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Bloggingheads
04-14-2008, 11:45 AM

StillmanThomas
04-14-2008, 01:32 PM
Very interesting conversation. Thank you both for a great job!

gwlaw99
04-14-2008, 01:53 PM
I am really glad these clowns are not running the country. Their answer to Iran's nuclear ambitions is give them everything they want and more and then hope really really hard that Iran decides not to continue building a bomb in secret.

Joel_Cairo
04-14-2008, 02:08 PM
Big ups to Jackie for really understanding how to maximize BhTV as a medium. With complicated issues like this, which require all kinds of specific knowledge and insider expertise to really follow, diavlogs sometimes take on a sense that the Bloggingheads themselves have forgotten there is an audience out there evesdropping on their Skype. But here (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/10175?in=00:18:42&out=00:19:31) you can see that Jackie knows this, and sets up the conversation in a way that's optimal for the audience (even if it breaks little ground for the Bloggingheads on screen).

Thanks Jackie!

bjkeefe
04-14-2008, 02:20 PM
gwlaw99:

I don't think we listened to the same diavlog. The one I heard laid out plans for enticing Iran to wind down its nuclear weapons program, as opposed to trying to bully them into doing it. The thesis of the argument was that the latter approach has so far failed to work and in fact, may have aggravated the problem. The new idea would be to work with Iran on what it claims it wants -- nuclear energy capabilities -- in return for the winding down of its weapons program. The new stance would be to offer flexibility and to recognize that there are areas we have been lacking in, like our own commitment to reducing proliferation, instead of maintaining a rigid attitude of "You must do exactly as we say, or else."

Unless one wants to exemplify Santayana's definition (http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/29661.html), what's so bad about trying a new approach?

Joel_Cairo
04-14-2008, 02:21 PM
I am really glad these clowns blah blah blah

I'd like to start another petition: Can we get the BhTV overlords to arrange for gwlaw99 to be appear as actual participant in a diavlog? Given that he knows so much more about everything than any of the bloggingheads featured on this site, I think it would be quite enlightening for us all to have him up there, instead of the usual "clowns."

laura
04-14-2008, 02:32 PM
Jackie is great. I was a bit worried that she had packed in the whole BH.tv enterprise after the diavlog with that awful man Rick Arndt. Maybe her three month absence was recovery from PTSD.

gwlaw99
04-14-2008, 02:57 PM
gwlaw99:

I don't think we listened to the same diavlog. The one I heard laid out plans for enticing Iran to wind down its nuclear weapons program, as opposed to trying to bully them into doing it. The thesis of the argument was that the latter approach has so far failed to work and in fact, may have aggravated the problem. The new idea would be to work with Iran on what it claims it wants -- nuclear energy capabilities -- in return for the winding down of its weapons program. The new stance would be to offer flexibility and to recognize that there are areas we have been lacking in, like our own commitment to reducing proliferation, instead of maintaining a rigid attitude of "You must do exactly as we say, or else."

Unless one wants to exemplify Santayana's definition (http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/29661.html), what's so bad about trying a new approach?

The problem is that there is no enticement at all. Just smothering Iran with carrots without any conditions gives them absolutely zero incentive to give up anything. In fact, it gives them more incetive to continue their current strategy of recalcitrance which just won them lots of carrots from Jacqueline. Once those first round of carrots are ineffective, Jacqueline will be back again telling us what more we need to give Iran.

The bottom line is that carrots and sticks must go together. I am not saying we don't need more carrots, but if so, we also need more sticks to go along with them.

I leave you with this Jeopardy question:

"The acquiring peace by way of concessions or gifts (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeasement)"

graz
04-14-2008, 03:02 PM
[QUOTE=gwlaw99; I am really glad these clowns are not running the country. Their answer to Iran's nuclear ambitions is give them everything they want and more and then hope.../QUOTE]

Your intransigence clearly has affected your listening skills. The Jackie/Joe plan has all the markings of a practical and expedient approach to get to the place that almost all involved parties wish to achieve. Is it more important to "act" tough and continue to fail (losing ground against our interest), than to concede to a diplomatic strategy which has a greater chance of success?
And how are the current non-clowns doing on your scorecard?

Eastwest
04-14-2008, 03:16 PM
Fine discussion from two of BHTV's finest.

Their bona fides and intelligence are beyond reproach.

