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  #1  
Old 08-25-2010, 12:14 AM
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Default Do-Si-Do Edition (Heather Hurlburt & Dan Drezner)

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  #2  
Old 08-25-2010, 01:58 AM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Avoiding the Iran War

Interesting discussion of the threat of war between Israel and Iran. A good BH follow-up to last week's episode featuring the dueling CIA agents.

The idea that "fissures" may lead to regime change in Iran is a bizarre sort of wishful thinking, however, and I certainly hope no one in Israel or the USA is really going to hang their hat on that.

I agree with Heather and Dan that the best possible outcome is letting Iran get to the brink of weaponization, and I'm pleased to see that US pragmatists are coming around to that POV. Near-weaponization is perhaps the only place for a real stalemate. Iran backs down short of testing a nuclear device, Israel withdraws its ultimatums, and the testing threshold becomes the new red line. If Obama can broker that deal, he can count himself successful in the Mideast.

It's a crazy game of chicken though. Israel, as Dan notes, is obsessed with Iran and public opinion has bought in very much to the "existential threat" (Holocaust2.0) mindset. This is a very different state of affairs from the USA and GB getting hawked into the Iraq War by the neo-cons. I was glad to hear Heather step back from that analogy. No one sane in the USA (despite Tony Blair's rant about nukes honing in on London or Colin Powell's PowerPoint at the UN) actually felt doomsday was upon us.

The joke of the Palestinian-Israeli "negotiations" is not even worth discussing. They are over before they started.
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  #3  
Old 08-25-2010, 07:51 AM
DenvilleSteve DenvilleSteve is offline
 
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Default Re: Avoiding the Iran War

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Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
I agree with Heather and Dan that the best possible outcome is letting Iran get to the brink of weaponization, and I'm pleased to see that US pragmatists are coming around to that POV. Near-weaponization is perhaps the only place for a real stalemate. ...
you are aware of the forces that drive a nuclear arms race? The weapons themselves are so powerful that the other side cannot afford to err on the side of caution and patience. The Saudis, Turks, and Israelis ( not yet the Iraqis, thanks to GWB and the red state combat soldiers ) cannot delay their acquisition of nukes because of the doubts of what the other side is doing or wants to do.
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Old 08-25-2010, 11:02 AM
Simon Willard Simon Willard is offline
 
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Default Re: Avoiding the Iran War

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Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
I agree with Heather and Dan that the best possible outcome is letting Iran get to the brink of weaponization, and I'm pleased to see that US pragmatists are coming around to that POV. Near-weaponization is perhaps the only place for a real stalemate. Iran backs down short of testing a nuclear device, Israel withdraws its ultimatums, and the testing threshold becomes the new red line. If Obama can broker that deal, he can count himself successful in the Mideast.
I am quite surprised by this line of reasoning. It may be a good place for a "stalemate", but what is the probability? If the chances are very small, then it's rather irrelevant if "pragmatists are coming around to that POV".

I don't understand why Iran would rest on the "brink". I fully expect that Iran would quickly conduct an underground test, ultimatums or not. If that goads Israel into hostile action, so be it.

If someone can bolster this "red line / brink" argument, I would like to hear it.
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Old 08-25-2010, 12:28 PM
Starwatcher162536 Starwatcher162536 is offline
 
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Default Re: Avoiding the Iran War

Letting Iran get to the very cusp of having a functional nuclear warhead seems much more like a zugzwang leading to a mate situation then it does a stalemate situation.

Iran--> Just about to "win"
Israel--> Unilaterally bombs Iran
Iran--> Goes ahead and weaponizes anyways, but now has a much better excuse and has more international support.
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  #6  
Old 08-25-2010, 02:31 PM
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Default Re: Avoiding the Iran War

Quote:
I am quite surprised by this line of reasoning. It may be a good place for a "stalemate", but what is the probability? If the chances are very small, then it's rather irrelevant if "pragmatists are coming around to that POV".
The probability may be higher than you think because all players have a great deal of incentive in finding a way to both reduce tensions and save face.

I agree that the scenario described is not great, but all the others are catastrophic.

The real solution, as I've mentioned several times here, is disarmament commitments from all nuclear players, especially but not limited to rogue nuclear nation Israel. Israel, Pakistan and India have been in defiance of the NPT for decades, and Israel with an undeclared program, is the worst offender.
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Old 08-25-2010, 02:58 PM
Simon Willard Simon Willard is offline
 
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Default Re: Avoiding the Iran War

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I agree that the scenario described is not great, but all the others are catastrophic.
No. Here's my non-catastrophic scenario. Iran will persist. Iran will test. Israel will attack enrichment facilities by air, locally scattering radioactive debris. Iran will look the victim and accumulate increased international support. Israel will claim satisfaction, but will never do that again. Iran will be set back three years, but will suck it up, persist, and build bombs. Finally, a M.A.D.-like stability ensues, similar to the India/Pakistan situation.
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  #8  
Old 08-25-2010, 03:08 PM
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Default Re: Avoiding the Iran War

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No. Here's my non-catastrophic scenario. Iran will persist. Iran will test. Israel will attack enrichment facilities by air, locally scattering radioactive debris. Iran will look the victim and accumulate increased international support. Israel will claim satisfaction, but will never do that again. Iran efforts will be set back three years, but will suck it up, persist, and build bombs. Finally, a M.A.D.-like stability ensues, similar to the India/Pakistan situation.
Charming, to be sure, especially the part about the radioactive dust. It does imply no retaliation from Iran for the Israeli attack though. That's a hard supposition to swallow, and of course if Israel believed it they would have attacked a dozen times already, and Bush would have let them.

There's also the problem that many experts believe an Israeli or American airstrike would NOT be able to seriously set back a nuclear program in Iran. That train already left the station.
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  #9  
Old 08-25-2010, 03:25 PM
Simon Willard Simon Willard is offline
 
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Default Re: Avoiding the Iran War

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Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
Charming, to be sure, especially the part about the radioactive dust.
Thanks!

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Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
It does imply no retaliation from Iran for the Israeli attack though. That's a hard supposition to swallow,
Iranians are not stupid. I think they would understand the likelihood of success following the path outlined above.

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and of course if Israel believed it they would have attacked a dozen times already, and Bush would have let them.
I disagree with your assessment of Bush. Bush relied heavily on the National Intelligence Estimate of Iran's nuclear program. When this came back strongly negative, Bush decided no action should be taken on his watch. Or, to put it more cynically, the NIE gave Bush cover to ignore the problem.

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There's also the problem that many experts believe an Israeli or American airstrike would NOT be able to seriously set back a nuclear program in Iran. That train already left the station.
Agreed. But there would be some set-back. The airstrike is not about ending the nuclear program.

