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June 07, 2007

Comments

I completely disagree with him on all sorts of issues, but there is a huge and important difference between disagreeing with someone and thinking that that person has entered a realm of pure fantasy

The bar for being a relatively "good" Republican has dropped very, very, very low indeed.

yes, they are lying. and they are lying without fear of being called on their lies because the press is in love with their broad shoulders and chiseled jaws.

Agreeing with cleek is becoming a pattern for me.

They are also lying because their lies are short, the truth is longer and more complicated, and the press can be relied upon to present this as "he said, she said", rather than digging even 1 inch to find the truth out.

"Via Digby: in the Republican debate, did Giuliani say that Iran already has nuclear weapons?"

Shouldn't be any surprise: Rudy doesn't know much about other countries, and he's already said in April that:

At a house party in New Hampshire, Mr. Giuliani suggested that it was unclear which was farther along, Iran or North Korea, in the development of a nuclear weapons program.
See the other quotes from that same appearance of Rudy's.

and i'm going to agree with Dantheman, who says the thing which i couldn't manage to put into words.

What about McCain's fantasy world where you can just stroll around Baghdad on a danger-free shopping trip? I'm sorry, hil, I understand the urge to proclaim McCain the best of the lot, but that doesn't mean he dwells in reality more than occasionally.

Then there's good ol' Mitt with his 'null set'

im in ur debate, misusing yr logic

And I think the only thing we can do (we random citizens, as opposed to strategists for the Democrats) is to repeat, over and over again: Do they believe these falsehoods? Then they are not qualified to be President. Do they not? Then they are acting with utter contempt for the voters. There is no third alternative that makes this sort of statement OK.

Amen hilzoy.

Then there's good ol' Mitt with his 'null set'

that reminds me a lot of the IDers who fill books with all kinds of biological and mathematical jargon, but don't seem to have a clue about what they're saying. clearly, there's an audience for misused technical language.

Oh, and there's a compilation of some of the dumb and dumber from the GOP field here and here.

(pardon the shameless hussy-ism)

Yeah, apparently all McCain needs to do to look better again is stand next to the rest of these guys.

Huckabee is surprsingly appealing for someone with his views. And Ron Paul obviously has his moments.

And Tancredo, wow...I remember saying after Obama's convention speech that it was like someone had hacked into my brain & created the perfect Senator to appeal to me, a la weird science. Tancredo is basically the exact opposite of that.

We have fallen through the looking glass and down the rabbit hole...

In the "who's scarier" sweepstakes among the leading candidates, Giuliani's pulled ahead again. Romney's Foreign Affairs article was interesting: a lot of boilerplate & scant on useful ideas, but also less crazy than he's trying to seem during the debates. He sure doesn't discuss the need to "Double Guantanamo". This sort of hollow willingness to pander to people's worst instincts to get elected is pretty gross to watch, but it does leave at least the possibility that he'll sometimes play to a different audience as President & govern more sanely, whereas Giuliani is this way all the time.

They are saying things that just aren't so

We are confusing bourgeois truth and revolutionary truth.

Revolutionary truth is different from bourgeois truth.

Bourgeois truth is based on whether a statement comports with reality.

Revolutionary truth is based on whether a statement promotes the Party in its leading role as Vanguard of the Revolution.

Rudy's statement, good cadre that he is, possesses the characteristic of revolutionary truth.

And sailing the seas depends on the Helmsman.

(I'm not sure when exactly we began to be ruled by Maoists, but there it is...)

It's pretty clear to me that Giuliani is just using a sloppily expansive use of "can" - I can play Honegger's Danse de la Chèvre but I'd have to walk home and get my flute and practice for a couple of weeks to intonate the upper register stuff cleanly and make the tricky bits sound effortless. To claim Giuliani's doing this with intention to deceive seems like mindreading based on the debate material I've seen.

rilkefan: you don't think that "Iran is a threat, a nuclear threat", followed by the claim that they "can" deliver nuclear missiles, is the claim that Iran is a nuclear power?

And I didn't say he did this with intent to deceive. I left open the possibility that he actually doesn't know that Iran does not have nuclear weapons. Which is what Gary's quote might suggest.