The comments by Gwlaw99 are completely uncalled for.

Thanks to JS for bringing on JC.

Special thanks to JC for agreeing and contributing once again his vast experience and refined intelligence to another stimulating conversation.

EW

bjkeefe
04-14-2008, 04:00 PM
gwlaw99:

I want to begin by reiterating something I said above: The current approach of the Bush Administration is what has fostered the direction Iran has pursued. It is what has promoted their recalcitrance. As long as the US continues only to threaten, it is easy for equally extreme hawks in Iran to gain support for their point of view; i.e., "Look, the US wants to invade us. We need to be able to deter them." You are not addressing this problem in rejecting the approach that Jackie and Joe are proposing.

You also don't appear to be keeping in mind the dangers of letting the neocons have their way on this issue. The fact is, Cheney and his ilk have a history of lying about, or at least wildly exaggerating, threats from one source while ignoring more serious threats from others. Your rejection of Jackie and Joe's ideas seem to flow from this sense that something Must Be Done Now. The reality is, Iran is not an imminent existential threat.

To your comments specifically:

Once those first round of carrots are ineffective, Jacqueline will be back again telling us what more we need to give Iran.

I don't think you're accurately characterizing her position. Review this (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/10175?in=18:41&out=20:33). Sounds to me like she's against allowing enrichment to continue, and is trying to figure out a better way to achieve this aim. The end of the diavlog, from about 22 minutes on, details possible approaches.

In summary, then, I don't see how you can look at the last half decade and fail to acknowledge what has caused the current problem of Iran's recalcitrance, nor do I see what basis you have for saying doing things differently will only give Iran incentive to continue to act in the same way. What we know is the current approach is not getting us what we want, and more to the point, risks us getting into another military conflict that will only make matters worse. What we can hope is that a different approach will do a better job of getting us what we want. The important thing to keep in mind is that we have time. If offering carrots doesn't work, we won't have lost much. There will still be plenty of time to go back to a more brusque stance.

gwlaw99
04-14-2008, 04:42 PM
bjkeefe,

Let me clarify by stating that I am not suggesting that the Bush policy has worked. Clearly it has not stopped Iran from trying to enrich uranium.

It is also a logical fallacy to argue that just because I think Jackie's idea is utterly naive that I must be in the "bomb them if iran does not do what we say" camp.

As far as your link is concerned, of course she doesn't want Iran to keep enriching uranium. No one in their right mind does. That doesn't mean her plan has any more chance of success than Bush's.

As I said in my last post, more incentives, ala Jackie, may be necessary, but they are useless without being tied to, for example, much stronger sanctions.

Otherwise, the lesson Iran learns is that by not being cooperative in any way, it gains concessions from the west and therefore it will simply continue to be uncooperative in order to gain more concessions.

bjkeefe
04-14-2008, 05:14 PM
gwlaw99:

I guess we're getting close to the point of having to agree to disagree, but I'll go one more round. Specifically:

It is also a logical fallacy to argue that just because I think Jackie's idea is utterly naive that I must be in the "bomb them if iran does not do what we say" camp.

If I overstated your position, I apologize. But in completely dismissing J&J's approach, you just don't sound much different from someone who embraces the current way the US government is doing things, and the clear next step that many in the current administration would like to take is preemptive strikes against Iran.

As far as your link is concerned, of course she doesn't want Iran to keep enriching uranium. No one in their right mind does. That doesn't mean her plan has any more chance of success than Bush's.

Here's where I really don't agree. How do you know this? You don't, anymore than I know it will work. The point I'm trying to make is that it at least has a chance. Iran has been less hostile to us in the past, and could return to such an attitude. We won't know unless we try. What we do know is that staying the course is certainly not working.

As I said in my last post, more incentives, ala Jackie, may be necessary, but they are useless without being tied to, for example, much stronger sanctions.

Why? Why not try working with them more as partners rather than as outright adversaries? We do, after all, share the goal of a more stable Middle East. Most of us, in both countries, think fighting a war would be a disaster. We also share the same future: a need for other forms of energy as the oil supply runs down. It is my belief that this "tough" approach, from threats of military action to economic sanctions, do little but harden the anti-American sentiment in Iran [edited from original mistaken "Iraq."] Why not at least try honey instead of vinegar for a while? How could it possibly make things worse? (And please don't say it lets them make more progress on weapons in the meantime. I fail to see how we're doing much to slow them with our current tactics.)

