January 9, 2020

"It’s true that Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, said that Iran’s response had 'concluded,' but Zarif is a moderate often outmaneuvered by hard-liners."

"I know this partly because back in 2004, after Zarif approved a visa for me, I was detained in Iran by security forces looking for information that could embarrass Zarif and get him fired. My best guess is that Iran will strike back hard in a way that leaves it some plausible deniability. Perhaps it’ll be a truck bomb at a diplomatic mission or Trump property, or perhaps rocket attacks on a military site by a proxy, or a cyberattack on an oil refinery or the power grid, or perhaps mines that damage oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz. Iran has options, and let’s not celebrate prematurely."

Writes Nicholas Kristof in "Trump Has a Bizarre Idea of Winning/Let’s tally up the results of his efforts with Iran" (NYT).

That made me read Zarif's Wikipedia page. I see that he sojourned in the United States, beginning when he was 17, at a college-prep school in San Francisco. He stayed in San Francisco to get a BA and an MA at San Francisco State. Then he got a Ph.D. at the University of Denver (thesis: "Self-Defense in International Law and Policy").

ADDED: The Wikipedia page has this picture of John Kerry representing our interests in a discussion with Zarif in 2015:



Where did that take places? At the Castle of the Asparagus!

The feet-out-in-a-lounge-chair position is unfortunate. Kerry had broken his leg in May of 2015. Here's how that calamity was reported in The Guardian at the time:
Secretary of State John Kerry broke his leg in bike crash near Scionzier in France on Sunday, apparently after hitting a curb. He then scrapped the rest of a four-nation trip that included an international conference on combating the Islamic State group....

Kerry’s cycling rides have become a regular occurrence on his trips. He often takes his bike with him on the plane and was riding that bicycle on Sunday.... During discussions in late March and early April between world powers and Iran, he took several bike trips during breaks. Those talks were in Lausanne, Switzerland, and led to a framework agreement....
ALSO: (From August 2015) "We have a deal that is so incompetent, so bad. Think of the deal. We make a deal, our chief negotiator goes into a bicycle race at 73 years old, he falls he breaks his leg. That was the good part of our deal. That was the only thing that happened.... I swear to you I will never ever ride a bicycle, at least in a race...."

145 comments:

exhelodrvr1 said...

Iran lost this battle, but they haven't lost the war yet. He is correct - we can't let our guard down. That is the where sanctions can come in.

AllenS said...

There will always be Islamic hard-liners. Always.

Leland said...

I don't believe it is over with Iran, but that's just based on the fact that they have been carrying it out a proxy war since 1979. Zarif may be a moderate or hardliner, it is irrelevant to me.

Also Kerry is showing the bottom of his feet to a Muslim.

stevew said...

I don't believe for a second that those airstrikes are the end of the Iranian response to our killing Soleimani. The assertion that this was a proportional response in keeping with UN conventions and that they are done is the tell. You could almost see them winking in that announcement, it's just a bit too perfect.

I fully expect that Trump and his advisers (military and national security) expect more attacks. Trump's little speech yesterday was the acknowledgment wink.

Ann Althouse said...

"Also Kerry is showing the bottom of his feet to a Muslim."

Yeah, and brilliant product placement by Vibram.

Hagar said...

My reaction also is that "the score" is too uneven, so either there is more to this deal than what we have been told, or some body in Iran is scheming to even it up some more.

I wish the pundits would not keep braying that Trump's redline is "American lives." If the IIRG makes a drone attack on a British or Israeli "personage," those nations will also have opinions regarding this "score" thing. Certainly the Israeli will.

Michael K said...

Kerry has a long history of treasonous behavior.

Iran will probably try to carry out deniable retaliation using proxies but a lot of proxy types are running and hiding./

Also, the fallout from the Iranian shoot down of the Ukraine airliner may have effects for weeks.

Leland said...

Former CNN host Reza Aslan: "One thing you all need to know about Iranians before celebrating “de-escalation” is that as a people we never ever forget a slight. I mean never." Reza also advocates punching American kids in the face. I put him in the hardliner category, but I'm sure others will call him a moderate.

Leland said...

I don't think Kerry will take those shoes off and throw them at Trump, but who knows.

catter said...

The 04 election gave us peak political pedaling. Kerry the roadie vs Bush the mountain biker. A thoroughly Boomer moment. Many presidents have posed lamely on bikes; those two were serious riders.

Tom T. said...

There's a long history of US commentators trying to draw distinctions between supposed Iranian government moderates and hardliners. Not sure it's ever amounted to much.

Hagar said...

The Wikipedia page has this picture of John Kerry representing our interests in a discussion with Zarif in 2015:

Apparently he is still at it, and being long out of office, it makes me wonder just who the "us" of "our interests" are.

Hagar said...

The job of reporters should be to report on events; not on explaining them to us, the great unwashed, and definitely not to speculate on what the future might bring.

They are much mistaken in believing either their intellects or their education is superior to ours, regardless of what their professors told them in college.

Birkel said...

Kerry was integral in running guns from Libya to Syrian rebels who became ISIS.
Or was that Hillary?
Or both?

Like Nicholas Kristof, John Kerry is a poorly installed weathervane.
He points the wrong way every time.

tim in vermont said...

"Kerry was integral in running guns from Libya to Syrian rebels who became ISIS.”

Not to mention that a Stinger missile signed out to the CIA for the “rebels” to overthrow Assad downed a US helicopter in Afghanistan.

Temujin said...

"Iran has options."

Everyone has options.

Mary Beth (the commenter) said...

Reza also advocates punching American kids in the face.

Hey, he took that tweet down!

Yesterday.

Michael K said...

Here is a serious analysis of the longer term effects of the Suleimani hit.

This suggests an information flow involving tens if not hundreds of informants closely connected to the upper echelons of the Quds Force. These informants could and did provide this information to their American counterparts in real time to get the US helicopters in position for the kill. The killing of Number Two in any country creates a devastating chain of destructive suspicion and anxiety in the corridors of power. Khamenei’s only choice in naming a successor was to choose from among old stalwarts who are above suspicion. Every individual who is newer to the organization and to the wider security network is now suspect. Many will no doubt be removed if not executed as Iranian counter-intelligence teams try to identify the informants. The problem for the regime is figuring out who is going to replace them.

The strike was based on lots of information provided by insiders and paranoia is now rampant. Good.

By the way, "Former CNN host Reza Aslan:" has been served by the Covington lawyers. I hope he has lawyered up.

rehajm said...

Helmet and bike shorts is not a good look for credibility. Makes shirtless on horseback look great in comparison.

tim in vermont said...

A wise man once warned against foreign entanglements, and another wise man once warned against the military industrial complex. We have failed on both, so as a third wise man once warned us, we have all but lost our republic.

tim in vermont said...

"By the way, "Former CNN host Reza Aslan:" has been served by the Covington lawyers. I hope he has lawyered up.”

Let the process be the punishment. These guys live by the sword.

Hagar said...

Come to think of it, I also wonder just what those "interests" might be.

Jersey Fled said...

Kerry isn't really tugging at his ear, is he?

tim in vermont said...

"Come to think of it, I also wonder just what those "interests" might be.”