Sure, it's not an immediate threat or maybe even an imminent threat, but in the expected course of events it is one. Giuliani's a threat to overturn Roe v. Wade, isn't he?

I kinda think he knows Iran doesn't currently have nuclear arms - note that Gary's "quote" isn't one.

"I kinda think he knows Iran doesn't currently have nuclear arms"

Yes, but even if we stipulate that he does, his audience does not. And using this kind of language, in front of an audience that has proven in the past to be uninformed about exactly this sort of issue (see e.g. the % of people who believe Saddam was linked to 9/11), is deceptive.

"I kinda think he knows Iran doesn't currently have nuclear arms - note that Gary's 'quote" isn't one.'

So you're saying you don't believe Marc Santora, and that his reporting of this lacks credibility, because he didn't put that particular statement in between quotation marks? Wouldn't Rudy have been apt to object to such an error in the "paper of record"? Has Rudy been shy about making such objections in the past?

I’m assuming he misspoke here:

Part of the premise of talking to Iran has to be that they have to know very clearly that it is unacceptable to the United States that they have nuclear power.

No one has an issue with Iran having nuclear power. I’m guessing he mixed up “become a nuclear power” and “have nuclear weapons”. But still, I thought I’d point out that unlike the good mayor I have no issues at all with Iran having nuclear power.

The issue with Iran and nuclear power is that they are demanding to have the right to the full processing of the fuel, as guaranteed in the NPT. I frankly don't see where anyone has the right to deny them that. In fact, I think the treaty requires us to aid them in developing that capability.

"So you're saying you don't believe Marc Santora"

I don't believe he's infallible, or able to report on Giuliani's current knowledge based on a past statement at a party. Note that Santora didn't quote Giuliani, allowing us to draw our own conclusions, and he wrote "suggested", which is a weasel word.

"Has Rudy been shy about making such objections in the past?"

You tell me. I can come up with dozens of reasons why he wouldn't in this case.


For that matter, I know some Iranian physicists, and they're no slouches. On the time-scale in question I wouldn't bet that NK was ahead of Iran.

"No one has an issue with Iran having nuclear power."

Sure they do. Our government does. That's what all this is about: preventing Iran from learning how to spin up their centrifuges to enrich U238 into U235. We don't claim that they're only not allowed to make nuclear weapons; our entire stance is that they're not to be allowed to enrich uranium to the point sufficient only to be used in power plants (oops, too late now) -- despite the fact that they are guaranteed that right by the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

This is why Iran keeps pointing out that they have every right to enrich uranium to that degree. When we say they can't be allowed to do that, we're insisting that they don't have the treaty rights that they have.

This might be the right thing to do, given the dangers, but there's no possible way to deny that we're forbidding them their treaty rights, and that we're doing our best to stop them from having nuclear power and their own nuclear enrichment capability.

I'm really startled that you'd say this, since it's so wildly 180 degrees from the facts.

"But still, I thought I’d point out that unlike the good mayor I have no issues at all with Iran having nuclear power."

Maybe you should start protesting our policy, then.

Gary: I don't know that our government has an issue with Iran having nuclear power per se, since one could have nuclear power without having enrichment capacity (if, say, one got one's fuel from another country.)

"On the time-scale in question I wouldn't bet that NK was ahead of Iran."

North Korea detonated a nuclear weapon on October 9th, 2006.

"So you're saying you don't believe Marc Santora"

Your answer seems to translate to "yes." Okay. I don't see why Santora should be believed any more if he used quotation marks, and I can think of endless numbers of phrasings that make that awkward, but since you don't believe this type of cite is credible, there's no point further discussing this with you.

"Gary: I don't know that our government has an issue with Iran having nuclear power per se, since one could have nuclear power without having enrichment capacity (if, say, one got one's fuel from another country.)"

This is why I carefully wrote that "That's what all this is about: preventing Iran from learning how to spin up their centrifuges to enrich U238 into U235. We don't claim that they're only not allowed to make nuclear weapons; our entire stance is that they're not to be allowed to enrich uranium to the point sufficient only to be used in power plants" and that "this is why Iran keeps pointing out that they have every right to enrich uranium to that degree."

I didn't say that U.S. policy was to keep Iran from building or using a nuclear reactor so long as they didn't have any enrichment capability, and I didn't say that our policy was to forbid Iran to run reactors "per se."

