This Iranian nuke deal keeps getting better and better!

Via Politico.


No specifics, nothing written, perhaps not even anything that Iran and the international negotiating partners say as one—that’s the most to expect out of the nuclear talks now running up against the deadline in Switzerland, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said Friday.

But even concluding this round of talks with that level of ambiguity, Hammond said, would count as a significant success. And he thinks they’ll get it.

H/T to Ace, who also has this terrific post about France even recognizing what a shit sandwich Obama is telling them to take a bite of.

In the comments yesterday, Bill asked a question:

I’m curious to hear XBRADTC, your reason for seeing Iran as any real threat to us.

Reasons for Iran BEING a regional power:
1. More people
2. More industrial capacity
3. A culture that goes MUCH further than “a bunch of nomadic shepherds in the Desert”
4. a Solid national Identity which WASN’T carved out of the carcass of the Ottoman Empire.

Reasons Against:
1. They say ugly things all the time to gin up domestic and regional support.
2. They are actively engaged in supplanting Shia’a Islam as the dominant creed in the region over Sunni Islam. (The Islam that DAESH and Al Quaeda support).
3. They REALLY don’t like the USA. (Big surprise, we REALLY don’t like them either).
4: They ACT like a regional power. (Kinda like the US did with Mexico).
5. (the big one) They have the capacity to build a nuclear weapon and there is not a damn thing we can do to stop that short of nuclear genocide or an invasion and occupation of a fiercely nationalist country with 77 million people who will ALL hate us.

If I were in charge of Iran, I WOULD WANT A NUKE TOO. Because it’s the ONE guarantor of territorial and national sovereignty that even the USA cannot afford to ignore. Saddam didn’t have one. And if he HAD, and had the means to deliver it to NYC, I doubt Operation Iraqi Freedom would have happened.

So what are your alternatives? Short of an invasion that would take every asset in our inventory to deal with and probably require a draft for manpower to deal with the rest of our obligations? I’m open to suggestions. I have no more love of the Mullahs than you do. But I’d like to hear a clear, specific and detailed counter-strategy to limited containment.

I think Iran should be a regional power, for the very reasons Bill listed. I would love to see a stable, productive Iran as a positive influence on stability in the region.  I’m not even terribly concerned with their status as a theocracy. We’ve managed to get along reasonably well with other theocratic states. Indeed, if the 1979 capture of our embassy and the hostage taking of our personnel were a one time incident, I’d be prepared to forgive, if not forget.

But Iran has a thirty plus year record of using terror against any and all who are not its vassals. They blew up a Jewish cultural center in Buenos Ares! They are also, of course, the force behind Hezbollah, which itself has a long history of violence against Americans and our interests.  And as Esli noted in his response to Bill’s question, there’s an awful lot of American blood on Iranian hands. For instance, as up-armored Humvees in Iraq were able to defeat simple IEDs, Iranian supplied Explosively Formed Penetrators were used to kill our troops.

As to Iranian desire to have nuclear weapons, I’m against proliferation just on general grounds. Regarding Iran specifically, the deterrent effect of an Iranian weapon would certainly allow them to be far more obnoxious on the international stage than they already  are. Worse still, it will lead to further proliferation. The only question becomes, who would be the next country to have nuclear arms, with Saudi Arabia the likely winner of that race. They would probably simply purchase them from Pakistan. If you proliferate enough, the probability of someone actually using nuclear weapons begins to approach 1. That is not to say that New York or Los Angeles would be the target, but one problem with nuclear wargaming has always been shown to be entanglement and escalation. Once one weapon has been used, it is a virtual certainty others will be, and who knows where that will end? While my first concern is always for the safety and well being of the United States and her people, I also would generally like to not see any major metropolitan area vanish in a brilliant flash of light. Not even our enemy’s.

As to what we can do, let’s start with what we shouldn’t have done. We shouldn’t have legitimized Iran’s nuclear program by negotiating with them, particularly since the “goals” of this program are farcical.

Aside from that, there is a wide array of options we could have, and can still undertake. First, we should have provided at least moral support during the Green Revolution of 2009. It would have been nice if the average Iranian could have heard (via VOA or other information sources) that the United States supported them and was not their enemy.

Other non-kinetic options include an array of economic sanctions. The sanction regime until recently in place was surprisingly effective.  Competent diplomacy could have made them even more effective, even to the point of being draconian.

Were we really interested in turning up the heat, we would have vastly increased our domestic oil production, enacted legislation allowing the export of oil, and then imposed an embargo, or even blockade, on Iranian oil exports.

We could also have undertaken covert actions to undermine the ayatollah’s regime through funding of internal dissidents.

Finally, we could undertake military action to deny Iran its nuclear program. Even short of an invasion and occupation, quite a bit could be done to thwart the Iranian’s progress. There is quite a bit of infrastructure that is quite vulnerable, even if major portions of their program is at hardened sites. Electrical generation and transmission, critical to centrifuge operation, is difficult to harden.  Targeting key personnel in the program is another option.

While I’ve listed options as a spectrum, a truly effective effort to deny Iran would fuse these elements together.

Instead, we’re bullying our allies into joining an agreement that isn’t even worth the paper it won’t be written down on!

13 thoughts on “This Iranian nuke deal keeps getting better and better!”

  1. Stopping Iran getting a nuke short term is pretty easy, for all their much bragged about anti access, breaching for a mass bomber raid wouldn’t be that hard, and no bunker is going to survive a mass bomber raid dropping big penetrating bombs from high up.

    The only way to stop Iran getting nuclear weapons long term is to stop Iran.
    Iran is a mess.
    Something like 40% of the populace is ethnicly and linguistically Persian.
    The rest are a smattering of conquered peoples no happier than the yazidi under ISIS and no further from extinction, the rest are conquered provinces from neighbouring nations.

