Posted by: theoptimisticconservative | May 17, 2012

Reflections on Ambassador Shapiro’s “We’re ready to attack” comments in Israel

Why in the world were these things said?

“It would have been better to solve it (the Iranian nuclear crisis) in a diplomatic way, by using pressure and without applying military force,” the ambassador clarified at the closed meeting, “But that does not mean that this [attack] option is not possible. Not only is it possible, it is ready. The necessary planning is in place to make sure it’s ready.”

Well, OK.  The question is not whether we are ready or should be ready for this option – um, of course we are; would we tell anyone if we weren’t? – the question is why our ambassador in Israel would say this.  (Read the full comments for the unnecessarily explicit flavor.)

First of all, an ambassador – or at least his top advisors – knows that bellicose comments of this kind do not accord with the conventions of diplomacy.  You don’t go around assuring other nations that you’ve been practicing to attack a third party.  Besides being operationally stupid, it’s potentially both destabilizing and destructive to your credibility.

Instead, you state what your national interests are, you clarify the outcome you’re looking for, and you assure the relevant audience that you will do what it takes to protect your interests and secure your outcomes.  The point is not whether the audience knows that you have actually tested a military OPLAN (who cares? We test them regularly), the point is for them to understand exactly what you want and the seriousness of your determination.

A warning (or, in this case, an assurance) that the US is ready to attack Iran was almost certainly given on orders from the White House, since it’s not something a diplomat would naturally be moved to say, or say without permission.  It’s a combination of operational TMI and inflammatory rhetoric: a sort of anti-diplomacy.

Second, this is a threat that can’t be convincingly conveyed in a fey, indirect manner.  If we mean this threat and we want it to affect Iran’s decisions, then say it to Iran.  (I would advise putting it in different terms.)  Putting the threat out there in the guise of an assurance to Israel just looks manipulative.

It also looks spurious and irresponsible, if we’re going to sit down with the Iranians in Baghdad later this month and “negotiate.”  What, exactly, are the Iranians supposed to assume about this threat?  What action of theirs could trigger it?  Does it clarify the US position, or obfuscate it?  With the threat of war, it is not actually a good idea to be overly clever and create doubt about triggers and your intentions. If you’re going to deploy the war card, certainty is the mindset you want your intended audience to have.

In any case, if the US and the Western powers make the offer of a sweet deal for Iran, in the hope of getting some kind of agreement – a prospect endorsed by the analysis of long-time observer Gerald Seib in this video – that signal will be at odds with the over-explicit threat of attack.  It would be hard to be convincing about a coherent position in that case.

Regarding the point on military preparations, I know many readers try to stay abreast of where the aircraft carriers are, and that’s not necessarily a fool’s errand.  It’s important not to go all “Pat Buchanan” about it – there are two carriers in the Persian Gulf region at least twice a year because they are turning over their patrol duties; it’s not a sign of the Apocalypse – but it can be a useful indicator.  That said, I advise you not to try this at home if you aren’t familiar with US Navy operations.  The presence of two or more carriers in the Central Command “AOR” (area of responsibility) is almost always an indicator of strike group turnover – or simply a coincidence due to a rare circumstance like USS Abraham Lincoln’s (CVN-72) recent change of homeport from Everett, Washington to Norfolk, Virginia, which involved an extra transit through (and deployment in) the Middle East.

The US administration announced earlier this year that it would be keeping two carriers on station in the Gulf region for the time being.  That gives the president a ready option in case he wants to ramp up pressure on Iran.  I would not obsess over the carriers, however.  They will undoubtedly participate if there is a strike on Iran – they will be indispensable for keeping the Strait of Hormuz open, and their F/A-18 strike-fighters will no doubt be used for the precision targeting of hardened sites, among other tasks for the airwings – but they may well not be the centerpiece of the operation.

If President Obama were to scope a strike on Iran as I believe he would – narrowly, striking only a limited set of nuclear-related targets – the strike may well be conducted as a “prompt global strike,” according to the doctrine and capability of the same name, which has been in development since the last year of the Bush administration.  It could involve mostly cruise missiles and “global airpower”:  B-2 and B-52 bombers launching their missions at a distance from Iran, including launches from US territory; i.e., Whiteman and Barksdale.  (I doubt that it would involve long-range ballistic missiles, which are not accurate enough for most applications in this kind of strike.)  The strike would certainly be conventional, not nuclear.

