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June 03, 2010

Comments

" And it bears remembering that Iran is a particular kind of douche that Israel is not. "

Iran hasn't invaded another country in hundreds of years, Israel, OTOH...

Are you kidding me, Alphie? Or just trolling?

sanctions are just pissing in the wind.

/s/, A Useful Idiot (at best)

those are some big words there, von.

sigh

i gather a war with Iran is the ultimate containment policy?

Isn't there some middle ground, Bernard? Between war and acquiesence? Or do we all just sigh, like Eric?

(Btw, Eric - I'll be in your neck of the woods for an extended period at the end of the month. We should get a drink and maybe pull in Winkleman and our brave commentators as well.)

Have sanctions ever actually worked to discourage a rogue state from pursuing an action of which the sanctioning group disapproved?

Because so far sanctions haven't stopped Iran or North Korea or Hamas, nor did they stop Milosevic's Serbia. The best I can think of is Iraq, but the sanctions were put in place in the wake of an invasion that completely decapitating the Iraqi military complex and took place alongside regular international inspections of potential weapons sites. Those conditions are not met in any other sanction situation I know of.

But, Hell, I don't know everything, so that's a serious question. If there's a situation where sanctions worked, I'd love to hear about it.

Yes, I am sure the international community is eager to unquestioningly pursue the US/Israeli agenda, considering how reasonable and competent they have proven in recent days.

South Africa?

South Africa. Maybe. Although I think that had a lot more to do with the fact that people who were accustomed to thinking of themselves as part of the "civilized world" were forced to realize that the civilized world no longer thought of them that way.

Iran couldn't give a rat's ass what the West thinks of it, and in fact the current leadership will take delight in demonizing the West for depriving the people of Iran of whatever it is we decide, in our infinite wisdom, we have the moral right to deprive them of.

I tend to think Iran is probably working on a nuclear weapons capability and that that is a bad idea (largely for them), although not the end of the world. But sanctions aren't going to do a damn thing about it, and are potentially useful in excusing a future US attack on Iran, even if the Obama admin doesn't intend them for that purpose (and I'm not entirely convinced they don't).

I'd like to hear an actual cause-and-effect argument for why and how sanctions will cause Iran to change course. "They're bad, we have to punish them" ain't it.

Friday, 26th November, 1937 "The Jewish Herald"
The Iron Wall
Colonisation of Palestine
Agreement with Arabs Impossible at present
Zionism Must Go Forward
By Vladimir Jabotinsky

Colonisation carries its own explanation, the only possible explanation, unalterable and as clear as daylight to every ordinary Jew and every ordinary Arab.

Colonisation can have only one aim, and Palestine Arabs cannot accept this aim. It lies in the very nature of things, and in this particular regard nature cannot be changed.

The Iron Wall

We cannot offer any adequate compensation to the Palestinian Arabs in return for Palestine. And therefore, there is no likelihood of any voluntary agreement being reached. So that all those who regard such an agreement as a condition sine qua non for Zionism may as well say “non” and withdraw from Zionism.

Zionist colonisation must either stop, or else proceed regardless of the native population. Which means that it can proceed and develop only under the protection of a power that is independent of the native population – behind an iron wall, which the native population cannot breach.

That is our Arab policy; not what we should be, but what it actually is, whether we admit it or not…

Zionism Moral and Just

Two brief remarks: In the first place, if anyone objects that this point of view is immoral, I answer: It is not true: either Zionism is moral and just ,or it is immoral and unjust. But that is a question that we should have settled before we became Zionists. Actually we have settled that question, and in the affirmative.

We hold that Zionism is moral and just. And since it is moral and just, justice must be done, no matter whether Joseph or Simon or Ivan or Achmet agree with it or not.

There is no other morality.

You actually seem to be sputtering in your typing. Maybe there's no time, but if you can spare some moments before Tehran nukes us, you can revise: end the repeated chorus on how you feel about Israel's recent/perpetual behaviour and, at least, help our brave serving classes with a correction to where the stewards/stewardesses have troubles (you toss in Israel there but you mean Iran).

Your cause, dubious as it may be, is not served by your hysteria. Make the case.

Von, I really effin' resent your tossing in "oh, and the Iranians treat homosexuals REALLY BADLY" (which they do, yes) as a justification for the US's attempts to stop Iran from developing nuclear power.

It's like the Bush government suddenly finding that "Oh, militant Islamists in Afghanistan treat women REALLY BADLY so we're going to invade". Yeah right.

Seven countries in the world still impose the death penalty for acts of consensual homosexuality. I can name all seven - could you?

I'll save you the trouble: Iran, yes: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Sudan, Mauritania, Nigeria, Yemen.

Iraq doesn't officially have the death penalty for homosexuality, but unofficially it sure does, thanks to the US invasion unleashing the Islamists who had been forced by Saddam Hussein's secular government to just leave them alone. (Saddam didn't care if two men or two women were having sex, so long as they weren't plotting to overthrow him while doing so.)