Regardless, the NPT guarantees the right to enrichment. Our attempts to forbid this to Iran have no legal basis I'm aware of: do you know of any?

"but there's no possible way to deny that we're forbidding them their treaty rights, and that we're doing our best to stop them from having nuclear power and their own nuclear enrichment capability."

I sort of thought that we weren't that hardline.

'Your answer seems to translate to "yes."'

Your reply seems to translate to, "I can't be bothered to read what you wrote".

Only Israel benefits from these endless Middle East wars. Iraq is the beginning. As we commit war-crimes in Baghdad, the US gov't commits treason at home by opening mail, eliminating habeas corpus, using the judiciary to steal private lands, banning books like "America Deceived" from Amazon and Wikipedia, conducting warrantless wiretaps and engaging in illegal wars on behalf of AIPAC's 'money-men'. Soon, another US false-flag operation will occur (sinking of an Aircraft Carrier by Mossad) and the US will invade Iran.. Then we'll invade Syria, then Saudi Arabia, then Lebanon (again) then ....
Final link (before Stark County District Library bends to gov't demands and censors the title):
America Deceived (book)

gahd how i hate that America Deceived spam.

I didn't say he did this with intent to deceive. I left open the possibility that he actually doesn't know that Iran does not have nuclear weapons.

In the run-up to the Iraq war, there were a whole series of statements by adminstrtion spokespersons suggesting that Saddam had nukes and was behind 9/11. They were always careful to leave themselves weasel room if they were called on their inaccuracies, but the result was that at one point, a substantial percentage of the population believed that Saddam had nukes and was behind 9/11.

Giuliani is pulling the same darn stunt. In the context of the last 6 years, anyone who thinks this is accidental is blind . . .

Gary Farber: "This is why Iran keeps pointing out that they have every right to enrich uranium to that degree. When we say they can't be allowed to do that, we're insisting that they don't have the treaty rights that they have."

Presumably this also includes the right to produce heavy water, and operate heavy-water reactors, which do not require enriched uranium. Canada uses this as a selling point for their CANDU reactors: use your own uranium resources, no need to buy enriched uranium from other countries. IIRC, the EU is demanding that Iran shut down their heavy-water production plant and abandon the heavy-water reactor currently under construction. Does this imply that the EU members are also willing to deny Iran its treaty rights?

Gary: I'm really startled that you'd say this, since it's so wildly 180 degrees from the facts.

In what way does “nuclear power” equate to “enrichment capability”? I believe that our current policy is to encourage those countries that already have the complete fuel cycle to commit to assisting those countries who do not - as long as those countries do not seek enrichment or reprocessing capabilities. I believe that Iran was offered just such a deal. So I’ll say again, I don’t know anyone who is against Iran having nuclear power (although there are some environmentalists opposed I am sure). They could have all they wanted, and with lots of assistance. We are against them (and anyone else) developing their own fuel cycle.

"I believe that our current policy is to encourage those countries that already have the complete fuel cycle to commit to assisting those countries who do not - as long as those countries do not seek enrichment or reprocessing capabilities. I believe that Iran was offered just such a deal."

Which puts us in the position of making an illegal demand in violation of the NPT treaty. No?

"We are against them (and anyone else) developing their own fuel cycle."

Without which you can't have independent nuclear power. Regardless, where does the NPT treaty ban developing their own fuel cycle? OCSteve, the NPT guarantees the signer the right to their own fuel cycle. What is our ground for insisting that Iran doesn't have their rights under the NPT, exactly?

Here is the treaty.

Article IV

1. Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with articles I and II of this Treaty.

2. All the Parties to the Treaty undertake to facilitate, and have the right to participate in, the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Where's the part excluding enrichment and a fuel cycle?

Incidentally, we also do little or nothing to fulfill our obligations under Article VI, a fact unnoticed by most Americans, but not by most of the rest of the world:

Article VI

Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.

We ratified this treaty in 1969, so I don't think we're being too hasty in engaging in nuclear disarmament.

Basically, the U.S. attitude is similar to that as regards a number of treaties: we signed it, but don't expect us to actually care about it.