Otherwise, the lesson Iran learns is that by not being cooperative in any way, it gains concessions from the west and therefore it will simply continue to be uncooperative in order to gain more concessions.

Maybe. And if you're worried about Iranians saying "neener, neener, neener" to us, I suppose there's no way to alleviate this concern. I, on the other hand, couldn't care less if they claim some sort of coup out of this. I'm interested about what will work in the future.

Whatfur
04-14-2008, 05:32 PM
"Iran has been less hostile to us in the past, and could return to such an attitude. "

Like when the Shah was still in charge??...what the heck are you talking about. When?

bjkeefe
04-14-2008, 05:48 PM
"Iran has been less hostile to us in the past, and could return to such an attitude. "

Like when the Shah was still in charge??...what the heck are you talking about. When?

No. I'm talking about the 1990s and very early 2000s.

gwlaw99
04-14-2008, 06:16 PM
gwlaw99:
It is my belief that this "tough" approach, from threats of military action to economic sanctions, do little but harden the anti-American sentiment in Iraq.

Small freudian slip there :)

Why not at least try honey instead of vinegar for a while? How could it possibly make things worse? (And please don't say it lets them make more progress on weapons in the meantime. I fail to see how we're doing much to slow them with our current tactics.)

Well when the "honey" includes giving Iran 25 nuclear reactors (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/10175?in=00:24:06), think the burden is on the people proposing the plan that it will absolutely work.

bjkeefe
04-14-2008, 07:32 PM
Small freudian slip there :)

Heh. Yep. Thanks for pointing it out.


Well when the "honey" includes giving Iran 25 nuclear reactors (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/10175?in=00:24:06), think the burden is on the people proposing the plan that it will absolutely work.

There are no absolutes. That's an unrealistic demand. It sounds like you're reaching for the the acknowledgment that a guarantee can't be offered in order to have an excuse for continuing to do nothing except for what we're already doing now.

Besides, I doubt that the way this would work, even in the most "giving" scenario, would be with us starting by giving Iran 25 light-water reactors up front, with the instructions, "just plug them in and they work." Instead, you say to Iran, "If you're serious about wanting to develop nuclear technology for purposes of generating electricity only, here's what we'll offer you. In return, we want ..." Maybe give one pilot plant in return for concession A, three full-size ones in return for concessions B, C, and D, and so forth. Some of those concessions might be pledges/treaties to halt their own enrichment programs. Some might be agreements to more intrusive inspections.

In this step-by-step plan, Iran could see what the ultimate prize is and measure how close they are to getting there. We could also see the progress, and should they balk at some point, we stop giving them carrots. We also gain the upper hand, because we'll be showing that we've called their bluff (if it is one), and we'll have more global support for adding additional pressure to resume progress. In a not unrealistic scenario, the first few steps build trust between the countries, the hawks on both sides lose local clout, and further steps become easier, not harder.

Seems worth trying to me. I don't need absolute assurances up front since I wouldn't have any great worries about what we'd risk by taking the first steps.

cragger
04-14-2008, 09:17 PM
Its hard to see why any nation that is serious about independance and soverignity would agree to be dependant on other nations, particularly when those nations are led by an openly hostile country. Given any chance of an alternative, no government that is truly representative of its national interest should put itself in the position of being subject to an external demand to "do what we say or we cut off the power and you can starve in the dark". The US would never agree to give up the ability to control our own destiny by generating our own nuclear fuel, nor for that matter to build however many weapons we want, nuclear or otherwise.

The choice we as citizens face is between believing the Iranians when they say they only want electrical power, or believing that they are exactly like us, and that their government is exactly like ours. What does it say that the latter is the worst case?

bjkeefe
04-14-2008, 10:14 PM
cragger:

Its hard to see why any nation that is serious about independance and soverignity would agree to be dependant on other nations, particularly when those nations are led by an openly hostile country. Given any chance of an alternative, no government that is truly representative of its national interest should put itself in the position of being subject to an external demand to "do what we say or we cut off the power and you can starve in the dark".

That's a good point, and will probably be a big hurdle to cross if and when we ever get that far.

