Paradigm shift: Why Iran now NEEDS the bomb

Interesting paradigms.

Let’s talk about how everything has changed, geopolitically.  In August 2012, we are no longer operating on all the old assumptions that anchored behavior among the nations in the 20 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union.  Interpreting what’s going on in light of those old assumptions will now lead us into error.   We are wrong about some very important things today, if our thinking remains stuck in the themes of the past.  Here are just four of those important things:

1.  The import of what Russia and China do with their military forces. When Russia deploys bombers or attack submarines close to the US, or Russia and China parade huge naval forces around the Japanese islands, or Russia sends a big naval force to the Mediterranean and prepares to hold the most comprehensive military exercise since the end of the Cold War in the Caucasus, or China conducts air force exercises with Turkey and sends warships into the Black Sea for port visits – when these things happen, they mean Russia and China are serious about the potential need to use force.

It means they are not satisfied with the status quo, and they are preparing for the day when they will have to breach it, or can benefit from a breach in it through the use of force (even if only for intimidation).  It is the height of foolish complacency for Americans and Europeans to take these signs lightly.

It is also a backward-looking conclusion, to say that the US can prevail over any of the forces deployed by Russia and China.  The post-Cold War paradigm in which that might have been true is shattered.  Russia and China are preparing for confrontations they can win.  We are not.  They won’t confront us with forces in our own region – although, as Russia has done, they will certainly warn us with them.  They will instead induce things to happen in their region – things prejudicial to our interests – which we can only prevent if we use force where we are at a disadvantage: on their turf.

This isn’t a resumption of the Cold War.  It’s a new-old paradigm of international confrontation, and the advantages we had in the Cold War, such as our superb network of alliances, no longer necessarily apply to the tasks America will perceive to be necessary.

2.   The explanatory narrative of the Arab-Israeli conflict.  In the early years of modern Israel’s existence, it was generally understood in the West that the Arabs hated the re-formed state.  They were quite explicit about it, after all, and the data point in the public mind was phrased in just those terms.  A number of the Arab nations threw in with the Soviet Union in order to gain support for their various projects of Arabism and anti-Western, anti-Israeli geopolitics.

From the late 1970s, when the Israel-Egypt accords were signed, the political mainstreaming of Yasser Arafat, the “intifadas,” and the rise of globalist Islamism gradually turned the narrative to a different theme.  The Oslo accords and empowerment of the Palestinian Authority set the stage for that theme to produce endless drama, in which the Palestinian Arabs have been depicted as the victims of a brutal campaign of sequestration by Israel.  In many ways, history and current events have been completely falsified by anti-Israel forces during this period.  But the persistent thread in the narrative has been that “justice” will only come when the Palestinian Arabs have a nation of their own.

In light of this narrative, the “Peace Process” has been focused in the last decade on negotiating a settlement by which the Palestinian Arabs gain a nation-state.  The best-known corollary to this narrative, in the mainstream media and among anti-Israel groups, says that Israel is the problem in these negotiations: Israel won’t make enough concessions; Israel keeps expanding settlements in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria); Israel provokes the terrorist attacks of Hamas with her cruelty to the Palestinian Arabs.  These allegations have been ridden almost to a UN vote on recognizing a state of Palestine – unilaterally, against the national prerogatives conferred on Israel by the UN Charter itself.

The “almost” is important, because this paradigm too is changing.  The impetus is no longer behind forcing a Palestinian state on Israel as the chief means of gaining position against Israel.  Before the Arab Spring, that strategy had the support of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, as the primary means of changing the Arab-Islamic world’s position in relation to Israel.  As the Arab Spring unfolds, however, promoting unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state has lost its strategic urgency.  The other factors in the region are changing, and there may well be better ways to get at Israel.

Egypt has a long-pacified buffer with Israel in the Sinai, and the Arab world’s largest nation is now in Mohammed Morsi’s Muslim-Brotherhood hands.  A Morsi advisor told Egyptian media this week that Egypt’s new government is looking at amending the Camp David Accords to affirm Egyptian sovereignty in the Sinai.  This policy shift won’t be benign, given Morsi’s rallying cry from June 2012:

“Our capital shall be Jerusalem!”

“Millions of martyrs march toward Jerusalem!”

“Banish the sleep from the eyes of all Jews!”

“You lovers of martyrdom, you are all Hamas!”

“Jerusalem is our goal!”

Turkey under Recep Tayyip Erdogan, meanwhile, continues to leverage cooperation with the United States to gain control over the future of Syria, which also has a border with Israel.  Erdogan and Morsi, heads of populous nations, are now in competition with each other for leadership of the emerging phenomenon of modern state-Islamism.  The Muslim Brotherhood’s influence will be effectively focused through the lens of Morsi’s government in Egypt; Erdogan is without a doubt an Islamist, but the Muslim Brotherhood has had an Arab- and Jerusalem-oriented trend in the last several years, and Morsi is its great hope now for wielding state power.  Erdogan’s scope of interest is more diverse, given Turkey’s geography and history.  (Erdogan is also better armed, and remains a member of NATO, so Turkey is not to be counted out.)

Iran, through her client Hezbollah, sits on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon.  Hezbollah has controlled Lebanon’s government since early 2011, and has completely controlled southern Lebanon since at least early 2010.  Iran has been rocked on her heels by the travails of Bashar al-Assad, her client in Syria.  But her influence in Lebanon keeps her in the game.

Israel’s other border is with Jordan, which remains solidly aligned with Saudi Arabia.  The Saudis are seeking to be better armed and to leverage more of a say in the Levant, but at the moment, their influence is the least of Israel’s problems.

Hamas will not cease perpetrating terror attacks on Israel any time soon, but then, Hamas’s attacks were never about an earnest yearning for a Palestinian state.  They are mounted solely to undermine Israel and wreak destruction.  They will continue in spite of the decline of interest in pressing for a Palestinian state.  But that decline will be noticeable.  Morsi, Erdogan, and the mullahs are competing with each other now, and their absorption will be in gaining power and position where they can.  The Palestinian narrative will be sidelined.  Its strategic usefulness – except as a perfunctory theme for denigrating Israel – is plummeting as I write, because a new objective is emerging.

3.  What the priority of radical Islamists is.  A short while back, the Obama administration put out a report that the number of global terrorist incidents had declined between 2010 and 2011, connecting the decline to the death of Osama bin Laden.  The administration certainly can’t be blamed for putting out good news, but its analysis is flawed.  Bin Laden’s influence on global terrorism had declined precipitously in the years since the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.  He was nowhere near the operational leader or even rallying influence that he had been a decade before.

We will very probably find when we get the terrorism statistics for 2012 and the out years that the number of attacks continues to decline.  The reason will be the strategically important thing that happened in 2011: the Arab Spring.  The toppling of old, sclerotic despotisms has opened the door to the ascent of state Islamism – and that’s where the Muslim Brotherhood is putting its efforts now.  Islamist autocrats, which is what Morsi is becoming, will not tolerate extemporaneous terrorism that works against their purposes.  (Morsi is likely to clamp down on terrorism inside Egypt much more effectively than Mubarak did.)

The Arab Spring’s civil wars have also kept jihadis occupied, fighting in Libya, Syria, and Yemen, and turning to new opportunities for political agitation in nations like Tunisia and Egypt.  Terrorism is no longer the most significant model of radical Islamist political expression.  It is outdated to think in those terms.

Guerrilla tactics will still prevail in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan, where they are especially well suited to population control.  Terrorism won’t stop, either.  But the model of terrorism against the West in the last 40 years is no longer the way Islamist extremism will communicate or seek influence.  The terrorist paradigm is giving way at this very moment to the paradigm of state-Islamism.

4.  The reason Iran wants nuclear weapons.  Ten years ago, Iran wanted to be nuclear armed so she could deter US policy, drive us out of the Middle East, and pluck away Israel’s friends and options.

Now the Arab Spring has happened, and Iran’s relative position in the region has been eroded.  Iran is in a less stable and preeminent position than she was two years ago.  Her emerging competition then was Erdogan’s Turkey, but Ankara’s competition for leadership as an Islamist state was ambiguous up until the past year, since Erdogan has sought to retain Turkey’s ties with the West and keep good relations with Russia, Iran’s main patron.  Erdogan has presented himself as an Islamic alternative to state Islamism, even while systematically undoing Turkey’s liberal reforms and guarantees from the Ataturk era.

Turkey has her drawbacks as a focus of Islamist aspirations, with a political history in the region that automatically alarms much of Europe and Central Asia.  Turkey has even been a source of discouragement to modern Islamists.  The Ottoman Empire was defeated and dismantled by the West, after all, and Ataturk’s Turkey gave in to Western mores and ideas.  Arab Islamists are not necessarily anxious to rally behind Turkey’s leadership in a neo-Ottoman consortium.