You want to argue that it's not a good thing for Iran to have nuclear power, or continue the line of argument that if they do so they'll develop nuclear weapons? Don't you dare justify doing so because they're one of the seven countries that have the death penalty for homosexuality. You are using the dead and the abused and the discriminated against and the terrified for your own political agenda.

We are people, Von. The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered of the world are not your objects for your political use.

Who knows, maybe a Nuclear Iran may slow Israel’s ferocious appetite to colonize Palestinian land.

"Are you kidding me, Alphie? Or just trolling? "

I remember back when Ronald Reagan backed Saddam's invasion of Iran.

I remember when the U.S. Navy shot down an Iranian civilian airliner full of civilians.

I remember when the C.I.A. overthrew the elected government of Iran and installed a monarch.

I don't remember Iran starting any wars in the past 100+ years.

Do you?

And Israel seems to have had quite a hand in helping South Africa during the apartheid era including SA's military nuclear program. Interestingly SA is the only country* that developed (and actually built) nukes and later got rid of them (before the end of apartheid iirc).
I propose to put both the Iranian and Israeli leadership in a sealed room together with just enough oxygen to keep alive half of them for 24 hours. The room will be opened only after that time.

*former Soviet republics do not count here I think.

Poor old Iran, not even allowed to defend themselves against the rabid Israelis, who regularly bomb their neighbours.
How about some sanctions against Israel? Who could be happy with those trigger-happy amoral idiots possessing nuclear weapons?

von has lots of links that don't actually say what he says they do.

Iran's fissile material stockpile in early April included no less than 12.5 pounds of uranium enriched to the 20 percent level, the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a report issued this week
20% enrichment is not enough for a bomb.

There's a WSJ editorial in there. von should be ashamed of himself for linking to that sort of rubbish.

None of the links provide any evidence that Iran wants nukes. Unforgivably, von says "Iran's current government wants nukes" and links to a report that says nothing of the kind. It is difficult to read this as anything but deliberate deception.

Just to reiterate:

There are only two ways to produce a nuclear weapon. Either with plutonium, or with highly-enriched or "weapons-grade" uranium (HEU). Therefore, in order to produce a bomb, Iran must manufacture or acquire either plutonium or HEU.

There is no evidence that Iran has acquired either plutonium or HEU from another source.

There is no evidence that Iran has produced HEU. Where would such an activity have taken place? The only U separation plant in Iran is regularly inspected.

There is no evidence that Iran has separated plutonium. Where would such an activity have taken place? Plutonium separation is a massive, expensive, complex business. Iran possesses no such plant.

The fact that Iran has moved a single experimental pyroprocessing cell does not prove anything.

People like von - people who at best don't think clearly, or at worst deliberately misrepresent evidence in order to build a false impression - have been warning for the last two decades that Iran is on the verge of producing nuclear weapons. So far, no bang.

And there is no evidence of a correlation between "being horrible to gay people" and "having an aggressive foreign policy". The US and Israel are quite nice to gay people and invade other countries a lot. The UAE is horrible, but fairly non-aggressive. The Netherlands are extremely tolerant, and also tend not to invade people very often. So that's basically just blowing smoke.

OK, here is my stupid question.

I understand that we would really, really prefer that Iran not have nuclear weapons. I understand that Israel would reall, really, *really* prefer that Iran not have nuclear weapons.

But is there any actual basis in treaty or international law for us to insist that Iran not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons?

This is not a trolling question, I just don't know the answer.

There's a generous handful of countries who have acquired nukes without our approval or permission. To my knowledge, they were not rewarded with a sanctions regime, by us or anyone else.

I don't know if Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons or not, and I totally understand why it would be very problematic for us if they did. I'm just trying to understand on what basis we can impose, and ask other countries to impose, sanctions or any other kind of punishment on Iran for doing so.

is there any actual basis in treaty or international law

Iran is an NPT signatory

Iran is an NPT signatory

Which does mean they get to have peaceful nuclear power. Exactly as they are verbally claiming. The problem is that the difference between peaceful nuclear power and warlike isn't all that much.

And frankly, it is Iran's best long-term interest to get nukes. Countries with nukes don't get invaded, rarely get attacked, however, countries trying to get nukes do get attacked; and countries without nukes get attacked (by state actors, non-state actors is a different kettle of fish).

But it could leave the NPT treaty after a period of notice. Iirc North Korea did it.
That of course leaves the possibility of researching up to the threshold and leaving then.
This is just a statement of fact and not to be construed as any political insinuation.

ptl, thanks.

Were India and Pakistan NPT signatories when they acquired nuclear weapons?

In principle that shouldn't effect the status of Iran one way or another, once again I'm just curious.

India and Pakistan, like Israel, refused to sign the treaty.