On the other hand, being able to conceive of potential potholes is not a sufficient reason to abandon the journey altogether. It's going to take years, I'm sure, to accomplish a plan anything like the one J&J proposed. It might be that in the meantime, the world sets up a decent international mechanism (i.e., not controlled by the US) for managing fuel rods for reactors. Another possibility is that we help the Iranians built their reactors, but allow them to deal with obtaining fuel on their own.

I believe that they are at least partly sincere in wanting to develop a nuclear power industry. I don't doubt that they have an unhealthy ambition to acquire nuclear weapons, as well, but we're not going to be able to dictate to them in this area forever. Just as Iran would not tolerate being in thrall to us regarding fuel supplies for future electricity needs, they won't forever obey our dictums that they not build weapons. Therefore, it seems to me that it's worth a shot trying to get along with them in the former area, and seeing if that helps in the latter.

johnmarzan
04-15-2008, 05:46 AM
the guy joseph said iran is not even in the top 5 threats to US interest. Global Warming and Global poverty are bigger threats, he said. lol. only a lefty can say that without thinking twice.

but i can understand his way of thinking, since both shire and him pretty much said that petraeus and crocker were lying when they claimed that iran has been causing trouble inside iraq via it's iranian-backed militias and thugs (this is the same iran that continues to have a distabilizing force in lebanon and supports terrorism in israel.)

but petraeus he's been saying this long before his testimony in the senate.

and to claim that diplomacy hasn't been applied to iran with regards to nuclear disarmament is false. Britain, France and Germany (with tacit backing from the US) have tried and tried again, offering incentives, CARROTS, but have failed miserably. the US is supposed to be THE STICK.

anyways, i think iran will get their nukes. thanks to the NIE report. and there will be an arms race in the middle east.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/10/AR2008041003271.html

I am really glad these clowns are not running the country.

agree. are they two leftys btw? cuz i'm not familiar with both. i'll probably skip the next podcast if the two are paired with each other again.

johnmarzan
04-15-2008, 06:04 AM
I want to begin by reiterating something I said above: The current approach of the Bush Administration is what has fostered the direction Iran has pursued.

they've been pursuing nukes before the invasion of iraq.

As long as the US continues only to threaten, it is easy for equally extreme hawks in Iran to gain support for their point of view; i.e., "Look, the US wants to invade us. We need to be able to deter them."

actually, the surest way not to get invaded by the US is:

a) if you already have nukes, like pakistan and north korea. or,
b) NOT to pursue nukes, IF you still have not acquired them yet, AND you've been warned by the int'l community re it. Example: Iraq.

I don't think the bush administration has threatened to invade iran, yet. the most the US did was to impose sanctions. but the bush admin is right not to trust iran because it still supports terrorism in lebanon, in israel and in iraq.

and they're enriching uranium for "peaceful purposes"

Whatfur
04-15-2008, 08:19 AM
First...

Bjkeefe, I think you better re-examine your history. Short of WJC licking their heels early in his Presidency in an effort to try and find information that might point fingers at the GOP concerning the 1980s hostage release there is
very little difference between his 8 years and that of both the Bushs. Do you have some nice little bedtime story you would like to share with us.

Second...

I just discovered bloggingheads a few weeks ago, first watching Bob and Mickey. I find it far less enjoyable when you have 2 people in a discussion who are too agreeable...like these two.

Third...

Sorry but at soon as Cirincione listed "Global Warming" as his second largest threat followed by the economy and poverty around the world he immediatlely turned into a clown. Problems? Maybe and sure. Imminent threats? Pretty silly. Then I later have to listen to HIM define "realism".

Bloggingheads should maybe attempt to find fewer people suffering from BDS.

bjkeefe
04-15-2008, 01:15 PM
Bloggingheads should maybe attempt to find fewer people suffering from BDS.

And speaking of derangement syndromes ...

... at soon as Cirincione listed "Global Warming" as his second largest threat ... he immediatlely turned into a clown.

Never fails to amaze me how Pavlovian some on the right are about this. Even an offhand mention is guaranteed to cause foaming.

bjkeefe
04-15-2008, 01:24 PM
johnmarzan:

I want to begin by reiterating something I said above: The current approach of the Bush Administration is what has fostered the direction Iran has pursued.

they've been pursuing nukes before the invasion of iraq.

