Bolton on Bombing

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Chris Dierkes

Chris Dierkes (aka CJ Smith). 29 years old, happily married, adroit purveyor and voracious student of all kinds of information, theories, methods of inquiry, and forms of practice. Studying to be a priest in the Anglican Church in Canada. Main interests: military theory, diplomacy, foreign affairs, medieval history, religion & politics (esp. Islam and Christianity), and political grand bargains of all shapes and sizes.

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15 Responses

  1. I wish there were more stuff in the main stream press out there like Gavin’s “Same As it Ever Was: Nuclear Proliferation After the Cold War”
    http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/isec.2010.34.3.7

    I think it’d be a useful antidote to all the ridiculous assertions made by people like Bolton (and for that matter Gavin’s colleague Alan Kuperman)Report

  2. Avatar Scott says:

    Iran’s leader has already stated multiple times what he would like to do to Israel. Why should they wait until he actually has a bomb to see if he makes good on his threats? Sometimes folks have to learn the hard way that mouthing off can have serious consequences.Report

    • Avatar Chris Dierkes in reply to Scott says:

      @Scott, for one, he’s not their leader. I think he’s more puppet and court jester than actual king.

      It’s tough to know for sure whose really in charge, but my sense is that the certain factions of the Revolutionary Guard are. Sanctioning them sees like a bad action given that state of affairs (imo). But they’ve built themselves for years on trying to gain power I’m not sure why they would waste that power once they get it.

      My sense of Iran is they want a bomb so they can prevent any future US and/or Israeli regime change/attack and they want major power status in the region. I don’t think they want to use said bombs.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Chris Dierkes says:

        @Chris Dierkes, “don’t think they want to use said bombs.” Yes and yes. It is one of the key calculations with nukes that using them has an incredibly high cost since you almost certainly get massive retaliation. You can only really win if you never use them and just get the added protection and power. The Bolton theory just applies megatons of Handwavium to the fear and cost of suffering retaliation.Report

      • Avatar Scott in reply to Chris Dierkes says:

        @Chris Dierkes,

        Really Chris, when did you become the expert on the Iranian regime? Let me sum it up, you don’t who is in charge but you trust “them” not to use a weapon if they get it. I’m glad you are so trusting. These of course were the same people that used human wave attacks on Iraqi position and to clear mine fields during the Iran/Iraq war.Report

        • Avatar Chris Dierkes in reply to Scott says:

          @Scott, if you’re looking for a scholar on the Iranian regime, I suggest Karim Sadjapour. His view (the one I find most plausible) is that what occurred after the flawed election was that in essence there was a military coup and both Ahmadinejad and Khamenei are really puppets to more behind the throne powers (in the Rev. Guard). If you accept that theory, then you study the Guards actions overtime (rhetoric notwithstanding) and they generally show a trajectory towards consolidation of power.

          As to the Iran-Iraq war the Iranian regime was massively under equipped relative to the Iraqi army. Their only advantage was asymmetrical warfare hence the kind of actions they used (suicide bombing, martyrdom, etc.).

          I would take actions like that to suggest they know asymmetrical warfare and therefore Israel bombing them would unleash said activities (covert ops, attacks through proxy, terrorism, etc.) on Israel and US positions in the Middle East. A very bad idea I think.Report

          • Avatar Scott in reply to Chris Dierkes says:

            @Chris Dierkes,

            So, the bottom line really is that you don’t know who is running the place but you will to trust “them” not to use a nuke if they developed them given all of Ahmadinejad’s foaming at the mouth?

            My world view is that the consequences are too grave to mix nukes, religious fanatics and leaders that foam at the mouth. Maybe Iran getting a nuke is inevitable but perhaps they should be made to wait until they remove some of those elements form the mix or just show a little transparency so the rest of the world can tell who is actually in charge.Report

            • Avatar Chris Dierkes in reply to Scott says:

              @Scott, how exactly are they going to be “made to wait?” Even if bombing them pushes the date back say 2-3 years do you think there’s any chance that in the interim they would do anything but consolidate their hold on power after an attack? However much they are currently hated by the populace, they would have to rally around their gov’t in case of attack.

              In which case you are back to North’s comment–invading? Which is insane and would violate Bolton’s point about precipitate and disproportionate. Even though I disagree with him on whether an Israeli strike would violate such principles, he at least still adheres to them.

              Abandoning that and arguing for massive pre-emptive action is just basically we hate these guys and want to blow them up.

              Arguing for strikes doesn’t seem to achieve its end AND undoubtedly brings all kinds of other horrible consequences. Worst of both worlds if you ask me.Report

  3. Avatar North says:

    Okay now lets be real here. Assume (big assumption) that we agreed that the Iranians are loons and can’t be allowed to have nuclear weapons. What would it take to stop them? Seriously. We’re talking about an invasion. We’re talking Iraq redux. We’re not talking Osirac here, no one can just waltz in with a jet and blow their program ass over teakettle. Not the Israelis, not us. We don’t have the munitions or the intel to do so.
    That’s where I always depart from the neocons or Likud Israeli right. They think we can stop the Iranians on the cheap. Yeah, and maybe the missiles and boms will be greeted as liberators as well.

    Fortunately there appear to be some sane heads over at the IDF. Because if they thought it could be done on the cheap they’d have done it a year ago. Since they haven’t yet I doubt they will.Report

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