Still, Erdogan is, as noted, heavily armed, and has been able to put together political successes recently, bolstered by the Obama administration.  Now, with the Arab Spring, has come an emerging Islamist Egypt.  Ten years ago Iran was the only Islamist theocracy in the region.  Now there are two others emerging, and vying for leadership of the global-Islamist ideology.  Syria is up for grabs, and might, with US help, migrate into Turkey’s orbit.  The Arab Spring brought strife to most of the region, and Iran was implicated in some of it – in Bahrain and Yemen – which created greater alarm for Saudi Arabia, and has lined the Saudis up behind the push to eject Assad and Iran from Syria.

Iran’s relative situation has deteriorated.  To regain a sense of leadership and invulnerability – as well as to vindicate Shia Islam over the recent Sunni triumphs in the region – Iran needs a big strategic win.  She needs a trump card over the emerging Sunni centers of gravity in Cairo and Ankara.

She will have to win out over those competitors if she wants to have an Iranian-led army waiting for the Mahdi in Jerusalem.  She’s not just planning a long game against the US now; she’s jockeying against regional competitors – who are already making their moves – for the whole ball of wax. 

For this reason, I now think there is a real possibility that Iran will try to detonate a warhead this year.   The movement in the rest of the region makes the task more urgent from Iran’s strategic perspective.  And the US election may well create a frame for Iran’s intentions.  The clearest frame would be drawn if Obama loses in November.  His lame-duck period would be the time Iran would want to shoot for.

If he wins again, Iran would have a little breathing room in terms of whether the US would take action against an Iranian “breakout.”  But there isn’t much time to be lost in establishing regional preeminence for Iran through acquiring nuclear weapons.  The aftermath of the Arab Spring has made sure of that.

If Israel is seeking to be prepared to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities before the US election, a report Lauri Regan discusses at American Thinker, I believe it is because the urgency of a breakout for Iran has ratcheted up in 2012.  In the wake of the Arab Spring, if you’re standing still in the race to Jerusalem, you’re falling behind.


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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78 thoughts on “Paradigm shift: Why Iran now NEEDS the bomb”

  1. Russia and China’s recent naval positioning is evidence of their perception that the Obama administration will seek to avoid confrontation and appease whenever possible. Bullies easily sense and target those unwilling to physically assert themselves.

    Iran does need the bomb for the reasons you elucidate opticon. Attaining nuclear weapons capability will gain Iran the preeminent position of status within the Muslim world that she seeks. Gaining nukes will catapult Iran into a potential position of leadership because the Mullah’s will have done that despite US opposition. The momentum for acceptance of Iran’s claim to leadership will be compelling.

    If the Mullah’s stress to Erdogan and the Muslim Brotherhood that the jihad against the great and little Satan supersede any conflict between Shia and Sunni Islam, they stand a real chance at forging an alliance. If they successfully form an alliance, they lay the foundations for creating a new, nuclear armed Caliphate. Since the restoration of a new Caliphate is a necessary precondition for the emergence of the 12th Mahdi and fulfillment of the Islamic prophesy, the impetus to set aside theological disagreement will be powerful. The perhaps unconscious perception that 7th Century Islam cannot survive another century of exposure to the modern world is a deeper but even more compelling rationale for cooperation between Iran, Erdogan’s Islamist Turkey and the newly emerging Islamist states.

    1. “If the Mullah’s stress to Erdogan and the Muslim Brotherhood that the jihad against the great and little Satan supersede any conflict between Shia and Sunni Islam, they stand a real chance at forging an alliance. If they successfully form an alliance, they lay the foundations for creating a new, nuclear armed Caliphate”

      This is highly unlikely GB, The powers along their periphery will come down upon them like a ton of bricks. Unless, the myopic West actually backs such an alliance in the first place. What you are describing is the overlapping unification of the the Persian, Ottoman and Arab empires.

      I do believe some in the region are trying to develop some type of broader/deeper functioning supranational entity, (Turkish FM Davtoglou is foremost) roughly along the lines of the EU. But their societies aren’t ready for this yet..

      The foundations for the “nuclear armed caliphate” already exist. Both Turkey and Saudi Arabia have understandings in place with Pakistan in the case a certain set of conditions arise. I find existing “Islamic” bombs ultimately more worrisome than theoretical ones. Especially bombs that are in the hands of what is essentially a failed state.

      And yes, I’m going to repeat that Iran will not be allowed to posses nuclear weapons.

      1. I think it highly likely, certainly it is part of the long range strategy that the Iranians and Muslim Brotherhood are pursuing, as no other strategy offers any chance for success against the Great Satan. Since destroying the ‘Satans’ is a theological imperative, the impetus to set aside theological differences will be compelling.

        But I am not envisioning a Shia or Sunni dominated alliance, but rather a NATO like alliance or ‘first among equals’ arrangement to be proposed by the Iranians. I might also point out that Erdogan and Iran have already demonstrated the ability to bury differences. I can easily see the Muslim Brotherhood making the calculation that the short term gains from working with the Iranians justify delaying any later confrontation. Is that really so hard to imagine?

        It is the Mullah and Brotherhood’s leadership that must be ‘ready’ for alliance not the society itself who can be easily sold whatever the leaders of the radicals announce is for the best.

        If you agree that “the foundations for a nuclear armed caliphate already exist” and that the bombs already existent worry you more, than how much more will you be worried when more than one failed state have them?

        As long as Pakistan is ruled by leaders who value our billions more than ideology, we need have no fear that those bombs will be used against us. How long that condition will remain in effect is of course, the most salient question.

        I pray that your belief that Iran will not be allowed nuclear weapons capability eventuates. IMO, that can only happen if Obama is not reelected. For if he is reelected, I believe that Iran going nuclear is a virtual certainty.


  2. “It is the height of foolish complacency for Americans and Europeans to take these signs lightly”

    We (EU/USA) are bankrupt and the leading continental power, Germany, is totally locked into a economic relationship with Russia that can’t be annulled.The fact the China manufactures everything for us can’t be ignored either.

    “It is also a backward-looking conclusion, to say that the US can prevail over any of the forces deployed by Russia and China. The post-Cold War paradigm in which that might have been true is shattered. Russia and China are preparing for confrontations they can win. We are not. They won’t confront us with forces in our own region – although, as Russia has done, they will certainly warn us with them. They will instead induce things to happen in their region – things prejudicial to our interests – which we can only prevent if we use force where we are at a disadvantage: on their turf.”

    This is one of the most concise perceptive paragraphs on the issue I have read to date. The logical “forward-looking” solutions would be to split this axis up or mobilize to take both of them on, no? If it is conceded that we are bankrupt, choosing a closer relationship with either Russia or China (to the extreme detriment of the omitted party) seems like a logical policy.

    I did want to go further with this, but my youngest insists on me ungluing myself from the screen and going out to play. I don’t think he will allow me to take the tablet along….

    More later, children permitting 🙂

    Another great post Optcon, thanks

    1. Our coming sovereign bankruptcy will not prevent our ability to neutralize Russia and China. It is our political will at issue, not our material resources.

      Nor is an alliance with either current government in our national interests.

    2. The bankruptcy is by no means inevitable and can easily be avoided. It is quite incontestably the case that we can easily afford to rearm to a level which will enable us to reassert some measure of deterrence. And indeed it is absurd to discuss defense in the context of the budget. Our solvency cannot be assured by cutting defense by %50 or, indeed %100 percent, whereas if we deal with the true sources of present and current budget woes and adopt the appropriate policies we can easily double defense spending if need be. Discussing defense in the budget context is a tick, a distraction, a caprice, a psychosis and doing so only undermines the seriousness of the discussion.

      I know you don’t suggest this but do seem to intimate our economic incapacity to arms ourselves adequately.

      1. I am a supporter of large , effective US Armed Forces. The point I was clumsily trying to make is that it might be more cost effective in our current economic reality to achieve (at least some ) of our ends with a more skilful use of the geopolitical diplomatic weapons at our disposal.

        1. To: jgets

          Chicken and egg stuff.

          There are three principal factors that help to prioritize current geopilitical diplomacy:

          1) Strength (Armed Forces), 2) Demonstrable/proven willingness to use that strength (without that demonstrable willingness #1 is null and void), and 3) Agenda, goals and objectives. They probably go in that exact same order of importance.

          As further clarification, I would asume that #3 is quite dependent on wether the agenda is a stricktly pro-American interest or if it is a pro-Globalist objective.

          Also, the reason I would choose to place them in that order is because if #3 fails, we have #1 and #2 left to pursue on our own. I Still think that #2 is what validates #1…

          Notice that I did not use other available terms like “fairness”, “justice”, “freedom”, “liberty” or any of the other copy points that diplomats love to banter about in order to justify their demands or requests.

