Wednesday, August 11, 2004
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Quick: who’s in charge of the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program? Actually, I don’t know myself, but the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, which has authority over CTR, is apparently run by this woman. Nevertheless, I agree with MIT prof Steve Van Evera that the simple fact that the program to secure loose nuclear material does not report to a political heavyweight (say, Jim Baker) is prima facie evidence that the administration is not taking the threat seriously. Van Evera argues that only a well-known Washington arm-breaker (remember how Baker got all that Iraqi debt forgiven?) can get the results necessary to make us truly safer from nuclear attack.
A lot of people have been harping about this since well before 9/11 and today Nick Kristof picks up the thread, asking why we’re not doing more. It’s not like what we need to do is a secret. Fareed Zakaria summarized a while ago a series of important steps, including spending as much money as necessary to buy or otherwise secure Russian fissile material, banning the use of highly enriched uranium, demanding aggressive IAEA inspections, and tackling the Iranian and North Korean programs head on. Hard to do, he says, but doable.
This issue is an obvious hammer that Kerry can use against Bush, and it grows naturally out of the campaign rhetoric that the Bushies have not been doing enough to protect the homeland (not funding port security, first-responders, and all the rest of it). Similarly, it would seem that Bush has not just the national interest, but an overwhelming political interest, in being and being seen to be way out in front on this issue.
I’d like to hear a good explanation for why there is not a more apparent commitment to the plodding but supremely important counterproliferation work that virtually every expert in the field has been demanding. And let's not enter Libya into evidence. Leaving aside the question of whether Libya had made conciliatory moves even before the Iraq war, any progress in disarming Libya must be balanced against the acceleration of North Korea’s and Iran’s nuclear efforts that the war also brought about.
And, finally, once we take these steps, we can focus on really scary and intractable problems like bioterrorism…posted by on 08.11.04 at 03:12 AM
The Bush admin ain't serious on the war on terror -- say it aint so! Why do you hate America?posted by: Jor on 08.11.04 at 03:12 AM [permalink]
So much of the time you sound reasonable and then you say this:
"Leaving aside the question of whether Libya had made conciliatory moves
There are lots of nuts out there that would believe that Libya would
What the heck is going on?
Also how much does it matter that North Korea and Iran's efforts to acquire
Actually I don't that is a reasonable assumption. Since North Korea,
But let's ignore that setback and assume that because the Bush
Aren't you effect advocating not trying to prevent nuclear proliferation?
Or do you really believe that crap that diplomacy absent force is going
Sorry. Just noticed it wasn't Daniel Drezner that wrote "Nu-Cu-Lar
So my question changes.posted by: Mark Amerman on 08.11.04 at 03:12 AM [permalink]
It sounds like your parents are from India and that you were raised in
It seems to me that as these things proliferate it becomes ever more
Maybe you're thinking that these states wouldn't do this because the
How do you think the world will respond when such a scenario happens?
North Korea presents a serious problem because of their tight links with China. We have had one run in with the Chinese over North Korea. Short of bombing all their sites, what do you propose?
Iran is a country with a huge LOYAL army, one that is well paid and are active agents for the Islamo-fascist government. "Negotiation" has failed once again and I can only assume that we have sneaked our Iranian agents into the country to sabotage their program.
Once again we are supposed to act alone and the Democrats and Eurabia will attack us if we do. This election is very important and not over the things people are talking about.posted by: Howard Veit on 08.11.04 at 03:12 AM [permalink]
“This issue is an obvious hammer that Kerry can use against Bush, and it grows naturally out of the campaign rhetoric that the Bushies have not been doing enough to protect the homeland (not funding port security, first-responders, and all the rest of it).”
Let’s stop with the disingenuous rhetoric. The liberal establishment simply wishes to destroy President Bush. They neverendingly raise the bar on him and ask why hasn’t he done more. The bottom line is this: the presidential race is between George W. Bush and John Kerry. A perfect candidate does not exist. Kerry has a proven record as an appeaser of our nation’s enemies. His scandalous behavior during the Cold War should be more than sufficient to deem him unworthy of being America’s Commander in Chief.
“...any progress in disarming Libya must be balanced against the acceleration of North Korea’s and Iran’s nuclear efforts that the war also brought about.”
Where is the evidence to support such a bizarre assertion? Our invasion of Iraq has supposedly encouraged North Korea and Iran to become more belligerent? No, both of these evil countries have taken advantage of appeasement policies which merely emboldened them to take further chances.posted by: David Thomson on 08.11.04 at 03:12 AM [permalink]
It's easy to say that we're not doing enough, but it's hard to do more. Iran has already refused concerted European demands for "aggressive IAEA inspections." OK, what's the next step? How do you propose to tackle their program head-on? Sanctions? Military action? What if the UN doesn't agree; should the US act unilaterally?