All that said, if an agreement is reached with Iran in the next couple of months, it will be because the agreement is advantageous to Iran, delaying the EU sanctions which are to kick in this summer, and requiring nothing of Iran that the mullahs were not willing to concede.  Any agreement that does not entail full, unannounced inspection of all Iran’s suspect facilities and nuclear-related programs, as well as Iran’s adherence to the “Additional Protocol” of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, is an agreement that will not stop the nuclear weapons program.  That kind of agreement, however, is what we are virtually guaranteed to get.

For the United States, issuing attack threats in the manner of Hugo Chavez is not a convincing posture.  I don’t know if the Israelis will find it reassuring; I suspect the Europeans and Iranians will find it annoying, and decide to ignore it.

J.E. Dyer’s articles have appeared at Hot Air’s Green Room, Commentary’s “contentions,Patheos, and The Weekly Standard online.

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Responses

  1. What are the chances that all this “war talk” is more intended for the domestic audience during an election year?

    One of BHO’s perceived weaknesses is his foreign policy commitment to Israel. This lack of strong commitment is noticeable via a rather lack-luster stance against Iran’s nuclear ambitions particularly. So, saying this in this well chosen forum makes the words resonate better and more in the ears of the Jewish electorate at home, doesn’t it…?

    And, as you say, diplomatically and politically speaking, having a plan is not the same as actually implementing it as presented, is it…? So, he can talk big, make posture, do nothing and still be in a position to say “I never promised that I would do it. It’s a complicated issue and we need more time to help diplomacy work” after he gets his four more years, of course.

    rafa

  2. Excellent to question the wisdom of it, but really, you can’t come up with a theory as to why it was done????
    really???

    and you think that such talk is not in “accord with the conventions of diplomacy.” when the subject is the Iranian frickin theocracy and he’s talkin with a bunch of israelis?

    which group did you expect to be offended by the breach of propriety…and why the heck is diplomatic nicety our priority?

  3. IMO, this isn’t about sending a message to Iran at all, this is about false reassurance, to Israel. Obama opposes Israel attacking Iran, indeed he’s against any military attack upon Iran for any reason. But he’s disingenuously intimating to the Israeli’s that ultimately, he’s prepared to do whatever it takes to defuse the Iranian threat.

    The aim of this duplicitous behavior is to delay an Israeli attack until, at the least, after the Nov election. His hope is that by the time that Israel concludes that his duplicity is undeniable, it will be too late to stop the Iranians.

    J.E. is right, were this a message to Iran it would have been handled in an entirely different manner. There may be some minor domestic political advantage in blunting Republican criticism but its too little to be the primary rationale.

    Diplomatic ‘proprieties’ are not about civility and common decency, they’re about the avoidance of exposing our allies to political embarrassment AND involving nations antagonistic to our national interests in circumstances wherein their intransigence is increased.

    • GB— when we subtract your bs about “he’s against any military attack upon Iran for any reason.” which you pulled out of that crystal ball that you pulled out of a(n alimentary) canal and which was rendered of less than optimal clarity fro you, you (and others) are still stuck with explaining why the military is feeding stuff to the Post about how they’re ready and able to melt Iran’s defenses down to the stump in a three week campaign.

      • Perhaps we should say that the President has gone way out of his way of taking any direct action towards Iran for any of their activities while he was more than willing to directly involve us in Libya for much, much less, whose strategic implications were not as great and whose destabilization furthers the consolidation of islamic powers who do not like us.

        Therefore GB’s reach is not so much a reach as a reasonable esitmate based upon the President’s actions to date.

        • I am not in disagreement here but it is important to note and admit that President Bush didn’t do diddly about Iran either.

          Lack of decisive action in foreign policy has been a long time malady. That BHO was easily infected by it when he sat down in the big chair is not at all surprising coming from what has proven to be a “do nothing” president. Except, of course, that on the rare occasion that BHO manages to pull himself off the golf course to actually do something, whatever he does is sure to be all wrong.

          rafa

          • It’s true that Bush did little to stop Iran. However Bush, unlike Obama did have a plan to stop Iran. The invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq were designed to demonstrate America’s determination to finally confront Islamic radicalism. The almost immediate opposition of the left, liberals and their democrat and media allies to any military response to terrorist attacks, while insisting that a police type response was the only appropriate response… along with insisting that an intense self-examination of “why and how our chickens had come home to roost” completely undermined political support for Bush’s strategy.