          Sadly our current course seems to indicate that #2 is going absent, that #1 is targeted for a fair ammount of weakening and, so, that would leave us with #3 as the sole principal factor of our diplomacy. Of course, we could also try to use the “fair/just/freedom/liberty” argument because, if we don’t really succeed in convincing anyone with that crock we would at least sound good to the constituency and we could blame the other guy’s insensitiveness for the failure.



        2. There is no dispute about the desirability of solving problems diplomatically. This desirability stems only in (although significant) part from the the financial and human cost of conflict. A strong military, however, is extremely useful in applying diplomatic leverage and capacity and credible willingness to use force thus enables us to save those precious resources.

            1. Rather “please don’t do really nasty stuff to good people or we will, very much against our inclination, have to address the issue with some degree of firmness”.

      2. To: Cavalier

        “Our solvency cannot be assured by cutting defense by %50 or, indeed %100 percent, whereas if we deal with the true sources of present and current budget woes and adopt the appropriate policies we can easily double defense spending if need be.”

        While this is very true, I just don’t see the political will to implement those changes. In fact, If Greece is an indication then I believe that if we actually implement the changes we need to just live within our means, much less to ream and flex our muscle, we would be contending with a civil war of the worse kind, the social one.

        We have been too spoiled for too long to back off now and, if we pay attention to the current political rhetoric and simply project that to the situation that you propose, it is not too hard to imagine rivers of blood running down every American major city’s streets.

        Sadly, addressing the economic problems that we are facing, and which will only get worse, will prove almost impossible particularly with the current stable of politicians.

        Chickens do come home to roost.


        1. Boy, rafa, I certainly hope you’re wrong and I think there is at least some slight but not utterly infinitesimal chance that you are not. I would have been all over a Ryanesque approach in 1998 much less in 2008 and yet there are still some (many?) Republicans who are dubious about it. However, one of the few positive effect of the Obama presidency is that the economic and fiscal disaster it has unleashed has made the Ryan approach mathematically ineluctable and politically at least plausible. If RomneyRyan win on this platform there is a decent chance that large chunks of the plan might be implemented (I wish I could be more certain than that weasly language suggest but my optimist doesn’t go that far) and if they are we might be sort of back in business.

          And really just having Obama’s statist anti-capitalist rhetorical poison out of the White House will have wonderful effects on the on our economic and fiscal situation.

          1. To: Cavalier.

            “…and if they (Romney/Ryan) are we might be sort of back in business.”

            I always hope that those that think like you are right and that I’m wrong. However, past experience doesn’t support that. In fact, the way it’s been going for the past few decades is a bit like dancing the Tango or the Cha Cha. Three or four steps in one direction, one or two steps in the other – repeat for as long as the music is playing. But the now easy to predict progresion towards big government socialism is constant. Acyually that’s what gave birth to the slow boiling frogs theory (or vice-versa).


  3. When Opticon says, “, I now think there is a real possibility that Iran will try to detonate a warhead this year.”, I’m assuming that she means a test. But why couldn’t the Iranians simply say, “We now have an operational nuclear warhead that we’re capable of delivering to any enemy. We’ve made computer simulations and the bomb will blow up fine.” First of all, they’ve consistently denied engaging in the development of nuclear weapons, so they’d be unlikely to make that statement unless they intended to actually use one, either for real or as an instrument of intimidation. In the process of nuclear weapons development, if they managed to build one bomb and then detonated it in a test, how many more bombs would they be likely to have left for military purposes? If the mullahs engineered a nuclear explosion in, say, Tel Aviv, as a “test”, what actions would follow? Would the Revolutionary Guards attempt to occupy a devastated Israel? Would the mullahs sit before their tea sets and gloat? Would Arabs in Cairo and Tunis genuflect in the direction of Qom? Or what? Are the mullahs confident that their use of a nuclear weapon against the Israelis wouldn’t provoke a massive response from its allies or even the Israelis themselves? Or is that what they want? Don’t we suppose that the IDF has made plans for any such contingency and actually has the wherewithal to effectively defend itself? Isn’t it possible that the IDF has weapons already positioned, perhaps even in Iran itself, should the worst occur?

    Opticon is correct about the paradigm shift but it has dimensions beyond those of military capability. As western economies re-align and the Ponzi-scheme socialist model dissolves, the standard of living of the west will drop toward that of the Islamic societies. In relative terms, the umma will approach a level of economic equality with the west, a discouraging development for the west but, since the Arab world has generally been in the throes of poverty, a positive one for them.

    The power of any nation/state is dependent on the wealth generated by the economic activity of its citizens and the government’s ability to confiscate as much as possible of that wealth for its own purposes. As that wealth declines, almost completely because of government “greed”, the nation/state itself will become weaker, as we see now in Europe. Human relationships will return to a more basic level, the family, meant for extinction under the socialist model, will become more extended. In the middle east it’s always been this way. The nation/state was imposed on them by a technologically advanced and self-confident, but increasingly individually disconnected west. The Arabs (and other, smaller groups) don’t buy it. Opportunistic politico/thugs like Saddam Hussein and Hassan al-Assad were able to exploit the nation/state facade but were never able to eradicate tribal bonds, partly because they needed their own to maintain power.

    It’s increasingly likely that we are witnessing the beginnings of the decline of the nation/state as a functioning organization for the subjugation of humans.

    1. If ego does not prevail, the Iranians will wait until they have multiple warheads before testing one and announcing their new capabilities.

      It is as an act of intimidation externally and a bid for greatly raised status within the Ummah wherein Iran’s motivation lie.

      Iran will not directly attack Israel, not while the Ayatollah Khamieni rules, as that would result in national suicide. The Iranians are quite aware of Israel’s 200+ nukes and Israel’s nuclear capable subs.

      After the coming economic debacle arrives, the west’s standard of living will not drop to economic equality with Islamic societies. Economic collapse in the west means greatly reduced oil revenues for Islamic societies. They will plummet much further than we do.

      The decline of the nation state is greatly exaggerated. Historical dynamics are strongly in favor of greater integration not less.

      1. It’s unlikely that the general standard of living in the west, which varies greatly even within the same countries, will lower to the current level of the famous “Arab street”. The residents of that penurious boulevard can’t fall much further, if at all. But the economic descent of the west will bring the two societies much closer together in terms of wealth. As “quantitative easing” floods the economy with increasingly worthless pixel/paper dollars, oil and other physical assets will retain their value. Americans with elevators full of wheat, Argentinians with giant herds of cattle and Saudis with mucho barrels of crude will be far better off than Yanks with money in the bank or shares of Delta Airlines.

        Historical dynamics are strongly in favor of greater integration not less.
        What’s that supposed to mean, if anything? You probably wouldn’t mind going into one of your long-winded but illogical explanations except that in this case, you probably can’t even come up with that.

        1. “You probably wouldn’t mind going into one of your long-winded but illogical explanations except that in this case, you probably can’t even come up with that.”

          Just a bit of not so repressed hostility there chuck. I didn’t make a personal attack, so I presume that you’re holding a grudge over past disagreements. Is it too much to ask you to try to at least be accurate in your criticisms? In the interests of clarity, I can be long winded but labeling my comments as illogical is inaccurate. We can disagree as to premise, but if a comment’s conclusion is logically consistent with its originating premise it cannot be labeled as illogical. Perhaps its time for you to revisit logic 101.

          Historically, human beings have gradually formed themselves into greater and greater integration. That process continued through the 20th century.

          What evidence is there that the process has reached an end?

          The historical dynamics to which I referred are the interaction between the radical jihadists in the M.E. and a supportive public. The jihadists are sweeping into power across the region.

          Iran was the first. Turkey fell with the rise to power of Erdogan. Egypt has fallen now to the Brotherhood. Libya has fallen. Pakistan and Afghanistan falling into the hands of the radicals is just around the corner.

          Many other M.E. countries are likely to fall to the jihadists within the next 5 yrs and quite possibly sooner. That process will accelerate once Iran has the bomb. The momentum for change is entirely with the jihadists.

          IMO, the ‘arab spring’ is the precursor to the fitful awakening of the next Caliphate. That opinion may be erroneous, indeed I hope it is but there’s nothing illogical about it. There’s far too much circumstantial evidence in support of the theory to dismiss it out of personal animus. Get over your ego or remain trapped in the bile you’ve chosen to create.

            1. Brevity is the soul of whit but complex subjects demand detailed analysis. Shallow thinking however abjures deep consideration.

              Careful review confirms that my response, upon which “you rest your case” is not the least bit repetitious. Using at most a few sentences to make each point.

              It appears that you find ‘wearisome’ any disagreement with you. Especially when your assertions cannot withstand close examination.