NoKo has been developing its nuclear program since long before Bush. They bought themselves ten years through the 1994 non-proliferation agreement that they did not obey. Their nuclear capability is the only serious leverage they have, and they will drag it out every time they want more material support and more military assurances from the US. How committed should we be to actively supporting the NoKo regime? For obvious reasons, it's unlikely that they're ever going to submit to active IAEA inspections. What do we do then?posted by: Tom T. on 08.11.04 at 03:12 AM [permalink]
> I not quite clear what tribe you identify with,
1) that matters to this analysis exactly why? 2) what evidence do you have that he identifies with ANY "tribe" 3) what if his answer is "US Citizens"?
Crankyposted by: Cranky Observer on 08.11.04 at 03:12 AM [permalink]
We're really screwing this up.
One small example: There are hundreds of aging, poorly-maintained research nuclear reactors fueled by highly enriched uranium in several developing nations, leftovers from Eisenhower’s "Atoms for Peace" program. Peaceful use of nuclear energy, and all that. We gave them to Iraq, Iran, Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Yugoslavia, and several African nations, among others.
Awhile back, we decided that it would be a good idea to secure these reactors by disposing of the spent fuel ourselves, rather than relying on the reactors' host countries--which were often poor and lacked technical resources--to take care of it.
After awhile, the agency in charge of the disposal program realized that no countries were sending their fissile materials to us for disposal.
Because some bureacratic half-wit thought it would be a good idea to charge the countries $5500 per kilogram to do it.
Insanity. Stupid, blinkered insanity.posted by: Ian Wood on 08.11.04 at 03:12 AM [permalink]
“2) what evidence do you have that he identifies with ANY "tribe" 3) what if his answer is "US Citizens"?
I am reminded of the frustration of a Japanese-American who was frustrated by the occasional question whether he could be loyal to the United States. He had to remind these idiots that his ancestors entered the country in the late 19th Century and that he was a fourth generation American.posted by: David Thomson on 08.11.04 at 03:12 AM [permalink]
“Because some bureacratic half-wit thought it would be a good idea to charge the countries $5500 per kilogram to do it.
Insanity. Stupid, blinkered insanity.”
Please explain. I am not aware of this situation.posted by: David Thomson on 08.11.04 at 03:12 AM [permalink]
David Thomson seems to reiterate at least once in every thread in which he participates the right-wing mantra that Kerry was an appeaser in the Cold War and that the media (or this time the "liberal establishment") want to destroy poor George W. Bush.
Apart from the fact that both of those claims are silly, they are also irrelevant, but they serve as convenient distractions from whatever actual topic is being discussed.
Why would anybody want to distract from a serious discussion of nuclear proliferation and what's being done about it? It seems utterly irresponsible.
I wonder if most of those people on the right who are trying to gloss over the issue of what we have been doing against nuclear proliferation are really fuming on the inside and just as angry at the administration as everyone else.
But somehow they are convinced there is a greater good in having the incompetents stay in the White House, somehow they have talked themselves into believing that a Kerry administration could still be even worse.
Apart from that I also sense some sort of acceptance of the inevitable - a nuclear attack on America will happen sooner or later.
How can anybody accept such a thing? Well, for starters, if, like many right-wingers, you don't live in or near a big city, you'll probably be ok. I'm not even being cynical here, I've really come to this conclusion that at least some people, and among them the most ardent supporters of the President, think along those lines.
Moreover, I think some people tacitly _want_ another big attack to happen because they think that it is needed to "re-unite" us all in the all-out assault on most of the rest of the World. For these people believe that the only way to "win" is to attack, and for lack of any real targets, the only way to attack is to "nuke'em" and "kill'em all". As a bonus, they also hope to get even more intrusive versions of the Patriot Act passed, and some of them probably dream of an end to immigration and possibly deportation even of legal immigrants who happen to come from the wrong countries.
Dissent will then be viewed as treason. The very people who let another horrible attack happen to get their way will accuse everyone who was trying to do something to prevent it of being a traitor, if they dare question any of the new measures.
Why would anybody let it come to this? Because it's their goal, it's what they always wanted - being able to freely implement their most radical ideological ideas.
Or do you really believe that crap that diplomacy absent force is going
Force absent diplomacy sure hasn't worked. Why is it always either/or with conservatives?posted by: Night Owl on 08.11.04 at 03:12 AM [permalink]
Nuclear proliferation is an issue that is always much discussed, bt when it comes times for action, nobody wants to take any. Probably because the potential consequences are too great. For example, if the World is serious about non-proliferation, let's see what's done about Iran. because they just have told those interested that they are going to do what they durn well please. And, heck, why not do something about Israel, which certainly has weapons?
I can't speak for rabid right wingers, living, as I do in an urban neighborhood where the Kerry signs in the yards finally have started to outnumber the Dean signs. But, if Atlanta were to go up in a mushroom cloud, I'm pretty sure all the -wingers in Henry and Cobb county would die of radiation poisoning along with us urbanites. (Unless there are some fallout shelters still around up there). I think what you have on this issue is the same cognitive dissonance on nukes that we had during the cold war. Nobody, whether urban or rural, believes these things are going to hit them. It's not a conspiracy; its the good old belief that one will not die until one is really, really, old.posted by: Appalled Moderate on 08.11.04 at 03:12 AM [permalink]
New rationale for appeasement meme: Iran is only seeking nukes because the US is so belligerant, and is a nuclear armed Iran so bad anyway?
