Iran not a “serious threat”?

posted at 9:15 am on May 19, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Barack Obama gave an interesting description of Iran and the threat it poses to the United States and our national interests at an appearance in Oregon last night. “They don’t pose a serious threat to us in the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us,” Obama told a cheering audience, explaining why he doesn’t think we need to worry about “tiny” countries like Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, and Iran. Obama also displays a weird sense of history when he suggests that the Berlin Wall fell because we engaged Mikhail Gorbachev:

Wow. Where to begin with this silliness?

Let’s start with the Soviet Union. We talked with the Soviet Union because they also had nuclear weapons. Obama seems to forget that the entire point of our Iran policy is to prevent being put in the position of having to cut deals with a terrorist-supporting, radical Islamist non-rational state. When the enemy already has the capability of destroying you several times over, negotiations are needed to keep one side from initiating a war. Only an idiot would think that the negotiations intended on disarming the Soviets, or they us. The same dynamic applies to our engagement with Mao Zedong and Red China; Mao was smart enough to hold himself out as a potential partner in a power balance against the Soviets.

The Soviet Union collapsed economically; they did not just decide to capitulate. The Berlin Wall did not fall as a result of negotiations, but because the regime propping it up ceased to exist. Why did the Soviet Union collapse? Because Ronald Reagan won an economic war with Moscow, forcing it to spend more and more and falling further and further behind. The Strategic Defense Initiative provided the coup de grace to the Soviets, who knew they could never match us in missile defense, and tried negotiating an end to the economic war instead, with disastrous results.

That would be the same SDI that Democrats staunchly opposed, sneeringly called “Star Wars” and proclaiming it a threat to peaceful coexistence. They wanted a decades-long series of summits instead of the end of communism, which sounds strikingly familiar in Obama’s speech. Reagan had to fight the Democrats to beat the Soviets, not through presidential-level diplomacy but through economic isolation and military strength.

Listen to Obama talk about the “common interests” supposedly shared between the US and the Iranian mullahcracy. What interests would those be? The destruction of Israel, the denial of the Holocaust, the financial and military support of Hamas and Hezbollah, or the killing of American soldiers in Iraq? And please point out the presidential-level, unconditional contacts that brought down the Berlin Wall. Our “common interests” didn’t exist between the East German and American governments; they existed between the people of East Germany and America in the promise of real freedom. When the Soviet power structure imploded, it was the people of East Germany who tore down the wall, not Mikhail Gorbachev, who watched it happen impotently.

Furthermore, the danger in Iranian nuclear weapons has nothing to do with the capacity of its Shahab-3 ballistic missiles. Iran’s sponsorship of terrorist organizations will allow them to partner with any small group of lunatics who want to smuggle a nuclear weapon into any Western city — London, Rome, Washington DC, Los Angeles, take your pick. That’s the problem with nuclear proliferation; it doesn’t take a large army to threaten annihilation any longer, which is why we work so hard to keep those weapons out of the hands of non-rational actors like Iran. The Soviets may have been evil, but they were rational, and we could count on their desire to survive to rely on the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction. The Iranians believe that a worldwide conflagration will have Allah deliver the world to Islam, so a nuclear exchange may fall within their policy, and that’s assuming we could establish their culpability for a sneak nuclear attack to the extent where a President Obama would order a nuclear reprisal.

This speech reveals Obama to have no grasp of history, no grasp of strategic implications of a nuclear Iran, and no clue how to secure the nation and handle foreign policy.

Update: Obama suggests that Iran isn’t a real threat because they only spend “1/100th” of what we spend on defense. Not only does that make it sound like the US is a much greater threat to world peace, but it ignores the entire issue of asymmetrical warfare. How much does al-Qaeda spend on its attacks? A lot less than Iran, I’d suspect. Does that make AQ a much lower threat? If so, shouldn’t we be bombing Iran in the next five minutes or so?


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Red Pill, thanks
I used the link bar above-so it should not have done that–
I’m getting used to Vista, so I’m having strange things happen; such as having my entire text vanish before I can post it. I’ve been typing in a word doc first to prevent another loss.

Ragnell on May 19, 2008 at 11:54 AM

How does he get 75,000 people to a rally?

bnelson44 on May 19, 2008 at 12:00 PM

Ragnell, come join us penguins!

DrSteve on May 19, 2008 at 12:03 PM

How does he get 75,000 people to a rally?

bnelson44 on May 19, 2008 at 12:00 PM

Willfull ignorance.

shick on May 19, 2008 at 12:05 PM

Does that make AQ a much lower threat?