Last edited by Simon Willard; 08-25-2010 at 03:36 PM..
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  #10  
Old 08-27-2010, 12:30 PM
PreppyMcPrepperson PreppyMcPrepperson is offline
 
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Default Re: Avoiding the Iran War

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Originally Posted by Simon Willard View Post
Thanks!



Iranians are not stupid. I think they would understand the likelihood of success following the path outlined above.
Iran's retaliation, if there was one, would come in an uptick in attacks from Iran-sponsored groups in Palestine and Lebanon. So the only way to actually make the MAD scenario you lay out work is to resolve Israel's issues with both the Palestinians and the Lebanese.
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Old 08-27-2010, 01:25 PM
Simon Willard Simon Willard is offline
 
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Default Re: Avoiding the Iran War

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Iran's retaliation, if there was one, would come in an uptick in attacks from Iran-sponsored groups in Palestine and Lebanon. So the only way to actually make the MAD scenario you lay out work is to resolve Israel's issues with both the Palestinians and the Lebanese.
That's an interesting connection. By my scenario, any uptick in attacks would serve to save face for Iran without being severe enough to provoke Israel into a greater war. But your point about resolving Israel's issues is lost on me, because MAD does not require the absence of low level conflicts, just a more careful management of them.
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Old 08-27-2010, 01:34 PM
PreppyMcPrepperson PreppyMcPrepperson is offline
 
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Default Re: Avoiding the Iran War

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That's an interesting connection. By my scenario, any uptick in attacks would serve to save face for Iran without being severe enough to provoke Israel into a greater war. But your point about resolving Israel's issues is lost on me, because MAD does not require the absence of low level conflicts, just a more careful management of them.
Right. The question--as you rightly point out--is whether those attacks would remain small enough to remain below the severity threshold at which Israel would provoked to go further. I'm less confident than you are about that.
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Old 08-27-2010, 01:59 PM
Simon Willard Simon Willard is offline
 
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Default Re: Avoiding the Iran War

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Right. The question--as you rightly point out--is whether those attacks would remain small enough to remain below the severity threshold at which Israel would provoked to go further. I'm less confident than you are about that.
I do admit Israel has its bipolar moments.
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  #14  
Old 08-27-2010, 04:55 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Avoiding the Iran War

One of the interesting (or more insane, if you prefer) aspects of Israeli military domination of the region is that in spite of all the noise about Iran funding Hizballah and Hamas, Iran could certainly do plenty more to hurt Israel now if that were really the intention.

In other words, if Ahmadinejad were the crazed anti-Semite Hitlerist he is portrayed to be, why hasn't Iran stepped up suicide bomber attacks or chemical/biological warfare within Israel, or even, as in the early days of the Ayatollah regime, against Jews outside of Israel (the mass murder of Argentinian Jews).

Could it be that Iran really isn't looking for trouble but just wants the same deterrent against attacks that the West has? If I were an Iranian hawk or moderate, I might reason that the nuclear behemoth Israel could suck us into a war in several ways. The US could easily elect another ferocious neo-con just as crazier, if not crazier than Cheney and Bush. Why not prepare?

None of this matters, of course, if we all can't find ways to get along, as the great Rodney King would put it; i.e., step back from the brink.
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  #15  
Old 08-27-2010, 05:01 PM
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Default Re: Avoiding the Iran War

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One of the interesting (or more insane, if you prefer) aspects of Israeli military domination of the region is that in spite of all the noise about Iran funding Hizballah and Hamas, Iran could certainly do plenty more to hurt Israel now if that were really the intention.

In other words, if Ahmadinejad were the crazed anti-Semite Hitlerist he is portrayed to be, why hasn't Iran stepped up suicide bomber attacks or chemical/biological warfare within Israel, or even, as in the early days of the Ayatollah regime, against Jews outside of Israel (the mass murder of Argentinian Jews).

Could it be that Iran really isn't looking for trouble but just wants the same deterrent against attacks that the West has? If I were an Iranian hawk or moderate, I might reason that the nuclear behemoth Israel could suck us into a war in several ways. The US could easily elect another ferocious neo-con just as crazier, if not crazier than Cheney and Bush. Why not prepare?

None of this matters, of course, if we all can't find ways to get along, as the great Rodney King would put it; i.e., step back from the brink.
There are a number of pretty obvious reasons other than the dovelike one you propose. How about you brainstorm on as your own devils advocate?
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Old 08-27-2010, 05:09 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Avoiding the Iran War

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There are a number of pretty obvious reasons other than the dovelike one you propose. How about you brainstorm on as your own devils advocate?
Really? I have asked this question to some pretty savvy Israelis, and they couldn't provide a coherent answer. Once you get locked into the Crazy Aggressive Iran theory, you have some explaining to do in order to account for the lack of craziness and the lack of aggression.
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Old 08-27-2010, 05:54 PM
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Really? I have asked this question to some pretty savvy Israelis, and they couldn't provide a coherent answer. Once you get locked into the Crazy Aggressive Iran theory, you have some explaining to do in order to account for the lack of craziness and the lack of aggression.
Of course the simple answer is Israel has nukes. Crazy does not necessarily mean stupid. Direct escalation would not be prudent, now would it?
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Old 08-27-2010, 06:47 PM
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Of course the simple answer is Israel has nukes. Crazy does not necessarily mean stupid. Direct escalation would not be prudent, now would it?
I don't see how Israeli nukes deter Iran from sponsoring terror attacks on Jews all over the world. Unless the attacks carried a stamp that said "Made in Iran" with the signature and DNA sample of Ahmadinejad, Israel would be very unlikely to respond with a air strike or an invasion.

Hamas, for example, has had a history of openly provoking Israel with home-grown suicide bombers and primitive rockets. Iran could do far worse without leaving a footprint. But it doesn't.

There's a "cold war" climate between Iran and Israel, but it won't turn hot unless someone in the West does something crazy (Netayahu, Obama or their successors). Iran fears Israeli attempts to destabilize its regime and to hurt it economically. So of course, the West has complied by encouraging destabilizing the regime and hurting it economically.

It's not really about nukes; it's more about preserving the status quo.

Obama should do what he said he would do: sit down with the Iranian leadership and make deals. He should also give fierce orders to Israel to stand down militarily (whether that's really in his power to do is debatable).
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Old 08-27-2010, 07:13 PM
Whatfur
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I don't see how Israeli nukes deter Iran from sponsoring terror attacks on Jews all over the world. Unless the attacks carried a stamp that said "Made in Iran" with the signature and DNA sample of Ahmadinejad, Israel would be very unlikely to respond with a air strike or an invasion.

