at 7:49 PM | PERMALINK

Is Yglesias back to his original "pro-war against Muslims" position? Since his article is supposed to be mocking the Iranian position (but most of the facts listed are basically true) he spells out, and Drum too thinks it's funny.....

So are Drum, Yglesias, Klein, and all the rest of the "liberal" blog pundits buying into the Iranian threat, as they did against Iraq?

Posted by: luci on November 24, 2007 at 8:18 PM | PERMALINK

Only country to use nukes - check.
Run by religious fanatics - check.
Suspended rule of law - check.
History of meddling in other country's affairs - check.
Believe God wants us to have all the world's natural resources - check.
Posted by: craigie on November 24, 2007 at 5:24 PM
---------
Add to that:
Humongous vengeance motive for the hostage crisis that lasted over a year-check

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on November 24, 2007 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

Wildly off-topic but too good to not mention - ultra-close Bush ally, conservative Australian PM John Howard & his mendacious right-wing 'Liberal' party were swept from power last night in a historic, massive, landslide defeat. PM Howard himself is among the many, many conservatives who will lose not only Government but also their own seats! It is the first time in more than 80 years that a sitting PM has been defeated in his own electorate. Labour (the left-wing party) now holds power in EVERY state & territory in the country, as well as capturing the federal leadership. The new Australian PM is working class boy genius, fluent-Mandarin speaking, former Ambassador, Kevin Rudd. He's married to a self-made mega wealthy businesswoman. The 2IC is Julia Gillard, Australia's first female deputy PM. A fiery, red-headed, single, childless, hilarious, plain-spoken, ferociously working class left-wing lawyer, Gillard is an absolute joy!


Despite its enormous unpopularity, Australia's ongoing participation in the Iraq war played little part in the election. (BTW Labour is committed to removing all Australian combat forces from Iraq asap). The Australian economy which is doing much better than the US, also didn't figure significantly as an electoral issue. Instead, the conservatives appear to have lost power on 3 key issues: Firstly, the attempt by the Government to undermine collective bargaining/union power while implementing draconian "workplace reform" (less benefits, less job security, less money); secondly - healthcare. The Howard Government has continually tried to erode Australia's universal coverage system & replace it with an American-style private insurance based system; thirdly & perhaps most importantly, climate change. Australia's failure to ratify Kyoto & the govt's climate change scepticism became a HUGE electoral liability. Young & Green voters played a massive part in Labour's victory.

After 11 years of secretive, big-business-favouring, conservative rule, it's a very, very good day Downunder!

Posted by: DanJoaquinOz on November 24, 2007 at 8:28 PM | PERMALINK

Congratulations on taking back your country, Dan!

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on November 24, 2007 at 9:25 PM | PERMALINK

After a quick read I am left confused as to whether Matt's piece was meant to be sarcastic (at the expense of Iran) or was meant literally. And as to what Kevin meant when he said "pretty funny". Any clarifications / explanations from anyone would be welcome.

Posted by: JS on November 24, 2007 at 9:44 PM | PERMALINK

Australia will pay dearly for her folly.

Even France saw the light and grugdingly brought in Sarkozy (a Pole) to save their wimpy euro butts.

Posted by: egbert on November 24, 2007 at 9:47 PM | PERMALINK

Egbert, shouldn't you enlist or something?

Posted by: DJ on November 24, 2007 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

After a quick read I am left confused as to whether Matt's piece was meant to be sarcastic (at the expense of Iran) or was meant literally. And as to what Kevin meant when he said "pretty funny". Any clarifications / explanations from anyone would be welcome.
Posted by: JS on November 24, 2007 at 9:44 PM
------------
The statement that might throw one off is: "And, indeed, it's not clear that a policy of appeasement would be wise." Yglesias is talking about this with regard to Iranian policy towards US, not the other way around.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on November 24, 2007 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

egbert, you blithering doofus, if the French are such "wimps" why do all military ranks come from the French?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on November 24, 2007 at 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

Dan,

I lived in Sydney for three years. Just a few questions, comments, complaints, and concerns.