Sure, but both are really low in terms of the actual damage they can do, and neither is deserving of total war. AQ is different in that they have actually attacked us, and Iran has not.

Mark Jaquith on May 19, 2008 at 12:08 PM

So now the threat to our nation is based on square miles or population?
Interesting theory.

right2bright on May 19, 2008 at 12:13 PM

Isn’t it an article of faith on the Left that al-Qaeda, starting from scratch, built a nationwide insurgent movement overnight, beginning the day after American troops occupied Baghdad? But the same people want us to think Iran, with billions of dollars and the resources of an advanced nation-state at its disposal, is utterly harmless?

The Left has a fever-dream concept of the Islamic fascist: sometimes they’re invincible supermen with unbreakable morale and limitless resources, sometimes they’re misguided children victimized by sinister corporate and political interests in the West. The finest soldiers the world has ever seen are frightened boys who must be rescued from their own folly by the Democrats, before the invisible predators of Iraq slit their throats, but the exact same militant Islamist ideology becomes perfectly harmless when you give it a few billion dollars’ worth of military hardware and a few nuclear warheads.

It reminds me of a teenage girl with a crush on a bad-boy hoodlum. The romance of the insurgent terrorist makes the Left swoon over them, but as soon as you wrap them in the mantle of a “legitimate nation,” the rigid liberal rules of U.N.-style foreign policy kick in, and they become a minor problem for the foreign service bureaucracy to solve.

Doctor Zero on May 19, 2008 at 12:17 PM

Obama’s comments are stunningly short sighted. Iran may not have an arsenal of nuclear missles aimed at our major cities but they do have a lot of money and an army of footsoldiers willing to sacrifice everything to cause any amount of damage they possibly can. What’s worse? An enemy sitting in a bunker with a big red button they’re too afraid to push because they know there’s someone over here in a bunker with a big red button they’re too afraid to push; or an enemy who straps a bomb onto a child’s chest and sends them into a crowded market?

Lines of communication should always be kept open, but Obama’s foreign policy is ignorant and dangerous.

jasnell on May 19, 2008 at 12:17 PM

How does he get 75,000 people to a rally?

bnelson44 on May 19, 2008 at 12:00 PM

Remember what part of the county he was in: every Communist within ten blocks attended.

Akzed on May 19, 2008 at 12:18 PM

So now the threat to our nation is based on square miles or population?
Interesting theory.

right2bright on May 19, 2008 at 12:13 PM

Using Beebops criteria, Canada is a serious threat.

And Brazil, don’t overlook Brazil.

fogw on May 19, 2008 at 12:19 PM

DRSteve,
I’m giving it serious consideration. I HATE Vista

Sorry to divert from the main conversation–
another great historical post Ed.

I still suspect that Obama may not be merely ignorant of history–but may be a radical Trojan horse.

He’s a very clever con man; extraordinarily gifted at wielding propaganda and weaving a false vision of the past.

Unfortunately too many people have never learned about the past.

rags

Ragnell on May 19, 2008 at 12:19 PM

Just a thought about Reagan and the Soviets–

I wonder if the Chinese watched what happened to Russia’s economic collaspe, and are attempting to do the same thing to the USA ?

rags

Ragnell on May 19, 2008 at 12:22 PM

Too small to hurt us? Has he not been paying attention for the last 15 years?

That’s because he’s been sitting in the pew listening to Rev. Wright.

Kini on May 19, 2008 at 12:25 PM

Ragnell on May 19, 2008 at 12:19 PM

My old XP desktop computer sorta burned up (ok, I’m gonna keep the airholes unclogged from now on), so we have Vista. No problems at all. The trick is to rarely use it, and only for a few minutes at that. Don’t try any fancy schmancy stuff. Works great:)

JiangxiDad on May 19, 2008 at 12:27 PM

Obama is an example of what an Ivy League education looks like these days, producing what Rush calls “a glittering jewel of colossal ignorance”.

Buy Danish on May 19, 2008 at 10:10 AM

I prefer ‘a turd in a rock tumbler.’

James on May 19, 2008 at 12:27 PM

Ragnell on May 19, 2008 at 11:54 AM

General Commenting Help…

If you have text selected and you click one of the buttons (strong, emphasis, link, quote, strike), that will wrap your selected text with the beginning and end tags.

If, however, you don’t have any text selected and you click one of the buttons, only the start tag will be inserted at your cursor, and it’s up to you to click the button again to close the tag after you’ve typed (or pasted) the text you want.