You're right. I should have been more clear. What I meant about the direction was the amount of intransigence they've been showing lately and their apparent ramping up of efforts to build the program.

I don't think the bush administration has threatened to invade iran, yet.

Perhaps not. But there certainly has been plenty of talk about air strikes and hints about Special Forces missions.

... the bush admin is right not to trust iran because it still supports terrorism in lebanon, in israel and in iraq.

Perhaps. But I'd say two things. First, supporting terrorism and wanting to build nuclear weapons are somewhat separate issues, at least from the perspective of thinking about negotiations. There are a lot of things any country does that we don't like, but I don't think one can make headway by lumping all complaints together and, in effect, summarily dismissing that country as bad.

Second, I don't think advocating a different approach to trying to get Iran to cease its weapons program means that one has to completely trust Iran. For example, part of what we'd ask for in return for the proverbial carrots, I'm sure, is increased rights of inspection. Trust, but verify, to coin a phrase.

gwlaw99
04-15-2008, 02:50 PM
johnmarzan: For example, part of what we'd ask for in return for the proverbial carrots, I'm sure, is increased rights of inspection. Trust, but verify, to coin a phrase.

But this is the crux of the whole issue. Jackie is proposing we give them everything and ask for NOTHING. Give me a link to where Jackie proposes vast rights of inspection that MUST be complied with in exchange for carrots.

She and Joe explicitly say (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/10175?in=00:25:49)we should give them everything up front and then hope they will comply later after we have restored our own credibility. It's an amazing inversion of reality in which poor little Iran really just wants nuclear power because it is starving for energy (other than it's 105 billion barrels (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_reserves#Iran) of oil reserves) and if we just give them light water reactors, remove all troops from Iraq, give complete security asurances, solve the middle east conflict and start dismantling our own nukes up front then they will automatically give up their enrichment because they won't need to enrich anymore.

It's so naive I can't believe they even believe it.

bjkeefe
04-15-2008, 05:33 PM
gwlaw99:

I don't want to debate the fine points of what J&J said or did not say. Give them a little credit -- if either were participating in actual negotiations, I'm sure they would not begin by handing over the whole store. Give them a little bit of a break, too -- this was a "blue skying" session, where the aim is to hammer out aspects of the big idea, and not to obsess about the details.

The thing for us to debate is whether it's worth trying a more conciliatory approach with Iran, and whether it's worth trying something other than our current stance of belligerence. You already know that I favor such thinking, and you can disagree with this, but I think it's kind of silly to base your argument against by focusing on details not supplied. It's unreasonable to assume this:

Jackie is proposing we give them everything and ask for NOTHING. Give me a link to where Jackie proposes vast rights of inspection that MUST be complied with in exchange for carrots.

is any reflection of how Jackie (or I, or anybody else who wants to try a new approach) thinks the process would actually work. Please. This borders on a straw man argument.

Whatfur
04-15-2008, 06:23 PM
BJK,

Hardly foaming. Hardly an offhand remark. Hardly an imminent threat.
Nice sidestep though.

Bottom line, is you make a statement you cannot back up and then you attempt to misrepresent me.

bjkeefe
04-15-2008, 07:27 PM
Whatfur:

I did not misrepresent you. You said yourself that as soon as you heard global warming mentioned as a more serious threat that Iran (along with the economy and poverty), you immediately dismissed Joseph as a clown.

Sorry, but I have no interest in discussing something as complex as the US's relationship with Iran if that's indicative of how open your mind isn't. And considering the rest of your response, which consisted of remarks like:

I think you better re-examine your history.

and

Do you have some nice little bedtime story you would like to share with us.

and

Bloggingheads should maybe attempt to find fewer people suffering from BDS.

I concluded there would be no point. You've clearly made up your mind that there has been no change in Iran's attitude to the US over the past couple of decades, and I have no interest in trying to change it when as far as I can tell, your only response will be more slogans and insults.

piscivorous
04-15-2008, 08:40 PM
You have to remember that most of the commenters here are somewhat to the left of Karl Marx. Many of the diavlogs are informative and thought provoking but this site does have a distinctly leftest bend. Jacqueline Shire is very knowledgeable of nuclear issues but appears to be completely naive as to the the nature of power and anything beyond her specific expertise should be discounted as wishful idealistic fluff.

bjkeefe
04-15-2008, 09:06 PM
Piscivorous, by contrast, has no ideological slant. His view on all issues is so free of bias and his knowledge so all-encompassing that you should treat his opinions as fact, if not gospel. That he considers people with liberal/libertarian social views and liberal to moderate (and pro-capitalist) economic views "to the left of Karl Marx" should in no way dissuade you from the magnificence of his objectivity.

piscivorous
04-15-2008, 09:22 PM
Can you identify my idealogical slant for me BJ. My guess is that you would get it wrong given that I generally concentrate my comments around a particular set of narratives. Where as your insentient need to comment on everything allows me to categorize your idealogical slant rather handily.

