Quotes of the day

posted at 9:30 pm on August 14, 2010 by Allahpundit

As Iran and world powers prepare for new nuclear talks, letters from Tehran’s envoys to top international officials suggest little prospect of major progress, with Tehran combative and unlikely to offer any concessions.

Two letters, both written late last month and obtained by The Associated Press, reflect Iran’s apparent determination to continue the nuclear activities that have led to new rounds of U.N., EU, and U.S. sanctions over fears that Tehran might be seeking to develop nuclear arms.

At the same time, world powers preparing to talk to Tehran are unwilling to cede ground on key demands concerning Iran’s uranium enrichment activities, dimming prospects that the new negotiations will ease tensions.

***
Now comes word that Russia will, after a decade-and-a-half of stop-and-go work, finally fuel and start Iran’s nuclear reactor at Bushehr by August 21st. Similar word has come many times before. The Russians are, in the parlance of the region, adept at selling this particular rug over and over. Somehow the carpet never actually changes hands. Could this time be different?

Only Vladimir Putin and his immediate circle really know. It matters because, once fueled and operational, Bushehr will produce plutonium 239, which can be used to make nuclear weapons. The plant is also large, impossible to conceal or move, and relatively easy to destroy from the air. But once it has gone critical, any attempt to do so would risk the release of a radioactive plume that might kill civilians and poison surrounding areas.

This leaves any would-be attacker of Iran’s nuclear sites with a difficult choice.

***
The two prominent dissidents who have spoken up are the unsuccessful presidential candidate in last year’s elections, Mir Hossein Mousavi, and a former speaker of Iran’s parliament, Mehdi Karroubi. They say in a public letter that the tougher sanctions only hurt “the most vulnerable social classes of Iran” and are a boon to the ruling powers

The view of the dissidents is that the sanctions will likely never force Tehran to give up its nuclear ambitions – and some foreign policy experts agree. They argue that sanctions on Cuba and North Korea have not forced those governments to bow to outside pressure.

But the economic sanctions are hurting average Iranians, which runs counter to the international community’s interests, the dissidents add. Beyond that, they say the sanctions have provided the regime with a pretext for cracking down further on the political opposition by equating it with Iran’s foreign “enemies.”

***
Let’s pause here to reiterate the obvious fact that a U.S. attack on Iran might well be an epic disaster. Iran could incite its Shiite allies in Iraq to sow violence and chaos even as tens of thousands of American troops remain in the country. Tehran could also step up support for the Afghan Taliban; in a nightmare scenario, Iran might supply the Taliban with surface-to-air Stinger missiles, the weapon that drove out the Soviets. “The regional security consequences,” Cordesman and Toukan concluded in their latest report, “would be catastrophic.” What’s more, while some Arab regimes might quietly celebrate a blow against their Persian rival, it’s not clear how many ordinary Muslims will see things that way. And any attack might shore up Ahmadinejad’s grip on power, in a rally-round-the-flag effect. The potential effects on the oil market and a recovering world economy are hard to predict. Awful as the effects of a military strike by the U.S. may be, however, there’s plenty of reason to think the fallout from an Israeli attack would be just as treacherous for America. The U.S. can always deny a role in or even knowledge of a strike by Israel. But Iran’s leaders are almost sure to assume the nefarious American-Zionist machine at work anyway. Moreover, the Council on Foreign Relations’s Steven Simon wrote in November, “[R]egardless of perceptions of U.S. complicity in the attack, the United States would probably become embroiled militarily in any Iranian retaliation against Israel or other countries in the region.”

Unintended consequences might also drag America into a fight that someone else started. Consider an Iran war game conducted in December by the Brookings Institution which imagined a unilateral Israeli attack on Iran. Things got nasty fast. Iran unleashed a slew of attacks against Israel, including launching ballistic missiles at Israel’s air bases and its Dimona nuclear facility. Hezbollah and Hamas began new rocket campaigns, drawing Israel back into Lebanon. And Iran began a campaign of international terrorism in Europe designed to undermine Western support for Israel. The game’s American team hoped to stay on the sidelines. But because Iran understood this, Tehran overreached, launching attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, whom Iran’s leaders perceived as having supported the strike. (The game’s Israeli jets had crossed Saudi airspace.) When Iran began to mine the Strait of Hormuz, a key choke point for the global oil trade, it crossed a U.S. “red line.” The game ended with the United States “massively” reinforcing its forces in the region and the prospect of a substantial conventional war between the United States and Iran.