            Once the momentum of the WoT stalled, Bush had no other option than attempts at negotiation with a completely insincere Iran.

            • Now you’re simply making stuff up….where was that democrat and media opposition to the invasion of Afghanistan????????

              I seem to recall that the authorization to invade was passed nearly unanimously….with support withheld from 1 dem on the House and 2 repubs in the Senate…and of course crazy-assed Ron Paul being the first critic.

              • Making it up? A memory that faulty doesn’t want to remember.

                The media covered these protests extensively;

                “On September 29, 2001, as many as 20,000 people demonstrated in Washington, D.C., United States, denouncing the impending invasion of Afghanistan. In San Francisco almost 10,000 people converged on a park in San Francisco’s Mission District to denounce the Bush administration’s plans for military intervention in Afghanistan. \In Los Angeles roughly 2,500 protesters marched through the streets of Westwood. In New York City 3,000 to 5,000 people took part in a peace march at Union Square. Demonstrations were also held in the Netherlands, Spain and Greece.”

                Nor did it end there.

                On Oct. 01, 2001 “several thousand protesters demonstrated in New York City against any military offensive in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks”

                “On October 7, 2001, 10,000 to 12,000 people turned out in New York City to oppose the Bush administration’s so-called war on terrorism.”

                “On October 13, 2001, more than 20,000 people joined the UK’s biggest protest yet against military action in Afghanistan by the United States and its allies. In Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom, around 1,500 people gathered in George Square for a rally against the military action in Afghanistan. In Germany more than 25,000 protesters took to the streets in cities across the country. In Sweden the biggest demonstration took place in Gothenburg, where more than 2,500 people marched through the city. In San Francisco 10,000 people took to the streets, while a rally in Washington Square in New York City attracted some 700 people. In Australia, thousands of people demonstrated in the cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide.”

                From before the war and in every year since there have been numerous protests against US military action. Invariably media coverage is prejudicial to the use of US military power.

                Democrats did authorize both the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq but as soon as those invasions occurred, quickly aligned themselves with the left’s protestors, vociferously criticizing Bush’s every move. The MSM incessantly ran biased ‘reports and coverage’ highly critical of the Bush administration.

                However inconvenient for your attempts at revision that is historical fact.

                • GB— street protests by 30,000 Americans (out of 300,000,000 )

                  has not a damn thing to do with supporting your made-up claim of “democrat and media” opposition.learn to stop making idiotic claims so that you stop sounding like an idiot. as you’re not an idiot, it doesn’t become you …or benefit any anyone else except people who wish to dismiss you rather than discuss things

            • Meantime, while we were busy fighting and trying to properly democratize Iraq and Afghanistan, as if that was even possible or even desireable, Iran went on its merry nuclear development way and advanced greatly down that nefarious path during the last ten or fifteen years.

              Iran has always been insencere. That’s certainly not anything new. In fact, diplomacy is the feather bed of insincerity just like politics is the art of lying better and more often than your opponent. But, to use the intelligent words of a blogger in this group, what makes you (or Bush) think that Iran is open to negotiations…?
              :-)

              I think it’s quite alright to place blame on a president that has not done anything right probably since birth. But, in the name of fairness it behooves all of us to do that with every one of them that’s earn it and Bush certainly did earn that criticism as it relates to Iran. As for Irag and Afghanistan and the rest of that cesspool, my opinion is that Bush didn’t do nearly enough of the things he needed to do there in order to impart real believability to the strong attitude to which you allude in your post. Results, after all, are both obvious and undeniable.

              Good leaders find the way, weak leaders offer up excuses.

              rafa

        • JEM—- perhaps it’s accurate to say that Obama hasn’t ordered any military air strikes on Iran—and I assume that you mean something of that sort by “direct action”— which president has ?

          it seems to me that there has been no president who has shown himself to be as much a foolish appeaser and traitor to the USA as to send military weapons to iran while Iran was arranging the kidnappings, torture and murder of American civilians, military personnel, and intelligence agents as the genial, but sorta stupid, one who assured us that we should ‘reach out to moderate elements’ in the Iranian government.

          Obama ain’t like that and I’ll be happy to listen to our hostess or yourself or anyone else who wants to look straight at the situation with Iran and at what we CAN do and lay out a course of action that frustrates the iranian regime and advances our interests in the world.