Countries with nukes don't get invaded, rarely get attacked, however, countries trying to get nukes do get attacked; and countries without nukes get attacked (by state actors, non-state actors is a different kettle of fish).

This is not a very easy conclusion to draw, actually, because in general the nations that have nuclear weapons (US, UK, USSR, Russia, France, India, Pakistan, Israel, possibly North Korea) are also the ones who have large and scary conventional forces. Yes, no one has recently invaded China. But as well as its small collection of nuclear missiles, China also has three million men under arms. Which one's doing the work?

Also, countries with nukes do, occasionally, get attacked, and their possession of nukes doesn't seem to have much effect on the attacker's actions.

See: the Falklands, 1982. Were the Argentinians at any point worried that they might receive a Polaris missile on Buenos Aires or Ushuaia? No.

See: Yom Kippur War, 1973. Israel almost certainly had nuclear weapons by this point. Did this stop them being attacked? No.

So they're not a universal deterrent against attack, obviously.

Countries trying to get nukes do get attacked? Again, there's not much of a correlation here. Iraq in 1991 was trying to get nukes and did get attacked, but IIRC the coalition didn't know about the nuclear programme in advance - they found out by accident during the war. North Korea wasn't attacked while it was trying to get nukes. South Africa wasn't. Brazil wasn't. And, of course, Iran hasn't been attacked either.

the common conflation of "negotiate" with "abject surrender" is on full display in this post, but the discovery of LARGE TYPE is telling.

Have sanctions ever actually worked to discourage a rogue state from pursuing an action of which the sanctioning group disapproved?

Libya.

The poster child for successful sanctions. The UN and US sanctions put such a crimp in Qaddafi's style that he spent three presidencies trying to negotiate his way out of them - beginning with Bush the elder, continuing through Clinton's eight years and then the second Bush.

In order to get out from under those sanctions, Libya took some responsibility for the Pan Am bombing, renounced support for terrorism, provided the US with assistance in fighting al-Qaeda and then halted its nuclear program.

Some tendentious pundits like to claim that Libya had a change of heart because Bush invaded Iraq, but the process was a long, negotiated quid pro quo that began over a decade before the Iraq invasion. Qaddafi did try to curry more favor with Bush by suggesting the Iraq invasion played apart, but that claim defies the space/time continuum.

People like von - people who at best don't think clearly, or at worst deliberately misrepresent evidence in order to build a false impression - have been warning for the last two decades that Iran is on the verge of producing nuclear weapons. So far, no bang.

Actually, it's closer to three decades at this point.

Btw, Eric - I'll be in your neck of the woods for an extended period at the end of the month. We should get a drink and maybe pull in Winkleman and our brave commentators as well

abso-freakin-lutely.

So: blast the Netanyahu government for a hamfisted attempt at a raid. I have. But don't lose sight of the larger picture. Or conflate issues.

Can you point to one person who is so confused by the heinous Israeli attack that they have forgotten that Iran is a horrible regime?

Because right now, I know who is conflating issues. PROTIP- NOT YOUR READERS.

So: blast the Netanyahu government for a hamfisted attempt at a raid. I have. But don't lose sight of the larger picture. Or conflate issues. The wonderful thing about reality is that it's not a zero sum game: Sometimes, everyone is wrong. Israel can do a shitty thing and Iran can still be a giant douche. And it bears remembering that Iran is a particular kind of douche that Israel is not. Stewardess and gay stewards are not scrambling to avoid overnighters in Israel because "unpleasant things [have] happened to them there." (Who blames them? Iran has, among other things, executed teenage boys for being gay.)

Iran's current government is a rogue regime that, surely, views its liberal Western sympathizers as useful idiots. At best.

The thing is, people around the world recognize that we are extreme hypocrites when it comes to our condemnations of the "heinous" regime in Iran.

You know why?

Because not only do we fail to condemn, isolate and punish other "heinous" regimes, we actually lavish them with varying degrees of aid (tens of millions for some, hundreds of millions for others, and billions for the lucky few).

But yes, let's all pretend that Iran is the worst regime in the world (or one of them), and ignore the odious regimes that we call "allies." Shoot, you don't even have to leave the region to find other stellar examples. See, ie, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel.

Von, I really effin' resent your tossing in "oh, and the Iranians treat homosexuals REALLY BADLY" (which they do, yes) as a justification for the US's attempts to stop Iran from developing nuclear power.

Heartily seconded. Pointless, tasteless, offensive, and insulting.

Speaking as a gay man: Kindly leave us the f*ck out of this ugly little game of Stratego you're playing in your head, Von.

Uncle K, you beat me to it. But that doesn't mean I can't third it, and second you. Thanks to both Jes and you for calling this out.

***

Iran's current government is a rogue regime that, surely, views its liberal Western sympathizers as useful idiots.