First, congratulations on the election. You know, when I lived in Oz, nobody liked John Howard. I was there during the last election (2004, I think), and polls seemed to be an even split, but the election was a landslide for the Liberal/National coalition (It's hard to tell because you guys have a parliamentary system). Was this election really a landslide, or is Australia still evenly split between Labor/Liberal?

Second, was immigration a big issue in the election? Immigration and Iraq seemed to be the biggest issues when I was there. And I know that Australia was making it more difficult for certain groups to immigrate there (East Asians, Lebanese, Pakistanis, Indonesians). Is that still the case? And what changes would a Rudd government do on this issue?

Third, was Aboriginal reconciliation an important issue? If so, what steps would a Rudd government do?

Fourth, how is the Rudd government going to handle US/Australian relations? I mean, John Howard was more George Bush than Bush was.

Finally, any chance that the Sydney Roosters and the Sydney Swans make the grand finals next year? (Assuming you are an NRL or AFL fan).

Anyway, congratulations on the election. I am happy that the biggest Bush poodle has finally been ousted.

Posted by: adlsad on November 24, 2007 at 10:57 PM | PERMALINK

Yes! Congrats to our Aussie friends! If Howard was a Bush poodle, does this make Rudd a non-owned dingo?

Long live the dingo!!

If that makes no sense, please forgive! :)

Posted by: jcricket on November 24, 2007 at 11:15 PM | PERMALINK

I said this years ago, and it's still true:

If the NATO compact has any meaning whatever, the allied members of NATO should have invaded the U.S. years ago to depose its despotic leaders and restore democracy here. NATO shouldn't mean just the US protecting Europe.

Posted by: jprichva on November 25, 2007 at 12:28 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, all you seem to do anymore is quote Matthew Yglesias or Ezra Klein, as if that's all you read. Both are youthful idiots who know essentially nothing about life and whose naivete shows in everything they write. Can't you find some grown-ups to lush after???

Posted by: Douglas on November 25, 2007 at 1:34 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks Blue Girl! It feels FANTASTIC! Now it's your turn!

Hi adslad, thanks for the congratulations & some answers to your excellent questions.

1. There is a roughly even split in the population among committed conservatives (Liberal/National Parties) & committed progressives (Labour/Green), with slightly greater & growing numbers for the latter. This means that the roughly 10% of uncommitted swinging voters essentially determine the elections. Because of Australia's compulsory vote, this group which probably wouldn't vote if they didn't have to, holds considerable power. While many people hated Howard, including many who voted for him, it's worth noting how rarely Australians change government - only 5 times including this one, since WWII. Incumbency has significant value among the don't-fix-it-if-it-ain't-broke swing voters, particularly in times of economic prosperity, which we've certainly been enjoying.
2. Regarding immigration, it's a curious thing, but while Howard used anti-refugee xenophobia fear campaigns, he has actually presided over massively increased immigration, particularly from SE Asia. Labour will continue to encourage & even increase skilled immigration from Asia, Africa & elsewhere, and will definitely not play the cynical race card (too much support from new, Australians especially Asians).
3. Aboriginal reconcilliation has long been a part of Labour policy & major land rights legislation was enacted by the previous Labour govt., only to be hobbled & obstructed by Howard, who has famously refused to acknowledge, let alone apologise for the historic genocide of Aboriginals. In a desperate attempt to gain votes, after 11 years in power, Howard finally promised to hold a referendum "acknowledge the unique postion of Aboriginals" in a constitutional preamble. The electorate was suitably underwhelmed.
4. US Australian relations will continue to be cordial, if less fawningly sycophantic, under Labour as long as Bush is in power. If Democrats gain power, relations will undoubtedly be even better, as they were during the previous concurrent Labour-Keating/DemClinton administrations.
5. The Sydney Roosters don't have a chance for a Rugby League Premiership. They came in near the bottom of the table in the most recent season. They are, as they say among the ranks of the unwinning, "re-building" their once mighty side. For the Swans, the outlook is considerably brighter. They made the semi-finals this year after winning the premiership the year before & contesting the finals the year before that. Excellent side, with lots of young talent & a truly outstanding coach.