          Seems to me that we did very little in the decade before Obama that harmed Iran and a few things that made them more secure.
          I loathe the theocracy and want it gone, but I don’t see any magic wand to wave.
          We can bomb their bunkers and set their nuke program back a couple of years, but then what? Invasion and occupation?

      • The military always plans for every contingency, including invasion by aliens…;-) So the military already has scenarios worked out for attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities. The military’s top brass such as the joint chiefs of staff is increasingly political. So they support the President’s direction even when its political.
        The ambassador’s ‘message’ to the Israeli’s is further evidence that the push is on to reassure the Israel’s that Obama takes the Iranian threat seriously.

        My “bs” regarding Obama is simply applying Occam’s razor to Obama’s behavior, rather than your willful obtuseness. Time will tell, which of us has the clearer assessment of Obama. It will also reveal which of us can acknowledge error when history renders its assessment.

        • GB— your applying your own ideas about Obama and aren’t applying Occam’s Razor to anything because to do that you would have to have considered all the observable evidence, rather than ignore most all of it and conclude on basis of guesswork about secret motivation.

          you’re blathering, GB

          • Blathering? It’s you that offers no factual rebuttal, no specifics as to overlooked or ignored “observable evidence” and pastes the label of “bs and blathering” upon assertions you disagree with pretending that to be a reasoned response.

  4. Until a way is found to decouple Moscow from Teheran, the options are two and only two.
    1) A limited, strictly surgical strike on verifiably identified nuclear WEAPONS development sites, either to destroy or delay their deployment, or,
    2) Mutual compromises at the negotiating table by both the West and Iran. Both sides will do this for different reasons, buying time with an eye towards improving their future positions, as usual..

    The implications of the Iranian nuclear program go way beyond the narrow scope of Israeli security. While I agree a nuclear armed Iran is in no one’s interest, do we really wish, (as Westerners), to debilitate Iran to such an extent that it cannot be used as an effective counter to Sunni Muslim extremism at one point in the future? Our Saudi and Qatari (amongst others) “friends” are diligently and methodically paving the way for a broader and deeper (Sunni brand) Islamization of the ME and beyond. And they have put us in the position of indirectly arming Al-Qaeda (for shame) and other extremists in Syria in order to oust Assad. I have no problem having extremist Muslims kill each other but arming Al-Qaeda? And why pray tell, is it in our interest to install the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria? This will improve Israeli security?
    We should be playing the Sunnis and Shia, in all their manifestations, off against each other. Let them exhaust each other, keep the crude flowing out of the ME and the weapons in.

    The West and Russia are being played by both Muslim flavors, they should both have their heads examined.

    • I don’t believe Iran is willing to make any compromises under any circumstances short of outright war. What specifically leads you to believe they’re open to negotiation?

      A limited, ‘surgical’ strike using conventional weapons, even by the US is unlikely to dissuade the Iranians. A nuclear strike would accomplish that goal but is politically unacceptable.

      While Shia Iran (and Iraq) may continue to be a valuable counterweight to Sunni Islam, as radicalism captures more and more Middle Eastern countries, the regional proverb comes to mind: “Me against my brother; my brother and me against my cousin; Me, my brother, and my cousin against the stranger”. Given that cultural dynamic how much can we count upon Shia/Sunni hostility to prevent temporary allegiance while battling the Great and little Satan?

      Certainly it is not in our or Israel’s national interest for the Muslim Brotherhood to gain the leadership of any country, but the political will to use violence to prevent its ascendency is insufficient. Which only leaves supporting corrupt regimes like the Saudi’s.

      Russia and China are using Islamic radicalism in a covert war of aggression against the US.

      • I’ll try to expand on my comment GB, although again, I must state that I don’t have the time to be thorough and exact in my replies, so please forgive any omissions and/or inconsistencies in my positions.

        If the Iranians conclude their national interests are served without developing nuclear weapons they will negotiate. They are signatories to the NPT, the treaty is very specific on what you can and cannot do. If they leave the treaty prematurely they know the West will find a pretext to attack their nuke sites.
        Here’s where it gets complicated, the only reason they have the power to theoretically develop/produce nuclear weapons in the first place is due to the protection they have from the Russians. Eventually the Russians will withdraw this support, the Iranians know they will be open to attack, ergo they will negotiate.

        Why will the Russians withdraw support?