Yeah, let's keep pointing over there. Heaven forbid we should ever turn our attention to minding our own house first.

Whenever this topic comes up, I have the same thought.

Iran's neighbors and near-neighbors include Russia, Pakistan, India, and Israel. All nuclear powers. You could probably throw China in the mix, althought that might be stretching "near neighbor" a bit far.

The US, a nation that in very recent memory has branded Iran as a member of "the Axis of Evil", and where many prominent policy makers have openly called for attacking Iran, occupies the two nations on Iran's eastern and western borders.

One of those two nations, Iraq, invaded Iran in the living memory of Iran's leaders, beginning an almost decade-long war in which something like three quarters of a million Iranians (out of a population of about 70 million) were killed.

Maybe they aren't really planning to nuke anybody. Maybe they're just extremely nervous.

"See, ie, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel."

Luckily we are "engaged" with all of those regimes also. So, when Iran agrees to not say bad things about us anymore, we can stop condemning them and we will have peaceful relationships with essentially all of the Middle East. Then we can start shoveling them foreign aid, or protecting their oil fields(or nuclear plants), declare them a true democracy and we can show the value of our combined historical policy and current engagement policy.

From the next thread: He doesn't really get the fact that gay people are, well, people. And not some stange creatures to be talked about as though they weren't really there.

von, this is the reaction I have to the way you go on about e.g. Iran; I believe it's why Uncle Kvetch referred to it as a Stratego game in your head. It's as if there were no real people involved...no millions of real children, women, and men at risk of horror and death...only geostrategic pieces to move around on a flat board.

Marty, that made me laugh (in a good way, meaning with you).

I guess I'm conflicted, because I agree with von that Iran's treatment of gays is abominable, and also with Jesurgislac and Uncle Kvetch that said treatment of gays should not be used as a pretext for pursuing some other agenda.

Other than that, Iran is probably only a few years away from having nuclear weapons, again. Hopefully not for the last time.

Marty, that made me laugh (in a good way, meaning with you).

Me too.

You know, folks have been playing chess in what is now Iran since about 600 A.D.

Just saying.

Eric, A laugh on a Friday is never a bad thing. :)

Iran's current government is a rogue regime that, surely, views its liberal Western sympathizers as useful idiots.

As long as we're here, I'd really like to know who these "Western sympathizers" are. And I don't mean "sympathizers" in the way the word was hurled at those of us who dared to point out that invading and occupying Iraq was a colossally stupid and immoral thing to do.

Who in the West actually "sympathizes" with the Iranian regime, Von? Can you name names and provide cites? Or is it really just 2002-2003 all over again?

That was a good one, Marty (from another person who is usually jumping on you).

Iran's current government is a rogue regime that, surely, views its liberal Western sympathizers as useful idiots.

Actually, I would assume the opposite: Iran's current "rogue regime" views right-wing Western antagonists who support/advocate sanctions and military force as useful idiots, using the specter of an external existential threat to bolster domestic power and suppress opposition.

Also, is quite interesting how prominent members of Iran's reformist liberal intelligentia seem to believe sanctions would, to quote Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi, "only aggravate the people's hardship."

Yeah yeah -- what do they know? Clapping harder now.

Have sanctions ever actually worked to discourage a rogue state from pursuing an action of which the sanctioning group disapproved?

Yes. Sanctions do work. They can affect behavior but, more importantly, they deprive a regime of resources. For example: Sanctions have only been marginally successful in affecting NK behavior, but they have been very successful in defanging the NK regime.

Sanctions can degrade Iran's military capability and delay Iran's march to nuclear power-hood. Those are good reasons to implement sanctions, leaving aside the possibility of influencing the regime. (Incidentally, the fact that Iran is doing everything in its power to avoid sanctions is itself some evidence that they already are having an impact, e.g., the deal with Brazil and Turkey. (An illusory deal, IMHO, but others may differ).)

Yes. Sanctions do work.

Indeed, look how effective they've been in Cuba!

Can you cite and peer-reviewed studies published in an International Relations or Security Studies or Political Science journal? I believe that this question has been examined by professionals so there's no reason to take your word for it.

Turbulence, did you read my comment (re sanctions)? You haven't responded to it.

Jes, Uncle Kvetch -- Noting that Iran is an illiberal regime with a nasty human rights record towards gay people and women are not treating gay folks and women as "objects." I cited the episode with KLM because it's currently in the news. Were this a couple news cycles ago, I probably would have cited Iran's treatment of the Kurds.

What you're reading into my post says more about you than any attitude of mine.

Can you point to one person who is so confused by the heinous Israeli attack that they have forgotten that Iran is a horrible regime?

Because right now, I know who is conflating issues. PROTIP- NOT YOUR READERS.

Yes, John: the "some Middle East observers" who are expressly making the connection that's the subject of my post. I'm not talking about my readers, you, or all the other people whom I don't mention in my post. Your jab at me is no good.