Heck, we're selling enrichment technology and nuclear fuel to India even though they haven't even signed the NPT, even though Article I obligates us to "not in any way to assist, encourage, or induce any non-nuclear weapon State to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, or control over such weapons or explosive devices."

Gary: What is our ground for insisting that Iran doesn't have their rights under the NPT, exactly?

Did I mention that? I’ll give you the neo-con response you (IMO) expect. Who cares? We are bigger and badder. We’ll hose you if you don’t go along with us. We’ll give you a taste of “shock and awe”.

Gary – you like to see precise language. You spend hours pointing it out to others when they are not clear. Personally, I have spent hours trying to respond to you on various topics as you twist me into more and more verbal knots…

So. I said:
"No one has an issue with Iran having nuclear power."

My original comment keyed on the term “power” vs. anything else. I thought the big G misspoke. I said what I meant, and I meant what I said. The distinction between “nuclear power” and weapons etc. was pretty clear. You took a leap into enrichment that was never in my comment. You responded:

Sure they do. Our government does.

You did not carefully write your response. I said A, you accused me of B, and jumped to “therefore Z”. You took a leap.

I say enough stupid things - please do not put words into my mouth.

Gary: What is our ground for insisting that Iran doesn't have their rights under the NPT, exactly?

Did I mention that?

I'm confused: the entire debate regarding Iran is whether or not they should be allowed to proceed with enrichment capability. Is there some other debate, internationally, or about U.S. policy, about Iran going on?

"I’ll give you the neo-con response you (IMO) expect."

? The only response I expected was your answer to the question.

I'm not trying to put words into your mouth: are you saying that you oppose the U.S. position that says that Iran can't be allowed to proceed with enrichment? Or do you favor it? Or simply put forth your position on the U.S. position on Iran being allowed to proceed with enrichment as you best prefer.

Looking back, I don't see why you're saying I was putting words in your mouth: the original exchange was this:

"No one has an issue with Iran having nuclear power."

Sure they do. Our government does. That's what all this is about: preventing Iran from learning how to spin up their centrifuges to enrich U238 into U235. We don't claim that they're only not allowed to make nuclear weapons; our entire stance is [...]

Which is to say, I quoted your words, and then argued with you. Wrong or right, that's not putting any words in your mouth.

And you've never struck me as a "neo-con" and I've never said anything to indicate otherwise, so that seems strangely entirely out of the blue.

I don't think I've ever labeled anyone a "neo-con," though I could be wrong.

Gary: I'm confused: the entire debate regarding Iran is whether or not they should be allowed to proceed with enrichment capability. Is there some other debate, internationally, or about U.S. policy, about Iran going on?

I did not comment on the “entire debate”. I commented on what I thought to be a possible word mix-up by Rudy. I said I did not think he meant “nuclear power”. You brought in the rest. Your response was yes, people, our government; object to them having nuclear power. IMO there is a big difference between nuclear power and the full fuel cycle. You brought in the enrichment aspect, and made it sound like that is what I was talking about to begin with.

In any case we are starting up with:
Your 1:59 said this…
Then your 2:03 said this…
Then I said this…
And your response was this…

I’m not going there. Assume this misunderstanding was my fault. I’ll attempt to be clearer next time.

"Assume this misunderstanding was my fault."

No, it's officially John Thullen's fault.

"I’m not going there. Assume this misunderstanding was my fault. I’ll attempt to be clearer next time."

Possibly you could simply respond to what I asked? "I'm not trying to put words into your mouth: are you saying that you oppose the U.S. position that says that Iran can't be allowed to proceed with enrichment? Or do you favor it? Or [could you] simply put forth your position on the U.S. position on Iran being allowed to proceed with enrichment as you best prefer[, please?]"

James Fallows was also bewildered by Giuliani.

rilkefan: No, it's officially John Thullen's fault

So true! John! Where are you?

Gary: I simply commented that I thought Rudy misspoke. I never intended any heavier meaning. It was a flippant comment and that was the end of it for me. Don’t look for any heavier meaning…

Gawd, that Thullen guy has a lot to answer for...