        The Russians are weighing the benefits they derive from protecting Iran, and preventing their geopolitical encirclement from the south, through a possible pro western regime changed Iran; against, what they can gain in cooperation and concessions for their perceived security concerns and interest, from what some Russian circles perceive as an aggressive West , bent on deploying ground forces ever closer to their heartland. They see the missile defense program as a precursor to that, it partially neutralizes their strategic nuclear arsenal ace-in the-hole. If a way can be found that satisfies the West and Russia on missile defense, it would open up the road to withdrawing Russian support for Iran since it would address one of Moscow’s major security concerns. If Moscow was given the choice of genuinely closer ties with the West and support for distasteful regimes it would choose the former.

        I am a firm supporter of Russian integration into what I call the broader West. Imperfect democracy aside, the West in tandem with Russia is much more formidable on the world stage than without it. For example, if Turkey can be in NATO and considered “Western” I don’t see why Russia can’t.. You can cite me for wishful thinking here. I know, but I’m an optimist at heart.

        Concerning the strike option, Moscow would/could not respond to a strike on Iran that VERIFIABLY targets, delays or destroys, ILLEGAL Iranian nuclear WEAPONS development and production, since, ultimately, a nuclear armed Iran is not in the Russian interest. The operative words here are illegal/ verify/ weapons.. A strike that proves Iran is producing illegal weapons is in everyone’s interest and even if it results only in a delay, it buys time, and leaves the door open to further pressure the Iranian regime with escalation.

        That cultural dynamic that you correctly brought up was born from the fact that their cultural norm actually begins with “me against my brother for my fathers land”. If Sunni and Shia are kept busy enough with internecine existential dilemmas (beating the sh-t out of each other) they will have little time, inclination and strength to deal with any infidels which they consider to be Satan. Great, Little, Russian or even Chinese. We are all infidels from, not just their perspective but the very essence of their theological identity, and must eventually be either subjugated, converted or killed. But you knew that. It’s classic “divide and rule” for us. We can count on it a lot and can exacerbate ethnic, tribal, linguistic and other factors as well as the Sunni/Shia dimension of the issue to our advantage. Lest we forget, the only thing we really want from them is their oil. What else could interest us from them? OK, maybe their markets, so let them buy weapons with their oil profits and use them against each other.

        On your last concerning covert war and Islamic radicalism. It hurts to use the first example since children were the targets/victims,

        but,

        Beslan, Chechnya, Kosovo, 1980′s Taliban,and Xinjiang immediately come to mind, just off the top of my head.
        What’s good for the goose….But It’ll be to long to get in to this now, suffice to say that The West and Russia should combine their efforts on Islamic radicalism, it’s in their mutual interest.

        I still insist some people in DC and Moscow should have their heads examined.

        • The Iranian theocracy long ago concluded that their theological imperatives can only be achieved by developing nuclear weapons. Religious fanatics view theological imperatives as unavoidable, non negotiable obligations.

          In their world-view, the reasons for unrelenting pursuit of nuclear weapons capability far exceed any other consideration. Their paranoia over possible American aggression is, by far, the lesser of their rationale. Iran’s fanatical theocracy’s primary goal is the destruction of the Great and Little Satan and the restoration of the Caliphate but with Iranian leadership. They reason that goal to be unachievable without nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons capability will endow Iran with tremendous prestige within the Islamic world, especially as it will have been accomplished against American opposition. They will view that accomplishment as proof that the US is a “paper tiger” and much of the Islamic world will accept that assessment.

          Iran being a signatory to the NPT is entirely meaningless to them and they rightly believe that neither Obama nor the EU will attack Iran’s nuclear facilities should they breach the treaty, especially as their violation of the treaty will not be undeniable until they announce having the bomb.

          Both Russia and China are protecting Iran from UN sanctions and economic embargoes. Russia is facilitating, indeed driving Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, Putin knows the Iranians are pursuing nukes and he’s helping them so Putin clearly disagrees that Iran having nukes is not in Russia’s self-interest.

          Putin’s behavior can only be explained by his being in favor of the Iranians gaining nuclear capability. Russia overtly and China covertly are using Islamic radicalism and terrorism in a covert campaign of aggression against American influence around the world.

          Putin and Russia’s thugocracy is not interested, not in the least, in greater integration with the West. IMO, we have no basis to fear a Russian military reaction to a strike upon Iranian nuclear facilities.