Noting that Iran is an illiberal regime with a nasty human rights record towards gay people and women are not treating gay folks and women as "objects."

That's intellectual dishonesty, Von.

You used the LGBT people of Iran - and the issues that LGBT flight attendants have with going there - as objects to justify the US's 20 years of objection to Iran having nuclear power stations.

The one has sod-all to do with the other.

What you're reading into my post says more about you than any attitude of mine.

Tuh! How silly of me! Thank you, oh wise straight man, for explaining to two lesbians and a gay man that it "says something about us" that we object to your use of the sufferings of Iranian LGBT people as a justification for anti-Iranian nuclear politics - because, as mere LGBT people, how could we possibly have the ability to analyse a straight man's attitude towards us? We exist for you to analyse and assess us: we do not, evidently, have the ability to analyse you.

Join Bill O'Reilly in the O'fail ranks.

von, this is the reaction I have to the way you go on about e.g. Iran; I believe it's why Uncle Kvetch referred to it as a Stratego game in your head. It's as if there were no real people involved...no millions of real children, women, and men at risk of horror and death...only geostrategic pieces to move around on a flat board.

I disagree. There are "millions of real children, women, and men at risk of horror and death" all over the Middle East, both inside and outside Iran. You can't follow a course in which none of them suffer, are placed at risk, or die -- a uptopia can be either an ideal or unobtainable, and, in this case, it's both. And doing nothing is following a course.

The question to me is which policy generates the least harm while protecting our (the US and its allies) interests. The Obama Administration's sanctions regime is about as good as it gets in that regard. That's why I'm supporting it.

Sorry, to clarify a line that wasn't fully fleshed out:

Utopia can mean both an ideal and unobtainable, and advocating a course in which no one gets hurt regrettably fits both definitions. All we can do is minimize the harm.

Sanctions can degrade Iran's military capability and delay Iran's march to nuclear power-hood. Those are good reasons to implement sanctions

You know, under the NPT, Iran has every right to pursue nuclear power-hood.

Incidentally, the fact that Iran is doing everything in its power to avoid sanctions is itself some evidence that they already are having an impact, e.g., the deal with Brazil and Turkey. (An illusory deal, IMHO, but others may differ)

No illusory at all. It was what Obama had requested some months earlier. However, now that the Turks and Brazilians have delivered, the goalposts moved.

On the other hand, circumstances have changed since then, but the Brazil/Turkey deal should have been taken as an opening to explore further.

You used the LGBT people of Iran - and the issues that LGBT flight attendants have with going there - as objects to justify the US's 20 years of objection to Iran having nuclear power stations.

Jes, the story regarding KLM flight attendants involved both women (regardless of orientation/gender id/etc) and the LGBT community. Both. Am I objecting women as well by citing this story?

And the objection is not to Iran having nuclear power stations. Under the deal that's on the table, Iran can keep those stations. It just can't pursue a nuclear weapons capability by further enriching uranium (among other things).

Tuh! How silly of me! Thank you, oh wise straight man, for explaining to two lesbians and a gay man that it "says something about us" that we object to your use of the sufferings of Iranian LGBT people as a justification for anti-Iranian nuclear politics - because, as mere LGBT people, how could we possibly have the ability to analyse a straight man's attitude towards us? We exist for you to analyse and assess us: we do not, evidently, have the ability to analyse you.

Jes, my point is that you're dragging an irrelevant issue into the discussion. You're reaction to my pointing out that Iran treats women and gays very poorly is to jump on me for pointing that out: If I don't agree, 100% down the line, with every single opinion that you hold, then I can't agree with you on anything and I'm not allowed to comment on LGBT issues.

Jes, Uncle Kvetch -- Noting that Iran is an illiberal regime with a nasty human rights record towards gay people and women are not treating gay folks and women as "objects."

But what was the point of it, von? As any number of people in this thread have pointed out, there are illiberal regimes with nasty human rights records towards gay people and women that are not only not the object of your calls for "toughness" -- they're considered key allies of the United States with all of the largesse that that implies.

Do you really want to argue that our good friends in Saudi Arabia have a better record with respect to women's and LGBT issues than the Iranians? If so, please make the case. If not, then Jes is absolutely right...you're throwing everything you can find against the wall--"related and unrelated" is the neocon catchphrase, IIRC--in the hopes that something will stick.

Anyway, you've answered my question above: this really is 2002-2003 all over again. Those of us who opposed the invasion of Iraq constantly had it pointed out to us that Saddam was not at all a nice guy...as if that made the invasion any less of a stupid, immoral catastrophe. And so it is today. Oh, you protest, but you don't want to attack Iran militarily...you just want to "get tough." But of course you know damn well that a lot of your neocon buddies do want to attack Iran (or get the Israelis to do it for us), and you're all too happy to do your bit to demonize the boogeyman du jour. Déjà vu all over again.