Gary: Let me leave you with one thought:

If it is this much trouble for me to comment when I agree with you (Republican candidates suck), why ferchristssake would I bother to make the effort when I disagree? I mean, I expect you to challenge me when we disagree. But if I say the sun rises in the east you are going to quibble and try to pin me down on what I really mean… I mean it rises in the damned east.

"Don’t look for any heavier meaning…"

This is really frustrating. I didn't ask you about any heavier meanings. I asked you what I asked you. And I asked you because I was curious.

Do you just not want to say what you think U.S. policy towards Iran engaging in uranium enrichmen should be? Am I touching on a taboo subject, or something?

"If it is this much trouble for me to comment when I agree with you (Republican candidates suck), why ferchristssake would I bother to make the effort when I disagree?"

I'm a bit taken aback. I'm sorry you felt you had "trouble" commenting earlier, though I continue to think you misunderstood what I said, given your responses, but since you said you didn't want to go back to that, I can't address that, even though you are now bringing it up again.

If you feel that it isn't worth "making the effort" to engage in an enjoyable conversation, including with me, then I presume it isn't, for you.

I do hope I misunderstand you.

OCSteve: " I mean it rises in the damned east."

Well, to be technical, the sun doesn't actually rise, as it is the rotation of the earth the creats the illusion of the sun rising. :)

That was said to hopefully defuse tension.

Actually, Gary, OCSteve is right. He did not get into technicalities or issues relating to the NPT. He merely said he doesn't think anyne has trouble with Iran having nuclear power. And that is a true statement. The fact that some places, the US included, want restriction on that power, in apparent violation of the NPT, is not part of that discussion.

Gary: incessant focus on minutia, and grinding away at people who try to answer you until they finally give up, is not conducive to a better meeting of the minds.

Gary: Do you just not want to say what you think U.S. policy towards Iran engaging in uranium enrichmen should be? Am I touching on a taboo subject, or something?

No – it is just that I did not introduce it. I took a smack at a Republican candidate. I agreed with you and 90% of the folks here – I took a jab at what I thought was a blunder by Rudy. You escalated that to the question of enrichment – which is not where I intended to go. Just because you asked me about some topic I never had any intent of discussing, then put the onus of that on me, I have no responsibility to answer the question you made up out of whole cloth from my original comment.

If, as you say, you are just curious, I respectfully submit that you may think about how to better phrase that. Everything you type is a challenge to someone. There is no such thing as conversation or even debate with you – it is always verbal combat.

Gary: I like you. And just as I would yell at my realmeat friends when I have the urge, I now yell at you…

I am getting snippy and short. I apologize if this comes across as harsh. I should know better than to hit post, but I guess I will. (yup, I did.)

I don't think you're harsh, OCSteve, but I do think this is observedly factually untrue: "Everything you type is a challenge to someone. There is no such thing as conversation or even debate with you – it is always verbal combat."

I could easily point out some 50 comments I've made on this blog alone in the past three days that were nothing but pure fluff and friendly conversation.

I have no idea why you think our conversation "escalated," or was anything but purely friendly conversation, but since you clearly do -- and you have to be reading in a lot of emotional content that isn't there to do that -- there doesn't seem to be much left to say, unfortunately. See ya on another thread.

Gary: Again – it is as tough to converse with you when we agree as when we disagree. I like to think I am pretty straightforward (could be wrong), just please do not read between the lines. I am not that subtle – there is nothing there!

I could easily point out some 50 comments I've made on this blog alone in the past three days that were nothing but pure fluff and friendly conversation.

I don't believe this is true. Please produce this list of comments. Seriously, I'd like to see this list. It should be quite easy.

Gary, it fascinates me that these sorts of misunderstandings seem to abound when you comment. It seems that many people perceive your comments in a very different way than you claim to perceive them. I suppose that could be because many people are just less logical than you are, or somehow defective in their communication skills. Or maybe it has something to do with you. In any event, it can't be your fault.

Granted, you often have insightful things to say, but......(extra periods inserted just to piss off people who have no sense of perspective in life).

OCSteve,
Even though I often disagree with you, I really feel for you right now. Dealing with Gary can be exhausting, whether or not one disagrees with him. For what it's worth, I don't think you did anything wrong here.

"For what it's worth, I don't think you did anything wrong here."