          I fully agree that the leadership in both Moscow and DC should have their heads examined.

          I am not hopeful that our leadership is skillful enough to foment and exacerbate animosity between radical Shia and Sunni leadership but clearly, successfully accomplishing that eventuality would be a desirable strategy.

          • Ok GB, we aren’t miles apart from each other on this one. In any case we won’t have to wait very long to see what the outcome of this will be. In the worst case scenario, where Teheran does develop the bomb, the West can still fall back on classic nuclear deterrence theory At least, that will make them think twice about using the damn thing.,But we will have to forget about any direct offensive strategy concerning regime changes and invasions,

            The world certainly won’t be a safer place, for anyone. Everyone in the region and their grandmas are gonna want a nuke as a
            counter.deterrent. Or we will have to put regimes like the Saudis under our nuclear umbrella. That sucks us right in to a lot of regional conflict

            Maybe, we will get lucky with this issue too, and if they do develop a working device, it goes off in Ahmadinejad’s lap.

            • Nuclear deterrence? Against a people and a religion that accepts, condones and even promotes suicide attacks, the death of innocent bystanders, women and babies and approves of the “honor” killing their own daughters, the public whipping and beheading of “sinners” and the enslaving of non-believers?

              Hmmm…I wonder how the nuclear deterrence theory would work against that level of zealotry?

              rafa

              • With all due respect and I agree with your comment Rafa: other than deterrence, what military option, other than a preemptive strike, would be available to us if the Iranians achieve nuclear weapons capability? We couldn’t justify a first strike under any set of normal circumstances, and even if we did it, we would open ourselves to some level of retaliation from a plethora of opportunistic regimes.

                • I guess then that there are two options open to us:

                  1. – The preemptive strike against Iran with the hope that the deterrent theory will continue to work with the others. If the retaliation comes in any other form besides nuclear, so be it. It’s the price of all these years of inactivity, of being the world’s leader and of actively participating in that corner of the world with our own self-imposed dependency on their oil. Of course, we owe the company store to China but that is our own damned fault. Perhaps if we drag the dingleberries thast made this happen out on the street and we tar and feather them as they deserve, the signal will be strong enough to China to act as a deterrent in and of itself. And, finally, there is 2. – Fold down into a supine position, put our hands over our heads and take whatever is thrown at us. That would more or less follow our current attitude of appeasement. We can always continue to feed the crocks in the hope that they will not eat us. But, and we better mind this fact carefully, that is heavy and thankless work indeed. Just look at what and where it’s gotten us.

                  Bad habits are very hard to break and, sometimes, the withdrawal symptoms can be hellatious indeed…

                  rafa

                  • The positions I take, I take for the sake of realism. Were it feasible under the current conditions to be otherwise, I would advocate a much more staunch policy. But as you comments point, out we aren’t who we used to be. I wish it was not so.

              • PS
                I realize deterrence is not the ideal option when dealing with the nature of this regime. This is one of the reasons I would prefer them to be pressured and isolated from as many states as possible, even Putin’s Russia..

                • Sure. But that hope would really depend on the level and degree of friendship Russia might be willing to invest in us. I don’t know but I don’t feel the urge to bank heavily on that possibility.

                  Communism, contrary to what we’ve been told by the overly optimistic or by the more than plentifull disingenuous, lying bastards, is NOT dead. Actually, it is resurging heavily because we didn’t kick it hard enough when it had fallen down.

                  The price of tolerance and appeasement.

                  rafa

                  • We allied with the Russian communists not all that long ago to destroy a worse evil Rafa. When the flames start licking their heels, they’ll come around alright.

                    • sometimes it turns out that even evil regimes are able to respond rationally to danger and turn out to be quite capable of being deterred by danger to the regime’s continuation.

                    • It wasn’t a worse evil, jgets. Russian communists, since they started their revolution, enslaved and killed more people and destroyed more dreams of freedom than the Axis ever got a chance to.

                      Besides, weighing evil to determine degrees of it is a losing proposition. It’s like measuring a rape by the inch. Evil is evil and to side with one evil against another evil ends up in the same sorry place: Having supported evil. This happens regardless of which evil is being helped. Evil has to be fought, brought down and destroyed at every opportunity. We get to choose sides and I will never choose to fight on the side of evil. Any evil.