Jes, my point is that you're dragging an irrelevant issue into the discussion

Huh? YOU are the one who dragged in the parlous situation of LGBT people in Iran as some kind of justification for "and so we shouldn't let them have nuclear power!"

What, can't you even read your own damn post? You went from one irrelevant topic - the Israeli attack on the flotilla - to the US obsession with Iran's nuclear technology, to the justification of "We can't trust THEM, they have the death penalty for homosexuality!" as do six other countries in the world, which the US does not happen to be obsessed with as enemy and therefore does not give a good goddamn how they treat LGBT people.

You care about the death penalty for homosexuality? Write a post about it. About all seven countries, not just Iran: about the countries which de facto have a death penalty, like Iraq since the US invaded: about the powers that work against human rights for people like me, such as the Catholic Church and American evangelicism and, yes, the US Republican party. I don't have a problem with your commenting on LGBT issues - agree or disagree!

But it's not in the least relevant to whether Iran can have nuclear power, or whether the US can be a judge of what nuclear technology other countries can have. Your bringing it up in this context is using people like me as a justification for your own geopolitical power fantasies. It's George W. Bush justifying the bombing of Afghanistan because he's just noticed they treat women really badly there.

You brought up this irrelevant topic. I called you on it. So did two other LGBT people. You dismissed our calling you on it with a "says more about you than it does about me" arrogance. Now you're trying to pretend that I "jumped on you for pointing it out" rather than I jumped on you, and UK and JanieM agreed with me, because you were trying to make use of our human rights for your anti-nuclear-Iran fantasies?

Anyway, you've answered my question above: this really is 2002-2003 all over again. Those of us who opposed the invasion of Iraq constantly had it pointed out to us that Saddam was not at all a nice guy...as if that made the invasion any less of a stupid, immoral catastrophe. And so it is today. Oh, you protest, but you don't want to attack Iran militarily...you just want to "get tough." But of course you know damn well that a lot of your neocon buddies do want to attack Iran (or get the Israelis to do it for us), and you're all too happy to do your bit to demonize the boogeyman du jour. Déjà vu all over again.

My thought process (and goals) are different. My concern is that if we don't have a tough sanctions regime in place, Israel will feel compelled to strike. I think that this would be a truly stupid and dangerous thing for Israel to do.

Further sanctions are justifiable by themselves, but an additional motivation for me is that sanctions likely lessen the chance for war -- not increase it.

Huh? YOU are the one who dragged in the parlous situation of LGBT people in Iran as some kind of justification for "and so we shouldn't let them have nuclear power!"

I mentioned a recent story about women and LGBT KLM employees to illustrate the differences between Israel and Iran. I didn't have cause to mention Saudi Arabia, Uganda, or all the other places that are as bad or worse for gay people because this post isn't about those places. I didn't see the need to cite a half-dozen other examples of bad behavior in Iran because, frankly, it's ridiculous to think that you have to mention every oppressed group every time you discuss Iran's illiberal-ness -- or otherwise you're "objectifying" the groups that you do mention.

And I note that you're still not making the charge that I'm "objectifying" women, even though they, too, are mentioned in my post. Take your argument to its logical conclusion: Make the charge that, by mentioning the fact that Iran misstreats (and kills) women and LGBT folks based solely on their gender/orientation/gender identification, I'm objectifying women and LGBT folks.

Turbulence, did you read my comment (re sanctions)? You haven't responded to it.

von, I have no idea what you're talking about. I read the comment that I quoted in my comment. Is there something else that I should have read?

I was under the impression that the sanctions being considered now had little to do with affecting the Iranian regime's nuclear capabilities and were more punitive.

I mentioned a recent story about women and LGBT KLM employees to illustrate the differences between Israel and Iran. I didn't have cause to mention Saudi Arabia, Uganda, or all the other places that are as bad or worse for gay people because this post isn't about those places.

Von, do you honestly think anyone needs reminding that women and LGBT people are better off in Israel than Iran? Seriously? Do you give your readers that little credit?

You're making an argument for sanctions against Iran. The Iranian government's treatment of LGBT people does absolutely nothing to bolster your case. It can't, because there are other countries that are equally awful, or even worse, in this respect, and you're not calling for them to be sanctioned on that account. So even if your post may not have been "about" Saudi Arabia, when you drag feminist and LGBT issues into the discussion gratuitously, then yes, Saudi Arabia is perfectly germane.

We are not sanctioning Iran because of the "illiberalness" of its regime, or because of the way it treats women and LGBTs, and you know that damn well. You're just playing that same old neocon game we've seen too many times now -- anyone who's not on board with you in this constant ratcheting up of "toughness" is an "apologist" for the Iranian regime and thus complicit in the oppression of Iranian women and LGBTs. That's a cheap, ugly tactic, and you got called on it. Deal with it.

