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US officials believe Iran sanctions will fail, making mil...

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cosmicalstorm
PostPosted: 2012-02-19 05:16pm 

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Joined: 2008-02-14 10:35am
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Is there really anyone on this board who actually believes the Iranians would start firing nuclear missiles left and right the day after the first test-fire? I get the impression that this possibility is often subtly implied even on this board.
The reality has to be that they intend to use them very much like North Korea has used them so far.

(If I had a magical button that could erase the possibility of nuclear weapons and other super weapons from our universe I might press it.)
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Sea Skimmer
PostPosted: 2012-02-19 05:29pm 

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Joined: 2002-07-03 11:49pm
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Location: Passchendaele City, HAB
The bigger concern is that the Iranians would be unable to decide if to fire or not because they have such a fragmented military and political command structure from the get go start. In North Korea at least nobody is concerned about contradictory orders being issued, unless they have an open power struggle, which is why the ROK went on red alert when Kim Jong Il died but that threat faded in a few days. In Iran you have a constant power struggle underway thanks to them having the Revolutionary Guards, the regular military and militia loyal to specific leaders constantly vying for power and all controlling different sectors of the economy. It is a very dangerous system they have running even without the nuclear weapons topic.

Also, generally people who use massed human waves, not once or twice but for years to clear minefields are not to be trusted. Just a little rule of thumb some people have on what is and is not rational leadership.
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Aaron MkII
PostPosted: 2012-02-19 05:55pm 

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20 years ago they used a dubious method to clear mines, so we can't trust them.

Man no wonder Iran wants nukes, it's not enough that we've fucked them for decades, we also think the nation is crazy.
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Aaron MkII
PostPosted: 2012-02-19 06:06pm 

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Edit: It gets even more ridiculous when you sit, think and realize that we caused this. Decades of interference and belligerence, including a war the West sponsored has lead to people we don't like being in power and having enough. So we posture and threaten more. Brilliant. When Iran gets nukes, it'll be our doing.
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Thanas
PostPosted: 2012-02-19 06:25pm 

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Joined: 2004-06-26 07:49pm
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It gets even more hilarious when you consider that Iran has not once waged a war of aggression, whereas the US has waged one (by proxy) against Iran and attacked its immediate neighbour on bogus evidence and claims of irrationality a few years ago as well.
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Sea Skimmer
PostPosted: 2012-02-19 06:45pm 

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Joined: 2002-07-03 11:49pm
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Aaron MkII wrote:
20 years ago they used a dubious method to clear mines, so we can't trust them.

Man no wonder Iran wants nukes, it's not enough that we've fucked them for decades, we also think the nation is crazy.


Right yeah, its totally not crazy to use swarms of children in waves to clear landmines, and have the guy in charge of doing that become president, or to be fielding suicidal explosive motor boats in the year 2012.

Thanas wrote:
It gets even more hilarious when you consider that Iran has not once waged a war of aggression, whereas the US has waged one (by proxy) against Iran and attacked its immediate neighbour on bogus evidence and claims of irrationality a few years ago as well.


Actually that Shah engaged in several, and Islamic Iran was attacking Iraq by mass infiltration into the mid 1990s which is why Saddam did everything he could to obscure his chemical weapons program's true status to the point that his own generals thought he still had stuff into 2002. Divisional level commanders fought in 2003 thinking Iraq did have such weapons. Of course this doesn't include Iran's massive involvement with Hezbollah or Iraq in the last decade, the former amounting to waging war against Lebanon's attempts to establish a stable government and not be at war with itself for decades. People can't blindly not want to believe that all they want, I've long stopped caring what people want to think here. Your totally going to love it when the entire middle east is awash in Pakistani supplied nuclear weapons after Iran gets the bomb and any notion of positive control goes out the window. You might want to think this is just the US and Israel being irrational, but nobody in the region wants Iran to have nuclear weapons, and they will respond in kind.

Now if Iran folded its revolutionary guards back into the regular military, and made the militia an adjunct of the military rather then its own death wave command that'd be a good start in showing they intend to have a responsible approach to the situation at the least, but this will never happen. One of the biggest problems with Iranians foreign affairs are we really don't fucking know if the Iranian government supports all of it in the first place because the guards and the Quds force branch are so independent.