                      Communism, it has been proven beyond any reasonable doubt, is EVIL.

                      rafa

                  • Rafa, I do not believe we can afford the luxury of your commendable, and enviable, philosophical stand on evil. If we could solve the Iranian situation on our own then so be it. I do not see this a a possibility with the information that, I at least, know about.
                    You are quite correct about the Russian communist regime’s history. Your phase “the axis ever got a chance to” is exactly the point, they NEVER got the chance, due to the sacrifice of all the allied forces. In any case, today’s Russia in not quite the same as its Soviet predecessor. And I’m not trying to be an apologist for the current regime.
                    Our nations interest, imho, dictates that the current situation requires our nation to cultivate alliances that furthers that interest. This necessitates considering all potential allies. Regardless of the fact that they are far from ideal.

                    • Rafa— barely half capable of the rape of logic, settles for a vigorous abuse of common sense

                • the sanctions are going to put a serious hurting on the iranian economy and is going to do more to destroy the support for the regime and the lies it puts out about it’s benevolent nature than will a bombing of a few underground weapons production facilities.

                  • The sanctions will do all that? Sure. In your dreams.

                    Sanctions have not done a thing or made one iota of difference to Iran, Cuba or anywhere else where they have been tried. Sanctions are the smoke screen of the appeasing pacifists that hope for regime change in the world and for the death of American leadership.

                    rafa

                    • if you think sanctions against iran single commodity economy a pacifist smokescreen…you’re smoked up a bit yourself.

  5. Half-way through his term, the God-Emperor was bombing six enemies of Israel. HellFire missiles raining down on Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and still he’s said to be weak on Israel. What…..mushroom clouds over Tehran? If the economy improves maybe we could bomb 25 or 30 enemies of Israel to prove the love. George Washington had foreign policy right. When you have permanent allies you get all their permanent enemies as part of the deal. Bombs Away.

    • Obama is as serious about combating Islamic radicalism as he is about economic recovery. Not in the least.

  6. Rafa, GB — I think you’re both right, but my purpose here was to debunk the idea that the ambassador’s comments were a reasonable method of issuing a warning to Iran. The left is always impressed with what leftists perceive to be clever indirection (I guarantee you there’s a lefty out there right now arguing that Shapiro’s riff on readiness was a smart move to put Iran on notice).

    But it isn’t responsible statesmanship. This isn’t the way to prepare the basis for intimidation. It is, in fact, the kind of thing Hugo Chavez says, which is why I picked him for the comparison.

    When I speak of diplomatic conventions, I don’t mean polite niceties; I mean methods of communicating your interests and objectives responsibly. An armed state is the most destructive temporal power we know. Its spokesmen can’t jabber like sophomores in a seminar.

    Responsible states — statesmen who want to promote stability — refrain from slinging around trash talk about attacking other nations. They stick to a clear statement of their nation’s interests and objectives, and if they play the war card rhetorically, it’s when the guns are being lined up and it’s time to tell the allies to break out the gas masks. Above all, when they issue warnings, the warnings are straightforward, ACTIONABLE, and directed at the nation whose behavior needs to change.

  7. I’m rather indifferent to the pronouncements of foreign plenipotentiaries. However, one point needs to be made clear to Shapiro and all other foreign panjandrums – His use of the pronoun “we” doesn’t include “us”. He needs to be reminded that he doesn’t speak for “we”, he speaks for “them”.

    • Thank you for expanding my vocabulary in your comments. Please try to incorporate Arabic in your following posts. Although I respect you well thought out posts, you are just as bad (worse actually) as the persons you disparage. You are lacking in the skill of enemy identification. Your Irish Granny must be turning in her grave, G-d rest her soul, although you’ll never understand why..Enjoy all the benefits the ideal of the West has created for you and yours, parasite. I hope you’re alive when you have to defend those ideals in front of a Sharia court after you children have been enslaved and forcibly converted to another religion and more specifically your sons are made to fight their free brothers and your daughters are turned into concubines. I spit on your intellect in the name of survival.

      • I am indebted for your thoughtful and meticulously argued response.

        • You are welcome, now, go about continuing to enjoy your freedom of speech, over a warm pint of Guinness, before your future Emir forbids it.

          • And, I forgot to add, for the considerable time and effort it must have taken you to compose it?

  8. I must agree with our hostess; this sophomoric outburst makes no sense whatsoever to either the security or foreign service professional, the expected outcome when amateurs are placed in charge

  9. OMG!

    I’ve just realized this guy is OUR ambassador………


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