It’s all but impossible to google it up now, but I remember John Kerry mentioning our “interests in Syria” when as a normal American, I kind of thought that our interests in Syria were to get along with them if possible, but it turns out that our interests are to overthrow their sovereign government.

This “great game” has to stop.

Steven said...

Yes, sure, Iran might well attack us in the future. How, exactly, is that any different from the situation a month ago or a year ago or an administration ago?

Trump responded to an attack on our embassy by knocking off the senior military leader in the attacker's chain of command, and it didn't (despite lots of hysterical predictions since we did it) escalate our conflict with Iran.

Kristof's list of bullet points are just more hysteria about possible future consequences, rather than actual "results so far". As can be seen by the fact that he's managing to simultaneously complain that Trump is getting our troops kicked out of Iraq and that he's putting more troops in Iraq.

Kevin said...

Shorter Kristoff: Please let there be a truck bomb. Perhaps into a bunch of Marines like 1983.

stlcdr said...

Blogger Steven said...
Yes, sure, Iran might well attack us in the future. How, exactly, is that any different from the situation a month ago or a year ago or an administration ago?


Precisely.

The left wing faux outrage, pushing 'world war 3', is simply a ploy to get Trump. If every foreign altercation was 'world war 3', we would be on world war two hundred and twenty eight by now.

The left also wants the status quo, and has no interest in moving on to actual solutions.

stevew said...

@Steven: excellent point by you. I've been asking my liberal acquaintances this question: why is the time after taking out Soleimani different / worse / more threatening to America and Americans than the time before?

I put up this on another post but it fits here as it shows how the Left and Media think; this is a headline from this morning's Boston Globe:

"Trump avoids escalating crisis with Iran — but all is not well between the two longtime enemies"

WTF does that even mean, "all is not well between the two longtime enemies"? Iran and the US or Iran and Trump? Not well as in different and deteriorating?

Hagar said...

Aunty,
Bashir al Assad is still alive thanks to Putin and Erdogan, but hardly represents a sovereign government.
Syria is a battlefield, no longer a country.

Michael K said...

Hey, there is news about the next Dims debate.

Soleimani is now at 12% and will qualify.

tim in vermont said...

"Bashir al Assad is still alive thanks to Putin and Erdogan, but hardly represents a sovereign government.
Syria is a battlefield, no longer a country.”

Why did we Americans pour all of those weapons in there making matters worse? That’s my question. None of our beeswax.

tim in vermont said...

I notice that all of the liberals who kept their mouths shut when Obama invaded Libya and fed weapons into the Syrian civil war are back on the anti war bandwagon. Good to have you people back, though I am sure you will leave the minute that a Democrat wins.

tim in vermont said...

"Don't forget the people on the plane... who likely would be alive today if Soleimani were too.”

But other people would be dead by his hand. We need to disentangle ourselves, but don’t kid yourself.

tim in vermont said...

"Don't start nothing. Won't be nothing.”

That would have been good advice for the Iranians. Would have been good advice for Saddam, for that matter, and Mullah Omar.

Hagar said...

Good question Aunty. You my want to ask Hillary!, John Kerry, Obama, et al. about that!

tim in vermont said...

It would have been good advice for the Barbary Pirates.

Amadeus 48 said...

“Kerry representing our interests”

Stop right there. That is an obvious lie. That man came out of the box opposing the interests of the USA and its citizens. He’s off feeding the Iranians delusional globalist bullshit as we sit here. The man makes me ill.

tim in vermont said...

Biden was probably right when he channelled Caesar “Omnia Babylonia est divisa in partes tres” We should have partitioned it. We are still fighting WWI, still suffering the “peace to end all peace” the Treaty of Versailles. Winston Churchill divided up what were the known oil reserves at the time as the Ottoman Empire was carved up for the benefit of the victors. It’s not like Iraq is any kind of natural country. There probably is no honorable way out of a situation which had no honorable inception.

rcocean said...

The MSM is always relying on "Enemy moderates" whether Republican or Iranian. They did this during the Cold war too. There was always - according to the MSM - a mythical split between the moderates and the "Kremlin hardliners". It reached a hysterical weirdness when the NYT started discussing "Conservative Kremlin Generals" preventing "Moderate" Gorbachev from doing things.

After WW 2, Molotov was supposedly a "Moderate" keeping those crazy "hardliners" from doing bad things. Of course, he was a complete Stalinist.

Steven said...

Economic escalation?

Yeah, yeah. After a week of lefty hyperventilation about WW3 and a draft, that's the best you've got?

----------

People talking about what Iran might do in the future are also missing something else. With Iran's foreign minister having declared this their retaliation, any future attack is unambiguously an aggressive action starting a new cycle, not retaliation.

With hindsight, now it looks like Iran was caught in a no-win situation here. Iran lacks the capacity to rapidly respond in kind against the US, so such a high-profile takeout gave Iran a very limited menu of choices:

1) Do something quickly, small, and aimed at the US, that wouldn't hurt the US much, and declare that the retaliation.

2) Do something quickly, big, but not aimed at the US, that would bring international wrath down on Iran (like cutting off the Strait of Hormuz, pissing off China).

3) Let things go for a long time without a retaliation, making Iran look impotent in the meantime.

None were good choices for Iran; they wound up with choosing #1 and lying to their domestic audience about how much it affected the US on state TV.

rcocean said...

FDR also bought into this nonsense, stating that good ol' Uncle Joe wanted to be more open to the West, but was being held back by the "hardliners" around him. LOL!

Nichevo said...

I'd like to know if Iran shot down the Ukrainian airliner before or after Zarif's "all-finished" message. They hinted at taking out an airliner. No, I don't think we're done yet, but I can't see how we're worse off having acted. Lots of people in the Evilsphere-Kim, Assad, Nasrallah, the mullahs-ought to be sleeping with one eye open.

rcocean said...

Now that this foreign policy crisis is over, we can get back to the really, really, important stuff, like the budget, enforcing border security, checking the rising deficit, and reforming immigration.

Haha. Just kidding. We'll just go back to the "Shampeachment" clown show.

rcocean said...

Can someone tell me what's happening to the Kurds? Weren't they our most IMPORTANT allies - in the whole world - about 1 month ago?

MikeR said...

"Iran has options, and let’s not celebrate prematurely." They had these options before, and were doing them when they could get away with it. All that has changed is that their military is a little smaller and less effective.

rcocean said...

John Kerry was such a buffoon. Imagine a 73 y/o man "Bike racing"! But that's what Secretaries of State do. Who can forget John Foster Dulles skateboarding during the Suez Crisis?

tim in vermont said...

What I am hoping, and it is only hope, is that Trump is trying to back out of Iraq while not leaving our soldiers open to attack as we progress. I believe Trump when he says he believes that an attack on our troops was detected as imminent.

I have long ago given up the conceit that anybody can really know anything.

Jeff Brokaw said...

Kristof and his tribe should spend more time listening to and advocating for this Iranian-American woman (Iran Woman Speaks Truth on Recent Attacks https://youtu.be/JVzIkREFmjg) and zero time doing PR for the regime.

To Kristof and the rest of the useful idiots in the press, you chose a side, and you chose poorly. And don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining.

William said...