Wonderment
04-15-2008, 09:34 PM
Can you identify my idealogical slant for me

Two words: hyper-nationalism and militarism.

graz
04-15-2008, 09:39 PM
Can you identify my idealogical slant for me BJ. My guess is that you would get it wrong given that I generally concentrate my comments around a particular set of narratives. Where as your insentient need to comment on everything allows me to categorize your idealogical slant rather handily.

Like a fish out of water, your flapping about stealth ideological inclination, doesn't pass the smell test. I have been reading your posts for over a year. I accept your self-characterization of responding to particular narratives as credible. But, any cursory or detailed examination of those posts would fail to uncover any sympathy for the left leaning sentiments of the majority of forum participants.
I know you fancy yourself an objective analyst of evidence. So how can you be so off the mark on Brendan's accurate assessment?

bjkeefe
04-15-2008, 09:45 PM
Can you identify my idealogical slant for me BJ.

Wonderment's already done the bulk of the job. I would add: a reactionary nature tinged with a more than a hint of xenophobia but completely unsullied by kindness, compassion, humility, a sense of humor ...

Where as your insentient need to comment on everything allows me to categorize your idealogical slant rather handily.

... or a desire to proofread.

Are you sure you mean insentient (http://wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=insentient)? Seems like an oxymoron if you're talking about my obvious ideology.

Maybe you meant incessant (http://wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=incessant)? In that case, I would add to your list of absent qualities an ability to read for context, if you really think I have any fondness for Marxism.

piscivorous
04-15-2008, 10:15 PM
Thanks for indirectly making my argument for me. I have chosen to argue with the left, here of this BB, on a limited number of issues, particularly Iraq. I do this because you commenterís on the left are so wrong, as most any fair minded reading of history revels, and I got tired of seeing only one point of view represented. So you know me on my support of for the front in Iraq, against the Islamic extremists, and attempt to classify me with various slurs to parse me into some nefarious group that is, according to your beliefs, the epitome of evil. So be it I would fight for your right to do so even if you would not do so for yourself.

piscivorous
04-15-2008, 10:20 PM
No I believe the word is appropriate as to your comment style.

bjkeefe
04-15-2008, 10:26 PM
No I believe the word is appropriate as to your comment style.

If you think my comment style is "devoid of feeling and consciousness and animation (http://wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=insentient)," then how can you also think I have an ideological bent?

To save you the bother of a reply: I know you would like to believe that anyone who disagrees with you is mindless.

piscivorous
04-15-2008, 10:37 PM
...devoid of feeling and consciousness and animation...?

To save you the bother of a reply: I know you would like to believe that anyone who disagrees with you is mindless. That's quite alright I have plenty of time tonight to pound away at the keys tonight and it was the middle term of the definition that particularly caught my interest.

gwlaw99
04-15-2008, 10:42 PM
gwlaw99:

I don't want to debate the fine points of what J&J said or did not say. Give them a little credit -- if either were participating in actual negotiations, I'm sure they would not begin by handing over the whole store. Give them a little bit of a break, too -- this was a "blue skying" session, where the aim is to hammer out aspects of the big idea, and not to obsess about the details.

The thing for us to debate is whether it's worth trying a more conciliatory approach with Iran, and whether it's worth trying something other than our current stance of belligerence. You already know that I favor such thinking, and you can disagree with this, but I think it's kind of silly to base your argument against by focusing on details not supplied. It's unreasonable to assume this:



is any reflection of how Jackie (or I, or anybody else who wants to try a new approach) thinks the process would actually work. Please. This borders on a straw man argument.

So I am supposed to ignore what Jackie actually said and instead try to fill in her explicitly naive statements with additional facts that contradict what she says so that she comes out sounding reasonable?