              “When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.” — Socrates

              Labeling careful analysis, ‘long winded’ is slander of a sort because within the context used, it implies egotistical bloviating.

              “Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish.” Euripides

              “Most people, sometime in their lives, stumble across the [a deeper] truth. Most jump up, brush themselves off, and hurry on about their business as if nothing had happened.” [out of intellectual insecurity] Winston Churchill

  4. “But the persistent thread in the narrative has been that “justice” will only come when the Palestinian Arabs have a nation of their own.”

    Very true. “Justice” is a key word for demagogues. “Fair” is another. The change in demagoguery that you underline is important in that it shows how the politicians interpret our weaknesses as far as cajoling us into marching in tune to their agenda.

    By way of the subtle changes that they implement in their emotional focus – their principal selling propositions, if you will – they have led us into accepting their same old political objectives cloaked in ample lengths of seemingly worthy and lofty causes. In reality, however, they have not deviated much from their goals, only from their public delivery of the reasons why these goals should be achieved.

    Also, I agree with you that “justice” via the implementation of an independent Palestinian state, is not and has never been the real objective behind all this; the destruction of Israel was and is. After all, the cries for “justice” laid dormant for hundreds of years when it was the Arabs who held all the cards but denied the Palestinins what they now claim is “fair”.

    Politics is the art of lying well.


  5. The John 3:16 of this is:

    The Middle East’s tenuous stability is gravely threatened by a weak and feckless American foreign policy.

    Just because they don’t like each other doesn’t mean that they don’t like us even more.

    The Islamist factions do not play nice, and without the US to provide a strong threat umbrella to contain the aggression, the region is likely to dissolve into a dangerous free-for-all Tribal War.

    Operations observations:

    Russia benefits because it has a peaceful supply of natural gas and oil, for an increasingly desperate Europe. So it plays Dutch Treat, encourages conflict, meddles and destabilizes. Pootie Poot always knows that if any one of them get out of line, he’ll just drop a few nukes on the problem and it all goes away. Weak and Feckless US has neither the will nor the er um fortitude to push that button.

    China benefits because it needs to keep the debt ball rolling, it has no money, and no real capital assets, it basically has slave labor and a huge land army. It benefits by maintaining its stranglehold on our manufacturing base, and our inability to get critical materiale from anywhere else.

    There are several things that a new administration can do quickly. Open ANWAR, the GOM, the Bakken field, and all of the necessary infrastructure to bring our domestic oil and natural gas supplies online and into the world market as fast as possible. This will depress world oil prices, provide a stable export platform for Europe instead of having them be dependent on Russia. It also begins the necessary process of starving rich oil regimes of their cash and capital (this has a down side as well so we need to be prepared to act with a good degree of force).

    We re-ignite several critical defense industry projects: (Just a few I have a bunch more…)

    1- re-commission several ghost squadrons of destroyers and frigates to be deployed to the pirate ridden regions of the world. Get a serious handle on the pirate problem – offer to use or commission (Lend Lease fashion) us bottoms with Royal Navy crews if need be. But we need to get control over our sea lanes again.

    2. re-ignite the F-22 program and build out the full complement of fighters. We are going to need more than a few “no fly zones” and they are the perfect aircraft to enforce such a construct. Our current force structure will not support multiple middle east containment zones.

    3. get the military turned over… pick out the best NCOs and officers from the current force configuration, and begin to rebuild a force closer to the size that we had at the start of the first Gulf War. Yup… the isolationists’ heads are going to explode… but we do not have enough rotating troop levels to support any sort of containment operation and also present a deterrent front to the Chinese.

    4. scrap the Marine and Navy versions of the bloated and slow F-35. If a Naval fighter can be derived from the F-35C then it will be better configured for more useful operations than the current shortlegged underpowered version. The Navy is doing fine with the Bug and Super Bug team…

    5. purchase airlifters, the best bet is the new 800 version of the 747, which will be a most excellent, flexible platform for cargo, troop movement, and even aerial refuel duty.

    6. start pushing the defense industry to purchase and use domestically manufactured parts. (sounds protectionist, but it isn’t – it’s a matter of national security, the PRC shouldn’t be manufacturing our critical electronics.)

    We are unfortunately going to have to start putting heavy pressure on Turkey to straighten up and fly right… including termination of NATO status, strangulation of their defense industry and logistics support… etc. That is going to be difficult enough, but we are eventually going to have to deploy troops to Israel. We should have at least one fighter wing rotating squadrons in and out, and two fully equipped Armored Cavalry Regiments (one in the Negev – across from the Sinai, and one in the Golan Heights. Syria needs to be contained, and that means pressure on Tsar Vladimir I and Neo-Imperialist Russia. It also means a no-fly zone over Syria and Iran (with Lebanon in the mix).

    Heavy support for the remnant ME Christain sects is necessary. 1) we need them to make nice with the Israelis, and we need to get the Israelis to make nice in return. 2) A long term peace between them would begin to break the emotional hold on key wedge groups. Sometimes you just have to tell folks who should be friends to “knock it off and shake hands”. Instead of Jewish West Bank Settlements we should be seeing Israeli sponsored friendly allied Christian settlements…

    The key is time. This is going to take time… not four years “time”, not even “eight years time”. This is multi-generational time. This is the Marshall Plan II. We have to choose.

    We either fix this over the several generations that it will take, or we fix it by other means… that are much less expensive, involved, or humane. We cannot leave it to criminal psychopaths to “fix” to their personal demented satisfaction.

    All this and we still have to cut the budget, control the run-away bureaucracy, and prosecute most of the Democrat Party for being an organized crime syndicate.

    Easy… just need the right guy in the White House… And some poker players are just one 10 of clubs away from a Royal Flush on the River…


    1. Woot TMF! Makes a lot of sense but can’t sign up for all of that.

      1) Have been referring to the current regime as a crime wave rather than an administration and congress and could claim that great minds think a like except for the fact that mine is certainly not great and the proposition is so ostentatiously obvious such a mind is hardly required to make it. Still, large parts of what they have done have *technically* been legal and as much as we might wish Justice may demand prosecution in most instances the Law will not allow it and we can regain power we really should try to stick with that. Plus the other tasks you set of for us will simply not allow the focus and the time.

      2) There is really no place for US troops in Israel and no need. Naturally we need to maintain the alliance and it is in our economic and strategic interests to make sure Israel is adequately supplied but they can and should defend themselves on their own soil. Naturally, if absolutely needed they can offer us basing rights.

      3) I’m nothing if not a Johnny One Note on the necessity and complete feasibility of an adequately funded military, and within that broader construct have been a big fan of the F-22 (though it is certainly not by any stretch of the imagination a flawless project). Still when you say “Full Complement” do you mean the original 750 or the more recently discussed 280, 320 or 340. The first number seems excessive to me.

      On a related issue am somewhat dubious about the need for land forces approaching early 90s levels. Certainly any reductions have to be out of the question and some topping up may well be desirable but the former number seems perhaps a tad superfluous.

      Lastly, our nuclear arsenal needs to be modernizes and configured for the current and foreseeable strategic reality. This can almost certainly be done within the framework of START II but we’re going to have to be careful if and effective if we are to preserve the appropriate striking power within these constraints.

      Naturally, a multilayered missile defense should be pursued across multiple fronts. The hortatory imprecations in the above mentioned START II should pose no obstacle to this.

      1. 750…

        That number over close to 20 years allows for product upgrades, airframe fatigue in early models, (meaning by the time the 750th rolls off the line the first 100 are put out to pasture…)

        You can check with OptiCon on what I do for a living, but I see the stupid short sighted “lifecycle management” of the Federal Government (actually most folks have few lifecycle management skills…) The “I have it in here somewhere, I know it… just lemme find it syndrome…”

        The F-35A model is too big and not even stealthy anymore. It was originally planned to be a replacement for the F-16, it’s now a fat pig with one engine, and not enough of anything to be useful, but it is the one model close enough to being “fixed”. The others are fundamentally expensive pigs.

        The Marine version has crappy STOL characteristics, requires complex and “tweaky” flap and vent arrangements that make it problematic to operate long term, and has almost no internal storage, and no fuel load… meaning it can’t really short take off with a heavy load, fly there as a low observable, and then come home with any sort of damage to land vertically… The AV-8B might actually be a better aircraft.

        The Navy version required new landing gear (looks like it was snitched right off of the F/A-18… which also increases its empty weight, and decreases its internal storage. It has one engine, which is not an unheard of configuration for the Navy (Panther, Cougar, Crusader (wow what an unPC name that one, eh?) Corsair II (which would still to the strike role better even today). Even the current trainer has only one can.. but if you can do two it seems to be a good idea, the ocean is big, and wounded birds with one engine left can still get home. The point is that the F-35C becomes nothing much better than an F/A-18C but with even shorter legs. Not a good deal at all…

        The problem still remains that our current aircraft equipment load is aging, the airframes are taxed, and their avionics are ancient and difficult to upgrade.