Those Middle Eastern countries that have embraced religious fanaticism, military strongmen, and militant hostility to America have not prospered. Iraq, Libya, Syria. Even by the shit hole standards of the neighborhood, these are very poor places in which to live. Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, Kuwait are much better places in which to measure out your days. Many people there have not been killed by a car bomb or tortured by the secret police. There are some perks to being allied with America. I wonder if there is any appreciable faction in Iran who considers this a factor in their decision making process.

Greg the class traitor said...

Michael K said...
Here is a serious analysis of the longer term effects of the Suleimani hit.

This suggests an information flow involving tens if not hundreds of informants closely connected to the upper echelons of the Quds Force.


Thank you Michael. I don't believe we needed those human sources to find out where S was. But if the Iranians DO believe that, and start fanging each other? That would be wonderful!


Let’s tally up the results of his efforts with Iran" (NYT).

Yes, lets:
US: Killed an anti-American terrorist and director of terrorists, who had ordered an attack on a US Embassy
Iran: Shot off some missiles in a fireworks display, and then, probably accidentally, shot down a Ukrainian airliner leaving Iran, causing a lot of airlines to cur off service to Iran

Looks like Trump, and America, won

I wonder which part Kristoff hates more?

William said...

Dozens were killed and hundreds were injured in the mass demonstrations surrounding the death of Soleimani. Those demonstrations were organized by the government. I wonder if any who attended those demonstrations hold the Iranian government responsible for the ineptitude with which they were staged.....I can't help but think that there must be a huge subterranean resentment against the mullahocracy in Iran....No government has ever completely mastered the art of oppression. Bourbons, Communists, Fascists have all fallen and sometimes quite rapidly.

elkh1 said...

The hardest-liner is pushing daisies sans a ringed finger, other hardliners are hiding. That's why a moderate is talking.

It's interesting to see bullies being threatened by the biggest bully on the block. The biggest bully said: if you do it again, I'll seek you out and beat you up one at a time.

Petty bullies derive their strength from the pack. Individually, they are pants-wetting wimps.

Big Mike said...

It’s all but impossible to google it up now, but I remember John Kerry mentioning our “interests in Syria” when as a normal American, I kind of thought that our interests in Syria were to get along with them if possible, but it turns out that our interests are to overthrow their sovereign government.

The way I saw it, Obama, in his typical arrogant and clueless fashion, grandly informed Assad that he had to go. Assad, unsurprisingly, ignored him, and Obama spent the balance of his term in one long hissy fit That administration did everything and anything it could to remove Assad, whether it was in the interests of the US or not (e.g., arming ISIS). Yet Bashar al-Assad (“the Dude”) abides.

J. Farmer said...

@steven:

Yes, sure, Iran might well attack us in the future. How, exactly, is that any different from the situation a month ago or a year ago or an administration ago?

Prior to the so called "maximum pressure" campaign, when was the last time Americans were attacked by Iran or Iran-backed forces?

J. Farmer said...

@William:

There are some perks to being allied with America. I wonder if there is any appreciable faction in Iran who considers this a factor in their decision making process.

Iran is a freer and more open society than Saudi Arabia. And it will certainly come as a surprise to Egyptians that they don't have secret police who engage in torture.

BADuBois said...

Iranian moderates don't eat what they kill, unlike their hardliner brethren.

Wince said...

My best guess is that Iran will strike back hard in a way that leaves it some plausible deniability.

Lee Smith observes...

"The problem for Iran is that it isn’t actually all that powerful. For all the concern over retaliation, Trump’s trashing of the old rulebook has stripped Iran of the most important instrument in its arsenal—'plausible deniability.'"

Iran and America Are Suddenly Both Naked
By taking decisive action against Soleimani, Trump showed that Iran’s power is an illusion generated by D.C.’s willingness to look the other way

It’s no coincidence that in the wake of the targeted killing of Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s most important military proxy has begun taking credit for terror attacks committed nearly four decades ago. For example, Hezbollah-affiliated media and activists are laying public claim to the organization’s responsibility for bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in October 1983, which killed 241 Marines. So why now?

The answer is, to scare Americans now that Donald Trump has thrown the regime in Tehran off balance by changing the 40-year-old rules of the game. The United States always knew that Hezbollah was responsible for the Marine barracks attack and that the Lebanese militia was armed, trained, funded and directed by Iran. President Reagan’s decision not to respond directly to the attack was part of a tacit agreement that America and the Islamic Republic entered into during the 1979 U.S. Embassy takeover in Tehran. It mirrored similar arrangements with the Soviet Union in which neither superpower held the other directly accountable for the actions of proxies in order to reduce the likelihood of a nuclear cataclysm.

Yet, unlike the Soviet Union, the Islamic Republic was hardly a globe-spanning nuclear superpower. It was merely a hostile local power that threatened the American regional security order through terror attacks. Washington’s response was to look away, under the theory that it was beneficial to the larger order to pretend, in public, that rules still existed. In turn, Iran was happy to play make-believe and accumulate prestige and leverage.

The terms of this weird deal held fast for the next four decades, through the end of the Cold War, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the First and Second Gulf Wars, Bush’s occupation of Iraq, Obama’s Iran deal, and other local and global milestones. Washington wouldn’t hold the clerical regime accountable for the violent proxies that it funded, armed, trained, and directed. In exchange, Iran and its partners would refrain from embarrassing the Americans by boasting about the murders they committed. The founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, famously said that America couldn’t do a damn thing. It is more accurate to say our elected officials wouldn’t do a damn thing.

Donald Trump put an end to that arrangement by commingling the dust of Soleimani together with that of one of his chief Arab lieutenants, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, head of one of Iran’s Iraqi terror proxies. Now that Trump is holding Iran accountable for the actions its proxies take in its name, the leverage gained by helping America play make-believe is gone. Iran and its allies now feel liberated to bathe publicly in the blood of Americans and warn that more violence is coming their way.

The problem for Iran is that it isn’t actually all that powerful. For all the concern over retaliation, Trump’s trashing of the old rulebook has stripped Iran of the most important instrument in its arsenal—“plausible deniability.”

tim in vermont said...

"when was the last time Americans were attacked by Iran or Iran-backed forces?”

Read the 911 report. Iran aided the movements of the hijackers, giving them passports and safe conduct. That’s just one. If you don’t know about that, you are just not curious.

narciso said...

Had we sent a cruise missile to baalbek in 1983 how might things have changed.

tim in vermont said...

"hey don't have secret police who engage in torture.”

they just kill protestors by the hundreds, and it’s kind of hard to prove a negative, and there are reports of death squads. You could prove your point though by going there and being openly gay.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Iran

I don’t think it’s up to use to tell them how to live, and I wish we were out of there, but I am not going to swallow BS propaganda that is easily refuted.

narciso said...

Basically the whole history of suleimanis career, has been arming proxy militias, mousavian and rouhani have beem on different rungs of the apparat.

Michael K said...

It's nice to see Farmer is a fan of something, even if it is Iran.

I wouldn't recommend a long visit, though. Rooftops and all that stuff.

J. Farmer said...

@Aunty Trump:

Read the 911 report. Iran aided the movements of the hijackers, giving them passports and safe conduct. That’s just one. If you don’t know about that, you are just not curious.