Hamas, for example, has had a history of openly provoking Israel with home-grown suicide bombers and primitive rockets. Iran could do far worse without leaving a footprint. But it doesn't.

There's a "cold war" climate between Iran and Israel, but it won't turn hot unless someone in the West does something crazy (Netayahu, Obama or their successors). Iran fears Israeli attempts to destabilize its regime and to hurt it economically. So of course, the West has complied by encouraging destabilizing the regime and hurting it economically.

It's not really about nukes; it's more about preserving the status quo.

Obama should do what he said he would do: sit down with the Iranian leadership and make deals. He should also give fierce orders to Israel to stand down militarily (whether that's really in his power to do is debatable).
You seem to have changed up the hypothetical a bit by giving Iran some plausible deniability. The original said:

Quote:
In other words, if Ahmadinejad were the crazed anti-Semite Hitlerist he is portrayed to be, why hasn't Iran stepped up suicide bomber attacks or chemical/biological warfare within Israel, or even, as in the early days of the Ayatollah regime, against Jews outside of Israel (the mass murder of Argentinian Jews).
I assume, in their craziness, they constantly make some calculation on how far they can push things. You seem to be just playing make believe to create a scenerio to meet your dream world.

Could not one make the opposite case? If Israel was no intent on "insane" "military domination of the region" why don't they ratchet it up. Get it over with? Why haven't they? Do you not think that they much more than Iran have had to put up a defense against attacks?

Seriously, who do you think wants peace more?
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Old 08-27-2010, 08:51 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Could not one make the opposite case? If Israel was no intent on "insane" "military domination of the region" why don't they ratchet it up. Get it over with? Why haven't they? Do you not think that they much more than Iran have had to put up a defense against attacks?
Israel DOES continually rachet it up, getting billions from the USA annually for weaponry, starting wars here and there (Lebanon and Gaza) and operating one of the most brutal and extensive intelligence systems in the world.

Of course, Israel wants military domination of the region, just as the USA and USSR wanted military domination of their respective spheres of the planet. It's "insane" because it's unsustainable, wasteful and sooner or later (usually sooner and later) catastrophic.

Quote:
Seriously, who do you think wants peace more?
Both want peace equally. Neither the people nor the citizens are suicidal. Palestinians also want peace. The most volatile problem in the region is the unresolved 1948 Nakhba (that created the Palestinian refugee problem) and the 1968 occupation (that led to the Apartheid Settler regime).

I hope the USA can avoid going down in flames over its suicide pact with Israel.
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Old 08-27-2010, 09:48 PM
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Israel DOES continually rachet it up, getting billions from the USA annually for weaponry, starting wars here and there (Lebanon and Gaza) and operating one of the most brutal and extensive intelligence systems in the world.


Of course, Israel wants military domination of the region, just as the USA and USSR wanted military domination of their respective spheres of the planet. It's "insane" because it's unsustainable, wasteful and sooner or later (usually sooner and later) catastrophic.



Both want peace equally. Neither the people nor the citizens are suicidal. Palestinians also want peace. The most volatile problem in the region is the unresolved 1948 Nakhba (that created the Palestinian refugee problem) and the 1968 occupation (that led to the Apartheid Settler regime).

I hope the USA can avoid going down in flames over its suicide pact with Israel.
You are the perfect example of why there really can never be a peaceful solution there because your starting point, like that of so many others, is delusion.

Last edited by Whatfur; 08-27-2010 at 09:53 PM..
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Old 08-27-2010, 09:25 PM
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It's not really about nukes; it's more about preserving the status quo.

Obama should do what he said he would do: sit down with the Iranian leadership and make deals. He should also give fierce orders to Israel to stand down militarily (whether that's really in his power to do is debatable).
I've been hoping he already has. I like to imagine Bam putting his arm casually around Bibi's shoulder and saying, 'don't even think about it.' And that Bibi's smirk and Obama's assurances of our dedication to Israel were face-savers for Bibi.

As far as having the the power to tell Israel to stand down, I was surprised to read this in one of Lyle's links in your Bomb Iran thread:

Quote:
How much they [Israel] value the relationship with the United States was underscored in 2000, when under American pressure Israel canceled a $1 billion arms deal, years in the making, to sell China an advanced airborne tracking system. Even though Israel later agreed to pay a $350 million penalty, the diplomatic damage was immense — and then compounded in 2005, when Washington blocked another Israeli arms deal with Beijing involving drone aircraft.

“After that, the Chinese realized the Jewish lobby does not control the White House and they started to treat us like a younger brother of the United States,” said Yitzhak Shichor, a professor of Asian Studies at Haifa University. “We have been cut down to size. We may make a lot of noise, but we’re the size of a medium-sized Chinese city.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/09/wo...rael.html?_r=1
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  #23  
Old 08-27-2010, 09:53 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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I've been hoping he already has. I like to imagine Bam putting his arm casually around Bibi's shoulder and saying, 'don't even think about it.' And that Bibi's smirk and Obama's assurances of our dedication to Israel were face-savers for Bibi.
There are two challenges facing any US president who gives Israel an ultimatum: 1) will the Israelis do what he says? 2) what's the political cost to POTUS and his posse domestically?

The answer to #1 is basically, yes, the Israelis will do whatever the USA makes them do. It's usually a get-out-of-jail-free card on the Israeli domestic front because no matter how much a PM has blustered, Israelis are sympathetic to "The Americans waterboarded me till I had to give in."

But, and this is a big qualification, on the Iran issue the Israelis have been working the "existential threat" escape clause.

The answer to #2 is especially tricky for Obama. He already has a rep as a Euro-style Arab sympathizer, and the Israelis have hated him from the git-go, despite his huge popularity among American Jews. Here's Charles Blow in the NYT on Obama's growing Jewish voter problem. And far beyond the relatively tiny Jewish vote, you have the Zionist US Congress to contend with. One false move on Israel and it's curtains for Barack. So far his only move has been to call for an astonishingly tepid and ineffectual "Settlement Freeze," and he's been slammed for that.

Another thing that makes it hard is that the Israelis trade American Futures. If they don't like this president's attitude they can just stall till they get a better one. Bush Jr. turned out great for them.
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  #24  
Old 08-27-2010, 11:47 PM
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There are two challenges facing any US president who gives Israel an ultimatum: 1) will the Israelis do what he says? 2) what's the political cost to POTUS and his posse domestically?

The answer to #1 is basically, yes, the Israelis will do whatever the USA makes them do. It's usually a get-out-of-jail-free card on the Israeli domestic front because no matter how much a PM has blustered, Israelis are sympathetic to "The Americans waterboarded me till I had to give in."