Last edited by Sea Skimmer on 2012-02-19 06:51pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Alkaloid
PostPosted: 2012-02-19 06:51pm 

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Joined: 2011-03-21 07:59am
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Quote:
Also, generally people who use massed human waves, not once or twice but for years to clear minefields are not to be trusted. Just a little rule of thumb some people have on what is and is not rational leadership.


Thats not irrational. It's brutal and horrific, but they weren't just doing it for shits and giggles, they had a goal and they were using a nasty but effective method to achieve it.

There seems to be this weird doublethink that goes on with regards to Iran. They're irrational but would never really try to block the Suez or stop selling oil. It's the same attitude that leads to people thinking that we absolutely have to assassinate scientists, bomb reactors and deploy the first real cyber 'weapon' every against them, but dismiss out of hand the idea that they could ever hack a drone because they don't understand technology more advanced than ox carts, and it seems to be oddly pervasive.
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Sea Skimmer
PostPosted: 2012-02-19 06:54pm 

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Joined: 2002-07-03 11:49pm
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Alkaloid wrote:
Thats not irrational. It's brutal and horrific, but they weren't just doing it for shits and giggles, they had a goal and they were using a nasty but effective method to achieve it.


Doing it for five years they still more or less lost, or atl east gained nothing past what they had in 1982 when Saddam first began trying to end the war. That's not very effective. It would have been better to put the kids in the civilian economy to free up more troops but Iran's leaders kept claiming that one last 'final offensive' would break everything and win the war rather then engaging in long term planning. I think they got to the fifth or sixth 'final' offensive before they stopped using terminology like that.

Quote:
There seems to be this weird doublethink that goes on with regards to Iran. They're irrational but would never really try to block the Suez or stop selling oil. It's the same attitude that leads to people thinking that we absolutely have to assassinate scientists, bomb reactors and deploy the first real cyber 'weapon' every against them, but dismiss out of hand the idea that they could ever hack a drone because they don't understand technology more advanced than ox carts, and it seems to be oddly pervasive.


The very problem is that Iran breaks up its power and military in such a manner that you can't tell what the real deal is. And yeah some people are raving stupid about how they think about Iran, but you know... I'll say again its not like this is purely the US and Israel concerned about the topic. Usually when the US and RUSSIA can agree on something being a problem, it is.
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Thanas
PostPosted: 2012-02-19 07:01pm 

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Joined: 2004-06-26 07:49pm
Posts: 23884
Sea Skimmer wrote:
Actually that Shah engaged in several,


I shouldn't have to point out that the Iran we are talking about exists only because the Shah, the great buddy of the US and UK, is gone.

Quote:
and Islamic Iran was attacking Iraq by mass infiltration into the mid 1990s which is why Saddam did everything he could to obscure his chemical weapons program's true status to the point that his own generals thought he still had stuff into 2002. Divisional level commanders fought in 2003 thinking Iraq did have such weapons. Of course this doesn't include Iran's massive involvement with Hezbollah or Iraq in the last decade, the former amounting to waging war against Lebanon's attempts to establish a stable government and not be at war with itself for decades.


So all you got is a proxy war in Lebanon and attempts to infiltrate Iraq. By that standard, the US is much more irrational and crazy than Iran.


Quote:
Your totally going to love it when the entire middle east is awash in Pakistani supplied nuclear weapons after Iran gets the bomb and any notion of positive control goes out the window.


Why would Iran have any interest in relinquishing control of their nuclear weapons in the event they got them? And who would they sell them to?
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thejester
PostPosted: 2012-02-19 07:04pm 

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Joined: 2005-06-10 07:16pm
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Location: Richard Nixon's Secret Tapes Club Band
He's saying that Sunni powers in the region will pursue nuclear technology, likely from Pakistan, in response to an Iranian bomb.

EDIT: I don't particularly buy the 'mad mullahs' stuff but the idea that from a regional point of view Iran getting the bomb is bad is totally valid. Nuclear proliferation is generally recognised as a bad thing for this very reason, no matter the motivation of those acquiring the weapons.
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Thanas
PostPosted: 2012-02-19 07:10pm 

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Joined: 2004-06-26 07:49pm
Posts: 23884
thejester wrote:
He's saying that Sunni powers in the region will pursue nuclear technology, likely from Pakistan, in response to an Iranian bomb.