I suspect that you had no text selected when you clicked the “link” button, and never closed the “link” tag, so everything from that point down was considered the text of the link…

Red Pill on May 19, 2008 at 12:30 PM

Ragnell on May 19, 2008 at 12:22 PM

That is a very real threat.

How many items you use each day are “Made in China”?

China is stealing our military secrets.

China is building a huge naval base with a secret submarine base inside a mountain. The base is very close to deep water, so it is exceptionally difficult to track the subs going in and out and to know how many subs they have in there.

The Clintons are cozy with the Chinese.

I happen to think that Hillary is China’s candidate, and Obama and McCain are the (Russian/Socialist Europe) candidates.

It’s not just Obama who’s scary…

Red Pill on May 19, 2008 at 12:36 PM

George Soros has been giving money to John McCain since 2001.

Need I remind you that Soros also gives money to McCain?

Red Pill on April 17, 2008 at 1:17 PM

This website says McCain takes money from a lot of libs.

This one more directly implicates McCain of working with Soros.

JiangxiDad on April 17, 2008 at 1:24 PM

Red Pill on May 19, 2008 at 12:49 PM

Somebody tell Obama-moron, that with the US Marines and others they killed by proxy in Lebanon in 1983, plus the Americans they’ve helped kill in Iraq over the past five years, the fact is, they’ve killed MORE American Servicemen and women than the old Soviet Union EVER did!

Put that in your inexperienced, wannabee crack-pipe and smoke, Obama-moron!

Dale in Atlanta on May 19, 2008 at 12:51 PM

I’m giving it serious consideration. I HATE Vista

Ragnell on May 19, 2008 at 12:19 PM

Or you could go for the only Mac worth considering (OSX) :)

OldEnglish on May 19, 2008 at 12:52 PM

I suspect Jummi Carter is whispering in Obama’s ear.

Kini on May 19, 2008 at 12:53 PM

Lines of communication should always be kept open, but Obama’s foreign policy is ignorant and dangerous.

jasnell on May 19, 2008 at 12:17 PM

There is always ways of communicating with nations where we have no diplomatic relations. We talk to Cuba, for example, through third-parties. It is always possible to get the “message” out. Obama’s crushing stupidity is that he would reward Iran’s government with credibility by talking to them directly.

highhopes on May 19, 2008 at 12:54 PM

we have Vista. No problems at all. The trick is to rarely use it, and only for a few minutes at that. JiangxiDad on May 19, 2008 at 12:27 PM

*Snicker*

Ragnell on May 19, 2008 at 12:57 PM

How does he get 75,000 people to a rally?
bnelson44 on May 19, 2008 at 12:00 PM

It’s Portland! The Rose [colored glasses] City.

eeyore on May 19, 2008 at 1:14 PM

He misses one of the basic keys of Threat Assesment.

ANY group which threatens you needs two key components… one if the ABILITY to be a threat… but the Second, and equaly important is the will be follow through on the threat.

Soviet Union KNEW it was the end of the world if they started a Nuc War… Iran knows that they MAY take damage… and only if they can’t use plausible deniability to circumvent a counterstrike.

Scenario… Iran creates nuclear weapons, and then… puts out a story that a few have been “stolen” by Jihadists… and they don’t know where they are… a month later a Nuc, which was on an unsearched mechant ship goes off in New York Harbor (unsearched because it has not docked yet)…. Nuc was sheilded by a large amount of cement… or other material in the hold…

Iran, while snickering up their sleeve… condemns the brutal act, while also saying “see? thats what ya get for tickin off Allah..”

In that situation, would there be a nuclear response to Iran? I don’t think so.

Romeo13 on May 19, 2008 at 1:15 PM

I’m afraid Obambi is one of those people who actually has to see the destruction of a major city or country nuked by Iran before he actually sees the danger.

moonsbreath on May 19, 2008 at 1:17 PM

This is just the updated John Edwards “the war on terror is just a bumper sticker”. Hundreds of millions, here and abroad, firmly believe every statement he made. Soros with his millions and countless other groups still consider terrorism as a criminal affair and to be treated as such in the courts. That’s why the Guantanamo detainees just freak them out. Also to be remembered at his church only the US is a terror state. So why not talk to Iran.

I imagine his handlers are prompting him to make what appear these outrageous statements to bait McCain to reply so they can then portray McCain as a warmonger akin to Bush.