***
I would argue that because Sunni Arabs from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, and Egypt perpetrated the attacks of September 11, 2001, and because Sunni hostility to American and Israeli interests remains a conspicuous problem, the United States should theoretically welcome a strengthened Shiite role in the Middle East, were Iran to go through an even partial political transformation. And demographic, cultural, and other indicators all point to a positive ideological and philosophical shift in Iran in the medium to long term. Given this prognosis, and the high cost and poor chances for success of any military effort to eliminate Iran’s nuclear program, I believe that containment of a nuclear Iran is the most sensible policy for the United States.

The success of containment will depend on a host of regional factors. But its sine qua non will be the ability of the United States to underline any policy toward a nuclear-armed Iran with the credible threat of military action. As Kissinger told me, “I want America to sustain whatever measures it takes about Iran.” As he writes in Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy, “Deterrence … is achieved when one side’s readiness to run risks in relation to the other is high; it is least effective when the willingness to run risks is low, however powerful the military capability.”…

The dreadful prospect of limited nuclear exchanges is inherent in a world no longer protected by the carapace of mutual assured destruction. Yet much as limited war has brought us to grief, our willingness to wage it may one day save us from revolutionary powers that have cleverly obscured their intentions—Iran not least among them.


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Do you think North Korea will seize the moment also?..

Dire Straits on August 15, 2010 at 1:32 AM

Not unless China also feels the need to act militarily in the region (Taiwan)……
…..China has to much to lose and to much invested in the West to let Kim Jong blow things wide open with a 3 day at best suicide mission against S. Korea.

I believe N. Korea is more interested in getting the attention of rogue Nations to buy weapons and nuclear capabilities from them than to engage in the suicide mission of attacking S. Korea.

They are crazy,unpredictable,and possess nuclear capabilities……..
….but they are also broke and lack the resources to make any kind of a real advance on S. Korea.
They would have to make a blitzkrieg attack of artillery,troops and possibly Nuclear (delivery capabilities are still not absolute there) only to be destroyed days later.

I believe China is the key here.

Baxter Greene on August 15, 2010 at 1:44 AM

…Dam# it….
….where’s the “Hope and Change!!!!”

Baxter Greene on August 15, 2010 at 1:30 AM

Once Gen Sore@$$ put Capt Kick@$$ and Sgt Smart@$$ in the WH, hope and change have turned into a pain in our @$$

macncheez on August 15, 2010 at 1:47 AM

Oh, the hope and change wasn’t actually for ordinary people. That was for the Marxists, National Socialists, and Muslims.

sharrukin on August 15, 2010 at 1:33 AM

So that’s why Bill Ayers and the majority of democrats are smiling while Obama tears down the foundation of this country.

Baxter Greene on August 15, 2010 at 1:47 AM

Baxter Greene on August 15, 2010 at 1:44 AM

Excuse my ways here…but why do we let this little fool threaten everyone?

Dire Straits on August 15, 2010 at 1:51 AM

So that’s why Bill Ayers and the majority of democrats are smiling while Obama tears down the foundation of this country.

Baxter Greene on August 15, 2010 at 1:47 AM

He’s not doing it as fast as they want, but… yeah!

sharrukin on August 15, 2010 at 1:51 AM

Once Gen Sore@$$ put Capt Kick@$$ and Sgt Smart@$$ in the WH, hope and change have turned into a pain in our @$$

macncheez on August 15, 2010 at 1:47 AM

Well here’s hoping that we can return that pain in spades starting in November.

Has there ever been a President that took stands and pushed policies that were so unpopular with the American People.

It seems like every time Obama supports an issue or introduces a policy intuitive…….
……you can count on 60% to 70% of the Nation being against it.

Never has this country seen such a disconnect from what the President says to what the President actually does:

…Hey!!!
……..I’ve tanked the economy…..
…………I am a laughing stock internationally….
…………..”Hope and Change” is a total bust……


………….let’s go on another vacation!!!!!!!

Baxter Greene on August 15, 2010 at 1:56 AM

Excuse my ways here…but why do we let this little fool threaten everyone?