But, and this is a big qualification, on the Iran issue the Israelis have been working the "existential threat" escape clause.

The answer to #2 is especially tricky for Obama. He already has a rep as a Euro-style Arab sympathizer, and the Israelis have hated him from the git-go, despite his huge popularity among American Jews. Here's Charles Blow in the NYT on Obama's growing Jewish voter problem. And far beyond the relatively tiny Jewish vote, you have the Zionist US Congress to contend with. One false move on Israel and it's curtains for Barack. So far his only move has been to call for an astonishingly tepid and ineffectual "Settlement Freeze," and he's been slammed for that.

Another thing that makes it hard is that the Israelis trade American Futures. If they don't like this president's attitude they can just stall till they get a better one. Bush Jr. turned out great for them.
Here's an interesting link supplied by TGGP in another thread:

Quote:
People complain because Goldberg serves in the article as a mouthpiece for the hawkish establishment of Israel, especially PM Netanyahu and his circle. He’s too close to them. He doesn’t present the critiques of Israel’s propaganda campaign forcefully enough. And, hey, yeah.

At the same time, in Goldberg’s article, all on its own, Israel’s policy-makers condemn themselves out of their own mouth. If all you had was “The Point of No Return” and a brain, you would have everything you need to judge Israel’s case for bombing Iran as unjustified and immoral. In fact, there are truths in Goldberg’s article that appear almost nowhere else in the USA’s establishment media:
* Netanyahu has no intention whatsoever of implementing a two-state solution – at best he might take steps in that direction once his revanchist Daddy is dead;
* Netanyahu regrets the few partial steps he took under American pressure to comply with any smidgen of the spirit or letter of the Oslo agreements;
* Hardly anybody important in the Israeli government really believes that Iran would use nuclear weapons if Iran in fact develop them;
* Many don’t even worry that Iranian nukes would make it impossible for Israel to respond conventionally to Iranian “provocations” – rather, they want to go to war against a foreign country* for extremely speculative concerns about “brain drain” that are so time-dilated one suspects Iran might be deploying its nukes in near-orbit around Cygnus X-1;
* And by the way, as a child of the MAD Era in 20th-Century history, I feel qualified to say, “Grow a pair, Senior Israeli Dudes.” Brain drain. Sheesh.

It adds up to a devastating case for mens rea regarding a prospective war crime.
Can we say this is all just sound and fury signifying nothing, except ensuring that Iran and Israel will each have a boogeyman with which to jack up their citizens, and the region as a whole? Israel are Jews and Iranians Persians, and the Sunni masses aren't crazy about either of them.
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Old 08-28-2010, 02:54 AM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Can we say this is all just sound and fury signifying nothing, except ensuring that Iran and Israel will each have a boogeyman with which to jack up their citizens, and the region as a whole?
We can wish that. Sometimes our wishes come true, like in the Cuban Missile Crisis. And sometimes they don't.

If you just restrict yourself to the Bermuda Triangle of Israel, USA and Iran, all three have very brutal rap sheets. When these dudes panic, all bets are off. The Iranians, actually, are the least bellicose of the three, although they are domestically the worst human rights abusers.
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Old 08-27-2010, 09:40 PM
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Default Re: Avoiding the Iran War

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Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
It's not really about nukes; it's more about preserving the status quo.

Obama should do what he said he would do: sit down with the Iranian leadership and make deals. He should also give fierce orders to Israel to stand down militarily (whether that's really in his power to do is debatable).
What "deals" do you think Iran would be willing to do with the U.S. (or its European proxies) that aren't already on the table? What more should Obama be willing to offer?

Even under the irredeemably wicked GWB, an offer was on the table: Give up your (nascent) nukes in exchange for assistance on a civilian nuclear power program--Iran's ostensible goal. And watch the U.S. quietly drop any push to further isolate Iran economically. Who knows, if things had gone well, we might have been looking at a long, slow march toward U.S.- Iran diplomatic normalization.

The Iranian regime's raison d'etre is opposition to the Infidel West generally and the United States in particular. Obama has been in office for nearly two years now. His olive branch is pretty withered, but it's still sitting there. But the nature of the Iranian leadership makes it politically impossible to pick it up. True?
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  #27  
Old 08-27-2010, 10:05 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Avoiding the Iran War

Quote:
What "deals" do you think Iran would be willing to do with the U.S. (or its European proxies) that aren't already on the table? What more should Obama be willing to offer?
Talk. That's all. Get the ball rolling. Not talk about talking. Actually talk. After all, that's what everyone wants arch-enemies Netanyahu and Arafat-heir Abbas to do: sit down and talk to each other. Why not Obama and Ahmadinejad? Or Clinton and her Iranian counterpart?

Quote:
Who knows, if things had gone well, we might have been looking at a long, slow march toward U.S.- Iran diplomatic normalization.
Well, maybe so. But Bush chose instead to Axis-of-Evil them and threaten war and/or regime change. His stick was a lot more prominent than the carrot you allude to.

Quote:
The Iranian regime's raison d'etre is opposition to the Infidel West generally and the United States in particular. Obama has been in office for nearly two years now. His olive branch is pretty withered, but it's still sitting there. But the nature of the Iranian leadership makes it politically impossible to pick it up. True?
No, I don't agree with that. Obama had unprecedented credibility and popularity throughout the world when he came to office, and that includes among traditional US "enemies" like Iran, Venezuela, Syria and Cuba.

His Indonesian, Kenyan and African-American roots, plus his youth and opposition to the Iraq War, gave him golden opportunities to transform our image and standing among peace-loving peoples. That went up in smoke quickly, but it didn't have to, and something can still be salvaged in Iran and elsewhere.
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  #28  
Old 08-25-2010, 02:13 AM
StillmanThomas StillmanThomas is offline
 
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Default Limited help for purged Libertarians

Heather and Dan muse about what they can't supply to Brink and Will after (maybe) being ousted from Cato. They reminded me of this jaw-dropping article about the lengths a crazed Ayn Rand reader went to puff his heroine.



"Using a GPS tracking device as a 'pen', Newcomen took about 10 days to complete each word, turning on his GPS logger when he wanted to write and turning it off between letters, videoing himself at landmarks along the route for documentation. He drove 12,328 miles in total, across 30 American states, inputting the data once he was finished into Google Earth to create the world's largest book advertisement."

As I read that I realized that his journey was only slightly loonier than those of Ms. Rand's protagonists.
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  #29  
Old 08-25-2010, 03:01 AM
Always Cynical Always Cynical is offline
 
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Default Re: Do-Si-Do Edition (Heather Hurlburt & Dan Drezner)

My compliments to Ms. Hurlburt and Mr. Drezner on the content, professionalism, and information offered during this discussion. We need more of this type of thorough analysis.