    20% are Azeri(baijani)
    Azerbaijan couldnt take on Iran, but with US support it could.
    It wouldn’t take much to hook around and take all of Iran’s Caspian oil and gas.
    Pakistan could be motivated to free the Balochs in the east
    They would chew up Iran in hours.

    A few choice alliances, a few independence groups, and Iran could be reduced to a poverty stricken rump state, without subject peoples and their oil resources to bankroll nuclear dreams.

    1. Add targeted strikes on Revolutionary Guard and secret police assets. It would be interesting g to see how well the mullahs fare when they don’t have an apparatus to intimidate to populace.

    2. The traditional American response to existential threats has been firepower. The US treatment of Iran could be: Solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant.

      A more kind deterrent would be to target Iranian electrical generation. A nation without electrical generation is not a threat. One caveat is that may require a Declaration of War. ISTR the Laws of Land Warfare do not permit cutting off power to civilians unless war is declared.

      But the US has recent precedent that a US President can ignore International and National laws, so we’re good. Plus we have a President with a Nobel Peace Prize, which makes our actions extra special hunky-dorry.

      Electrical power generation is also the area where Iran is most vulnerable. Iran operates at almost peak capacity, without reserves. A limited number of power plants deliver most of the power. Losing a power plant would take a very long time to repair.

      Iran is the strategic center of ME hatred for America, and is close to a nuclear weapon. Electrical power is essential to nuke production.
      This is the strategic center we have ignores since 1979.

  2. That’s a fair response Brad. Frankly I think blockades or airstrikes are non-starters unless we’re willing to deal with some VERY serious pushback in a lot of ways we won’t like. I don’t think we’re ready for it. And I see very little talk about the ways the Iranians could give us a lot of trouble if they thought they really needed to. And where does that leave us? more bombings? invasions? I have nothing good to say about team Obummer, but I the idea of negotiating this beats any viable alternative. We could certainly set back Iran’s time-tables on getting a nuke bombing, but if they are bound and determined to get one (MORE, not less likely in the event of airstrikes) I don’t see us stopping it cold.

    We made a deal with Mao. He was still every bit the bastard, but we made a deal. And that deal and engagement, led to a lot of very positive changes for us AND the Chinese. I’d like to see something like a “McCain goes to Iran” moment like “Nixon goes to China,” vis-a-vis Iran. I just think that’s going to work better than a sanctions regime which is already shaky and very dependent on playing “nice” with a power that’s a LOT more threat to us: Russia.

    Again, thanks for the response. Not sure we’re on the same page, but we’re definitely both reading the same chapter.

    1. McCain is not the head of state. And China already had nuclear capability in 1972. Also, China had not had four decades of rhetoric in which it threatened to wipe Japan off the face of the earth, and THEN the US enabled them to go nuclear.

      This is an unmitigated and destabilizing foreign policy catastrophe. Brought about by people in our government who either have no idea what they are doing, or know exactly what they are doing. The second option of which is much more worrisome. Saudi Arabia is already wanting nukes. When the US decides to protest that, what will be the message?

  3. We shouldn’t protest it. Quite the contrary, if Iran gets nukes we should restart our production lines, recapitalize our arsenal, then offer to sell warheads to anyone with the money. At the same time we should pull out of the Gulf, tell Saudi Arabia that they are responsible for maintaining freedom of navigation for the Straights, and announce that any attack by a nuclear power – conventional or not – on any US-flagged asset or ally will be treated as a nuclear attack on the US mainland and will result in the annihilation of the attacker.

    Obama seeks to eliminate non-proliferation because he thinks it will weaken the US. If he were an American he would know that we’re perfectly capable of thriving in the Wild West.

  4. All good valid points, and I can’t say I disagree with the logic there. Except for one. The Curtis E LeMay type solution should NOT be shelved or taken off any targeting ideas. For in the cold , cruel analysis of nuclear-war fighting, melting Iran and its entire population down to bedrock in exchange for preventing whole-scale regional nuclear war, would be a harsh bargain. The best solution, would be to get rid of the mad mullahs. And by get rid, I mean KILL THEM ALL. Having atomics in the hands of lunatics who do not remotely try to understand concepts like deterrence or MAD, is a scenario no one really considered back in the day. Except theoretically. Well, theory is about to become reality.
    Batter up

  5. You can deny Iran a bomb without invading. The contrifuges won’t spin without electricity and you can’t power 5,000+ ‘fuges with portable generators.

    Blow up electrical plants, blow up transmission lines leading to nukes sites… no bomb.

    It would be rough for Iranians to live without electricity. Rougher for me to be vaporized.

  6. Jimmuh, I just want you to know you’re still number #1, in my mind, even though Obumbles is giving it his best. He had a screwed-up childhood, but you did it wihout any help, bringing down a staunch ally and sending millions back to feudalism.

  7. I think an option that should have been pursued was to not have Siemens or any other company deal centrifuges or any other technology capable of enriching uranium to countries like Iran. They’re essentially putting the whole world in danger for a one-time modest profit. Absolutely retarded business acumen.

    1. Nukes have been an Iranian ambition since forever.
      If they couldn’t buy centrifuges, they would make their own.

      Its a delay, nothing more.
      Iran will get nukes.
      You can delay it, or you can break up Iran.

  8. As if the Krauts or any other Euroweenie government would follow a ban. Their logic is that America will fix any problem, just as we have protected them for the past half century from Vlad’s older brothers. W T Sherman is the sage to follow; bringing hell on them now actually saves lives on the balance. As Trotsky said “You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.”

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