Dire Straits on August 15, 2010 at 1:51 AM

I am assuming that first of all….because they have the support of China.

….N. Korea also has nuclear capabilities (delivery capabilities still not 100% certain),which takes dealing with them to a higher level.

They are kind of like a crack head with a 44 mag. in a classroom.Does not have the ability to cause real harm outside his region…..but is crazy enough and capable enough to take a lot of lives in a suicide mission.

Baxter Greene on August 15, 2010 at 2:05 AM

He’s not doing it as fast as they want, but… yeah!

sharrukin on August 15, 2010 at 1:51 AM

That’s scary considering it is already going to take decades to undue the damage he is doing now.

Baxter Greene on August 15, 2010 at 2:07 AM

Baxter Greene on August 15, 2010 at 2:05 AM

Very good analysis.. thanks..:)

Dire Straits on August 15, 2010 at 2:09 AM

Very good analysis.. thanks..:)

Dire Straits on August 15, 2010 at 2:09 AM

….I..I…I…don’t know about “analysis”…it is just my opinion…..

……and according to my wife of 22 years…..

…………it’s disputable what that is worth.

Baxter Greene on August 15, 2010 at 2:19 AM

…Hey!!!
……..I’ve tanked the economy…..
…………I am a laughing stock internationally….…………..
”Hope and Change” is a total bust……

………….let’s go on another vacation!!!!!!!

Baxter Greene on August 15, 2010 at 1:56 AM

Beg to differ
He has made our country a laughing stock internationally
Whatever harm he has done and will continue to do , will be to our country.
He will never do anything that will harm his own interests.
He will weaken our country, but he will always appear as a strong person himself.
He will degrade our country , but he will always appear to be respectable doing it.
He will destroy the foundations of our country, but he will always appear to be adhering to the same founding principals.
He will bankrupt our country, but he will always appear extremely generous doing it.
He will make life difficult for our families, all the while appearing to be a family man.

macncheez on August 15, 2010 at 2:20 AM

Dire Straits on August 15, 2010 at 2:09 AM

..by the way…had a great time posting about music the other night….have listened to nothing but Zeppelin since…..

…..take it easy and have a good weekend.

Baxter Greene on August 15, 2010 at 2:21 AM

Baxter Greene on August 15, 2010 at 2:19 AM

While it maybe disputable I will buy it..:)

Dire Straits on August 15, 2010 at 2:22 AM

Beg to differ
He has made our country a laughing stock internationally
Whatever harm he has done and will continue to do , will be to our country.
He will never do anything that will harm his own interests.

macncheez on August 15, 2010 at 2:20 AM

When you are right,you’re right…..

……and you are exactly right.
Thanks for the upgrade.

Baxter Greene on August 15, 2010 at 2:23 AM

Baxter Greene on August 15, 2010 at 2:21 AM

I enjoyed it also..let’s do it again soon!.:)

Dire Straits on August 15, 2010 at 2:23 AM

While it maybe disputable I will buy it..:)

Dire Straits on August 15, 2010 at 2:22 AM

Well that works out since I have bought plenty of other opinions here including yours.

Thanks…have a good one.

Baxter Greene on August 15, 2010 at 2:25 AM

I enjoyed it also..let’s do it again soon!.:)

Dire Straits on August 15, 2010 at 2:23 AM


count on it
!

Baxter Greene on August 15, 2010 at 2:26 AM

Baxter Greene on August 15, 2010 at 2:23 AM

Seems like dreams of his father will end up giving nightmares to our founding fathers

macncheez on August 15, 2010 at 2:49 AM

The “Chicago Way” rears it’s ugly head again. This is all about “buying” blocks of votes, raking in obscene amounts of international support and campaign cash and the power this support and money brings to those “elected” officials who are the beneficiaries of special interest groups “largesse.” It has nothing to do with principles or world peace. The politics of Chicago has earned this sad city its well deserved place as on of the most corrupt cites in the U.S. and now the same players have infested D.C. and national policies. Their motives for doing the “right” thing have always been lies and scams, wrapped up in packages of lofty ideals and rhetoric. Always. Will there now be a Perseus to stop the Medusa of Chicago?