They did not give them passports; they did not stamp the passports of eight of the hijackers who transited through Iran on their way to Afghanistan. The 9/11 report also says, on page 241, "We have found no evidence that Iran or Hezbollah was aware of the planning for what later became the 9/11 attack. At the time of their travel through Iran, the al Qaeda operatives themselves were probably not aware of the specific details of their future operation."

But you wouldn't have to go back to September 11th to answer my question. We know for certain that there were Iranian-backed attacks against US soldiers by Shia militias during the Iraqi insurgency. Similarly, there were Saudi-backed attacks by Sunni insurgents.

But Steven made a point, "Yes, sure, Iran might well attack us in the future. How, exactly, is that any different from the situation a month ago or a year ago or an administration ago?" So my question remains, before the "maximum pressure" campaign, when was the last time we were attacked by Iran?

J. Farmer said...

@Michael K:

It's nice to see Farmer is a fan of something, even if it is Iran.

I wouldn't recommend a long visit, though. Rooftops and all that stuff.


Oh, Michael, nearly 80 years on this planet, and you still haven't risen above the level of a schoolyard taunt. Sad.

Kevin said...

I notice that all of the liberals who kept their mouths shut when Obama invaded Libya and fed weapons into the Syrian civil war are back on the anti war bandwagon. Good to have you people back, though I am sure you will leave the minute that a Democrat wins.

All through Bush's Administration there were organized protests in Boston's Copley Square against the war.

Obama gets elected, there are only three people left.

I went over and shook their hands.

narciso said...


Its always been thus:


https://www.wsj.com/articles/inside-the-37-year-standoff-over-irans-frozen-u-s-dollars-1482956855

Char Char Binks said...

Cannibal and Former CNN host Reza Aslan

FIFY

Greg the class traitor said...

Blogger J. Farmer said...
@steven:

Yes, sure, Iran might well attack us in the future. How, exactly, is that any different from the situation a month ago or a year ago or an administration ago?

Prior to the so called "maximum pressure" campaign, when was the last time Americans were attacked by Iran or Iran-backed forces?


Oh, I don't know, when was the last time a US soldier was killed in the Middle East?

I'm curious, what's the "allowed bag limit" for killing US citizens, for Iran? how many are they allowed to kill each you before you'll pretend to care?

Otto said...

No shit Kristoff - any moron knows that there are going to be more terrorist attacks .
It is amazing how these elites underestimate Trump. They,including Ann, have this mythical image of a "weird", "jackass", "Hitler" Trump with no brains. Reality and common sense are lost on these elites.

chuck said...

I expect the war will continue for many years. Who doubts that? But the last Iranian offensive has been blunted, and losing a talented commander will hinder the Iranian side in a war whose conduct depended so much on Soleimani's charisma and organizational talents. We will see. Kristof is just another Rhodes Scholar purveying mundane ideas.

J. Farmer said...

@Aunty Trump:

I don’t think it’s up to use to tell them how to live, and I wish we were out of there, but I am not going to swallow BS propaganda that is easily refuted.

You're going to need to read more carefully. I wrote, "And it will certainly come as a surprise to Egyptians that they don't have secret police who engage in torture."

hombre said...

Despite the predominance of straw men and speculation the most striking thing about Kristof’s work here is his wishful thinking. This has become the hallmark of the Democrats and their leftmedia pimps: hoping for disasters on Trump’s watch. Unfortunately, they and their Deep State consorts regularly move beyond mere hope into the realm of seditious behavior.

Apparently, such behavior has the tacit approval of their amoral dimwitted base.

Ray - SoCal said...

>William Said
>Iraq, Libya, Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, Kuwait

The only one of the lot without a secret police is Tunisia. That seems to be the only one of the lot that is doing OK, and where the Arab Spring actually turned out OK.

All the others definitely have secret police. The challenge of having a dictator in charge.

The entire Islamic World overall is not doing that great economically. There was a report from a couple of years ago that noted this about development.

Iran should do very well after it gets rid of the current government. They don't have the usual attitude of "inshallah" - If God Wills.

chuck said...

I found this interview with an Iranian interesting. At the end the Iranian drifts off into a hazy fantasy of Persian greatness despite himself.

narciso said...

Yes an american duo, copeland the band leader and eichelberger the advertising guy helped set up the mukharabat for nasser, but they took their guidance from the soviets.

Ray - SoCal said...

The only of the countries listed without a secret police is Tunisia.

rcocean said...

Big Foreign Policy crises of 2019-2020:

-Now forgotten:
Ukraine, our noble ally, and a telephone call
Syrian Kurds, our noble allies, being Left to the Turks Mercy.
Trump leaving NATO meeting & "devastating" our noble NATO allies

-Now up:
Iranian harmless missile attack & a dead terrorist. Will be forgotten by February 2020.

-After that: ???

rcocean said...

Iran, the Next Nazi Germany. If we don't stop them now, they'll take over...nobody.

narciso said...

Well they were fooled chuck


https://videos.space.com/m/vtKaWrxw/iran-missile-attack-damage-seen-by-satellite-before-and-after-imagery?list=9wzCTV4g

Amadeus 48 said...

Shorter Farmer: every dollar, life, machine, and thought devoted to the Middle East by the USA is wasted.

Greg the class traitor said...

rcocean said...
Iran, the Next Nazi Germany. If we don't stop them now, they'll take over...nobody.

The entire Middle East, nuke Israel (finish the job of killing all the Jews), and then see what they can do with control of all that oil.

A result that is obvious to anyone who's actually paying attention

So, what's your excuse?

J. Farmer said...

@Greg the class traitor:

Oh, I don't know, when was the last time a US soldier was killed in the Middle East?

Well, before Nawres Waleed Hamid was killed in December, there was Scott Koppenhafer killed by ISIS in August of 2019, and before that, there was Shannon Kent, Scott Wirtz, and Jonathan Farmer (no relation) killed by an ISIS suicide bomber in Syria in January 2019. In October 2018, Jason Finan was killed by an IED by ISIS. In April 2018, Jonathan Dunbar was killed in Aleppo by ISIS. I can keep going, but I think you get the idea.

narciso said...

When they really want to inflict damage they know how to.

The Soviets never fired an icbm against us either rc, doesnt mean they werent a threat

Steven said...

@J. Farmer --

I'll nod along and agree that it's plausible that Iran and its proxies were avoiding targeting the US, versus just our allies and proxies, during the period between the signing of the Iran deal and the Maximum Pressure campaign. And thus, if we were willing to totally disengage from the Middle East, it is plausible that we would never again be attacked by Iran.

I don't think that "if" would have ever been fulfilled, and so at some point the mutual proxy campaigns would have flare-ups into direct conflict. But in the case of people who thought Obama's ME policy had an excess of US engagement, like you, I'm willing to concede that you are perfectly fair in your criticisms of Trump's policy.

Kristof and his fellow-travelers, on the other hand, can kiss my ass.

J. Farmer said...

The entire Middle East, nuke Israel (finish the job of killing all the Jews), and then see what they can do with control of all that oil.

A result that is obvious to anyone who's actually paying attention


No that is "a result that is obvious" only in your fevered imagination. Iran has next to no ability to project conventional military force outside its borders. The Arab states vastly outspend Iran on military matters and all have much more advanced military capabilities. Turkey is a member of NATO and also has a much more powerful military force than Iran. But Iran is going to take over "the entire Middle East." Right.