Is this a new form a of post-structuralist discussion I have not been told about? An argument is not actually what the person says, it what she would have said if she were making a much better argument.

If that is the case, please assume that any flaws in my argument do not exist and make up any facts you like to make my argument win. Please take this new ground rule into account before responding.

bjkeefe
04-15-2008, 11:11 PM
Hah! Successfully read your mind again!

bjkeefe
04-15-2008, 11:13 PM
gwlaw99:

I'll give you ten points for snark in that response, but I stand by my original position: You're making too much out of what was omitted in an hour-long conversation when it will take teams of people years to describe all the details.

Assuming we try, of course.

gwlaw99
04-16-2008, 01:44 AM
gwlaw99:

I'll give you ten points for snark in that response, but I stand by my original position: You're making too much out of what was omitted in an hour-long conversation when it will take teams of people years to describe all the details.

Assuming we try, of course.

Ok fair enough. Snarkiness is not a good way to debate (one reason Yglesias is becoming a parody). We basically at this point have to agree to disagree. I take Jackie for what she said. You would like to infer a second half of her argument because that is the only way her argument is a remotely reasonable one.

bjkeefe
04-16-2008, 02:19 AM
gwlaw99:

We basically at this point have to agree to disagree. I take Jackie for what she said. You would like to infer a second half of her argument because that is the only way her argument is a remotely reasonable one.

Fair enough, although I'd like to amend slightly the terms of our disagreement. ;^)

I would say that I heard the outline of a proposal that struck me as reasonable, and that it was easy to fill in the next few strokes. I can accept that you, however, do not find the proposal thought out well enough.

I'm guessing you're a lawyer, so yours seems like an understandable reaction. Me, I'm a dilettante with the annoying habit of sometimes finishing people's sentences, which may explain mine.

Bottom line for me, though, and I hope I've at least gotten you to move a little in this regard: I'd like to see a negotiating strategy with Iran that's less bellicose.

a Duoist
04-16-2008, 05:42 AM
Have either Jackie or Joe ever read the works of Ruhollah Khomeini? Almost certainly, Mr. Bush, Mrs. Clinton, and Mr. Obama have not. If they read the Imam's books, then re-read 'Mein Kampf' (and also read Mary Douglas's inquiry into the toxicity of puritanism), the result would be long, worried, contemplative silences, instead of glib "plans" on how to deal with Iran.

No one listened in the late 1880's, when Nietzsche cautioned about the coming world war. Why--so many thought--worry about Germany, land of science, religious freedom, and centuries of humanistic thought?

Read the canon which the Iranians revere...and then consider how futile "carrots" will be in stopping Khomeini's heirs.

"We have no recourse other than to overthrow all governments that do not rest upon pure Islamic principles." Imam Ruhollah Khomeini

Whatfur
04-16-2008, 12:20 PM
As BJ Keefe failed to backup his earlier remarks concerning the rosy relationship we had with Iran pre-Bush; I figured I might attempt at lightening his obviously heavy load of ignorance. It might lighten the load of a few others too who all too easily re-write or ignore history that does not back up their points (You listening Joe?)

Maybe BJ was referring to Operation Merlin where Clinton and his CIA in a friendly gesture looked to provide Iran with plans for a Nuclear weapon. Ok, Ok maybe they tried to do it by deception in using a defected Russion scientist and defective plans. Of course people tend to forget (or overlook?) the fact that the same Scientist pointed out these defects to the Iranians aking it one of many colossal Clinton blunders. You know right up there with providing the Chinese with state secrets and thinking that playing nice nice with North Korea would have them playing honestly and nicely in return (kind of like BJ is advocating now...along with Joe C.)

Or maybe BJ was referring to Clinton advocating the allowance of Iran's providing weapons to Bosnian muslims seemingly... contradicting his own executive orders on dealing with Iran. His explanation? Well...he was not advocating but just "looking the other way". Yes, that made a whole lot of sense...lets provide more weaponry while an attempt at a brokered peace is going on. And sure, lets get Iran involved in a conflict in eastern Europe...that exactly what was needed.