MayorDaley on August 15, 2010 at 3:14 AM

..but, but, but the Muslim contributions to the world’s scientific, cultural, economic feats are just incalculable. That’s why we MUST bow down and not only acknowledge but put them above everything else, whether it be supporting every whim imaginable. If it’s outer space, Allah be with them every step of the way. If they want to keep up with with machoism in the worst, very warped, insecure sense of the definition, do it. As a bonus, erect a gold-domed mosque, smack in the middle of Ground Zero, like a trophy.

betsyz on August 15, 2010 at 3:32 AM

Maybe I’m answering my own question here, as I know it was (just) Saturday, but:

Why doesn’t HA have any link regarding Obama’s attempt to walk it back/subterfuge/more taqiyya talk regarding the 9/11 mosque?

In this case, even the ABC’s are covering it (!).

Why not HA?

Opinionator on August 15, 2010 at 4:18 AM

Why doesn’t HA have any link regarding Obama’s attempt to walk it back/subterfuge/more taqiyya talk regarding the 9/11 mosque?

Wondering the same thing myself. In fact I came over here looking for commentary on it. Maybe it’s coming tomorrow?

In the meantime, Tom Maguire at JustOneMinute has a great post on it here.

JustOneMinute: Obama on the Mosque – The Backpedaling Begins

Missy on August 15, 2010 at 4:56 AM

In the meantime, Tom Maguire at JustOneMinute has a great post on it here.

JustOneMinute: Obama on the Mosque – The Backpedaling Begins

Missy on August 15, 2010 at 4:56 AM

By Monday morning, Obama’s statement which he made while among muslims on a Friday evening, will be Bush’s fault .
Not only that , WH will blame Fox News and Glenn Beck for snookering Hussain into saying stuff which was( actually) a prepared speech to a captive audience.

macncheez on August 15, 2010 at 5:14 AM

“…Iran’s apparent determination to continue the nuclear activities…” -AP

There goes Iran insisting on retaining rights that were given to them by treaty! When will they learn that the US ignores all treaties! Bomb them!

dave742 on August 15, 2010 at 5:55 AM

I am assuming that first of all….because they have the support of China.

….N. Korea also has nuclear capabilities (delivery capabilities still not 100% certain),which takes dealing with them to a higher level.

Baxter Greene on August 15, 2010 at 2:05 AM

The main concern is actually N. Korea’s artillery force, one of the world’s largest. All the guns are pointing at Seoul, where roughly half of S. Korea’s population live. If the N. Koreans opens up, civilian casualties would be massive. Imagine 25 million people fleeing from a war zone.

year_of_the_dingo on August 15, 2010 at 6:52 AM

If they have nukes already, they will almost certainly be detonated by Hezbollah at ground level.

That is what has been my ultimate fear about radical Islam and their suicide terror… the picture in my mind of a van, sitting in a parking garage near Times Square, with three men sitting in it… just sitting there, to make sure nobody can interfere with the detonation.

JohnGalt23 on August 14, 2010 at 11:56 PM

Then they risk interdiction of a really expensive asset. From an economic and logistic standpoint, it makes more sense for Iran to supply its proxies with chemical weapon. There was a report not long ago about a small chemical cache in Lebanon. Once Iran has the bomb, they can ratchet their terror campaign against Israel without fear of a nuclear retaliation.

Instead of a bulky weapon the size of a truck, the three guys in your nightmare scenario will each have a canister of nerve gas.

year_of_the_dingo on August 15, 2010 at 7:44 AM

StrategyPage makes what seems to me a convincing argument that we don’t need to worry about Stingers, but about much more recently manufactured SA-7 and SA-18 missiles (or their clones). “Twenty-five year old Stingers, even if they were still in working order, would be no more effective than some of the more modern Russian type missiles on the black market,” but StrategyPage explains the good reasons to doubt that any Stingers the Iranians might have latched onto are indeed still in working order.

Beldar on August 15, 2010 at 8:38 AM

..by the way…had a great time posting about music the other night….have listened to nothing but Zeppelin since…..

…..take it easy and have a good weekend.

Baxter Greene on August 15, 2010 at 2:21 AM

Raised my sons on Zepplin, Pink Floyd, and the Doors…
Threw in some select Metallica just for a change in pace.

Keemo on August 15, 2010 at 8:38 AM

And FWIW, I could not possibly disagree with you more, AP, “that containment of a nuclear Iran is the most sensible policy for the United States.” It may well be the only choice that’s left by the time we get a president in office with the cajones to do anything else. But that doesn’t make it “sensible.”