J. Farmer said...

@Steven:

And thus, if we were willing to totally disengage from the Middle East, it is plausible that we would never again be attacked by Iran.

I don't think that "if" would have ever been fulfilled, and so at some point the mutual proxy campaigns would have flare-ups into direct conflict.


I take your point, but I still think you're demonstrating a problem that occurs so often with how our strategy in the middle east is framed. The alternative to our current posture is not "to totally disengage from the Middle East." Are Russia and China "totally disengaged from the Middle East?" Why can't we have a posture that looks more like Russia's and China's? Do business with everybody but otherwise stay out of inter-regional squabbling.

narciso said...

Soviets were in iraq syria yemen egypt. Afghanistan (the last by proxy until they decided it wasnt durable) they provided arms to the kurds and armenians against turkey

Howard said...

narisco: you make J Farmers point. Soviet adventurous foreign meddling contributed to their ultimate downfall.

narciso said...

Patrice lumumba trained insurgents from all parts allegedly carlos some indications khameini was there the gru handled arafat the kgb handled waddi haddad

n.n said...

Zarif, another Persian Shah, to tame the Iranian regime?

Play fair with one administration, and the next... The Iranian regime fears being Gaddafied, now. They will need to make a better deal, despite their Likud... Judenphobia, not another Obamacares.

Michael K said...

you still haven't risen above the level of a schoolyard taunt. Sad.

No, that was not a taunt. I am just puzzled by your enthusiasm for Iran.

You seem to hate the Saudis who have not done us harm by the ruling family. I agree they are a medieval kingdom but FDR was the one who chose to ally with them, and for obvious reasons.

The Shah was an ally since WWII when we had to oust his father who was pro-Nazi. The Shah probably tried tom modernize his country too quickly. I'm now reading "Great Society" about another national leader who tried to do something he thought would be good when he had no idea of how it would turnout.

Khomeini was a medieval zealot thrust upon us by Carter who was weak.

Now, we don't need Middle East oil. Some of our allies do but they can help themselves, a concept as foreign to them as free trade.

I would like to see more interest in nuclear power, as it is the obvious successor to petroleum for energy some day.

I still don't understand this demand that all problems be solved instantly. We finally have a guy who seems to be trying and meeting intense resistance from the corrupt ruling class. A bit of understanding would be nice,.

narciso said...

They only got in trouble in afghanistan anong all those places, sadat was steered away by adham, bashars old man was pretty much a soviet proxy. Now one might see this as old fashioned russian imperialisn in a new gaze.

J. Farmer said...

@Michael K:

No, that was not a taunt. I am just puzzled by your enthusiasm for Iran.

I have no enthusiasm for Iran. The fact that that is the only way you can make sense of the argument I am making is your perennial deficit when discussing these matters. I am a gay white nationalist, so I can assure you there is nothing I am enthusiastic about in the middle east. I am totally fine with the travel ban, for example. It doesn't go far enough in my estimation.

You seem to hate the Saudis who have not done us harm by the ruling family.

I point to the Saudis because they are emblematic of how incoherent our middle eastern policy is. As for them not having done us harm, we currently have thousands of US soldiers deployed to the middle east on the pretext of fighting ISIS, a group that exists because Gulf Arab states like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates thought it would be a good idea to fund and support Sunni jihadists to make war against the Assad regime.

narciso said...

So the plo and the pflp were the proxies against israel, the latter is where carlos came from he was more a client of iraq since the 70s,

Howard said...

1/9/20, 11:15 AM
Blogger Michael K said...
A bit of understanding would be nice,


Someone needs a hug

narciso said...

They often raise scorpions who go on to stong them

J. Farmer said...

You seem to hate the Saudis who have not done us harm by the ruling family.

Also, the overwhelming majority of Islamic terrorism that the US has been confronted with has come from Salafist jihadis. Salafism is officially endorsed by the Saudi royal family and is spread throughout the Muslim world through madrasas paid for by the Saudis.

narciso said...


He has no foreign policy experience but whatever

https://news.yahoo.com/trumps-war-105002008.html

Ray - SoCal said...

Agree on the Gulf State Funding making the Syrian Situation Worse.

Other Parties that have some portion of blame for the growth of Isis in Syria

Turkey - Supported Jihadists in Syria. Channeling the Libyan arms to them, buying oil, etc.

Not to mention Iraq due to incompetence that created the environment that allowed Isis to thrive in Western Iraq, that flowed over to Syria.

And the US for supporting so called Freedom Fighters in Syria, that turned over their weapons to Isis.

And Syria for allowing Jihadists to flourish / transit in Syria during the Bush Administration.

And the Obama administration for leaving Iraq in such a mess. And ROE that allowed Isis to flow.

And the US for creating the mess in Iraq in the first place.

I'm sure there is a bit of blame also on Iran. Iran followed an idea that the enemy of my enemy (the US), is to be given support. Such as transit through Iran, safe houses, etc.

ISIS is an out growth of Al Qaeda.

The true victims are the regular Syrian and Iraqi people.

J. Farmer said...
>that exists because Gulf Arab states like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates thought it would be a good idea to fund and support Sunni jihadists to make war against the Assad regime.

narciso said...

Its whats in their book, need we cite the verses,

Michael K said...

The Saudi "Royal Family": has about 1500 princes and MBS has been trying to clean it up but you go ahead and prefer the mullahs.

It is now semi-official that Iran shot down the Ukraine airliner.

One US official said US satellites had detected the launch of two missiles shortly before the plane crashed, followed by evidence of an explosion.

Two officials said Washington believed the downing of the plane was accidental.

The Associated Press quoted two US officials saying it is “highly likely” an Iranian anti-aircraft missile brought down the passenger plane.


Farmer not impressed.

Michael K said...

Someone needs a hug

Howard, typical of the left, has no sense of irony and misses it every time.

J. Farmer said...

@Michael K:

The Saudi "Royal Family": has about 1500 princes and MBS has been trying to clean it up but you go ahead and prefer the mullahs.

MBS has not been "trying to clean it up." He has been trying to consolidate power and eliminate potential rivals. The war he has overseen against Yemen for the last five years has included the Saudis empowering and weaponizing Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

You'd do much better if you actually listened to what I said instead of the strawman you want to construct in your head. I have said, repeatedly that we shouldn't get between a Sunni-Shia conflict in the middle east and should instead do business with everybody. Yet, somehow, when these sentences get from your eyes to your brain, you've translated them as "prefer the mullahs." Not preferring anyone is my favored position. I don't think we should favor Saudi Arabia or Iran. The Russians and the Chinese and the Indians and the Japanese and the Koreans all manage to do this. Why can't we?

Michael K said...

You'd do much better if you actually listened to what I said instead of the strawman

Look, I know you are the only one around here who knows anything but you might have missed some of the Saudi princes arrested and imprisoned for corruption.

Not worth answering you,.

hombre said...

Kristof evidently assumes Trump and his advisors are unfamiliar with the political equivalent of al taqiyya employed by Muslims and will rely on statements made by any Iranian official. Unlikely.

Trump has his own version of al taqiyya. You would think Democrats and their mediaswine would have realized that by now. Salena Zito tried to explain it to them: Trump haters take him literally but not seriously. Trump supporters take him seriously but not literally.