Ah, ok. That makes sense but given the resources necessary I highly doubt any nation outside of Saudi-Arabia can pursue it - but they are under the US already. Maybe a cooperation of Sunni powers, but all of them are pretty much clients of the US.
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Sea Skimmer
PostPosted: 2012-02-19 07:15pm 

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Joined: 2002-07-03 11:49pm
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Thanas wrote:
Why would Iran have any interest in relinquishing control of their nuclear weapons in the event they got them? And who would they sell them to?


It isn't an issue of Iran selling them, its an issue of who controls them within Iran in the first place. Every other nuclear power has a clear command structure, political and military from top to bottom and generally with both needing to agree to employ nuclear arms; though Pakistan is suspect. No surprise then that the US is also thought to have secret plans to attack the Pakistani nuclear force if anything looks like it might get worse. In Iran meanwhile, both political power and military command are fractionated. That is simply bad. Fix that, which Iran won't because that actually would be civil war kind of territory to try, and the whole situation would not be good, but it'd be vastly better. Enough that I wouldn't care too much myself, I'm sure the Saudis and Israelis still would.

Pakistan is the one who will sell nuclear weapons first, and Saudi Arabia is now had people in its government say that if Iran gets the bomb they'll begin enriching uranium. Its widely thought BTW that the Pakistani nuclear program was funded by Saudi in the first place with a less then totally secret clause that they would supply bombs if Iran got nukes. Iran's nuclear ambitions go back a long time after all. The UAE may be in a similar arrangement, others may follow the path particuarly if political pressure forces US nuclear weapons out of Turkey (looking more likely by the day, but it wont happen anytime real soon) and Turkey fields its own devices. Now if you all think Iran should get nuclear weapons, then you should all be downright excited that so many other people will be on a path to the same fun times. This should actually be viewed as an advantage! It will certainly put all future talk of non proliferation or large scale nuclear disarmament down the tubes forever and we'll be able to sweep those pesky rumors Obama is having the US military study fielding less then 400 nuclear weapons in the future down the tubes.

As for resources to get nuclear weapons; it costs a lot of money to build nuclear weapons quickly or in a complex of hardened bunkers like Iran is doing, but an awful lot of nations could afford them if they are prepared to take a slow and steady approach. Afterall, you do have to train researchers, Iran had been doing that for many years and made several abortive starts before they began the current programs. Helped that they also had a research reactor already. If Iran get's the bomb that's likely to put an end to serious world efforts to curb proliferation and that in turn will make it much easier for other powers to follow.

Last edited by Sea Skimmer on 2012-02-19 07:23pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Stark
PostPosted: 2012-02-19 07:22pm 

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thejester wrote:
He's saying that Sunni powers in the region will pursue nuclear technology, likely from Pakistan, in response to an Iranian bomb.

EDIT: I don't particularly buy the 'mad mullahs' stuff but the idea that from a regional point of view Iran getting the bomb is bad is totally valid. Nuclear proliferation is generally recognised as a bad thing for this very reason, no matter the motivation of those acquiring the weapons.


But mad mullah hilarity creates a justification for the kind of action these people want to see; other attitudes suggest other approaches that aren't violent/macho enough and expose the fear of parity rather than random attacks.
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Aaron MkII
PostPosted: 2012-02-19 07:33pm 

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Joined: 2012-02-11 05:13pm
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Yeah, sorry SS I don't see that as a valid connection. Especially if its Ajahwhatshisname, I seem to recall that he has little power. Not to mention the difference in circumstances.
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Simon_Jester
PostPosted: 2012-02-19 07:51pm 

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Aaron MkII wrote:
20 years ago they used a dubious method to clear mines, so we can't trust them.
It's more like "we look at their political structure, we look at the most ruthless thing that political structure has ever done, and... fuuuck, the worst case scenario is pretty ugly."

Which it is. There has never yet been a civil war in a country with nuclear weapons. The closest we've come is the fall of the Soviet Union, and there, there was a clear chain of command at any given time.