Beldar on August 15, 2010 at 8:41 AM

Beldar on August 15, 2010 at 8:41 AM

That’s not AP’s opinion but Mr. Kaplan’s. QOTD never includes any opinions from the hosts.

Cindy Munford on August 15, 2010 at 9:33 AM

Threw in some select Metallica just for a change in pace.

Keemo on August 15, 2010 at 8:38 AM

YAY!

Cindy Munford on August 15, 2010 at 9:33 AM

Cindy Munford on August 15, 2010 at 9:33 AM

Don’t tell me you’re a Metallica fan.. No wonder I like relate to you so much… :-)

Keemo on August 15, 2010 at 10:10 AM

Keemo on August 15, 2010 at 10:10 AM

Oh yes! My younger two kids (both adults now) have gone to two liver performances together. And when we use to do our backyard Labor Day cookout, the oldest son’s band covered quite a few of their songs. I like BIG music.

Cindy Munford on August 15, 2010 at 10:23 AM

But once it has gone critical, any attempt to do so would risk the release of a radioactive plume that might kill civilians and poison surrounding areas.

This leaves any would-be attacker of Iran’s nuclear sites with a difficult choice.

If Obama’s administration cared about the Western friendly Iranian population, this president would not have cut off our Congressional appropriated tax dollars traditionally sent to aid humanitarian work in Iran.

And if Obama wanted to stop Iran’s nuclear abilities, he would not have played Mr. Nice Guy idiot for Afterdinnerjacket to ridicule with the heinous open palm ploy.

maverick muse on August 15, 2010 at 10:23 AM

It doesn’t matter to Obama whether Iran has or doesn’t have nuclear power.

He figures his owners will do whatever THEY want about the situation.

And exactly what does anyone really expect from this illegitimate CinC? Mr. Pantywaist’s record says it all.

maverick muse on August 15, 2010 at 10:27 AM

Every time I see a picture of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, I see clean shaven Napoleon Bonaparte.

However, I have never seen him on a camel, like Bonaparte had his gallant White Pony (proportionally giving him a larger that life image).

If President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were to get on his stable steed to prove his dominance he would have to use a dromedary camel because he only has one hump to over come. If President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were to choose a Bactrian he would surly get lost or at least crushed between its two humps.

MSGTAS on August 15, 2010 at 11:25 AM

I have a great amount of respect for Kaplan but if he thinks a nuclear Iran can be “contained” from using it’s nooks . . . perhaps after 9/11 we should take people at their word when they say they want to blow us up.

mizzoujgrad on August 15, 2010 at 12:06 PM

Its easy to solve any equation when the assumption is right to start with.
We are assuming here that he actually wants to secure our country and contain threats from Iran.
NOW
lets solve this equation again, with …the right assumption

macncheez on August 15, 2010 at 1:24 AM

oooh, ooooh, I know, I know the answer, call on me!

tigerlily on August 15, 2010 at 2:58 PM

Beg to differ
He has made our country a laughing stock internationally
Whatever harm he has done and will continue to do , will be to our country.
He will never do anything that will harm his own interests.
He will weaken our country, but he will always appear as a strong person himself.
He will degrade our country , but he will always appear to be respectable doing it.
He will destroy the foundations of our country, but he will always appear to be adhering to the same founding principals.
He will bankrupt our country, but he will always appear extremely generous doing it.
He will make life difficult for our families, all the while appearing to be a family man.

macncheez on August 15, 2010 at 2:20 AM

Superlate to the thread but, BULLSEYE! macncheez.

What you describe above is many things, but above all it’s diabolical.

tigerlily on August 15, 2010 at 3:04 PM

Smells like the 30`s and 40`s when everyone sat back dithering as Germany (not to mention Japan) armed and advanced. Pacifism is always welcomed by the evil aggressor. Pay a small price now or pay an awful one later. This pattern happens again and again.

Destroying Iran`s nuke facilities would save lives. Waiting means many many more will die.

Acmedidajob says he will use nukes against Israel and I take him at his word.

So should the world.

And to hell with Russia and China. These two places are always a boil on the arse of the civilized world. The have never changed and they will never change.

A dose of reality.

Sherman1864 on August 16, 2010 at 12:46 AM

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