Prognosis: you people are out of your f'ing minds and will do anything to go back to sleep. Iran is seeking nuclear weapons either to use them or as a trump card to carry out their nasty agenda without fear of reprisal. Neither of those scenarios is acceptable no matter what you think of GW Bush. If you're wrists are that sore from handwringing, close your eyes and let the grown ups deal with this.posted by: Mark Buehner on 08.11.04 at 03:12 AM [permalink]
Siddharth. Apparently the CTRA is encountering obstacles because John Bolton is an ideologue. He is unwilling to move forward because of "trivial negotiating issues," according to Republican Senator Domenici. http://tinyurl.com/4kg3t That was the situation in mid May. There are plenty of other problems with the administration's handling of non-proliferation. The Fissile Materials Control Treaty was basically scuttled last week because of the administration's objection to verification processes. The conversion of HEU research reactors to LEU needs more money. Republican Sens. Kyl and Inhofe have placed a hold on James Cunningham, nominee to the UN organizations in Vienna. He will now miss the Sept. IAEA meeting which will focus on limiting Iranian and North Korean prolif. See here: http://fugop.blogspot.com/2004/08/hold-on-cunningham-threatening.html and http://fugop.blogspot.com/2004/08/trust-dont-verify-on-non-proliferation.htmlposted by: David Meyer on 08.11.04 at 03:12 AM [permalink]
I felt most of the comments here missed the point of Siddharth's post. Yes, there are big proliferation issues with Iran and NoKo, but obviously these are getting a lot of high level attention in the Bush administration (and I presume they would in a Kerry administration as well).
Aside from the election comments, I took Siddharth to be asking about more behind-the-scenes non-proliferation. Buying up nuclear material from Russia. Buying used fuel rods from countries with research reactors, etc. Basically, making fissile material as scarce as possible. It's obvious that we're doing something on this front, as I've recently read about both Libya's and Iraq's material being moved to Oak Ridge TN.
But I basically agree with Siddharth. I've been reading for a decade that these types of programs are underfunded and understaffed. Does anyone know why? It would seem like a pretty good bang-for-the-buck.posted by: publius on 08.11.04 at 03:12 AM [permalink]
“David Thomson seems to reiterate at least once in every thread in which he participates the right-wing mantra that Kerry was an appeaser in the Cold War and that the media (or this time the "liberal establishment") want to destroy poor George W. Bush.”
Yeah, and that because John Kerry was an appeaser during the Cold War! I have the facts on my side. As for the liberal media, we are talking about a morally corrupt institution threatening our very democracy. Only a few days ago, Instapundit finally came around to my point of view:
“Evan Thomas famously told us that the press wants Kerry to win, and added "They're going to portray Kerry and Edwards as being young and dynamic and optimistic and there's going to be this glow about them, collective glow, the two of them, that's going to be worth maybe 15 points."
That's enough to swing almost any presidential election, and -- if it's right -- it raises the question of whether we can have an established press, and democracy, at the same time.”
The most recent scandal is the liberal media’s reaction to the John Kerry lie that he spent Christmas 1968 in Cambodia. Does anyone doubt that George W. Bush would be crucified for such a fib?posted by: David Thomson on 08.11.04 at 03:12 AM [permalink]
“Force absent diplomacy sure hasn't worked. Why is it always either/or with conservatives?”
It is slanderous to charge conservative with emphasizing military force while ignoring diplomacy. This is just total nonsense.posted by: David Thomson on 08.11.04 at 03:12 AM [permalink]
I just found the following on Roger L. Simon's blog:
Posted at 05:50 AM
The liberal media are out to get John Kerry elected. Roger L. Simon used to be a flaming liberal---like myself. The rest of you, Like Daniel Drezner, need to wake up and smell the proverbial coffee.posted by: David Thomson on 08.11.04 at 03:12 AM [permalink]
D. Thompson was simply trying to point out that the reason Bush has not done enough to protect the homeland is because many people have issues with Kerry.
Nobody claimed that Iran is just starting to seek nukes - the issue was whether thier current acceleration is due to our invasion of their neighbor.posted by: wishIwuz2 on 08.11.04 at 03:12 AM [permalink]
Appalled Moderate: I was thinking more of people who live far away from the biggest cities, not those who live in the greater metropolitan area of one.
The impact of a nuclear explosion in a city may also be not quite as wide as one might think - keep in mind that most military scenarios assume that a bomb is dropped from a plane and exploded above-ground to maximize the range of impact. Scenarios of a "small" (10 kton) device going off in Manhattan generally talk about "only" 100,000 casualties from the immediate impact and about as many from the fallout. Whether they are based on sound science, I don't know.
On the issue of proliferation, I think we should definitely try very hard to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons, but I don't think it would be nearly as bad for Iran to have them as for Al Qaeda to get hold of some unprotected Russian nukes. Simple reason: Iran would have to fear nuclear retaliation (even if they didn't directly attack us, but "only" made weapons available to the terrorists).
It is simply a crime that we are not doing more to secure the Russian nukes.