Nuclear arsenals in countries like Iran and Pakistan make people nervous, and there's something very rational behind it. Those countries have jury-rigged political systems that don't look all that stable to an outside observer. What would have happened in 2011 if Libya had had a nuclear arsenal? Would Qaddafi have been tempted to use nukes on the rebels' cities? Would he have been tempted to use nuclear attacks to hit NATO airbases that were pounding on his troops?

(If not, why not? Purely because of deterrence? What would we have done if he'd threatened to hit airbases in Italy with nuclear missiles, or against the rebels?)

Unrest like what happened in Libya in 2011 might very well happen to Iran in 2020 or 2030. If that doesn't make you a bit nervous, I think you need to stop and reconsider how seriously you're taking nuclear weapons.

Thanas wrote:
So all you got is a proxy war in Lebanon and attempts to infiltrate Iraq. By that standard, the US is much more irrational and crazy than Iran.
Thanas, I think you're missing a point.

"Aggressive" is not the problem. The world can deal with nuclear arsenals in the hands of bloody-handed tyrants: Stalin and Mao both had their own nuclear weapons at some points in their reigns, and life went on.

"Unpredictable" is the problem.

During the Cold War, the US and USSR installed a special phone line so that their heads of state could talk to each other during a crisis. The premier of the Soviet Union could, at any time, call the president of the United States on the phone, ask him about the meaning of some military action, get reassurances about the US's intentions, and explain the Soviets' reaction.

And whatever the premier heard or said on that line, he knew he was speaking to a man who could make promises, could issue orders that would be obeyed, who had the power to bind and to loose. That no rogue general or provincial governor would launch a salvo of nuclear missiles at the USSR without permission. That the CIA didn't have its own independent army and delivery systems that it could use to launch nuclear attacks without the president's consent. That if the president said "don't shoot," the US nuclear forces would not shoot.

Likewise, the president could know the same things about his Soviet opposite number: that if orders went out from Moscow to not launch a nuclear attack, the attack would not be launched.

This confidence makes negotiations possible- I can declare what I'm doing and why, you can see that it isn't aimed at you, and we can both avoid a disastrous misunderstanding. I don't have to keep my forces at the highest alert status (where accidental attacks are most likely) for fear that somewhere in your government is a faction that won't obey your orders.

The other major pair of nuclear-armed enemies in the world, India and Pakistan, have a similar system. It's a sensible thing to do if you're worried about nuclear war.


Now, imagine trying to create a similar system with Iran. Who do you call within the Iranian government, who has control of the nuclear arsenal? Can you be sure they have control of the entire arsenal? What happens if troops of one faction decide to seize a nuclear weapon as part of an internal power struggle?

That whoever is in charge of Iran is sane and unlikely to order a sudden invasion of their neighbors isn't really the point. The problem is the danger of political instability leaving an unclear answer to "who has the nukes?" Because that forces everyone around them to live with their fingers on their triggers for fear that something will go wrong.

Aaron MkII wrote:
Yeah, sorry SS I don't see that as a valid connection. Especially if its Ajahwhatshisname, I seem to recall that he has little power. Not to mention the difference in circumstances.
Aaron, that's the problem.

Ahmadinejad has little power... but he's the chief of the executive government in Iran. He has no control over the armed forces or the nuclear arsenal according to the terms of his office. But does that mean he has no influence over the local militia? If he said "jump," are there people in the Iranian military who would listen, given that he's routinely 'allowed' by his superior, the Supreme Leader, to make anti-Western foreign policy statements?

If it were just a question of a man with nasty political views owning a nuclear arsenal, that would be undesirable- who wants another evil fucker with nukes in the world, when we've already got too many? But it wouldn't be all that dangerous. No one in the Iranian government is worse than Stalin or Mao was.

The question is, is the Iranian power structure stable under stress? Are there parts of it that might try to wrestle control of the nuclear force away from whatever military chain of command is supposed to be holding onto it? Can we negotiate directly with whoever does control it, or someone who's empowered to give orders to that person, orders that will be obeyed?