J. Farmer said...

@Michael K:

Look, I know you are the only one around here who knows anything but you might have missed some of the Saudi princes arrested and imprisoned for corruption.

Not worth answering you,.


"The Saudi government and sympathetic commentators have framed the arrests as an aggressive new move against corruption. Corruption is a massive popular Saudi concern, and positioning Mohammed bin Salman in opposition to corruption would be politically astute. But there is little reason to believe that corruption is the true cause of the crackdown and not simply its justification. The arrests look like a classic purge, removing prominent challengers and neutering competing power centers in a way designed to also intimidate any less well-known potential opponents. The benefits of securing the immediate transition of power may outweigh the risk of generating dangerous opposition in the long term."

-What Saudi Arabia’s Purge Means for the Middle East

"Mohammed bin Salman started an unprecedented purge within the royal household and among the most senior second-generation princes who might potentially threaten his takeover of the kingdom.

He is now de facto ruler and it won't be long before he becomes de jure. This will depend on whether his father voluntarily abdicates or is forced to submit to his young son's will. With Mutaib now sinking into oblivion, Mohammed bin Salman turned his attention to those princes with money, lest their financial empires become handy in future power struggles."

-The night of the long knives in Saudi Arabia

"The decision by Saudi King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud to sack Minister of National Guard Prince Mutaib bin Abdullah, the favorite son of the late King Abdullah, is intended to remove a potential powerful rival of his own favorite son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Mutaib's ouster is the most crucial part of a large-scale wave of arrests in the kingdom that suggests deep opposition to the young prince's ambitions."

-High stakes as Saudi crown prince tries to remove opponents

Achilles said...

It is really sad watching you flail Farmer.

Trump made you look really silly.

Iran is being put in it's place and there is no more hiding behind proxies. Obama propped that regime up and made them appear stronger than they actually were. All of these attacks were funded by the money Obama gave them and the anger this truth being out causes is glorious.

If Iran gives up their wars and their aggression there will be a semblance of peace in the ME that hasn't existed for centuries.

But for that to happen the US would actually be able to be effective in foreign policy.

Farmer cannot allow that. It just doesn't work.

Smug has to be right.

That is the most important thing in the world.

narciso said...

ah mark lynch, lol, he was so enthused by the arab spring, al monitor is a Syrian based site and middle east eye is low brow al Jazeera,

Achilles said...

It is time we subpoena John Kerry's communications with Iran for the last 10 years.

And Obama's.

I want to know how much of that 150 Billion democrat cronies soaked up.

Rabel said...

"The true victims are the regular Syrian and Iraqi people."

or

The true cause of the problems in Syria and Iraq is the regular Syrian and Iraqi people.

J. Farmer said...

@Achilles:

If Iran gives up their wars and their aggression there will be a semblance of peace in the ME that hasn't existed for centuries.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE fund Sunni jihadists to make war against Assad. Saudi Arabia is bogged down in a war against Yemen that it started 5 years ago to reinstall a pro-Saudi dictator who currently sits in Riyadh on house arrest. Turkey moving against the Kurds. But if it weren't for Iran, there'd be "a semblance of peace." Can't beat that logic.


p.s. I don't think you understand what the word flail means.

J. Farmer said...

@narciso:

ah mark lynch, lol, he was so enthused by the arab spring, al monitor is a Syrian based site and middle east eye is low brow al Jazeera,

And the evidence that the purge really was drive by anti-corruption? Oh yeah, the guy who conducted the purge told us it was.

Rabel said...

The reality of nuclear weapons and intercontinental delivery systems coupled with the reality of the bloody expansionism of fundamentalist Islam makes the advice to avoid foreign entanglements obsolete and eventually suicidal.

The oceans protected us once. They don't any longer.

When they chant "Death to America" the Iranians should be taken at their word and treated accordingly.

Or just hide under the bed and wish away the realities.

Rosalyn C. said...

https://geopoliticalfutures.com/irans-push-for-influence-in-the-middle-east/

https://www.rand.org/blog/2019/05/irans-network-of-fighters-in-the-middle-east-arent.html

https://www.iiss.org/publications/strategic-dossiers Iran’s Networks of Influence in the Middle East

Iran's been building this network for a long time, along with developing a nuclear bomb. All for peace,
of course in Islam peace and freedom don't mean the same as they do in the West.

Farmer wants to see Iran become more powerful and fulfill their ambitions. I do not.

J. Farmer said...

@Rabel:

The oceans protected us once. They don't any longer.

Well the oceans haven't protected us from nuclear-armed ICBM's for over half a century. Our own nuclear-armed ICBM's do that.

Seeing Red said...

Or come from Mexico.

J. Farmer said...

@Rosalyn C:

Farmer wants to see Iran become more powerful and fulfill their ambitions. I do not.

I see the half-dozen comments I wrote last night responding to your queries were a complete waste of time.

First, all of the relevant powers in the region cultivate relationships with and support non-state forces in other countries in order to advance their agendas. This is nothing unique to Iran. Second, one of the reasons Iran is somewhat more dependent on such forces than other powers is because their conventional military is so week. Third, Iran's ambitions in the region are already checked by other powers in the region (e.g. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, etc.). Do you honestly believe that absent the US fighting permanent war in the middle east, these other countries will simply lay down and become Iranian vassal states. Lastly, the event that has most increased Iran's regional power in the last 40 years was the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime and its replacement by a democratic government. There used to be a time when conservatives understood the law of unintended consequences.

Rabel said...

"Well the oceans haven't protected us from nuclear-armed ICBM's for over half a century. Our own nuclear-armed ICBM's do that.

The Soviets weren't suicidal religious fanatics. Add that to the equation before citing the effectiveness of MAD strategy.

J. Farmer said...

@Rabel:

The Soviets weren't suicidal religious fanatics. Add that to the equation before citing the effectiveness of MAD strategy.

And neither are the Iranians. If the Iranians were motivated by religious fanaticism, why would they do business with Russia, China, and India. For example, India to sign contract on Chabahar port during PM Narendra Modi's Iran visit. Modi is a Hindu nationalist who has not exactly endeared himself to Muslims by his handling of the Kashmir situation. Islam takes an even dimmer view of Hindus than it does Christians, because they are considered polytheists and not "people of the book." And yet, Iran does business with them and is not trying to attack India. Peter Beinart did a good job refuting the claim of a suicidal regime in his piece Iran's Leaders Are Not Suicidal.

Rabel said...

"And neither are the Iranians."

Oh, OK then.

narciso said...

well the lead figures of the golden chain, Mahfouz, alamoudi, those are just some of the figures involved in the purge,

Rosalyn C. said...

@Farmer Show me the map of Saudi Arabia's proxy positions in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Gaza?

Rosalyn C. said...

Show me the street demonstrations in Saudi Arabia with citizens shouting death to America, death to Israel.

BTW I never claimed Saudi Arabia is our most trusted ally in the Middle East. Israel is.

mccullough said...

As soon as MBS kills the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia and his minions and then I’ll believe he’s anything other than another Saudi piece of shit.

It made sense for FDR to cut a deal with the Saudis. But things have changed. I don’t care if Iran kills off Saudi Arabia. They have it coming.