David Thomson: It's quite telling that you are still refusing to address the real issue, but continue to put up distractions. Some rebuttals to the distractions:
It's also quite interesting that someone who seems to give Bush every possible benefit of the doubt regarding his telling the truth is so, so quick to embrace a "Kerry lied" accusation that is based on practically no evidence.
Currently on CNN.com, the top story is "U.S. poised for major assault in Najaf". (Ok, fair enough.) What else is happening in the World? Let's check out "MORE TOP STORIES". Here they are, ALL of them:
• Bryant prosecutor asks for delay in rape trial
• Half-ton man drops 321 pounds, and still counting
• Peterson's lover says he lied to her | Video
• Saudis offer to raise oil output
• Mike Wallace cited for disorderly conduct | Video
• Florida Keys prepare for Hurricane Charley
• Philippines' Arroyo to men: Stop kissing me
Notice how many stories are dealing with the failures of the Bush administration and such hot topics as nuclear proliferation. Clearly, the "Communist News Network", as fans on the Free Republic web site fondly refer to CNN, is out to get Bush.
If the dumbing down of the remainder of the semi-serious news continues like this, one has got to ask at some point if there is anything left worth defending.
"Nobody claimed that Iran is just starting to seek nukes - the issue was whether thier current acceleration is due to our invasion of their neighbor."
Immaterial. Theyve been seeking them all along and its extremely arguable whether the EU-3 or anyone else even slowed them down. They seem to be following the NK formula to the letter. Seemingly they are now at a point where they feel they dont need the smokescreen which should (and is) be ringing alarm bells.
For those worried about an Islamic nation getting the bomb, I'm not quite sure why Pakistan doesn't qualify.
For those who want to believe that our Iraq policy made non-proliferation more likely, you are simply insane. Imagine you're a country whose interests are not entirely in-line with the US, and you are thinking about acquiring a bomb. But it's expensive, and the US's enormous relative power means that you can't use it offensively. So what's it worth? Well, Iraq didn't have the bomb (which we knew), and we invaded them. North Korea may have the bomb, and we're negotiating/bribing them. Pakistan does have the bomb, and, despite the country's longstanding support for rogue regimes, Al Qaeda, and Kashmiri terrorism, they're our allies. Anyone see a line worth drawing?
Any country that wants to take the stand that we rightly demand of whoever will be our President - that we will determine our own actions, and will not restrict our behavior (military or otherwise) to those that we can get approved by a foreign body - should get the bomb. Because if you don't, we've shown ourselves willing to invade you on trumped up justifications and in the face of the entire world's disapproval. So explicitly or implicitly, a lot of your actions are conditioned on our approval.
Absent a nuclear event, non-proliferation is a non-starter for a generation, because it will be at least that long before anyone outside the First World trusts us enough to let us hold all of the cards.
Thanks again, President Bush.
"but I don't think it would be nearly as bad for Iran to have them as for Al Qaeda to get hold of some unprotected Russian nukes."
Can you guarantee the seperation? We all know the consequences of being wrong.posted by: Mark Buehner on 08.11.04 at 03:12 AM [permalink]
I'm curious why the right (as shown by some of the above posters) thinks that a Kerry administration would not pursue an aggressive policy with regards to non-proliferation? To borrow an old refrain from another argument, “If nukes are outlawed, only criminals will have nukes.” It seems that a president who opposes an assault weapons ban would be more likely to support nuclear proliferation, does it not?
Seriously, unlike assault weapons, I think most everyone agrees that the fewer people with nukes, the better – and this includes most countries without nukes. Unfortunately, it seems to me that a reelection of this President means that the only alternative considered (and perhaps the only one available) to control proliferation will be a continuation of its aggressive, unilateral and primarily military strategy against potential nuclear threats. Some of the posters on here see this as a good thing as the ”jihadists” will be intimidated. I’m not so sure. A cornered animal is the most dangerous. It acts irrationally and unpredictably, as its only goal is to survive – not prosper. I rather suspect we create more jihadists than we kill with our current strategy of military occupation and regime overthrow. I also rather suspect that our aggressive policy encourages possible opponents to pursue nukes rather than deterring that pursuit. Do we really want to rely on a strategy in which, like those games where one must betray one’s partner to succeed, we have to get them before they get us? The most common outcome in such a game, if you don’t remember, is that everybody loses.
"For those worried about an Islamic nation getting the bomb, I'm not quite sure why Pakistan doesn't qualify. "
I'm worried. But to answer your question Pakistan is ruled at the moment by a secular general who AQ is actively trying to murder, and has been a strong US ally. Should that change a military option would quickly be on the table.
"For those who want to believe that our Iraq policy made non-proliferation more likely, you are simply insane. Imagine you're a country whose interests are not entirely in-line with the US, and you are thinking about acquiring a bomb. "
Here is the problem. Iran is not just 'some country' that suddenly has decided it needs nukes, nor are its 'interests' just random positions on various issues. Irans 'interests' are in things like the destruction of Israel and the US, the spread of radical Islam, and being the biggest supporter of terrorism in the world today. That argument indicates these are legitimate interests Iran has a right to defend. That they deserve a defense shield to prevent the US from interfering with these practices is hardly something worth debating from our end.