And I'd really like to see a response to mattbastard's comment above. What do you know that Shirin Ebadi doesn't?

My concern is that if we don't have a tough sanctions regime in place, Israel will feel compelled to strike.

So the US should do something stupid (or to borrow Uncle K's phrase, another "immoral catastrophe") because that might convince Israel not to do something even stupider? Of all the "justifications" for sanctions, this one takes the cake.

I mean, it's like saying you'd kill five people because you thought that if you did, that might (might, mind you, there's no way to really know) convince the Israelis not to kill ten. Would you do that?

So really, we should accept being blackmailed by the threat of preemptive militaristic lunacy into perpetrating preemptive militaristic lunacy lite ourselves?

Well really, why not. What's the difference whether we act like that on our own account (e.g. Iraq) or at someone else's bidding?

*****

If Iran was going to keep its alleged deal with Turkey and Brazil -- if that wasn't just a ploy to delay the UNSC -- then Iran should also be able to reach agreement with the US and the IAEA. Or remove all doubt regarding its true intentions.

Because sticks are known to work so much better than carrots. They never ever get people mad and contrary....

Many years ago I was attending a service at a UU church when a woman got up during "joys and concerns" and made a passionate speech about how we had to "do something about Serbia."

I sat there thinking: I don't even know how to get my kids to stop squabbling. What the mf am I going to "do" about Serbia?

This business of sanctions relating to nuclear power having anything to do with LGBT people in Iran reminds me of that.

Besides what Jes and Uncle Kvetch have already said, the idea that sanctions relating to nuclear power will do one damned thing whatsoever to improve the lot of LGBT people in Iran is ridiculous.

If it won't help LGBT people, then (to put it mildly) why bring us into it at all? Just for the sake of the kitchen sink, I suppose. "I want to kick Iran's ass so let me make a murky stew of reasons to justify it"?

What are you going to tell them? Do what we say about nuclear power, and by the way stop hanging LGBT people? That'll be the day.

"What are you going to tell them? Do what we say about nuclear power, and by the way stop hanging LGBT people? That'll be the day."

It would be more productive to tell them to stop hanging LGBT people and then we will talk about nukes. It seems like, at some point, we actually led with human rights.

It would be more productive to tell them to stop hanging LGBT people and then we will talk about nukes.

Given that we started a war that probably killed somewhere between 20,000 and 130,000 LGBT Arabs, my guess is that Iran would laugh in our faces. It seems bizarre for Iraq war supporters like von to demonstrate such concern for the 17 brutal murders while evincing no remorse for the 20,000-130,000 killings that followed directly from the policy he backed. Shame is hard.

On the bright side, von's new preferred policy is unlikely to lead to the extermination of quite as many LGBT folk. But given how well his policy preferences worked out in the past, maybe we should give them a wide berth this time around.

Eric are you suggesting that Saudi Arabia and Egypt are generally as bad as Iran? That seems weird. I wouldn't want to live in any of them, but if forced to choose I'd certainly choose Iran last. Wouldn't you? (I might *barely* choose Iran over Saudi Arabia if I were ethnically Persian but Egypt over both).

Von, do you believe that sanctions against Iran are *likely* to do any good? I would tend to oppose them at this point as unlikely to do any good. On a purely practical level (not focusing on our right or not to do so) what is your argument that they are likely to be effective? And do you mean an ideal sanctions regime (like against Libya after they blew up a jetliner over the middle of the UK) or the best we would likely get out of begrudging Europe that doesn't really evidence much practical interest regarding nuclear non-proliferation?

Marty: It would be more productive to tell them to stop hanging LGBT people and then we will talk about nukes. It seems like, at some point, we actually led with human rights.

Really?

But in any case, the US is nowhere near being a shiny example of a country which has legal equality/full human rights for LGBT people. There are many countries in the world which are better to live in if you're LGBT than Iran, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Yemen, Uganda, Nigeria, Iraq, the Sudan, or Mauritania, and the US is certainly one of those "better than" countries - but not a leader.

Also, what Turb said. The US shows such indifference to LGBT people being killed - no action has ever been taken with regard to the death squads in Iraq, not funding safe houses, protecting LGBT people, nor helping LGBT asylum seekers - that trying to fake up a concern to Iran as a justification for a ban on nuclear technology would get mocked through the Middle East and worldwide.

At the moment Saudi Arabia may be a (very) slightly less worse place but generally, if I were a woman, I'd still prefer Iran, if there were no other choices. Saudi Arabia has only just recently lifted (against heavy protests from the conservative hardliners!) their 'better let girls burn to death than to allow them not fully covered up onto the streets' policy with 'not fully covered up' still being more clothes than 99% of the rest of the world would consider as already overdoing it.
---
And US criticism of the treatment of LGBT people in other countries is extra hypocritical since quite influential groups in the US would love to do the same at home and even had a hand in the infamous Uganda law. This is like pre-1938 Austria (or pre-1939 Poland) criticising Hitler's Germany for excessive antisemitism (not that either ever happened).