For what it's worth, I certainly don't think OCSteve did anything wrong: who on earth said OCSteve did anything wrong? Where did that come from?

Well, OCSteve did write that "Assume this misunderstanding was my fault. I’ll attempt to be clearer next time." did he not? Now, I certainly lack your experience in reading and I'm not a psychologist, but to me, that statement suggests that OCSteve believes that there was a misunderstanding and that he was responsible for it. Since misunderstandings are generally considered bad and since OCSteve has indicated that he is unhappy with this misunderstanding, I think it should be obvious that OCSteve believes he did something wrong: i.e., that he made some sort of mistake that caused the misunderstanding. Perhaps you could explain how I'm misreading his cryptic and confusing comments that actually strike me as rather clear.

In other words, the issue is how OCSteve feels about things, not how you feel or what you said or what you think. While I certainly am aware that the universe revolves around me, I often find it useful to occasionally assume that it does not.

I suppose I should clarify. When I wrote, "I don't think you did anything wrong", I meant to indicate that I didn't think that OCSteve was particularly unclear or at fault for this misunderstanding. I did not mean to imply that OCSteve has not murdered thousands of school children and feasted on their flesh. Or, rather, I did mean to imply that if he did that, I think it would be wrong. Clear?

By the way, I've looked closely and I can't see a list of even five, let alone the 50 links to comments that you promised. Was that offer only available to OCSteve?

I don't think you're harsh, OCSteve, but I do think this is observedly factually untrue: "Everything you type is a challenge to someone. There is no such thing as conversation or even debate with you – it is always verbal combat."

This is absolutely classic. "You argue about everything!" "No I don't!"

Possibly you could simply respond to what I asked? "I'm not trying to put words into your mouth: are you saying that you oppose the U.S. position that says that Iran can't be allowed to proceed with enrichment? Or do you favor it? Or [could you] simply put forth your position on the U.S. position on Iran being allowed to proceed with enrichment as you best prefer[, please?]"

I want to respond to this, but I'm not sure how. What I'll do is dramatise the argument as it might ideally play out on TV. A debate between an iranian representative and a US representative, dumbed down for TV.

US: You are building bombs and you must stop.

Iran: No, we are only building peaceful reactors so we can make our own electricity without burning $70 oil.

US: You are building bombs and you must stop.

Iran: No, we aren't. We don't want bombs.

US: If you aren't building bombs, prove it. Let us inspect your facilities and confirm that it's all peaceful.

Iran: Look what you did to iraq. First you sent in inspectors who looked absolutely anywhere they wanted. They were spies who took GPS recordings for every target they might someday want to bomb. Saddam threw them out and you said he was making bombs, when he wasn't. He let the inspectors back in and you invaded iraq anyway, and you bombed everywhere you had GPS for. Now you want us to trust you? You want us to let your spies inspect everywhere in our country, forever? What if you decide for any reason or for no reason that you want to invade, like you did iraq?

US: You refuse to allow inspectors into some sites. That proves you are making bombs.

Iran: We don't want bombs. We just want electricity.

US: Then we'll sell you power plants that are guaranteed not to make bombs, and everybody's happy. You can afford these plants since you're rich on oil money. Once they're built they'll give you electricity for less than 50 cents per kWh. You can sell the used fuel rods to trustworthy nations and buy fresh rods in exchange, and you can sell them the uranium you mine too. And best of all, we'll know you aren't using them to make nukes. Deal?

Iran: That sounds extremely expensive. And we'd be completely dependent on our enemies for fuel rods. What if for some reason or no reason they decided to embargo us? It would cripple our economy. I don't think we can do that deal.

US: Then we will impose an embargo and cripple your economy.

Iran: Look, we don't want nuclear weapons and we aren't making them. But would it be unreasonable if we did? You have threatened us with military attack. It's no secret that you are making plans to attack us, and moving ships and supplies into place in preparation for an attack. If we had nukes you probably would not attack us even though you clearly want to. Aren't your own actions encouraging just the thing you say you don't want?

US: We cannot allow you to have nukes. You are insane and if you had them you'd use them, against us or israel. Or you'd give them away to private individuals who're even crazier than you are. Since you are making nuclear weapons we have to stop you. We don't want to attack you but we aren't ruling anything out. If necessary we will make a preventive nuclear strike on you, or israel will.