Who do you talk to if you want reassurances that Iran isn't planning to nuke you, or to reassure their missile controllers that you aren't planning to nuke Iran?
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Stark
PostPosted: 2012-02-19 07:57pm 

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How do you see an effective method to prevent states you don't like don't trust from getting nuclear weapons?
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Aaron MkII
PostPosted: 2012-02-19 07:59pm 

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Joined: 2012-02-11 05:13pm
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Thank you Simon. That I can at least understand.
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Simon_Jester
PostPosted: 2012-02-19 08:07pm 

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It's pretty much what Skimmer's been saying all along, Aaron. That plus the whole "once Iran's got them, everyone's gonna want them, and then good luck keeping every Tom, Dick, and Harry who wants their own nuclear warhead from getting one."

Stark wrote:
How do you see an effective method to prevent states you don't like don't trust from getting nuclear weapons?
I don't. I think Iran's going to do it whether I like it or not. And I don't think it's justified or practical to attack them with enough firepower to force them to stop- you'd probably have to kill a million or so Iranians and overthrow their government, and even knowing the way it affects the risk of nuclear war in the Middle East, I don't think it's worth it.

I still don't like it. I'm resigned to having it happen at this point since I don't think it can be stopped short of a war I'm not willing to have. But it seems like a bad joke when I see people saying that all this "Iran having nukes is bad" talk is just Americans huffing and puffing and flexing their muscles, nothing to see here, move along, pay no attention to the ballistic missile behind the curtain.

"Americans don't like it" doesn't make it a good thing all by itself. The world's a big place, and there's plenty of room for bad things that don't come from America.
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Stark
PostPosted: 2012-02-19 08:12pm 

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I was hoping you'd have some broad suggestions. Sadly I see the traditional approach (barriers to entry, threats to discourage) may actually have created a situation where those who want nukes must spend a lot of money and thus must use the threats to create a political atmosphere that allows them to do so... which creates or exaggerates the very elements that makes them having nukes a bad thing.
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Simon_Jester
PostPosted: 2012-02-19 08:35pm 

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Sorry, Stark, I got nothing. Or at least nothing that isn't obvious.

I don't think that avoiding "the traditional approach" would make it any better. Nukes are inherently expensive, much like orbital rockets. You spend a lot of money and time on them anyway, unless someone else who already has the technology is basically giving them away for free.

Making them artificially harder to get does create a vicious cycle, but if getting nukes were cheap, we'd already be living in the world that Skimmer is unhappy about. If you could plunk down a few hundred mil and get your own nukes, just about every penny-ante dictator in the world would have a nuclear arsenal.

Very few countries have ever abandoned their nuclear ambitions, and none of them were dictatorships as far as I know.

And in Iran's case, their government has pretty much always been fucked up, there is nothing new under the sun. They really haven't had a functioning non-shithole government for more than a decade or two at a time in a long time: their shahs were corrupt assholes even back in the 18th and 19th centuries. And since the Revolution- well, if you ask me, any dictatorial revolutionary party seems to break down into a bunch of competing security organs and fiefdoms when it wins.

(possible bullshit follows, take with grain of salt, please be polite about this if you think I'm wrong, because even I know I could so easily be wrong about this part)

I get the feeling right-wing dictatorships are even worse about it than left-wing ones; in a leftist dictatorship you usually just have the Communist Party or something giving the orders, while in a rightist one you have all kinds of other 'traditionalist' religious, economic, and ethnic factions who all want their own standing army. It's a bigger tent with more conflicting interest groups, so the factionalism tends to be worse.
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Broomstick
PostPosted: 2012-02-19 09:13pm 

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Alkaloid wrote:
Quote:
Also, generally people who use massed human waves, not once or twice but for years to clear minefields are not to be trusted. Just a little rule of thumb some people have on what is and is not rational leadership.

Thats not irrational. It's brutal and horrific, but they weren't just doing it for shits and giggles, they had a goal and they were using a nasty but effective method to achieve it.

Uh, right, because a rational player using such a repulsive method as waves of untrained human mine sweepers is so much better!

:roll:

Yes, I know, some people would find it comforting to think the Bad Guys, or rather The Guys In Opposition To Us, are crazy loons but they're not. Frankly, I don't find either alternative better, be it crazies getting all stabby or rationals calculating what they can get away with. Either way, it could turn into a problem that bites all of us on the ass.
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ChaserGrey
PostPosted: 2012-02-19 09:16pm 

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Joined: 2010-10-17 11:04pm
Posts: 498
Stas Bush wrote:
You realize of course that the Straits will be closed immediately and Iran will attack US forces in Iraq or Israel (depending on the party which attacked it in the first place), as bombings are an act of war? What then? Bomb them into the stone age without invading? Yeah.