Otto said...

I think Trump will use the same assets we used to win the cold war - our economic riches backed up by a strong military.And both of those assets presently much stronger than ever before and are better than any other nation by far. Never underestimate Trump.

Greg the class traitor said...

You didn't answer the question, J Farmer: What's Iran's "bag limit"?

How many American's are they allowed to kill, before you get upset?

Because it appears your answer is "Iran can kill as many Americans as they want, so long as those Americans are interfering with Iran's perfectly valid regional hegemony in the Middle East"

narciso said...

he's putting al hawali and awda to death, he can very well end up in the same predicament as sadat, and that was no where was congenial to Salafism,

J. Farmer said...

@Rosalyn C:

@Farmer Show me the map of Saudi Arabia's proxy positions...

in Lebanon,

Saudi Arabia has maintained relations with Sunni groups in Lebanon for years and is particularly close to the Hariri family. The current prime minister of Lebanon, Saad Hariri, was born in Saudi Arabia and spent many years there. Saudi Arabia attempted to exert its influence in Lebanon in 2017 when it detained Hariri in Riyadh and forced him to resign his position, though this was later cancelled during the resulting backlash.

Iraq, Syria

Since 2004, the Saudis supported Sunni insurgents in Iraq as a means of challenging Shia-back militias. They later supported Sunni insurgents in Syria to attack the government of Assad. These insurgent forces are what ultimately became the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Afghanistan

Saudi Arabia has been one of the Taliban's most long-standing financial and ideological backers. This support continues to this day, and Saudi Arabia was one of only three (Pakistan and UAE being the other) that recognized the Taliban government in Kabul.

BTW I never claimed Saudi Arabia is our most trusted ally in the Middle East.

And I never claimed that you claimed that. So you're pushing on an open door.

n.n said...

I would like to see more interest in nuclear power, as it is the obvious successor to petroleum for energy some day.

While nuclear is a general solution that satisfies economic development and should appease the Green zealots, unless there is an exponential improvement of electromagnetic storage technology, petroleum will offer the most efficient energy to mass density for the foreseeable future, which is ideal for mobile applications. Each technology, even the Green blight, has characteristics that are best suited to an application. The solution is a basket of technologies, selected as best suited to purpose.

J. Farmer said...

@Greg the class traitor:

You didn't answer the question, J Farmer: What's Iran's "bag limit"?

How many American's are they allowed to kill, before you get upset?

Because it appears your answer is "Iran can kill as many Americans as they want, so long as those Americans are interfering with Iran's perfectly valid regional hegemony in the Middle East"


As usual, Greg, this is a completely fatuous question that entirely misses the point. Had my preferred policies been followed, the Americans would never have been there to get killed in the first place. I don't consider sending Americans off to die in stupid pointless wars to be a sign of how pro-military I am. I'd prefer they'd be here and alive, not over there and dead.

You can keep mindlessly typing "regional hegemony" all you won't, it won't make it any truer. As I've said repeatedly, Iran's regional ambitions are already checked by other regional powers (e.g. the Gulf Arab states, Turkey, Pakistan, etc.). If you think the only thing standing between Iran and "regional hegemony" is 3,000 US soldiers in Iraq, then I think you are completely out to lunch. There is absolutely no reason that American soldiers should be fighting and dying in the middle of middle eastern regional powers jockeying for influence. And again, as I have said continuously, the most significant event in the last 40 years to increase Iran's regional position was the overthrow of Hussein, which I was vehemently against. What was your position on the Iraq War in 2002, just out of curiosity?

Michael K said...

The solution is a basket of technologies, selected as best suited to purpose.

Sure but nuclear is infinitely more rational than wind or solar. As a base load source, it is probably superior to coal or gas.

I doubt electric vehicles will be m ore than a niche market.

We had a discussion at Chicagoboyz about EVs.

Jon Ericson said...

For Farmer

Steven said...

@J. Farmer

I take your point, but I still think you're demonstrating a problem that occurs so often with how our strategy in the middle east is framed. The alternative to our current posture is not "to totally disengage from the Middle East."

Well, what I meant by "total disengagement" actually would be roughly Chinese level. I don't think even a Russian-like level (with its Syrian entanglement) would allow us to avoid eventual future clashes with Iran as various proxy battles heated up. I also don't think we could disengage to the Chinese level with the domestic sentiment on Israel, our treaty commitment in Turkey, the general value of oil to the world economy, our history and resulting animosities in the region, our level of power as a nation, and the sort of foreign policy establishment that dragged us into Kosovo and Libya.

You, as best I can see, disagree on what sort of relationship we can have with the Middle East. I think you're wrong, and accordingly we're going to disagree on what's wise policy, and we should disagree.

Kristof I can't stand because he seems to have roughly the same expectation of the possible that I have, but advocates a totally insane policy for dealing with that reality, where what we should do to everything from a drone being shot down to an embassy being attacked is kill some peons.

If we take it as a given that we're going to have ongoing proxy confrontations with Iran, I think it's a good idea if whomever is in charge of the proxies on the Iranian side knows that if he escalates too far, we're perfectly willing to kill him. That gives him an actual incentive to keep the level down.

Greg the class traitor said...

J. Farmer said...

Had my preferred policies been followed


Then we'd all obviously be complete f'ing morons who desperately need to suck-start a shotgun. because no one else would support your "preferred policies."


So, your answer is "I don't care how many American soldiers the Iranians killed, because those stupid loser soldiers should be there harming Iranian interests, and as long as they're there, I hope they all die."

Thanks, that's what I thought. But I appreciate you clearing that up.

See, "Farmer" (and "Mary"), you're not the dictator of the US. You don't get to unilaterally decide what US foreign policy will be. You just get to decide what your reaction to it will be.

Your reaction is "I hope every single one of those US soldiers that President Trump has over their gets killed."

So, don't call yourself a patriotic American. Don't call yourself a nationalistic American. Don't call yourself a conservative American. Because you are none of those things.

And, understand, taht we will, correctly, call you a traitor

J. Farmer said...

@Greg the class traitor:

Greg, you're a moron. I cannot imagine what bizarre mental contortions you must go through to get from "US soldiers should not be dying in the middle of Sunni-Shia fight" to "I want all soldiers to die" I cannot imagine.

So, don't call yourself a patriotic American. Don't call yourself a nationalistic American. Don't call yourself a conservative American. Because you are none of those things.

I am all of those things. And I find conflating patriotism with a willingness to throw American lives away on stupid pointless wars a repulsive idea. You want to save those soldiers lives? Bring them home.

J. Farmer said...

@Steven:y w

You, as best I can see, disagree on what sort of relationship we can have with the Middle East. I think you're wrong, and accordingly we're going to disagree on what's wise policy, and we should disagree.

I agree with you about all of the domestic political abilities in having the kind of foreign policy that I would prefer. But virtually nobody gets everything they want in a democratic society. I can live with a more interventionist policy in the region that I would be comfortable with, but that is still a different question than what is the policy we should be pursuing at the moment. Do we want to get more entangled in the Middle East or less? Granted it is not an either/or proposition, but it is a question of what direction are we heading. And I think it is the wrong direction.