All Iraq has done is demonstrate to the Iranians we are willing to use force to stop their nasty actions. If that message makes the Mullahs squirrely, so much the better. It wouldnt do for them to miscalculate, because the truth is we _will_ do what they fear if they keep it up, and the nuclear development is self-fuffilling that prophecy.posted by: Mark Buehner on 08.11.04 at 03:12 AM [permalink]
"I'm curious why the right (as shown by some of the above posters) thinks that a Kerry administration would not pursue an aggressive policy with regards to non-proliferation"
Perhaps because Kerry has already stated he would not go to war until we were actually attacked. As this debate has rightly shown, Iran doesnt need to attack us with the nukes to cause a massive disaster for the West. Just their posession allows them to carry out their nasty agenda without fear of retribution much like the Soviets did for years, but with the jihadi twist. The Soviets at least werent looking to martyr themselves. We need to be willing to use _force_ to stop Iran, because nothing else is going to work and we are wasting time pretending it will.posted by: Mark Buehner on 08.11.04 at 03:12 AM [permalink]
There are alternatives to naked force and threats of force.
It seems to me that it would be a better thing to de-claw” potential nuclear (and non-nuclear) threats by diplomatic and economic engagement rather than by invasion, occupation, or nuclear annihilation (as you seem to suggest), if that is at all possible. There are exceptions like AQ, of course. The invasion of Afghanistan was supported by almost everyone, as it was as direct an attack as is possible on AQ. Unlike Iraq, we still have western European and NATO support in Afghanistan. It was perhaps a necessary occupation – and maybe, just maybe, we could have turned it into an example of the benefits of modernization and the modern economic model with respect for Islam and Islamic culture. Unfortunately, too few resources seem to have been allocated and Afghanistan seems to be reverting to a feudal culture of warlords and strongmen with a “democratic” veneer. It seems we turned our attention elsewhere before we truly killed the beast. AQ is not dead – it seems to have morphed into a more decentralized organization. We have merely wounded it – not killed it – and we have widened its base of support.
Iraq was most certainly NOT a direct attack on AQ. It seems to me that our invasion and occupation of Iraq has not deterred AQ but has instead supported radical Islam’s claim we have embarked as a nation in a war against their entire culture. If a large portion of the American people and our allies don’t see how attacking Iraq helped us in the “War on Terror” against AQ, how on earth can we expect Islamic people to see any connection?
(As an aside, I don’t think anyone expects the Europeans to “bail us out” in Iraq if Kerry becomes president. We made this mess, and it’s going to be our responsibility to clean it up. Can any one honestly say that Kerry would get LESS cooperation from the Europeans (and others) in this effort than the current President? Its still going to be our job, but I suspect it would be an easier one.)
In the long run, I think it’s inevitable that we will “win” this war. Our economic system and popular culture are dominating the world. There is no longer any center of power in the world that is not becoming inextricably tied to the US economy to support its own development and prosperity. Care to count how many US treasury notes the Chinese hold? The only thing we need to do is NOT BLOW IT by pushing too hard or too fast on the “rogue” states that are not yet part of the world economic system that we dominate. WTO is our baby! Let it do its work.
Lets take your example of Iran - US occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan, US “allies” in Pakistan, and across the Persian Gulf, and US “initiatives” along the northern border. Moreover, our culture “invades“ Iran (and all of the Islamic world) through the Internet, television, and worldwide communication. (Al Jazeera is our tool – not our enemy). We are surprised that they might be a little paranoid? When someone is trying to kill you, paranoia is good sense.
The Iranians and NK are inside a box and I suspect they know it. The leadership will die out if we can keep them from attacking us and thus destroying themselves through our reaction. All we need to do is keep them from getting nukes – we don’t need to “drain the swamp” through invasion and occupation. Wd just need to let our cultural “pollutants”, if you will, lead to the extinction of the bad actors.
President Bush, and the right, seems to think that the only way to win this war is to use the “stick” of military force. How about the “poison” of economic interdependence and cultural imperialism? Instead of threatening them, why don’t we “outsource” to them?
Visualize, if you will, the nuclear proliferation story as the lead on CNN.
1. Talking reporter standing in a field. Rusty barbed wire in the distance. Introduction to the problem.
2. Flash to reporter, trying to get closer. Indignant Russian police stick hand in front of camera.
3. Reporter again, with a big thick report;
4. Academic, standing in front of any Ivy League common, trying to stuff an hours worth of analysis into a 20-second sound bite.
5. Opposing viewpoint, by concerned, softly dressed Condi Rice (she gets 20-seconds, but uses her time more effectively because she has less to say);
6. Conclusion by reporter, back in front of barbed wire fence.
As important a story as this may be, it is visually a stinker, and probably pretty dry to listen to. No whoosh, no swoop, no interesting human conflict. It'd make a lousy movie (notice how badly Sum of All Fears did at the box office?).
So CNN doesn't cover. They need to interest people so they get ratings. Boring stories of great importance just do not cut it.