Iran may or may not be able to close the Straits, and doing so would hurt them as much as it would hurt their opponents- their economy is built on crude oil exports, and to a lesser degree imports of refined products they can't make enough of domestically. So I wouldn't assume Iran would automatically close the Straits in the event of an attack, or that it would succeed if it did try.

Bombing without invasion has been done before, though not always successfully. See the U.S. actions against Iraq from 1992-2002, and Kosovo in '99. Besides, who's going to invade Iran? I don't see any constituency in the U.S. for it, and I don't see anyone else with even the theoretical capability.
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ChaserGrey
PostPosted: 2012-02-19 09:22pm 

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Joined: 2010-10-17 11:04pm
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Broomstick wrote:
Nonsense – the US certainly could invade Iran. It doesn't because the costs (in several areas) greatly outweigh the benefits. If we get a Republican elected in November, however, that option certainly could be back on the table whether it's a good idea or not. Mitt Romney – arguably one of the saner choices for Republican PotUS this time around – is anti-Iran and very pro-Israel. Gingrich is, if anything, more anti-Iran than Romney.

For Iran, the best outcome of the US election would be Obama winning a second term.


No argument there, but as far as I am aware none of the Republican candidates have talked about invasion and regime change in Iran. We've fought two wars recently and the economy isn't so hot. Granted, Bush did launch the Iraq war in '03 against heavy domestic opposition, but there was also a sizable and loud segment of the electorate that was for the war. I'm just not seeing that this time around.

Lord of the Abyss wrote:
Actually, I've pretty consistently heard that they couldn't shut it down solo. The Iranians built the program under the assumption that Israel would happily attack it, so it's hardened and dispersed enough that air strikes aren't effective.


The Iranian enrichment halls at Natanz and Fordow are hardened, although not beyond the ability of conventional earth-penetrators to bust. The plutonium breeder at Qom and the nuclear engineering facilities at Isfahan, which would definitely be needed to make a bomb, aren't hardened at all. So yes, given enough time and effort, I think the Israelis could shut down the Iranian program. [And no, I can't prove there aren't other secret facilities, but there's no evidence that there are any, either.]

Quote:
Also true – the Iranians are pretty good observers. Apparently, there is doubt the US could bomb the Iranian facilities into uselessness. The Iranians are VERY determined. I do believe they will get their a-bomb shortly whether the rest of the world approves or not. It seems to me, then, that the logical thing to do, if an Iranian bomb is inevitable, is to not go around pissing off the Iranians and fucking up their economy because a pissed off Iran destabilized by a fucked up economy is more likely to start trouble than a not so pissed off Iran with a healthy economy, but politically that doesn't seem feasible at the moment.


That, of course is the real issue. The question isn't Israel's capabilities, it's the price they'd pay politically and the consequences of failure. If they strike and Iran gets the bomb anyway, they will be in very deep kimchi, as will anyone who helped them.
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ChaserGrey
PostPosted: 2012-02-19 09:29pm 

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Joined: 2010-10-17 11:04pm
Posts: 498
Alkaloid wrote:
Quote:
Also, generally people who use massed human waves, not once or twice but for years to clear minefields are not to be trusted. Just a little rule of thumb some people have on what is and is not rational leadership.


Thats not irrational. It's brutal and horrific, but they weren't just doing it for shits and giggles, they had a goal and they were using a nasty but effective method to achieve it.


Yeah, that's the part that actually bugs me, because you're right. It's not irrational. It does speak to a mindset that's quite willing to pay immense human costs, costs that would be utterly unacceptable in the West relative to the benefit gained, if it gets them what they want. Human wave attacks in the Iran-Iraq War were pretty horrifying, but they worked.

The question becomes, how do you deter someone with that attitude, short of having a big enough arsenal to completely destroy their civilization? Being able to nuke a few Iranian cities may not be enough.
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Broomstick
PostPosted: 2012-02-19 09:44pm 

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Stark wrote:
How do you see an effective method to prevent states you don't like don't trust from getting nuclear weapons?

There isn't one.
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