I question Ms. Hurlburt and Mr. Drezner only in their relative unwillingness to analyze the journalistic credibility of Jeffrey Goldberg and/or the absolute control that the Koch brothers have long held over the Cato Institute.

Mr. Goldberg, the most ardent of Neoconservative war hawks in the days before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, wrote a series of items about that nation and Iraqi despot Saddam Hussein that were later proven without question to be false, misleading, and, in some cases, developed seemingly out of thin air.

Now Mr. Goldberg, who last year offered an extensive one-on-one interview with the reelected Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has published a story laden with unnamed and unidentified sources about either Israel and/or the United States eventually bombing nuclear facilities in Iran. Mr. Goldberg's piece even includes a Freudian analysis of Mr. Netanyahu's relationship to his extremist father and how that relationship affects his policy development and implementation that causes one, at best, to ask for Mr. Goldberg's qualifications as a psychologist or psychiatrist or, at worst, to wonder how such a questionable, unsubstantiated argument ever made it onto the pages of this once-proud publication.

Why Ms. Hurlburt and Mr. Drezner did not delve further into the question of Mr. Goldberg's overall credibility as a writer on Middle East and Arab world issues, however, remains something of a mystery. This viewer can attribute their unwillingness to do so only to the unspoken rule of Washington think tanks the media pundits that one never does anything to question another lest one experience a temper tantrum or three at an upcoming Georgetown cocktail party.

As for the Koch brothers, the Texas twosome provided the funds that created the Cato Institute in 1977. In the ensuing 33 years, the Koch brothers' control over the Cato Institute is something akin to the iron grip that the Communist Party once held on the Tass News Agency in Russia or Dick Carlson retains over his son Tucker's career in D.C., New York, and all points upscale.

Perhaps Ms. Hurlburt and Mr. Drezner taped this otherwise insightful piece before the publication of Jane Mayer's fine story, "Covert Operations", in the current edition of The New Yorker. Ms. Mayer's story delves into the economic and political histories of the Koch brothers and their late-father, Fred, who was an original member of the John Birch Society, an organization renowned for its racism and anti-Semitism. The late-William F. Buckley once dispatched the John Birch Society from the Conservative movement only to see the Birchers reappear as a cosponsor of the 2010 Conservative Political Action Committee convention.

Also, D.C. Conservative think tanks have been purging those deemed not to be truly loyal to the cause. Let us not forget how the American Enterprise Institute earlier this year quietly forced David Frum into resigning his position with that arch-Neoconservative organization. Frum, upon being told that AEI would no longer fund his efforts, stepped down in the wake of writing a column for the CNN website that termed the Conservative's hyper-aggressive opposition of the Obama health care plan the movement's "Waterloo" moment.

Ms. Hurlburt and Mr. Drezner could have alluded to Mr. Frum's forced departure from AEI and the Koch brothers' decision to force two highly respected officials out of Cato amid questions about their respective "loyalty" to the Conservative and Libertarian causes. A pattern seems to be emerging, yet Ms. Hurlburt and Mr. Drezner chose to ignore the matter almost entirely.

Perhaps the power of the Koch brothers extends well beyond Cato, Americans for Prosperity, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Citizens for the Environment, the Economic Education Trust, and the Mercatus Center at George Mason University? Unfortunately, Ms. Hurlburt and Mr. Drezner provided little in the way of additional insight into either of these issues. One hopes that they will revisit the matters in the future.
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Old 08-25-2010, 07:43 AM
DenvilleSteve DenvilleSteve is offline
 
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Default Re: Do-Si-Do Edition (Heather Hurlburt & Dan Drezner)

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Originally Posted by Always Cynical View Post
As for the Koch brothers, the Texas twosome provided the funds that created the Cato Institute in 1977. In the ensuing 33 years, the Koch brothers' control over the Cato Institute is something akin to the iron grip that the Communist Party once held on the Tass News Agency in Russia or Dick Carlson retains over his son Tucker's career in D.C., New York, and all points upscale.
so these two fellows created the institute 33 years ago and now you are faulting them for making personnel changes to presumably refocus and improve its work product? Better I think for people of your view to find a like minded benefactor and form their own, competing think tank.

As it is, Brink Lindsey is a good thinking person. Will, I don't see why they would have hired him in the first place. No original or insightful thinking from that guy.
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Old 08-25-2010, 11:04 AM
Always Cynical Always Cynical is offline
 
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Originally Posted by DenvilleSteve View Post
so these two fellows created the institute 33 years ago and now you are faulting them for making personnel changes to presumably refocus and improve its work product? Better I think for people of your view to find a like minded benefactor and form their own, competing think tank.

As it is, Brink Lindsey is a good thinking person. Will, I don't see why they would have hired him in the first place. No original or insightful thinking from that guy.
You misunderstand.

I believe that the Koch brothers - like you and I, or even George Soros - can and should do with their money whatever they wish.

Just don't call it any sort of vague "reshuffling" or "personnel change" at Cato.

Brink Lindsey and Will failed to toe the veritable Koch brothers' line on every issue at Cato and, instead, displayed an ability to employ logical reason and independent scholarship; as such, the Koch brothers have chosen to chop their feet off and take away their keys to the Cato playground.

One used to be fired in this town and in this country for incompetence; now one is fired (let's not call their departure a self-motivated decision on the part of Brink Lindsey and Will to step down) for failing to blindly obey and for the development of the most logical response to a problem or issue.

As with David Frum at AEI, Brink Lindsey and Will were dispatched from Cato to (a) reestablish complete loyalty and (b) send the message that any and all who decline to go along - on every single issue - will no longer be employed.

You may believe that's some sort of meritocracy. I liken it a bit more to the heydays of Augie Pinochet and Dr. Milton Friedman in Chile - minus, of course the Midnight Airplane Ride Sans Parachute.
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  #32  
Old 08-25-2010, 09:05 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: Do-Si-Do Edition (Heather Hurlburt & Dan Drezner)

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Originally Posted by Always Cynical View Post
I question Ms. Hurlburt and Mr. Drezner only in their relative unwillingness to analyze the journalistic credibility of Jeffrey Goldberg and/or the absolute control that the Koch brothers have long held over the Cato Institute.
With regard to Goldberg, they referenced the article, but I didn't think they relied on it for any of the facts they discussed. They took it for granted that Goldberg was reporting what he learned, but didn't say that based on his argument this or that should be done. Moreover, it seemed that they were relying more on their own knowledge of the situation -- thus, the suggestion that Goldberg may have been made a mouthpiece for what his sources wanted to get out. (If memory serves -- I need to listen to that bit again to recall precisely how what I'm thinking of was put.) That the feeling of Israel which was discussed is, in fact, a common view in Israel is not something uniquely reported by Goldberg.