I think when folks on both side complain about news coverage on the networks, they need to bear in mind that the most important bias is the bias towards flashy stories that attract viewers and ratings. If you have an issue that does not make a good Hollywood movie, don't look for a lot of attention.posted by: Appalled Moderate on 08.11.04 at 03:12 AM [permalink]
“It seems to me that it would be a better thing to de-claw” potential nuclear (and non-nuclear) threats by diplomatic and economic engagement rather than by invasion, occupation, or nuclear annihilation (as you seem to suggest), if that is at all possible”
“President Bush, and the right, seems to think that the only way to win this war is to use the “stick” of military force. How about the “poison” of economic interdependence and cultural imperialism? Instead of threatening them, why don’t we “outsource” to them?”
Conservatives have never advocated an either/or situation. You need to do both. The problem with John Kerry is that he possesses a long established track record for appeasing our enemies. He has zero evidence of knowing what to do when push comes to shove. Joshua Muravchik has this to say about Kerry’s wimpy behavior during the Cold War:
“Many leaders had a hand in Washington's Cold War triumph, but Ronald Reagan's contributions were pivotal, and Kerry opposed every one of them. Reagan's defense buildup disabused Soviet leaders of any hope that they could ultimately come out ahead of the United States. Kerry derided these military expenditures as "bloated" and "without any relevancy to the threat." In particular, Reagan's plan to seek a missile defense system against Soviet ICBMs and NATO's decision to station new missiles in Europe to counteract the new Soviet deployment there rendered futile the Kremlin's vast investment in nuclear supremacy. Instead of these measures, Kerry advocated that we adopt a one-sided "nuclear freeze."”posted by: David Thomson on 08.11.04 at 03:12 AM [permalink]
“I think when folks on both side complain about news coverage on the networks, they need to bear in mind that the most important bias is the bias towards flashy stories that attract viewers and ratings.”
Nope, the hard data overwhelmingly prove that liberals dominate the major media. The vast majority support John Kerry. This is not an invention of Karl Rove’s fertile imagination. Moreover, these same liberals will sacrifice ratings and profits to push their agenda. The TV networks and large newspapers have been losing large shares of their audience for the last twenty years.posted by: David Thomson on 08.11.04 at 03:12 AM [permalink]
"It seems to me that it would be a better thing to de-claw” potential nuclear (and non-nuclear) threats by diplomatic and economic engagement rather than by invasion, occupation, or nuclear annihilation (as you seem to suggest), if that is at all possible. "
Of course it would be better! The question is is that a realistic option with the clock ticking. Every Iranian move is by the North Korean playbook, bullshit the UN and keep pretending to be open to negotiation until you manage to sneak a nuclear weapon into your arensenal. How is this a surprise? What is the gameplan here? Is it realistic to assume the EU is willing to impose an embargo? Is it realistic to assume that the Mullahs would care? Is it realistic to assume there is anything more important to them than nuclear weapons that we might use as a bargaining chip? Those are the questions, if you dont get good answers you should stop pretending the options they represent are meaningful, instead of a waste of crucial time. The day Iran has a nuke the game ends, and we have no clue how much time is on that clock.
"The Iranians and NK are inside a box and I suspect they know it"
"How about the “poison” of economic interdependence and cultural imperialism? Instead of threatening them, why don’t we “outsource” to them?"
Toast, you simply arent getting the nature of these regimes. They arent interested in the carrots you assume would interest them, that is the downfall of negotiation. Their leadership dont _want_ them to be progressive, peaceful, successful countries. Hence incentives rational people present them are of no value except to string us along. Hitler wasnt interested in breathing space and Iran isnt interested in nuclear energy. Assuming these people are on the level and want peace and prosperity is the trap.posted by: Mark Buehner on 08.11.04 at 03:12 AM [permalink]
Mark, I was wondering if someone would take my comment out of context, quoting only the part after the "but", but leaving out the first part:
I think we should definitely try very hard to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons, but I don't think it would be nearly as bad for Iran to have them as for Al Qaeda to get hold of some unprotected Russian nukes.
So, you see, I was saying that we should try really hard to prevent X, but we should try even harder to prevent Y, which is arguably a goal far easier to achieve.
You asked a question that is bizarre in this context:
Can you guarantee the seperation? We all know the consequences of being wrong.
We all know the consequences of being wrong about the safe-keeping of the Russian nukes, don't we? So what are you saying here? That it is utterly irresponsible for the administration to not do much about them? I guess we agree then...
I'd also like to point out that:
1. Iran's development of nuclear weapons is a theoretical future event, whereas Russian nuclear weapons exist today.
2. If anything, Iran is likely to develop a handful of comparatively very small nuclear weapons, whereas Russia has a vast arsenal of very big nuclear weapons.
3. If one of Iran's few hypothetical future weapons got out, there would hardly be a way for the Iranian government to deny responsibility (well, they'd do it, but they'd be laughed at). Consequently, they would have to fear nuclear retaliation. On the other hand, Russia's many nuclear weapons are kept in so many places that one could hardly blame the Russian government for losing track of a few of them. (And even if we could, would we want to blame them?)
Once again, I'm not saying we should just stand by and do nothing while Iran is developing nuclear weapons. But it is simply irrational to call for drastic measures against Iran while at the same time paying very little attention to a clearer and more immediate danger that the many, many Russian nukes pose today.