All this looks stupid. But when I look for a smart strategy, I don't see one. Inspections are not compatible with national sovereignty, but without them we can't prove they don't have nukes.

My natural thought is to make a deal with iran -- they accept inspections and we accept inspections too. We let international inspectors look anywhere they want in the USA, any secret site they like, and they confirm just what nuclear capabilities we have. This bold move can't actually work, though. We can't possibly let international inspectors look at all our secret projects to find out whether they're nukes or not. If we did we'd be at a big disadvantage compared to russia and china. And russia and china are even more paranoid about international inspections than we are, there's no possible way they'd agree to inspections in their countries.

It would help if we made serious moves toward disarmament. But that wouldn't help enough with iran. They have reason not to take our word for anything, so without inspections it wouldn't mean much. Not nearly enough to get them to accept inspections.

Inspections aren't enough anyway. The overlap between peaceful production of plutonium reactors (the cheap kind, cheap to build and cheap to run, though maybe expensive storage of used material) and plutonium bombs (cheap to build in quantity once you know how) is too big. Once they have plutonium reactors they'll be 6 months from having nukes whenever they decide they want them. And they can withdraw from the NNPT on a year's notice, any time.

The obvious best choice technically is to accept that nonproliferation is dead and that iran will have nukes along with anybody else who wants them, and live with that. But the voters would freak out.

Here's a possible plan. We announce that for 60+ years we've been fooling the world about nukes. They're not actually worth having, but we pretended and we persuaded our enemies to waste their strength on nukes. We didn't spend all that much after the initial investment, which was after all a sunk cost, but our enemies wasted a lot. And now that the game is over, we're going to reduce our stockpile of nukes to 200 or so warheads which is plenty, down from the 1000 we actually kept. The rest were fakes.

There's a fair chance the russians and the chinese will announce that they knew it too and they just played along, they never spent all that much but mostly faked it too.

If we can convince the world that there's no big advantage to nukes, that actually nuking somebody is hardly ever in their best interest, then maybe nonproliferation will arise from the dead.

But it's a risky plan. Maybe a lot of nations will build nukes anyway, and there we'll be with less than a majority of nukes in the world, and the voters will be scared.


I just don't see a sure thing no matter what we do. I don't even see something that would look like a good plan to a majority of voters. Americans are mostly agreed we don't want iran to have nukes. (And we haven't even thought about argentina. Or mexico. If mexico got nukes, would we freak?) And we don't believe the iranians when they say they don't want nukes. So our choices are to attack them to destroy their nukes, or use diplomacy to persuade them to give up without a fight. Presumably when the diplomacy fails then we attack, and when that fails then we freak out. I guess the next step after that is to figure out who to blame. Maybe blame the liberals who delayed the attack....

J Thomas: What are you intending to convey by leaving the periods out of "U.S."?

Steve, nothing in particular. I didn't notice I was doing it.

sigh

im in ur compewtr, killin ur shift key

Yeag Slarti, trying to lol your way out. But we all know that, like J Thomas, you're just trying to establish that you ('US') are an integral part of the USA. Replacing USA or U.S. with US is trying to establish at a subconsious level that we, not USA citizens, are part of 'THEM' not 'US'. But be aware that as soon as the worldovernment will take over we will all file complaints about this blatant expression of discrimination!!

dutchmarbel, that reminds me of a book I read long ago, in which far future archaeologists had come to the conclusion that the second half of the twentieth century was dominated by a competition between the Land of We and the Land of More We.

Land of We and the Land of More We.

Ah, yes, "a Stress Analysis of a Strapless Evening Gown," a collection I remember vividly.

"Digging the Weans," if I recall correctly, was an an archaeological piece about "pound laundry" (Washing ton).

Thanks, ral; I had forgotten about "pound laundry".

"Ah, yes, 'a Stress Analysis of a Strapless Evening Gown,' a collection I remember vividly."

Me, too, me, too!

"Neutrinos they are very small
They have no charge
And have no mass
And hardly interact at all."

Alas, a bit dated, what with neutrino oscillations. Reminds me of the Song of the Elements, where Tom Lehrer names them only up to 102. It would probably be hard to add the new ones.

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