With regard to the Koch brothers, I'm not sure why that would be relevant to what they were discussing, unless you are arguing that it must be true that Will and Brink were forced out due to their control. I don't think there's sufficient evidence for that, and Heather and Dan clearly didn't really know what happened, so I think they basically dealt with the requested topic as well as they could.

In fact, I thought it was a good and interesting diavlog overall.
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  #33  
Old 08-25-2010, 10:26 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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I said:

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
With regard to Goldberg, they referenced the article, but I didn't think they relied on it for any of the facts they discussed. They took it for granted that Goldberg was reporting what he learned, but didn't say that based on his argument this or that should be done. Moreover, it seemed that they were relying more on their own knowledge of the situation -- thus, the suggestion that Goldberg may have been made a mouthpiece for what his sources wanted to get out. (If memory serves -- I need to listen to that bit again to recall precisely how what I'm thinking of was put.) That the feeling of Israel which was discussed is, in fact, a common view in Israel is not something uniquely reported by Goldberg.
Since I listened again, I will clarify -- what was said was that Goldberg's piece seemed to reflect a particular segment of views, in part due to the people he relied on (Heather did not question his good faith here in relying on them), and in part due to certain people in the Israeli government/leadership perhaps using him to make the US take the issue more seriously/think that something needed to be done.

This contradicts, then, any argument that they were taking Goldberg too much at face value.

In connection with this I also looked back at the discussion of the article and Goldberg by Bob and Mickey, which directly did address the question of Goldberg's credibility (mainly because Mickey seems to be jealous of Goldberg, even though I do agree with the criticism of his work re Iraq). I don't really think the criticism of Goldberg here, about the Israel-Iran situation, is fair, however. I don't read Goldberg's article as pushing action by Israel or pushing the US to bomb/use force against Iran. I see it more as an attempt to explain to us a state of mind in Israel and Goldberg's genuine fear that Israel will bomb Iran (as well as a somewhat sympathetic explanation of what still comes across as paranoia or overreaction to the situation by the Israeli). On the whole, I think Heather's comments that he seems to be sincerely worried but is probably getting used somewhat (to put it crudely) seem correct.
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  #34  
Old 08-26-2010, 02:17 AM
Always Cynical Always Cynical is offline
 
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Default Re: Do-Si-Do Edition (Heather Hurlburt & Dan Drezner)

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Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
With regard to Goldberg, they referenced the article, but I didn't think they relied on it for any of the facts they discussed. They took it for granted that Goldberg was reporting what he learned, but didn't say that based on his argument this or that should be done. Moreover, it seemed that they were relying more on their own knowledge of the situation -- thus, the suggestion that Goldberg may have been made a mouthpiece for what his sources wanted to get out. (If memory serves -- I need to listen to that bit again to recall precisely how what I'm thinking of was put.) That the feeling of Israel which was discussed is, in fact, a common view in Israel is not something uniquely reported by Goldberg.
As I have already indicated, there is no question that Jeffrey Goldberg serves as the D.C. Parrot for the Shas Party and Avigdor Lieberman.

That, however, was not my point.

Mr. Goldberg's credibility on Middle East issues and Mr. Goldberg's primary allegiances are the issues in question here. Mr. Goldberg's reporting on Iraq in the days prior to the war has proven to be little more than well-paid sophistry. More power to Mr. Goldberg for cashing in so richly on such poor work. More questions to those who continue to defend Mr. Goldberg's work on Iraq and expect an intelligent, reality-based American to believe that his writing can be credible on Iran.

Mr. Goldberg has already identified himself as a Neoconservative. No problem, legal or moral, about his self-styled designation. The dilemma lies solely with those who want the American public to believe that Mr. Goldberg's Neoconservative status and his pre-Iraq War reporting therefore make him a viable source of information on the topic of Iran.

And, please, spare me the anti-Semetic tripe. One who questions a Neoconservative is not a mindless, self-hating anti-Semite. One who questions a Neoconservative is a cynical American burned once too damned often in Iraq and by Mr. Goldberg, his financial backers, and his allies in the D.C. media.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
With regard to the Koch brothers, I'm not sure why that would be relevant to what they were discussing, unless you are arguing that it must be true that Will and Brink were forced out due to their control. I don't think there's sufficient evidence for that, and Heather and Dan clearly didn't really know what happened, so I think they basically dealt with the requested topic as well as they could.

In fact, I thought it was a good and interesting diavlog overall.
As previously noted, the Koch brothers, who founded Cato, ushered Will and Brink out the door. Just as the American Enterprise Institute told David Frum to hit the veritable road. Both Koch/Cato and AEI wore the proverbial velvet glove covering the brass-knuckled fist that demands unquestioned loyalty and blind obedience.

I don't think that there's sufficient evidence to believe ANYTHING OTHER THAN the combination of Georgetown Cocktail Party Pressures and the unwritten rule to Never Question Another's Think Tank caused Dan and Heather to say very little in specific about the matter. Dan and Heather know that to speak ill of Cato is to slander the Koch brothers. To slander the Koch brothers is to slit Dan's and Heather's respective financial and employment throats on the D.C. Think Tank Circuit.

Follow the money remains, sadly, the chief reason for such polite babble and maximum silence in our nation's headquarters. More's the pity.
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  #35  
Old 08-26-2010, 10:11 AM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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That, however, was not my point.

Mr. Goldberg's credibility on Middle East issues and Mr. Goldberg's primary allegiances are the issues in question here.
And my point was they are not. Your arguments about Goldberg have basically nothing to do with what was said in the diavlog. I realize that Goldberg is a hot button to many, I don't happen to agree with you in full (or about this particular article), though I'm plenty critical of Goldberg at times, but your suggestion that Dan and Heather should have discussed Goldberg's history, etc.., really isn't supported by what they said in the diavlog. Goldberg himself wasn't relevant to what they were discussing or what they said. They didn't rely on his credibility at all. They certainly didn't cite him as an expert on Iran.

Quote:
As previously noted, the Koch brothers, who founded Cato, ushered Will and Brink out the door.
You asserted that. We don't know that, despite the effort to bypass the proof problem with "as previously noted." Is it fair to speculate that's what happened (with or without some particular animous for the Kochs)? Sure, I had no problem with Weigel's speculation, which I think is probable enough. But Dan and Heather were simply reporting what they knew, which is basically that Will and Brink had denied it, and that they knew nothing in particular to contradict that.