If there’s going to be truth to a 12th Iman crawling out of a well(hehehaha) I would imagine he’d be like Obama. Very smooth and likable but shuck and jive nonetheless.

patrick neid on May 19, 2008 at 1:19 PM

Listening to Obamoron. It is not Bush policy that has emboldened Iran. What has emboldened Iran is the fact that leftists have waged a war against Bush instead of against Islamic fanactics. Nice going, guys.

Connie on May 19, 2008 at 1:22 PM

Unfortunately, the main question is whether, in November, 49% of people have this same vacuous view of the world’s dangers, or 51%.

eeyore on May 19, 2008 at 1:24 PM

eeyore on May 19, 2008 at 1:24 PM

Its worse than that… its 30% and 31%…. remember only about 60% of the electorate votes if theres a big turnout…

Romeo13 on May 19, 2008 at 1:37 PM

Sure, but both are really low in terms of the actual damage they can do, and neither is deserving of total war. AQ is different in that they have actually attacked us, and Iran has not.
Mark Jaquith on May 19, 2008 at 12:08 PM

Welcome back to Earth, Able Spaceman Jaquith. While you were away, there was a devastating attack on the World Trade Center that killed 3000 innocent Americans. I realize your NASA debriefing probably didn’t allow enough time to review this event, since it happened seven long years ago, but you might want to look it up on the Internet. That way, you won’t make insanely stupid comments about how low the damage potential of al-Qaeda is.

This kind of arrant nonsense is exactly why no Democrat can be allowed anywhere near the Oval Office for the next generation. I don’t think this guy is a “troll” in the classic sense – he really believes 3000 dead Americans, skyscrapers collapsed in the middle of our largest city, a hole blown in the side of the Pentagon, and a near-miss at the Capitol is minor damage, nothing to get upset about – to use his EXACT WORDS, “not deserving of total war.” I have no doubt Barack Obama feels exactly the same way. What does al-Qaeda deserve, shy of “total war?” Partial war? Punitive airstrikes? Targeted bombing to send carefully calibrated messages to the high command? Diplomatic sanctions? God save the human race from liberals having ANY control over the military, anywhere, ever.

And Iran arming and training fighters to kill American soldiers in Iraq? That’s not “attacking us.” Tell us, Mr. Jaquith, what would you consider a “high-level” threat? The aliens from Independence Day? Exactly how many innocent Americans have to die before a Democrat will take military action? Is there a precise number you have calculated, and is there a multiplier for American soldiers – say, 1000 uniformed servicemen equals 1 Democrat voter? Be honest with us, Sun Tzu. If the Quds Force had issued its Iraq terror proxies actual Iranian army uniforms, you still wouldn’t think Iran had ever attacked us, would you?

Any enemy of the United States need only look at Democrat rhetoric to see they believe, to quote from Black Hawk Down, that “killing is negotiation.” I get the feeling most Democrats view the entire subject of warfare through what little they know about World War II, the only foreign war they’re pretty sure they support. Since there’s no chance this will end with Iranian commandos airdropping over high schools in Des Moines and giving us Red Dawn 2: Wolverines of the Prophet, they’re a “low level threat” that can be ignored. I remember the frigging geniuses of the Clinton Administration sitting around, watching the U.S.S. Cole take on water, and reassuring themselves it was a “low level threat” that deserved an F.B.I. investigation. That’s exactly the kind of thinking that gets Americans killed. The animals on the other side of this war want nothing more than to see a U.S. President calling them a “low level threat” that “hasn’t really attacked us.” That’s the kind of man they can do business with – the kind of man who might just respond to a few thousand more dead with negotiations and capitulation, the kind of man who thinks terrorists are invisible, intangible, and unbeatable, and with no one to press diplomatic sanctions or massage with targeted bombing campaigns, there’s really no option but appeasement, is there?

You know what the big difference between Bush and the Democrats is? Seven years later, the Democrats are STILL reading “My Pet Goat.”

Doctor Zero on May 19, 2008 at 1:51 PM

Doctor,

After California’s recent decision they have moved on to sleeping with the pet goat.

patrick neid on May 19, 2008 at 2:10 PM

Doctor,

After California’s recent decision they have moved on to sleeping with the pet goat.

patrick neid on May 19, 2008 at 2:10 PM

LOL, good one.

Doctor Zero on May 19, 2008 at 2:25 PM

How does he get 75,000 people to a rally?

bnelson44 on May 19, 2008 at 12:00 PM

The same way Adolph Hitler did:

The True Believer.