        The F-22 was designed for air dominance… it’s not an overmatch for anything in a furball dog fight. It can do some cool stuff, but it can be bested by more conventional fighters close in and slow. It is never supposed to get to that point, however. It is supposed to “see” the enemy at long range, and shoot it down before it gets close. That makes it perfect for “Air Space Denial and Control” missions.

        We are going to have a long half-century period of “peace imposing”… We all will be long gone before our children and grandchildren get the ME marginally under control.

        As to the units in Israel, I used to think your way, and then I realized that like Korea and Germany… (my old man commanded L-Troop 3rd Recon Squadron 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment from 1961-1963 on the Czech border in Bavaria), until we have a troop stake where any attack on our ally brings down a response from us, Israel will be in constant danger.

        Maybe we just station one ACR there, along with two squadrons of aircraft. But I am convinced that if we don’t go and stand guard, we will not be seen as “serious” about our support of Israel.

        r/John – TMF

        1. Thanks for your very informative response TMF. While my interest in and “knowledge” and *understanding* of the planes might be greater than that of The Great Unwashed It would be a stretch to describe it even as rudimentary. An article in The Weekly Standard here and WSJ op-ed there, very occasionally a 2 to 5 page paper on line someplace else. From these I am at least superficially familiar with your description of the life-cycle and maintenance issues.

          Distaste for the F-22 is something of a bipartisan sport and there were some fairly hawkish (or, you know, “prudent”) people (and I don’t mean John MaCain) who seemed very happy to see it terminated. I considered their arguments carefully if only to try to convince myself that the termination of the program was really not that much of a loss. In the end I found the notion that 187 air frames would suffice entirely unpersuasive. Still, it seems to me that the ultimate number must be based on a through assessment of threats and opportunities and the robustness of the strategic posture we wish to assume. I certainly have not done (and am quite incapable of doing) this but the 750 does still seems perhaps a high, at least to the extent that it was premised in large part on a Soviet Air Force of a size and capability which is no longer close to existence.

          To be clear though, I 1) Think that that the “posture” must be robust and 2) when it comes to these things I am of the view that an Air Wing too much is much better than a 2 plane element too little. Further, the notion that an adequate fleet of F-22s will effect our budgetary situation one way or another is, of course, risible. Not to mention that a larger number will dramatically reduce the maintenance expenses and the cost per air frame, and that even that production has considerable economic benefits in that it leads to “production” of useful things rather than redistribution from productive to unproductive people.

          As far as the F-35 I have been somewhat dubious when I first read about the competing models (there was a pro-type F-34, wasn’t there, can’t recall the manufacturer now) in the WSJ and NYT and am very dubious about putting so many, much less all of our eggs in that particular basket.

          As for US troops in Israel (and Germany) thats a very interesting topic but one I can’t address just now because I meeting a friend for drinks. As it happens, and Israeli friend whom I met in Stuttgart (formerly – and to some extent I guess still today – an important point of command/concentration of the US military presence in Germany).

          Thanks so much again for your comment.

      2. Oh, and yes… a heavy… multilayered, constantly improved missile defense system is an absolute must….

  6. Last but certainly not least can I just say how much I love these OC “Big Think Pieces”. Love them. So edifying.

    We’re all dumber and more ignorant for having Obama as POTUS (to say nothing about Slow Joe in the Naval Obsrvatory). And we’re all (well some of us anyway) already smarter and more knowledgeable for having having had Paul Ryan as a VP nominee-designate for 5 days. Still, a lot of us will have to get a lot smarter real quick if the necessary regime change is to take place on November 6th.

  7. The gap between the Sunni and Shia cultures in the mentioned Empires is so wide that it is hard to actually envision the emergence of a Caliphish state led by any of the three power centers. However, the time period for the attainment of a bomb has to be a matter of months. Our political situation is such that the window for action is probably before the rains of November. Perhaps during one of the great sand storms of October. We live in interesting times.

    1. Welcome, RedDog. The three power centers don’t envision a gentle, peaceful emergence of a caliphate. They envision it coming about through force and intimidation. For each of them, being the first to complete the conquest of Jerusalem is a key notion (although it doesn’t have quite the preeminence for Erdogan that it has for the other two. Erdogan has historical reasons to “see” a more expansive operational stage as an interim geopolitical realty; i.e., the reassembly of the Ottoman Empire. From Erdogan’s perspective, Jerusalem would simply fall like a ripe plum into the hands of the caliph of a neo-Ottoman entity).

      You may be right about acting before the rains in November. That would be ideal from the tactical standpoint. It wouldn’t be as necessary for the US as for Israel, but there is no reason to think the US will act.

    1. Welcome, beyondstageone. I get that comment with comparative frequency, but I am, in fact, an optimistic conservative. Optimism doesn’t mean holding a foolish vision of everything turning out all right no matter how stupid we are. It means believing that if we perceive our problems accurately and approach them in the right way, we will solve them.

      It means believing that liberty always delivers. It means believing that strength and wisdom will prevail against the bad forces in the world, and that we are not fated to be stuck with an eternal compromise that saps our courage and turns our future gray and malodorous.

      Nothing our current president is doing fits either the paradigm of American liberty or the use of strength and wisdom in a dangerous world. It would be very foolish to pretend that liberty, strength, and wisdom are involved in our current messes or that they are failing. The problem, rather, is that we aren’t resorting to them.

      Once we do, we will turn things around. I believe most people willl come to see that over time. I think we are seeing a shift in American attitudes right now. Things will turn for the better if we encourage that trend with our eyes open and a refusal to deal in fairy tales. We must deal in reality, because doing so is the only way to prevail. That is optimistic conservatism.

      Here are a few more explanatory links to previous writings at TOC on optimistic conservatism:

      1. ehh, I guess I’m a lot less optimistic, in fact my last post on my blog was called “why liberals win.” I appreciate your optimism though, and it’s definitely a lot more effective in politics than pessimism is.

  8. If Israel ever gets nuked (and I wouldn’t take bets against the possibility – particularly if the Israelis ultimately succeed in ethnically cleansing the West Bank of Arab unter-menschen – thereby relieving any potential nuclear assailant of the tricky issue of collateral non-Israeli casualties) the fingerprints on the device won’t be those of Iran. It will certainly arrive courtesy of the biggest failed nuclear state of all – Pakistan. Contrary to the spiel coming out of Tel Aviv, and repeated endlessly by Tel Aviv’s little mouthpieces, Israel is quite aware that Iran is a rational actor and has no intention of committing suicide. The Iranians, having been constantly threatened with attack by the nuclear-armed US (and Israel) ever since the US-installed torturer and despot, the Shah, was overthrown, have logically concluded that the only realistic way of putting an end to this state of affairs is by having a nuke of their own. That it also renders unusable the nuclear weaponary that Israel has so very expensively accumulated is a double bonus. The anti-Israeli rhetoric coming from the regime is merely that – rhetoric. It is intended for the Moslem and Arab street, and to impress upon the US that it will be seen as the agent of Israel if it attacks Iran, and that any such attack will exact a high diplomatic price on the US in terms of its regional interests.
    The Israelis are also logical actors. If an Iranian bomb were Israel’s foremost concern at this time one would suppose that getting the US on-side, and keeping us sweet, would be Israel’s foremost concern. After-all, we are Israel’s armourer, financier, and indispensible ally. However, Israel revealed its hand – and real prority – when it decided to continue with its morally offensive settlement expansion against the clearly expressed wishes of the US. One cas suppose that Israel’s current pre-occupation over whether and when to attack Iran is motivated, not primarily by any real perceived threat from Iran, but on its likely effect on the outcome of the forthcoming US Presidential elections, and whether an attack before the elections would weaken or strengthen the prospects of replacing the incumbent with someone more likely to appease the Israelis and turn a blind eye to their priorities in the Occupied Territories.
    The Palestinians (The people whose attempts to stop their land being stolen from under them is strangely branded as “terrorism”) are also rational actors. It suits the Israelis to portray them as otherwise, and to imply that the Palestinians, uniquely among all the peoples of the world, are motivated, not by efforts to secure their land and soverignty, but solely by a collective conspiratorial malevolence. Portraying a semitic people as having a collective malevolance is not new.
    (Incidentally, a soverign state for the Palestinian people has been long-term US policy under administrations of all hues, and there is nothing to suggest that this policy wouldn’t continue in the unlikely event of a Romneycare/Ryan administration. The Opticon has clearly thrown in her lot with the extreme voices who are now openly suggesting that there should be no Palestinian state. She owes us to explain in the context of the rights we as Americans declare to be self-evident what should happen to the millions of Palestinian men, women, and children in the West Bank, and to their property)
    The new popularly elected Egyptian government is a rational actor too. Having booted out the generals whose complicity in applying Israel-friendly policies was bought with zillions of dollars of toys courtesy of the US taxpayers, it is only natural that it will ditch policies that are abhorrent to its electorate. Remember how the neo-cons preached the overthrow of the autocrats of the Arab world, and that a brave new Israel-friendly world would follow . Did they somehow believe that elected Arab leaders would continue to apply policies that were in Israel’s interests rather than their own? Why in heavens name would anyone think that an Arab state, sensitive to public opinion, would convenience a foreign state that is stealing the land and future of fellow Arabs?
    And the Turks, Russians, and Chinese are also rational actors. They are motivated, surprise surprise, not by US or Israeli interests, but by Turkish, Russian, and Chinese interests (including national prestige). This regrettable state of affairs is likely to continue whatever the outcome of the November election. Unless of course we can somehow order these ruffians to go home and stop roaming the high seas. Strangely, all through the long years of the cold war, no US administration of any hue considered such an option – even though the Soviet Union and its armed forces took a far more intrusive stance and held sway over a far wider dominion than do those of contemporary Russia.