How liberal are the major media? Here is what RUBEN NAVARRETTE of The Dallas Morning News has to say about this danger to our democracy:
“Remember, these are journalists we're talking about. With the exception of opinion writers, journalists are supposed to be objective, impartial and fair. Their job is to be referees, not cheerleaders for one team or another. At least that's the way it is supposed to work. I constantly read stories by reporters assigned to the national desks of the nation's top newspapers, and the anti-Bush bias is palpable. A recent survey by the Pew Research Center confirms that a higher percentage of media professionals describe themselves as liberal than does the general population.
That finding was probably not lost on President Bush, who spoke the next day. Some of the journalists stood when Bush entered the room, but nowhere near as many as had stood for Kerry. Throughout Bush's prepared remarks – which touched on both domestic and national security issues – there was only a smattering of applause from around the hall.”posted by: David Thomson on 08.11.04 at 03:12 AM [permalink]
"1. Iran's development of nuclear weapons is a theoretical future event, whereas Russian nuclear weapons exist today"
No, Iranian development is a very real, current event that could conclude at any moment, and we clearly dont have the intelligence apparatus to tell us when that day will come. Soviet nuclear weapons is an issue that has existed since 1992 and involve a host of complexities. We cant drop an airborn division to protect Russian nuclear sites.
"If one of Iran's few hypothetical future weapons got out, there would hardly be a way for the Iranian government to deny responsibility (well, they'd do it, but they'd be laughed at). Consequently, they would have to fear nuclear retaliation"
Both those assumptions are dangerously flawed. A nuclear weapon could come from a variety of sources, as we well know now, and you are assuming this is a rational, deterable enemy when all of their action and rhetoric indicated this is a fundamentalist religious struggle with suicide attacks a fundamental weapon in it.
"But it is simply irrational to call for drastic measures against Iran while at the same time paying very little attention to a clearer and more immediate danger that the many, many Russian nukes pose today."
I honestly dont know enough about the current Russian nuke situation to judge, but I do know that what you are saying is in fact the opposite of reality, rogue Russian nukes is a potential threat while Iranian development of nukes is imminant. If we do nothing it will absolutely happen. If we do nothing in Russia we dont know, but the fact that the last 10 years it doesnt seem to have happened is some small solace. I agree both are threats. Iran is the more imminant threat, and the one we have the resources on hand to confront. We cant contral a nuclear armed Russia, which is a good example of why a nuclear armed Iran is intolerable.
"I think we should definitely try very hard to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons, but I don't think it would be nearly as bad for Iran to have them as for Al Qaeda to get hold of some unprotected Russian nukes."
I fail to appreciate the distinction. Both the Mullahs of Iran and Al Quaeda are equally dangerous. No, you are engaging in a false dichotomy. On top of that, we can't take you seriously. A John Kerry supporter is not a serious person when it comes to national defense. There is no way that a rational person can back the Massachusetts senator, a well established appeaser.posted by: David Thomson on 08.11.04 at 03:12 AM [permalink]
Couldn't bring myself to plow thru all those ad hominem comments, so maybe somebody mentioned thia already, but even if the CTRP is being grossly underemphasized, that is not evidence that other nuclear antiproliferation efforts are being ignored. Didn't I read recently that a little-known program called the Proliferation Security Initiative had actually achieved some remarkable results? Like an effective multinational blockade of North Korea, which resulted in an intercept of a large shipment of nuclear equipment to Libya? Shortly after which Qadafi packed it in?
I'm not saying the Bush Admin has done everything it could or should have in this regard. All I'm saying is, just because we don't know about it doesn't mean it's not happening.posted by: George on 08.11.04 at 03:12 AM [permalink]
The folks like Fareed Zakaria and the Council of Foreign Relations obsessing about ex-Soviet nukes and fissile material have not really read up on the real Soviet nuclear weapons program really entailed. For example, there have been reports of Iran obtaining a pair of ex-Soviet nukes from Kazakakstan. Whether the Iranians have them or not is subject to debate. The one thing that is certain is that _those devices are not functional._
According to Steven Zaloga’s “Target America: The Soviet Union and the Strategic Arms Race, 1945-1964” (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0891414002/qid=1092238939/sr=1-2/ref=sr_1_2/102-5713680-3158557?v=glance&s=books) the Soviets did not build and maintain nukes as America did for long term, reliable, service life with hordes of highly trained technicians.
The funding to the Soviet nuclear cities was cut off in 1989. Those Kazak devices Iran reportedly has would at best produce a sub-critical event with lots of nasty highly radioactive, short half life, nuclear waste rather than an explosion. The same would be true of any ex-Soviet nuke built prior to 1989. The Russian throw weight of nuclear weapons consists solely of weapons they have produced after the fall of the Soviet Union. Given what is known of Russian state financing of the ex-Soviet nuclear cities since 1989, Russia probably has a real nuclear warhead arsenal not much larger than France’s.