Kristof I can't stand because he seems to have roughly the same expectation of the possible that I have, but advocates a totally insane policy for dealing with that reality, where what we should do to everything from a drone being shot down to an embassy being attacked is kill some peons.

I have never been a fan of Nicholas Kristof fan and invariably disagree with his foreign policy prescriptions. To me he is emblematic of everything wrong with contemporary American foreign policy.

Rosalyn C. said...

Rosalyn: "BTW I never claimed Saudi Arabia is our most trusted ally in the Middle East."

Farmer: "And I never claimed that you claimed that. So you're pushing on an open door."

Farmer attempted to instigate a debate pitting Iran against Saudi Arabia, asking where would you rather live. No one bit because no one has any love for either place. Farmer later made the case that Iran has more freedom than Saudi Arabia (if you prefer mandatory hijab to niqab) and now he's making the case that Saudi Arabia is just as bad as Iran because it has proxies. However haven't the proxies in Iraq have been eliminated? And whatever forces SA backed in Syria would also be irrelevant now. And I'm not sure Farmer's info on Afghanistan is correct at all. https://thediplomat.com/2018/05/saudi-arabias-new-taliban-strategy/

n.n said...

Sure but nuclear is infinitely more rational than wind or solar.

I agree. Rational and practical as a base load generator that can be reasonably isolated from the environment, thus reliable.

Greg the class traitor said...

Blogger J. Farmer said...
@Greg the class traitor:

Greg, you're a moron. I cannot imagine what bizarre mental contortions you must go through to get from "US soldiers should not be dying in the middle of Sunni-Shia fight" to "I want all soldiers to die" I cannot imagine.


That's because you're a moron, as well as utterly dishonest

I will ask for a third and final time
1: What is Iran's "legitimate bag limit" of American soldiers?
2: What is America's legitimate bag limit for Iran's armed thugs?

Your policies are not going to be implemented, so that's no answer.

My answers:
1: 0
2: infinite

Iran's government and ruling class is utterly illegitimate. They have no honor, and no decency. They they no legitimate influence or interest outside of Iran

Your answer:
1: Infinite
2: 0

You want Iran to win, and the US to lose. You want ever soldier over there to get kill, or at least crippled


You can dispute this by giving actual numeric answer to the two questions. Anything else is you just attempting to hide what a worthless piece of garbage you are

J. Farmer said...

@Rosalyn:

Farmer attempted to instigate a debate pitting Iran against Saudi Arabia, asking where would you rather live. No one bit because no one has any love for either place. Farmer later made the case that Iran has more freedom than Saudi Arabia (if you prefer mandatory hijab to niqab) and now he's making the case that Saudi Arabia is just as bad as Iran because it has proxies.

You continue to misunderstand my comparison to Saudi Arabia. My point is that both Saudi Arabia and Iran act in a similar and typical manner. Both are autocratic regimes, religiously legitimized, that practice domestic oppression and a foreign policy meant to exert its security and influence in the region. Because neither power can overtly control other countries, they rely on proxy forces and informal and covert means to exert influence. Then there is Turkey and the UAE and Syria and Bahrain and Qatar and Pakistan. All are jockeying for influence in the region and all are backing various sympathetic groups in order to advance their particular.

It is fatuous to assign the uniquely malign influence of Iran. And this line is pushed for one reason: to justify a policy of isolation and aggression against Iran with the ultimate goal of overthrowing the regime and replacing it with one more amenable to US interests. I think this is the wrong policy to pursue. I think a smarter strategy would be to talk to everybody, do business with everybody, trade with everybody, and let them fight it out amongst themselves.

J. Farmer said...

@Greg:

You can dispute this by giving actual numeric answer to the two questions. Anything else is you just attempting to hide what a worthless piece of garbage you are

The answer is zero. But that says nothing about how to respond. It wasn’t acceptable that the Chinese got Americans killed in Korea and Vietnam, but Nixon’s opening to China was still the right move. It wasn’t acceptable that Saudi-backed Sunni insurgents in Iraq killed American soldiers, but what price has Saudi Arabia payed for this? Our soldiers are in danger from Iran because of our policy towards Iran. I guarantee if we moved to economically isolate Saudi Arabia and overthrow their regime, they would fight back against us. Why do you think Iran isn’t attacking Russian or Chinese or India military targets? Because these countries aren’t trying to overthrow them.

Rosalyn C. said...

"It is fatuous to assign the uniquely malign influence of Iran." J. Farmer

What is silly is to assert that excepting all the carnage Iran has caused to Americans, Iraqis, Iranians, and continues to plot, and targeting thousands of rockets at Israeli civilians from Lebanon, and launching Iranian rockets from Gaza, and Iranian citizens continually calling for death to America, etc., etc, Iran is just like Saudi Arabia or Turkey. The reason we are not sanctioning Saudi Arabia is that they are not threatening or attacking the US. In fact they are actually working to be helpful to the peace process in the region and helpful in resolving Afghanistan.

Obama made clear to the world we were not supporting the popular uprising protesting against the Islamic regime and Trump also has stated we are not seeking regime change. So that excuse for blaming the US for Iran's behavior is not justified.

I'm beginning to think Farmer is a white nationalist gay Muslim who belongs to an Iranian front group. That would explain a lot.

Gahrie said...

Why do you think Iran isn’t attacking Russian or Chinese or India military targets? Because these countries aren’t trying to overthrow them.

What if we weren't trying to overthrow the government of Iran (or North Korea, or Cuba, or Venezuela, et, etc), and Iran knew this, do you think they would be behaving any differently? Those regimes need an enemy to justify their behavior, and if we didn't exist they would invent us. We were shipping billions of dollars to Iran and they still called us evil and called for our destruction. By the way, they aren't attacking Russian targets because when they do, Putin kills people and blows shit up. Trump learned the lesson.

Rusty said...

Except for one thing J. Saudi Arabia isn't screaming "Death to America" and "Death to Israel". And threatening to destroy us. SA has agreed to recognize Israel. Iran has more proxies undedrmining peace in the region than SA.
The US doesn't want to overthrow the regime in Iran. The US want the Iranian people to overthrow their own corrupt goveernment.

Greg the class traitor said...

J. Farmer said...
@Greg:

You can dispute this by giving actual numeric answer to the two questions. Anything else is you just attempting to hide what a worthless piece of garbage you are

The answer is zero. But that says nothing about how to respond.


Wrong

if the answer is 0, then you don't make excuses for Iran when they exceed that limit. You don't try to defend them by saying "how many American soldiers had Iran killed before X?"

Because that doesn't matter. Their bag limit is exceeded.

But, for a "bag limit" to mean anything, it must be enforced. Which means any time Iran exceeds its bag limit, it must be attacked, and punished, so as to force them to stop exceeding it.

you don't blather about "the US shouldn't be there", because that's irrelevant. Iran has exceeded their bag limit, they must be punished for doing so.

By, for example, killing the person in charge of the thugs that killed the Americans.

So, if you really believe that Iran's "bag limit" for killing American soldiers is 0, you'll stop making excuses for them, and start calling for their complete destruction, unless and until they stop trying to kill Americans.

The time to discuss "where should the US troops be" is when no one is shooting at them. Otherwise you're rewarding people for shooting at them.. You don't do that if the bag limit is 0.

So, I look forward to you acting in accordance with your claim.