    1. It is intended for the Moslem and Arab street, and to impress upon the US that it will be seen as the agent of Israel if it attacks Iran, and that any such attack will exact a high diplomatic price on the US in terms of its regional interests.

      Yeah, the celebrated “Arab street”, even more under the influence of government-sponsored and controlled media than the US cul-de-sac, led around by the nose by limousine liberals like Matt Lauer and Chris Mathews and even fake journalists like Jon Stewart. Of course, the ubiquitous Arab street already has an extremely favorable view of the US so we wouldn’t want to do anything to decrease the love, would we? And the Arab street runs through many neighborhoods, all of which agree totally on everything, which accounts for the entire lack of animosity across the deserts before the west developed a lust for their hydrocarbons. The Yemeni mountaineers are in total agreement with the pudgy Levantines of Beirut and the nomads of Mauritania.

      Did they somehow believe that elected Arab leaders would continue to apply policies that were in Israel’s interests rather than their own?

      Exactly what policies would they be applying? Not openly attacking the Zionist entity in order to avoid another humiliating defeat? What’s the difference between a policy that’s in the interest of the Arabs and one that’s in the interest of the Israelis? And these elected Arab leaders, aren’t they voted in by pretty much “Chicago style” elections?

      You’ve got the Progressive talking points down fairly well, isn’t it time you came up with a few ideas of your own?

    2. I don’t share your views of Israel and the Palestinians, nor the rationality of the new Arab regimes. But I agree that any WMD attack on Israel would most likely be conducted through non-nation-state surrogates.

      We need to be able to cut through the Middle Eastern bull feces and hold accountable the regimes who are actually behind the violence, We haven’t done it in Iraq or Afghanistan, and we probably would fail in the case of an attack on Israel, too, (I mean, a WMD attack. Israel is attacked daily by various non-nation surrogates, and we obviously do nothing to discourage that. An attack against Israel using a nation’s own conventional forces is almost inconceivable.)

      1. To: Cousin Vinnie

        “An attack against Israel using a nation’s own conventional forces is almost inconceivable.”

        And, yet, it’s happened before. More than once. Ask israel.


  9. Egypt considering violating peace treaty with Israel

    “NEW YORK – Egypt’s Islamist President Mohammed Morsi is studying the possibility of keeping tanks in the Sinai Peninsula on a permanent basis, according to a senior Egyptian military official who spoke to WND.

    The military buildup would violate a key provision of peace accords signed with Israel in 1979 that calls for the total demilitarization of the peninsula.”

    A direct and unambiguous violation of the peace accords will make it difficult for the Obama administration to continue to justify the 1.5B foreign aid we extend to Egypt.

    One more example of ideology superseding pragmatism.

    Of course, leopards cannot change their spots…

    So much for the administration’s claim that the Muslim Brotherhood has abandoned its extremism.

  10. Given that Israel is in violation of international law, US values, and the clearly expressed wishes of this and every other US administration, and still gets its annual dole of $3 billion, I wouldn’t be too worried if I were in Morsi’s shoes.

    In any event, no US administration is likely to do anything which would have the consequence of completely removing the incentive for the Egyptians to play along with the US. Seems the Israelis are just going to have to make the best of it. Now, if I were Morsi, I would be inviting the US to consider the consequences of further destabilizing Egypt.

    By the way, can anyone please tell me one single benefit Israel has for the US and its interests in the ME to balance the $3 billion dole it gets from the US taxpayer, its posioning effect on our relations with the Arab and Moslem world, and the way that funding a state that steals private property makes the US appear hypocritical and a traitor to its own professed values? I mean, the place isn’t France or the UK. If it went down the flusheroo in the morning the only consequence would be that we’d be $3 bill better off and a vital energy-producing area might be more stable and friendly.

    1. There is an uptick in editorial comment in the Israeli press over the last several days that runs the gammit from Benny Morris on the right through Horuvitz to Ross. All talk about the failure of sanctions and the need for action. Are we hearing tom toms? The settlements are not illegal under international law since Judea and Samaria were the names of the land during the Ottoman Empire and Jordan merely occupied them illegally and never incorporated them into Jordan prior to ’67. UN 242 recognizes this. Amusing to see myth promotion here however concerning the benefits derived by us by supporting Israel.

      1. Pay him no mind. I believe Paulite is either Iranian or Egyptian ’cause he writes with a definite Middle eastern accent. He is almost certainly an active and militant member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Probably here on a student visa learning how to fly airplanes………



        1. Or the MB’s newest trick… Bringing back crucifixion. There’s a charming lot to have a modern 21st century reasonable negotiation with…

          Very plural, very humane… just don’t look, don’t hear, and certainly don’t criticize lest they test their new methods on you.

          We are playing chess with madmen who are playing blow you up with a truck bomb… And we “think” that we can actually win.

          They might be Evil murderous psychopaths, but we seem to be doing our own version of barking…


  11. Arab Spring run amok: ‘Brotherhood’ starts crucifixions Opponents of Egypt’s Muslim president executed ‘naked on trees’

    “The Arab Spring takeover of Egypt by the Muslim Brotherhood has run amok, with reports from several different media agencies that the radical Muslims have begun crucifying opponents of newly installed President Mohammed Morsi.

    Middle East media confirm that during a recent rampage, Muslim Brotherhood operatives, “crucified those opposing Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi naked on trees in front of the presidential palace while abusing others.”

    The fanatical Iranian Mullah’s have got nothing on these guys. Truly ‘brothers in arms’…

    1. If we could bring back the ancient Romans, they would sort this stuff out for us.

    2. Evidently the crucifixions are a scare tactic to frighten ME Christians into fleeing the area. It appears to be the dead bodies of murdered victims being nailed to crosses.

      Islam’s version of the KKK burning crosses… and it’s Islam, not Islamic radical’s ‘interpretation’ of the Qur’an; “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this: that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off…” (Koran 5:33).

      Islam’s brutal truth is that the theological high ground rests with the ‘radicals’, which is why moderates are silent about the supposed high-jacking of their ‘religion’.

      1. To: GB

        “…that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off…”

        Yep. That sounds like a religion of peace, tolerance and love for your fellow man to me.


  12. The chain of events from Hitler’s occupation of Vienna 3/20/1938 to the betrayal of the Chechs in the fall have as their primary cause the stupidity of Chamberlain who did not rally the superior and willing forces of Stalin, France, and many in England to confront Hitler. Only Hitler had the boldness. His generals urged waiting two more years fearing the strength of the French Army. Having read that book, Obama has no excuses for the boldest of diplomatic and economic power backed up by the Navy and Air Force. Alas we see not a single decisive statement beyond “all options are on the table.” If talk does not get much tougher, the future will be harder indeed.

    1. People betrayed their ideals in pre-war Europe all the time RD Even the Poles asked for a piece of Czechoslovakia at the Munich Conference. You are missing the latest episodes of continental History.

      1. You are right! After the French disavowed their 20 year old treaty obligations to defend the Czechs and with Chamberlain carved away the German speaking territory—even though there was a plot by the German Generals to overthrow Hitler as soon as the Admiralty called for a general mobilization of the fleet– then the Poles asked for piece as did the Hungarians. It is worthwhile to dust off The Gathering Storm to page 328 where Churchill excerpts a part of his speech to Parliament in which he denounced Munich while they nation celebrated it.

        He adresses the people in uniform who were delighted that duty would not call yet. He says, “they shall know that we have passed an awful milestone in our history, when the whole equilibrium of Europe has been deranged… And do not suppose this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which be proffered year by year unless, by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigour, we arise again and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.”