Eric are you suggesting that Saudi Arabia and Egypt are generally as bad as Iran? That seems weird. I wouldn't want to live in any of them, but if forced to choose I'd certainly choose Iran last. Wouldn't you? (I might *barely* choose Iran over Saudi Arabia if I were ethnically Persian but Egypt over both).

That depends.

If I were a woman, definitely Egypt or Iran. Iran actually has the most opportunities for women professionally. In Saudi Arabia, they have it by far worse. Completely without rights or any semblance of autonomy.

If I were a Western liberal who liked to drink and smoke hash and talk about politics, probably Iran - as people are generally left to their own devices behind closed doors - or Egypt. Again, Saudi Arabia would be the most stifling.

Also, Iran and Egypt generally have the most freedom of expression. In Iran, there is more democracy and choice than either Egypt or Saudi Arabia, obviously, as the latter is a hereditary kingdom and the former de facto the same.

If I were LGBT, Egypt, though none are exactly hospitable Egypt would still be better than SA or Iran.

In general, Saudi Arabia is worse than either Egypt or Iran by Western liberal standards.

However, while we focus on the absuese of the Iranian government, the Mubarak regime has been extremely brutal and oppressive for decades - with widespread use of torture, extra-judicial assassination, disenfranchisement, etc.

And yet Egypt gets more US foreign aid than any other nation - other than Israel, natch. And let's not even talk about Saudi Arabia's spread of wahhabism and ties to al-Qaeda.

Adding, also, that SA would be worse for Jews, by a lot.

Remember, SA had a long standing policy of not even letting Jews into the Kingdom. This was a dicey prohibition when Roosevelt was first establishing ties back in the day - with the State Dept and other US govt agencies either smuggling Jews in, or sending contingents that excluded Jews altogether.

Iran, on the other hand, has a decent sized Jewish population, with Jewish legislators and leaders within the govt.

Egypt too:

An Egyptian appeals court on Saturday upheld a ruling that orders the country's Interior Ministry to strip the citizenship from Egyptians married to Israeli women.

There are an estimated 30,000 Egyptians married to Israeli women; their cases will be reviewed individually by the interior ministry. The court directed the ministry to "take into consideration whether a man married an Israeli Arab or a Jew."

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jns-pi_8gg3-FlkfLoi7-Bvo928AD9G58RGO2

And I note that you're still not making the charge that I'm "objectifying" women, even though they, too, are mentioned in my post. Take your argument to its logical conclusion: Make the charge that, by mentioning the fact that Iran misstreats (and kills) women and LGBT folks based solely on their gender/orientation/gender identification, I'm objectifying women and LGBT folks.

Iran kills women based solely on their gender? Or is that sentence a little mushy…?

In any case, the notion that the decision to sanction Iran in relation to nuclear development has anything to do with women is if anything even more out of whack than the notion that sanctions have anything to do with Iran’s treatment of LGBT people. I’m no expert, but it seems to me that while Iran isn’t all that different from a number US allies in its treatment of LGBT people (wikipedia says Saudi Arabia sometimes executes gays as well), it is a lot better in terms of the role of women.

Sebastian wrote: Eric are you suggesting that Saudi Arabia and Egypt are generally as bad as Iran? That seems weird. I wouldn't want to live in any of them, but if forced to choose I'd certainly choose Iran last. Wouldn't you?

I’m glad Eric answered at length, because my jaw dropped at this one but I don’t have the expertise to answer with any pretense of actually being knowledgeable about the countries. But of these two, I know which picture I'd rather be in:

http://lh5.ggpht.com/_tAXUwOAXnHQ/TAuvD5m2p0I/AAAAAAAAIyU/54bLYf06tLA/iran_girl.jpg title=”Iranian women”>

http://lh5.ggpht.com/_tAXUwOAXnHQ/TAuvEZpE8eI/AAAAAAAAIyY/6eehRw1sc0Y/SA%20women.JPG title=”Saudi Arabian woman”>

And to repeat what I wrote last night: sanctions in relation to nuclear development are not going to do anything to improve the situation of women or gays in Iran. Women and gays will not be mentioned, women and gays will suffer along with everyone else in Iran, the regime in charge will quite possible become even more repressive in response to nasty outside pressure, etc. etc.

So why bring it up?

Before this falls off the bottom of the list: Von, if you've taken in what was said to you by myself and others, you could always add an update.

Or just let your original post stand there saying what it says about your attitude to us queer folks without retraction or apology.

Sanctions have only been marginally successful in affecting NK behavior, but they have been very successful in defanging the NK regime.

North Korea's been "successfully defanged", eh? You missed that story about THE NORTH KOREAN NUCLEAR WEAPONS TEST, then, I take it? Good grief.

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