And speaking of Executive Orders:

Executive Order No. 12959 (60 Fed. Reg. 24751, May 9, 1995) (1) prohibits exportation from the United States to Iran or to the Government of Iran of goods, technology, or services; (2) prohibits the reexportation of certain U.S. goods and technology to Iran from third countries; (3) prohibits transactions such as brokering and other dealing by United States persons in goods and services of Iranian origin or owned or controlled by the Government of Iran; (4) prohibits new investments by United States persons in Iran or in property owned or controlled by the Government of Iran; (5) prohibits U.S. companies and other United States persons from approving, facilitating, or financing performance by a foreign subsidiary or other entity owned or controlled by a United States person of reexport, investment, and certain trade transactions that a United States person is prohibited from performing; (6) continues the 1987 prohibition on the importation into the United States of goods and services of Iranian origin; (7) prohibits any transaction by any United States person or within the United States that evades or avoids or attempts to violate any prohibition of the order and (8) allowed U.S. companies a 30-day period in which to perform trade transactions pursuant to contracts predating the Executive order.

Did you note the date BJ? Do you want it even rosier? Well lets move forward a bit when Clinton signed the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act of 1996 calling the two "the most dangerous supporters of terorism in the world". Hmmmm...kinda like the "Axis of Evil eh??

Oh yeah...quite the love fest of open communication we had with Iran in the 90s. There is a whole lot more if one wants to look for it.

And what else do the Iranians and Clinton have in common you ask? There are some, including many in the intelligence agencies that equate our being in Iraq now because of 2 things. Iran and Clinton. Saddams deception about WMDs has always been associated with his desire to fool the Iranians and Clinton's weak response to the same deception emboldened him into thinking of us as the paper tiger.

So yes, lets talk disasterous policy.

So yes Joe, BJ, Jackie lets try to point fingers at this administation's "belligerence" and methodologies as if Bush Doctrine defined Iran any differently than it had already been defined.

Iran is what it is and those that think additional carrots are what is needed and point to it as "trying something new" are IMHO naive. Look at the failures of Albright and Clinton in NKorea...that worked well.


Lastly, I wanted to touch on Joe's feeble attempt at characterizing Petraeus and Crocker as mouthpieces for Bush on Iran. Why is it that lefty's in this country are more apt to believe the reports of our enemies than those of our own. On the same note, where are these sophisticated bombs and weaponry being utilized by insurgents in Iraq coming from. And those we have captured? Quds or Tourists? And how soon the story about the huge Iranian weapon shipment last year where they were caught red-handed providing weapons to the Taliban. Oh I forgot, Iran wanted to help us in Afganistan and we missed that opportunity. Riiighht.

But anyway...BJ, your welcome. Next time, instead of speaking out of ignorance have the decency to back up your mouth with facts instead of side-stepping and name calling.

cacimbo
04-16-2008, 01:23 PM
Wow, that anyone could feel some vague future threat of global warming and living in huts is even on the same page as the threat posed by Iran is astounding. Have either party ever heard Ahmadinejad speak? The whole premise behind the carrot and stick approach is that you are dealing with a sane individual. I agree with the poster who stated these are much more interesting when opposing parties debate.

bjkeefe
04-17-2008, 12:40 PM
Whatfur:

I've been thinking about your comments for a while now. I will grant that your grasp of certain specifics is better than mine, as regards events related to Iran during the Clinton Administration.

I do think you're overemphasizing covert activities while ignoring other aspects of the relationship. It is always the case in foreign relations that many different threads are being tugged, and in many different directions. I maintain that Iran, overall, used to be more receptive to talking with the US and the EU, and that their leadership was less overtly hostile to the West, during the 1990s and early 2000s, but I've decided that I don't want to get into a long back and forth about it.

I just thought I'd let you know that I wasn't ignoring you. If you want to have the last word on this, please feel free.

Whatfur
04-17-2008, 06:07 PM
BJK,

First, the executive order and the signing of the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act were hardly covert and for that matter nor was the Bosnia situation...so your analysis of my inclusions and the % of those I did, is incorrect.

Yes....what you try to explain concerning different avenues is true. Who is to say that many of these avenues are not being traversed just as as they were in the 90s...most of them are not public knowledge.

Bottom line is it is YOUR perception that communication or relationships were better in the 90s...but of course that does not make it true. Just like the listing by Joe C. of the negative things that have happened in Iran since 2000 that he wants to blame on Bush are merely perceptions and could have very well happened in the same way or worse...even with Gore as President and/or no Iraqi war.