        For those sentiments he faced outraged in Parliament.

        Because his insights in this crucial period are so relevant to our current Mexican standoff with the thugs in power in Iran, I include one more insight that Churchill had during this Munchen Crisis.

        “There is no merit in putting off a war for a year if, when it comes, it is a far worse war or one much harder to win.” p320

        If only the public broadcasting companies would run a series that viewed events through Churchill’s eyes and applied them, where apt, to our current morass.

    2. Chamberlain had the backing of most of Europe…only after Dunkirk, when their backs were against the wall did the English turn to Churchill.

      Today, the political and public consensus does not exist to militarily confront Iran. If Romney is elected and the Iranians haven’t yet achieved nuclear weapons capability and he moves to militarily confront Iran, the MSM and democrats will resist it to the utmost.

      Only successful appeasement (an oxymoron) is acceptable.

      1. The French were practically begging Chamberlain to articulate how many troops England was willing to commit under existing treaties. The Cabinet notified the French that only three divisions and 150 aircraft could be spared. The Chechs were willing to fight in mid ’38 as were the Russians and the French (in between the downfall of the Blum government). Chamberlain’s unexpected trip to Munich was greeted in France with utter dismay. But for the weakness of the Chamberlain government and if only Churchill had been in power, the Second World War might have slaughtered far fewer. A recent public poll in the US found 56% were for strong action against Iran. But the point is not that the public controls events (they are an important factor). Leaders control events. When tyranny is opposed in the most vigorous manner possible at the time with a determination to use overwhelming force if necessary, tyrants many times do back down. In the midst of the petty exchanges during the Presidential campaign, how are Iranian leaders reading the tea leaves in Obama’s cup? Probably not much differently than Hitler read Chamberlain’s. Thus avoidance of the worst tends to usher it to its seat.

        1. The French firmly believed that their Maginot line was unbreachable…among the top brass, there was zero anxiety.

          “If wishes were horses we’d all ride to the fair”, Churchill wasn’t in power because the majority of the public supported Chamberlain.

          Sadly, that 56% who support ‘strong action’ against Iran would substantially diminish as soon as body bags started coming home. “Strong action” for many, means getting the Iranians to stop without firing a shot. Just as, prior to Dunkirk, many believed that Hitler could be stopped without resorting to violence.

          The current American public is only comfortable with US soldiers dying, if its in defense of civilians…Hollywood has repeatedly demonstrated that only the good guys can shoot straight and thus, it is assumed that American military deaths, even in war, should be a truly rare occurrence.

          If leaders control events then explain Bush II’s lack of support, (who certainly acted decisively) when he invaded Iraq…He quickly exhausted his support when we invaded Iraq, which is why he didn’t confront Iran. Democrats voting to give him that authority didn’t prevent them from criticizing him when he used it.

          The only tyrant who backed down was Khaddafi…if Bush had retained support during Iraq, and thus been able to credibly threaten military attacks against Iran they would have backed down too but of course, Bush lacked the support needed.

          So, in the end, in a representative democracy, a leaders support determines what they may do and approx. Much of the American public regularly swallows the left’s lies.

          People are herd animals, for every one individual who’ll stand their ground and fight, three will take flight until there’s nowhere left to flee. In the current situation, much of the the US public has its head firmly planted in the sand. That won’t change until the threat physically materializes.

          1. To: GB

            You are mostly right in what you are saying.

            I would also add that most of what you are pointing at is nothing more and nothing less than the inherent weakness in a democracy such as ours. We like to blame our leaders for lacking the gonads to take “decisive action” without ever recognizing that it is the people that elect them, criticize them and demonstrate against them that really lack the will to commit to that sort of thing.

            This selfishly tolerant tendency will be even more noticeable as the people’s wussification process continues and as the public at large is convinced into accepting and even embracing all the ethereal and lofty yet impracticable ideas of worldwide brotherhood that the left continually proposes.

            And, yes, most of the American public does indeed regularly swallow the left’s lies. This is so because the left promises all sorts of easy and satisfying crap that will for ever come to the people that support them free of any real consequence and, although they never seem to work in real life, they are real easy to expect and dream about.

            That siren’s song is easy to accept by people that live in a totally material world of perfectly air conditioned homes, big screen TVs, and the real possibility of driving a comfortable car while talking on a cell phone on their way to the welfare office and who have any challenge or real competition annulled by government dictum for most of their lives.

            On the other side is the bunch that proposes a lifetime of hard work, personal responsibility, love of duty and the constant possibility of having to bleed or die in some battlefield for something as immaterial as the country’s honor or, simply, to help insure the freedoms and concepts for others that call for even more work, more personal responsibility and more bleeding on the battlefield.


            1. Consensus in a representative democracy like ours rests upon cultural expectations and assumptions. The America of 1914 was greatly different than today in its acceptance of traditional western values. Young men rushed to enlist at our entry into WWI.

              The MSM bears great responsibility for the leftward tilt of our society. If they were merely asking the obvious questions when covering controversial subjects and objective in their reportage, the persuasiveness of the lefts distortions and lies would be greatly diminished.

              1. TO: GB

                I ask myself, is the MSM a coincidence or the result of a well executed plan? It takes years and quite a high degree of dedication and commitment to build a structure that is so singularly supportive of a single-minded socio-political direction. If we just look at the thousands of people that produce, write and deliver MSM’s message one has to wonder at the consistency of its liberal mindset and delivery. So, I think, when the symptoms are so pervasive, so constant and so absolutely consistent as they are within the MSM then you have to wonder about and query the source of the infection, do you not?

                Then add this to that equation: It’s not just the media but the education system as well. Our children are being bombarded with leftist ideas since they start school. Our history is being re-written or re-editorialized to suit that direction to such a degree that the History being taught today is nothing like the one we learned a few shor decades ago. At least not in its editorial approach. Our culture is being modified and changed from the bottom up in such a relentless manner that, again, one really has to question the degree of coincidence in something like this.

                Then you have Hollywood doing the same consistent job of re-designing our most basic visions of the world and our interaction with it.

                Even the ad agencies have joined in the brainwashing and they too are rabid supporters of the leftist agenda albeit in a more subtle fashion.

                Put all of that together and ask yourself if this is the result of coincidental and natural evolution or is it the result of intelligent design?


                1. It’s quite intentional. The left instigates, liberals; the left’s useful idiots, popularize the left’s initiatives.

                  Integral to leftist thought, especially in the West is post-modernism. Perhaps the best elucidation of its pernicious effects is Explaining Postmodernism by the blogger Dr Sanity. Post Modernism rejects the concept of objective truth, objective reality and ‘revealed truth’ the basis for all religions.

                  Once the impact of post-modernism is understood, what has been and is happening with the left is easier to understand by grasping the importance and impact on leftist thought in the West of the Italian Communist Party leader Antonio Gramsci;

                  “Gramsci believed that if Communism achieved “mastery of human consciousness,” then labor camps and mass murder would be unnecessary. How does an ideology gain such mastery over patterns of thought inculcated by cultures for hundreds of years?

                  Mastery over the consciousness of the great mass of people would be attained, Gramsci contended, if Communists or their sympathizers gained control of the organs of culture — churches, education, newspapers, magazines, the electronic media, serious literature, music, the visual arts, and so on. By winning “cultural hegemony,” to use Gramsci’s own term, Communism would control the deepest wellsprings of human thought and imagination. One need not even control all of the information itself if one can gain control over the minds that assimilate that information. Under such conditions, serious opposition disappears since men are no longer capable of grasping the arguments of Marxism’s opponents. Men will indeed “love their servitude,” and will not even realize that it is servitude.”

                  Finally, for a primer on how the left integrated Gramsci’s theories into academia beginning in the late 60’s and continuing into today, resulting in teachers professors and the media all preaching from the same book see; Bill Ayers, the ‘Critical Pedagogy’ movement and ‘Cultural Marxism’

                  Just as the Tea Party is a mass movement without centralized direction, so too do leftists, socialists and sympathetic, gullible liberals work at inculcating leftist thought into our culture, institutions and young.

                  1. TO: GB.

                    Very interesting response. But, how or what starts the ball rolling? Was there a time in which the institutions that you mention were not completely in the hands of the progressives? And, if so, how did they get staffed so thoroughly with progressives? Where did the takeover begin?

                    And, by the way, I don’t like to think of liberals as “useful idiots”. Useful, yes; idiots, no. I don’t particularly like to underestimate my enemy. I find that a dangerous practice.