I'm off now to continue celebrating!

Posted by: DanJoaquinOz on November 25, 2007 at 2:32 AM | PERMALINK

Celebrate heartily! I look forward to you passing the celebratory baton to me in a little under a year! Now pace yourself, and enjoy the revelry!

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on November 25, 2007 at 2:39 AM | PERMALINK


Really, I don't believe I even hve to get into this, but then I forget how deluded you leftists are when it comes to your own country.

It's true that in theory, the US represents all the feel-good things you mentioned, but if you believe for a second that those were the reasons the neocon crowd pushed for war in Iraq, you're the one who's deluded.

One other thing - I don't believe how the US being the only nation to use nukes gives us any less moral standing or is really relevant to the nuclear proliferation issue. If there was any moment when it was right to use nuclear weapons, it was against the Empire of Japan to end WW2.

Posted by: Andy on November 25, 2007 at 5:22 AM | PERMALINK

Dan,

Thank you for your excellent answers. This really gives me hope.

Posted by: adlsad on November 25, 2007 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

America's mission is and always has been the extension of freedom, human rights, democracy and free markets throughout the world.

But those now in charge of this wonderful mission are not even American if they don't respect the Constitution, let alone the ideals of the country.

They are less American than the illegal immigrants.

Posted by: Bob M on November 25, 2007 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

If there was any moment when it was right to use nuclear weapons, it was against the Empire of Japan to end WW2

Uh-uh, Andy. The Empire of Japan was a spent force in August of 1945, incapable of projecting force outside its own borders. The usual counterfactual here involves the supposed casualties attendant upon a US invasion of the home islands, but this government's own postwar strategic bombing survey concluded that Japan would have capitulated within a few months without an invasion. And sure, hindsight's 20-20, but a lot of Americans, including notorious bleeding heart Dwight D. Eisenhower, were appalled at the time by the gratuitousness of the bombings.

Posted by: Rand Careaga on November 25, 2007 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK


"One other thing - I don't believe how the US being the only nation to use nukes gives us any less moral standing or is really relevant to the nuclear proliferation issue. If there was any moment when it was right to use nuclear weapons, it was against the Empire of Japan to end WW2."


It's debatable whether the use of the A-bombs in WWII was justified. But when people say the U.S. doesn't have "moral standing" on this issue, they are not necessarily criticizing the actual use of the bombs against Japan. For the sake of argument, let's say Truman was justified in dropping the bombs. Then on what authority can the U.S. say that other countries will never have circumstances of their own which will call for using nuclear weapons?

The U.S. can't argue that it had to use the bomb in 1945, and then turn around and say with certainty that no other nation will ever be justified in using them. This is what people mean when they say America doesn't have "moral authority" to dictate who should and shouldn't have nuclear weapons.

Posted by: Lee on November 25, 2007 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

The US's moral authority vis-a-vis the use or possession of nukes is a canard. The core issue is the US's moral authority vis-a-vis international treaties and our obligations and actions with respect to those treaties. We dilute our moral authority, and the effectiveness of such treaties, when we exempt ourselves or demand different standards for others.

Posted by: has407 on November 25, 2007 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

I see what you're saying Lee, but one point about the justification of dropping the bomb - certainly, Germany was considered a spent force in December of 1944, with no air power, and yet was able to mount a ferocious counterattack. The dead suffered by American forces at the Battle of the Bulge was the largest in the European theater. And why would the Japanese military defend its homeland with any less ferocity that what they did during the island hopping campaign? Japanese soldiers fought to the last man and rarely surrendered.

Posted by: Andy on November 25, 2007 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

Andy:

I was neither condemning nor condoning the use of the bombs. As I said, the issue is debatable-meaning that there isn't a definitive answer. My point was that even if one is convinced that the bombs were justified, the U.S. lacks moral standing to decide which countries can have nuclear weapons.

Posted by: Lee on November 25, 2007 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

Lee - yes, I see your point, the 2nd part of my comment was directed at Rand. Sorry if it wasn't clear..

Posted by: Andy on November 26, 2007 at 12:56 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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