It's not like it would be so awful if it were true, of course. And thus I find your: "I don't think that there's sufficient evidence to believe ANYTHING OTHER THAN the combination of Georgetown Cocktail Party Pressures and the unwritten rule to Never Question Another's Think Tank caused Dan and Heather to say very little in specific about the matter...." is really unfair to Heather and Dan, and rather conspiratorial. Heather and Dan strike me as the type of people who aren't inclined to say that gossip is true when they lack evidence and I don't see why they would care that much about CATO's employment policies. Neither is bucking for a job there.
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  #36  
Old 08-26-2010, 05:02 PM
Always Cynical Always Cynical is offline
 
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Default Re: Do-Si-Do Edition (Heather Hurlburt & Dan Drezner)

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And my point was they are not. Your arguments about Goldberg have basically nothing to do with what was said in the diavlog.
The title of this portion of the debate was:

On Iran, Heather sees similarities to the Iraq war run-up

The first words out of Mr. Drezner's mouth on the issue were:

"So let's talk about Iran. There was the Goldberg piece."

You assert that this has "basically nothing" to do with the topic. Excuse me? How much more blatant do you wish the connection to be? Perhaps bloggingheads.tv ought to provide flashing lights, bells, whistles, and dancing girls to map the path between a topic, its basis, and the comments on said topic?

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
I realize that Goldberg is a hot button to many, I don't happen to agree with you in full (or about this particular article), though I'm plenty critical of Goldberg at times, but your suggestion that Dan and Heather should have discussed Goldberg's history, etc.., really isn't supported by what they said in the diavlog.
First, Jeffrey Goldberg is a paid hack - a very well paid hack. As I have noted earlier, more offshore wealth to him for his words and for convincing suckers that he represents anything that approaches sound, reasonable, responsible journalism. Second, Mr. Goldberg was the basis for the very comments, as I illustrated above with the title of this section of the debate and as Mr. Drezner confirmed with the first words out of his mouth on this topic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
Goldberg himself wasn't relevant to what they were discussing or what they said. They didn't rely on his credibility at all. They certainly didn't cite him as an expert on Iran.
Yes, Mr. Drezner cited Mr. Goldberg's story at the very start of the debate on the topic. Hence, Mr. Goldberg was the very basis for the debate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
You asserted that. We don't know that, despite the effort to bypass the proof problem with "as previously noted." Is it fair to speculate that's what happened (with or without some particular animous for the Kochs)? Sure, I had no problem with Weigel's speculation, which I think is probable enough. But Dan and Heather were simply reporting what they knew, which is basically that Will and Brink had denied it, and that they knew nothing in particular to contradict that.
Mr. Drezner and Ms. Hurlburt danced around the topic and followed the most hallowed D.C. rule: Never criticize the hirings and firings of another think tank - unless, of course, you're willing to put your own job and financial well-being on the line. Mr. Drezner and Ms. Hurlburt spoke volumes with all that they did not say about the Koch brothers' decision to enforce rigid ideological purity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
It's not like it would be so awful if it were true, of course. And thus I find your: "I don't think that there's sufficient evidence to believe ANYTHING OTHER THAN the combination of Georgetown Cocktail Party Pressures and the unwritten rule to Never Question Another's Think Tank caused Dan and Heather to say very little in specific about the matter...." is really unfair to Heather and Dan, and rather conspiratorial. Heather and Dan strike me as the type of people who aren't inclined to say that gossip is true when they lack evidence and I don't see why they would care that much about CATO's employment policies. Neither is bucking for a job there.
First, if you believe that the Koch brothers' punishment, or any think tank backers' punishment, of those that fail to march in lockstep solidarity with their financial backers on each and every issue somehow benefits quality scholarship, the free exchange of ideas, and our nation as a whole, more power to you, I guess. Perhaps you favor a quasi-corporatist/national takeover of the very process and presentation of thought as a whole?

Second, Mr. Drezner and Ms. Hurlburt committed an even greater crime against the viewers of this website by claiming a false ignorance of the Koch brothers' rule over Cato and of similar efforts by financial backers at other D.C.-based think tanks. Mr. Drezner and Ms. Hurlburt want us to believe that they endorse independence, creativity, and the free, open give-and-take of policy positions - and yet they declined to address in any substantive manner the blatant crackdown on these very foundations of democracy and our society by the Koch brothers at Cato.
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Old 08-28-2010, 01:35 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Always Cynical View Post
... "So let's talk about Iran. There was the Goldberg piece."

You assert that this has "basically nothing" to do with the topic. Excuse me? How much more blatant do you wish the connection to be?
They started by talking about an article that has been discussed. They did not claim that the article indicated that we should use force against Iran (or that the Israelis should), did not assert that it should be relied on as support for any particular action (or none), and did not take it at face value. To the contrary, Heather suggested that Goldberg had been used.

Thus, your response -- that the dialogue failed to slam Goldberg and thus was somehow misleading -- missed the point and had nothing to do with what was said in the daivlog. I'm sure you just enjoyed the opportunity to rant about Goldberg and that's fine with me. I wouldn't have commented even to the aspects of the rant that I disagree with except for the unfair suggestion that Heather and Dan had somehow relied on the Goldberg piece for some suggested foreign policy action. (Action that I don't actually think was pushed by the article, but I do think that's more debateable than the unfair distortion of the comments in the diavlog.)

You seem to not care for the diavlog because it generally discussed issues rather than being a partisan slam on various individuals. I would have found that far less interesting or informative than the diavlog that we got, so I'm glad that Dan and Heather tempermentally are unlikely to engage in the type of attacks you criticize them for avoiding, but instead talked about actual substantive issues.
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Old 08-28-2010, 06:55 PM
Always Cynical Always Cynical is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
They started by talking about an article that has been discussed. They did not claim that the article indicated that we should use force against Iran (or that the Israelis should), did not assert that it should be relied on as support for any particular action (or none), and did not take it at face value. To the contrary, Heather suggested that Goldberg had been used.
They is a plural pronoun signifying two or more entities. As you so noted, I questioned both Ms. Hulburt and Mr. Drezner on their use of Neoconservative Jeffrey Goldberg, whose work in the lead up to the Iraqi War has since been totally debunked, and Mr. Goldberg's endorsement of the expected(?)/anticipated(?)/demanded(?) bombing or Iranian nuclear facilities.

So you, by your own words, confirmed that my criticism was directed at both Ms. Hulburt and Mr. Drezner and, as such, could not be pointed towards one political party or ideology.

Which makes the following sentence of yours most puzzling:

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
You seem to not care for the diavlog because it generally discussed issues rather than being a partisan slam on various individuals.
First, you question me for criticizing Ms. Hurlburt and Mr. Drezner for endorsing the work of Mr. Goldberg. Then, in the above sentence, you attack me for mounting, in your words, a "partisan slam". Which is it?