                    Besides, it’s true that they were recruited en masse by an illogical concept/proposition and willingly walked away from a much more logical one. If that is what gave birth to the term “idiots” I disagree. I think they did that bait and switch for much more dangerous reasons. Envy, greed, sloth, selfishness and all the other human frailties must have played a big part on their decision to switch. I don’t like, trust, excuse, or abide by envious, greedy, lazy, selfish people and I think that they are quite dangerous to boot. I say that because envious, greedy, lazy, selfish people will do whatever is necessary to boost and feed those frailties and, also, because envious, greedy, lazy, selfish people don’t particularly have too many ethical or moral saving graces.


                    1. The paradigm shift is a better way to get at Israel within the shifting balances of power in the ME. Israel has been the ME whipping boy for the same reason Obummer wants to see Mitt’s tax returns– it is a distraction from the tyranny of corruption or replacement of secular with religious in the case of Turkey. Yet it remains a murderous goal that is subsidiary to the goals of the regioinal players save for Iran which makes it pramount, but could be wrong.

                    2. TO: RedDog

                      “…for the same reason Obummer wants to see Mitt’s tax returns– it is a distraction from the tyranny of corruption…”

                      I don’t think it is a distraction at all. The ME Muslim countries really and truly hate Israel. They have been death enemies for a long, long time and they have killed each other for centuries. Then that long festering hatred was exacerbated by the UN taking some Arab desert land and returning it to Israel.

                      That they struggle for control of their religious capital, Jerusalem, doesn’t make things any easier either.

                      In spite of all the BS from the progressives, that sort of gutural hatred is seldom overcome by holding peace talks, by holding hands or by singing Kumbaya. Peace in the ME, if not outright imposible, is a matter of continuing to expect rivers of blood because the obstacles are inmovable.

                      The US had better think slow and hard about who they will really back when the baloon goes up in earnest and the diplomatic lalaland comes to a screeching halt.

                      Destiny is inexorable.


                    3. In my article, Bill Ayers, the ‘Critical Pedagogy’ movement and ‘Cultural Marxism’ (broken link corrected) I mentioned that the beginning’s of the left’s infiltration into academia and from there into the “fourth estate” began with, “The theory of critical pedagogy was first fully developed and then popularized in 1968 by the Brazilian educator and influential theorist Paulo Freire. His seminal work, the Pedagogy [The Teaching] of the Oppressed, was highly influential within the US leftist academic community and in 1969 Freire was offered a visiting professorship at Harvard University.” Over the past 44 years the entire panoply of leftist thought from Post Modernism to Social Justice theory has inculcated itself into every venue and aspect of our society.

                      It was Stalin who assigned the label of “useful idiots” to gullible idiots. That appellation fits because liberals ‘genuflect’ at the altar of intellectuality, perfectly encapsulating two of Orwell’s observations; “There are some ideas so wrong, that only a very intelligent person could believe in them.” and “So much of left-wing thought is a kind of playing with fire, by people who don’t even know that fire is hot.”

                      When liberals embrace, consciously or not, the proposition that objective reality is a false truism and that only subjective relativism is real, they abandon the moral compass that objectivity offers.

                    4. TO: GB

                      Thank you again for a well thought out and interesting answer.

                      However, while Freire might have perfected leftist teaching techniques and while the left lovingly applauded Freire for encapsulating those ideas so that others could best proceed follow in their quest to re-educate America. And while this happened at the advanced developmental point that Harvard was ready to bow down at Freire’s feet, the progressive movement started much earlier than that. Leftist Progressivism started to permeate our sources of “dissimulation” (news, literature and academia) way before Freire took the stage. You can clearly read the left’s path into their objectives and innermost desires in some of America’s most revered presidents 20-60 years before the sixties. Somebody must have planted that thinking into them and into the voters that elected them, sometimes over and over again, don’t you think? After all, an important question is this: what were those that, up to and including Harvard academia, welcomed Freire with open arms…?

                      At around the time of Freire’s victorious arrival and hero’s welcome by his already pink and blood red fellow travelers, the Russian communist Khrushchev banged his shoe at the UN and stated that America would be defeated without firing a shot. At the time, thoroughly vilified Joseph McCarthy was busy trying to conduct his purge of communists from Hollywood. It seems that both of these gentlemen read the tea leaves pretty well.

                      America does not seem likely to knowingly and willingly accept socialism per se. But, mask that descriptive properly, call it “liberalism” or “progressivism”, make it all sound lofty while denying that the architects are really socialists and America will happily march itself right into the Gulag. This explains why the left needs the media, the educators and the BS slingers from Hollywood. That particular tactic needs all the help it can get to be sold well and, sadly, it is getting that help. But putting together such a thorough and complete structure is not done haphazardly or on the fly. We are at stage three or four of this cancer and it must have started years before we like to admit.


    3. Almost to the very day the USSR was invaded by Germany, Stalin was dismissing, denying and sending to the Gulag anybody who warned that an attack was brewing. Stalin had eyewitness reports of German troops massing at the border, and reports of a planned attack from intelligence operatives in Europe. Churchill tried to warn Stalin, to no avail. Joe’s mind was made up and only German troops driving to Kiev and hundreds of thousands of dead Russians could convince him otherwise.

      I doubt anyone had the ability to organize an attack against Hitler, until it was clear there was no alternative.

      1. Rafa and Cousin

        Not sure the public is merely buying the left’s lies. How for example do you explain the pacificism following WWI in England that provided the legs for appeasement if they did not spring from a combination of witnessing many of their most promising young lads die in the mud AND the left shaping that experience. The irony is that when Uncle Joe needed England to have spine in September of 38, Chamberlain on his own accord visited the monster of Berlin three times. Chamberlain and the public in the British Isles for the most part rejoiced at peace in our times. Can you imagine Obama going to a meeting with the Ayatollah today and waving the white flag? So maybe some progress has been made. Even if today’s Russians do not want us to attack their merchant states …yet.

        1. I was referring to today’s public being highly influenced by the MSM’s continual support for the left’s lies. That public has also been influenced by the left in our schools, which continually presents history, philosophy and ethics in a manner that strongly supports the left.

          There’s no question that WWI’s death toll greatly influenced the public of the 30’s. Indeed, that death toll led to the rise and embrace in Europe of transnationalism, which assigns the blame for most of the world’s ills upon nationalism.

    1. I would like to add this tidbit GB’s-efforts-unite-ummah-applauded

      They will ultimately fail but you gotta give them credit for trying.

  13. More than once, the libertarian and great Sci-fi author Robert A. Heinlein, proposed that the right to vote be limited to military veterans. Specifically, to those who had proved their willingness to, if necessary, “give that last full measure of devotion” and thus proven their worthiness to participate in the voting franchise. I’ve always rejected that proposal as too exclusionary, but given the near suicidal bent of our nation, both militarily and economically, I’ve begun to reconsider that position.

    1. My impression is that the Kurds and Azerbaijani’s are smaller, strictly regional actors. Of concern only to Turkey and, to an even lesser degree, Iraq. Which doesn’t make their legitimate claim to self-determination invalid, merely limited in impact to the immediate region. If the Kurds can ever secure their own territorial autonomy through nationhood, then their impact may become a factor outside the region. Azerbaijan’s borders make her of little concern beyond political embarrassment for Turkey.

      1. Just some food for thought
        If the Syrian cancer metastasizes to the Caucasus (through the Armenians or other ethnic groups) and the frozen conflict in Nagorno-Karabakn flares up, it can be used as a pretext to interdict the flow of oil through the BTC oil pipeline (as well as planned natural gas pipelines to Europe). Possible acts of sabotage aside, the pipeline is well within the range of Armenian artillery. The BTC pipeline is the crowning achievement of Western regional geopolitical policy since the fall of the USSR. Putting it out of commission would be a serious blow to Western interests in the Caucasus and Central Asia. This is the reason I find the resurrection of ASALA disturbing.
        A Turkey (hypothetically) deeply engaged on the ground in Syria (or Turkish Kurdistan) will be to preoccupied to defend Azerbaijan against Russian proxy Armenia (in any case, there are Russian troops stationed in Armenia already).

        In the spirit of Optcon’;s observation that the Russian and China are preparing for conflicts they can win, I submit the following :

        If solely Armenian troops are doing the dirty work in a South Caucasus flare up, without direct Russian involvement, NATO will be hard pressed to find a reason to intervene in what will be portrayed as a local conflict between two rival ethnic groups. Russia’s geopolitical aim of interdicting/controlling the flow of Caspian and Central Asian hydrocarbons will have been achieved.

        Meanwhile the guerrilla war in Turkish Kurdistan continues and shows signs of escalating.

  14. Zoelnick is handling the “administration” of the Romney foreign policy team assembly. Found out that the IMF or World Bank lent Iran over a billion prior to 07 on his watch. I’m unfamiliar with him but wondering if anyone else has a perspective on how he would create policy if he gets the nod.

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