BTW, this also makes surplus ex-Soviet devices without nuclear material a low threat. Nuclear devices are optimized to use a specific blend of nuclear material. Third world countries like Iran want something they can afford to keep a small number of weapons available for the long term – i.e. they are following the Chinese nuclear weapons development model. They have access to western high purity fissile material production processes and a Chinese bomb design via A. Q. Khan adapted to take the kind of fuel.
This is something Fareed Zakaria does not want to go near. The only way to prevent like Iran from getting nukes is regime change via an American ground invasion
Zakaria also does not want to address the problem of irrational Middle Eastern cultures with huge unearned income streams. As long as those huge unearned income streams exist, so will the problem of nuclear proliferation. Russia, Pakistan and North Korea would have no customers if the Middle Eastern oil states didn’t have oil.
For America to be safe, America must control what those income streams are spent on.
“This is something Fareed Zakaria does not want to go near. The only way to prevent like Iran from getting nukes is regime change via an American ground invasion.”
Fareed Zakaria does not want to go near? Heck, the appeaser John Kerry would crap in his pants! Only the Bush administration might act before it was too late. George W. Bush has proven himself by ordering the Iraq invasion after the Turkish government left him high and dry. This took tremendous courage and has cost the President dearly. Kerry is almost certain to do nothing at all---except suck up to the French and Germans.
Zakaria is a smart dude, but unfortunately he has a bad case of the “Harvard cool.” He often says dumb things. I suspect that he’s worried that the liberal Harvard faculty will no longer invite him to their white wine and brie cheese parties. Oh gosh, can you imagine the horror?posted by: David Thomson on 08.11.04 at 03:12 AM [permalink]
"[T]he acceleration of North Korea’s and Iran’s nuclear efforts that the war also brought about," is certainly as much of a post hoc ergo propter hoc as the Libya situation, likely more so. Both were quite obviously feverishly developing nuclear weapons before the war, as any evaluation of the evidence shows.
You can hardly set aside Libya, claiming that it might have made concilatory moves even before the war, while bringing the DPRK and Iran into the picture, when both had very active programs before the war. (And data obtained from Libya has only bolstered this assertion.)posted by: John Thacker on 08.11.04 at 03:12 AM [permalink]
I think there is tendency to underestimate the seriousness of the threat
This source, www.memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=IA18104 , talks about
"In response to increasing international pressure on Iran on the matter
Statements by Dr. Hassan Abasi, theoretician of Revolutionary Guards intelligence,
On re-reading Siddharth's words again I realize that in reacting to one part of his
Also when I wrote this:
"It sounds like your parents are from India and that you were raised in
It was not my intent to assert that Siddharth lacked affinity for americans.
There seem to be a number of things going wrong in this thread. I would suggest, first of all, that you read the novel War Day by Whitley Strieber and James Kunetka which is a novel by at least one writer that I do not trust. But they have made some interesting suggestions about the effects of a 10 megaton air burst over New York's communication centers.
Secondly, it seems to me that the rest of you posters waste far more time responding to David Thompson's posts than you should. Don't encourage him. I have seen in other posts that despite all his citations, etc., he does not do his homework.
Third, I think the political battles in this post are just out of place. The question is how do we put pressure on the federal agencies to act? If you have read the Report of the 9/11 Commission, you might realize that even if the President wants something done, the bureaucracy can get in his way.
And to, in a sense, break my own comment up above, it is evident to me, someone who lived through the 1960s supporting the Vietnamese effort, that it is the lies that come out of the Bush Administration that upset us, nothing else. It is the way that he promotes his policies that is the problem, not the man.posted by: chuck rightmire on 08.11.04 at 03:12 AM [permalink]
If we want nonproliferation, persuade the world that nukes are white elephants. Expensive and useless.
Is it true? They're expensive. Are they useless? Has our implicit threat to use nuclear weapons made us more secure?
Oh, yes. What if we said we were getting rid of them and we actually kept 10 or 100 "just in case". If we kept them completely secret, we couldn't threaten anybody with them. So they wouldn't affect anybody unless we actually used them, which we haven't done in nearly 60 years.
Nuclear weapons really *are* white elephants. For a long time we did a scam on the rest of the world that way, we persuaded them that nukes were important. We got some of our enemies to cower because they didn't have nukes, and others practically bankrupted themselves trying to get nukes.
But nukes are cheaper now, so the scam doesn't work as well. Time to admit the scam and fold it up.
I just found this on Front Page.com. Read and weep:
“Now, as the urgency of dealing with Iran intensifies, the administration finds itself weakened by the relentless propaganda assault on its tough-minded tack in Iraq. The Left’s attacks have rendered President Bush unable to respond militarily to Islamic nuclear aggression, should he need to do so. Thus, while Democrats like Robert Byrd accuse the Bush administration of basing the Iraq war on “a house of cards, built on deceit,” Iran diligently develops its nuclear program. If the Democratic Party has repeatedly failed to prove that the Bush administration lied about Iraq, they can nevertheless claim credit for this dubious achievement. In their burning desire to discredit the Iraq War effort for crass and fleeting political advantage, they have given the mullahs their best hope of realizing their nuclear dreams.”posted by: David Thomson on 08.11.04 at 03:12 AM [permalink]
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