Am I critic of Ms. Hurlburt and Mr. Drezner?

Or am I critic only of Mr. Goldberg and his fellow Neoconservatives?

Pick one. Just one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
Thus, your response -- that the dialogue failed to slam Goldberg and thus was somehow misleading -- missed the point and had nothing to do with what was said in the daivlog. I'm sure you just enjoyed the opportunity to rant about Goldberg and that's fine with me.
I take no enjoyment in questioning the validity and general professionalism of Mr. Goldberg. None whatsoever. The fact remains, however, that Mr. Goldberg forfeited his own credibility with a number of subsequently verified false and misleading statements and arguments in the days prior to the Iraq War. I never forced Mr. Goldberg to make those statements or arguments, to write the pro-attack articles that he wrote, to deem as "anti-Semitic" anyone who dared to question him or his work. Mr. Goldberg's sub par efforts sadden me. Mr. Goldberg's vicious counterattacks served no purpose. Your statement that I am somehow "ranting" is both (a) boilerplate Conservative and Neoconservative spin and (b) sadly incorrect. I am in no way satisfied when I consistently point out these facts, but I find your methods and arguments quite deplorable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
I wouldn't have commented even to the aspects of the rant that I disagree with except for the unfair suggestion that Heather and Dan had somehow relied on the Goldberg piece for some suggested foreign policy action. (Action that I don't actually think was pushed by the article, but I do think that's more debateable than the unfair distortion of the comments in the diavlog.)
As I have previously noted, and quoted, Mr. Drezner made Mr. Goldberg's story the basis for his discussion with Ms. Hurlburt on this issue. If you had read what I had typed earlier, I quoted word-for-word Mr. Drezner's opening comment. Listen to the debate again for yourself.

Mr. Goldberg's story employed many of the same, tired arguments for the bombing of Iran that Neoconservatives have mounted since 2002. I have written about these aspects at length on this thread and see no reason to do so again. Either you will read my words and believe the facts presented or you will find alternative pseudo-facts that support your view of the world. I can do no better and I certainly cannot convince you to understand and accept what you refuse to believe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
I would have found that far less interesting or informative than the diavlog that we got, so I'm glad that Dan and Heather tempermentally are unlikely to engage in the type of attacks you criticize them for avoiding, but instead talked about actual substantive issues.
I have discussed the actual substantive issues regarding Iran, Neoconservatives, think tanks, and foreign policy at length on this thread. Again, either you will read that discussion or you will not.
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  #39  
Old 08-28-2010, 09:16 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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So you, by your own words, confirmed that my criticism was directed at both Ms. Hulburt and Mr. Drezner and, as such, could not be pointed towards one political party or ideology.
Weird response, in that there was never a question about whether you were criticizing both Heather and Dan (unfairly and without regard to what they actually said) or merely one of them. I feel like you have such blinders about how a discussion should be -- a partisan fight that slams those you have designated the enemy -- that you are trying to fit every discussion, including that between Dan and Heather, into that mold or complaining when it doesn't fit. I have never suggested that you were taking the side of one against the other (and I don't think their differences in this diavlog, such as they were, were related to partisan differences).

Thus, the supposedly "puzzling" bit really shouldn't have been:

Quote:
First, you question me for criticizing Ms. Hurlburt and Mr. Drezner for endorsing the work of Mr. Goldberg. Then, in the above sentence, you attack me for mounting, in your words, a "partisan slam". Which is it?
You are wrong to read them as "endorsing" Goldberg merely because they did not talk about whether or not he sucks, which seems to be the limited kind of diavlog you wanted, rather than the subject matter which his article discussed and which has been the subject of much current discussion. Specifically, Iran's nuclear program and the related topic of whether Israel is likely to take particular action (bomb) and how the US should and can react to all this. The discussion was about this underlying issue. The Goldberg article was referenced regarding his analysis of the Israeli psychology here -- not as support for some proposed US response -- and it was not relied upon or even really used as a source, but was questioned. In particular, Heather said it was a somewhat slanted view given the primary people talked to (although she did not question his worry or good faith) and also suggested that he had been used by the Israelis to some degree. Neither of them seemed to rely on Goldberg's analysis even of Israel's position (he did not actually write about Iran itself or US policy in that article), both referenced other sources and seemed to have knowledge of the situation beyond an article in the Atlantic, as they should.

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Am I critic of Ms. Hurlburt and Mr. Drezner?

Or am I critic only of Mr. Goldberg and his fellow Neoconservatives?
You unfairly criticized Heather and Dan for not devoting their diavlog to the kind of boring partisan attacks on your favored targets (here, Goldberg and the Kochs) rather than talking about the substantive topics which interested them. Given the number of dull diavlogs where people focus on repeating partisan talking points, I'm glad these two don't do that, and your criticism of them as being essentially dishonest because they don't share your view of how a diavlog should go is irritating.

I note that you cannot help yourself from ranting again and again about Goldberg even though we are not discussing him and never have been. It's odd. However, as I said before, go for it and I'll ignore it, if you don't also feel compelled to attack the diavloggers for not joining you in that.

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Mr. Goldberg's story employed many of the same, tired arguments for the bombing of Iran that Neoconservatives have mounted since 2002.
That's a misreading of the article (Goldberg is not arguing that the US should bomb Iran or even that Israel should), but given that you seem to think the diavlog was principally about the validity of the Goldberg piece rather than the underlying subject matter, I'm not terribly surprised. And as I pointed out, that they referenced the piece -- one of the major reasons everyone is talking about the underlying topic that they were discussing at this moment -- in no way supports your insistence that the discussion was about Jeffrey Goldberg, rather than Iran, its nuclear program, Israel's likely response thereto (including, it was indicated, potentially using Goldberg as a representative of the American media). No one indicated -- as you seem oddly to think -- that the US should bomb Iran or that the Goldberg article is support for that position or any other proposed action discussed.

Anyhow, I've made my point about the unfairness of the claims about Heather and Dan sufficiently. Take this opportunity to rant away about whatever unrelated matter you wish to, as I'm finished.
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  #40  
Old 08-25-2010, 04:54 AM
Graybeard Graybeard is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 62
Default Re: Do-Si-Do Edition (Heather Hurlburt & Dan Drezner)

Ms. Hurlburt throws away her credibility with this silly post, in which she and her co-author claim that 'Dan Maes in Colorado thinks the UN is using bicycles to take over his state.' The linked article says no such thing, and doesn't even directly quote whatever Mr. Maes allegedly said about bicycles.
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