MrLynn on May 19, 2008 at 3:01 PM

No time to post, gotta go dig that fall-out shelter.

ThePrez on May 19, 2008 at 4:26 PM

How does he get 75,000 people to a rally?
bnelson44 on May 19, 2008 at 12:00 PM
The same way Adolph Hitler did:
The True Believer.
MrLynn on May 19, 2008 at 3:01 PM

Oh, you mean like this?

Send_Me on May 19, 2008 at 8:08 PM

MrLynn on May 19, 2008 at 3:01 PM
It is a truism that many who join a rising revolutionary movement are attracted by the prospect of sudden and spectacular change in their conditions…”

Just like a moth to a flickering candle…..

Seven Percent Solution on May 19, 2008 at 9:47 PM

Oh, you mean like this?

Send_Me on May 19, 2008 at 8:08 PM

Yeap…..

Seven Percent Solution on May 19, 2008 at 9:50 PM

Doctor Zero on May 19, 2008 at 1:51 PM

That was an excellent post.

cjs1943 on May 19, 2008 at 10:20 PM

In all seriousness, the problem with most Americans, especially Democrats, is that we have forgotten what pain is. We’ve forgotten the question of what happens when a country loses a war. We’re used to fighting on foreign lands, with no sign of war on our native soil. For an idea of what consequences await the loser of a war, try reading the first few chapters of Gates of Fire. We’re under the delusion that war is nothing more than a spectator sport covered by CNN, Foxnews, USA Today, New York Times, etc. Anyone who has seen war knows how real the stakes are, which begs the question: why do we not require military service of our policy makers, especially those who affect our Armed Services or foreign policy?

Send_Me on May 19, 2008 at 11:18 PM

Scenario:

1) Obama wins in November.

2) On November 30, an Iraqi special forces unit, assisted by Aerican survelliance drones, follows a group of “insurgents” to a training camp inside Iran. They shoot the place up, capture the senior officers, grab a bunch of computers and about a ton of paper, bring it back, and turn it over to the US, which provides copies to the press (domestic, international, and blogosphere) even before it’s translated. Within 72 hours, the complicity of Iran in the Iraq “insurgency” is all over the blogosphere, even leaking past the Great Firewall of China.

What is the first act of an Obama administration?

njcommuter on May 19, 2008 at 11:40 PM

Obama does not understand the terrorist threat and does not need to be anywhere near the White House.

Chakra Hammer on May 19, 2008 at 11:40 PM

In all seriousness, the problem with most Americans, especially Democrats, is that we have forgotten what pain is. We’ve forgotten the question of what happens when a country loses a war. We’re used to fighting on foreign lands, with no sign of war on our native soil. . . . Anyone who has seen war knows how real the stakes are, which begs the question: why do we not require military service of our policy makers, especially those who affect our Armed Services or foreign policy?

Send_Me on May 19, 2008 at 11:18 PM

And for that matter, why not require military service of all citizens—all men, at any rate? It might help stem the tide of feminization and liberal effeteness that permeates our nation today.

MrLynn on May 19, 2008 at 11:44 PM

Barack Obama, on the campaign trail in Washington, claimed: “I mean think about it. Iran, Cuba, Venezuela–these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union. They don’t pose a serious threat to us….”

Obama . . . you narrow minded, dumb ass. Relatively speaking, Japan was a small country on December 7, 1941 (and still is . . . I certainly wouldn’t want to confuse him). This fool is exceedingly dangerous.

rplat on May 20, 2008 at 10:38 AM

How does he get 75,000 people to a rally?
bnelson44 on May 19, 2008 at 12:00 PM…………
Willfull ignorance.
shick on May 19, 2008 at 12:05 PM

.
He had over 35,000 crazed fans in PA, but they didn’t vote for him.

shooter on May 20, 2008 at 10:51 AM

Well, njcommuter, since Obama won’t take office until late January, won’t Bush have to act first in December?

And didn’t Russia partner with terrorist organizations, as well as having nuclear and biological weapons?

jim m on May 20, 2008 at 11:00 AM

George Soros has been giving money to John McCain since 2001.

Need I remind you that Soros also gives money to McCain?

Red Pill on April 17, 2008 at 1:17 PM

This website says McCain takes money from a lot of libs.

This one more directly implicates McCain of working with Soros.

JiangxiDad on April 17, 2008 at 1:24 PM

Red Pill on May 19, 2008 at 12:49 PM

George Soros: I hope he has a kidney failure.

Chaz706 on May 25, 2009 at 2:57 PM

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