A World Leader Speaks the Unspeakable on Iran

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by rawbone8, Feb 10, 2007.

  1. rawbone8

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    from NOW Magazine
    NOW | FEBRUARY 8 - 14, 2007 | VOL. 26 NO. 23

    Dropping a bomb

    French prez blows West’s cover on Iran
    using nukes first – it’s not going to happen

    By GWYNNE DYER

    For more than two years, all the big Western powers have insisted that Iran's nuclear power program is secretly intended to produce nuclear weapons, and that the minute it gets them it will launch them at Israel.

    But on Monday (January 29), French president Jacques Chirac said something very different. He said Iran would never use them first.

    "I would say that what is dangerous about this situation is not the fact of [Iran] having a nuclear bomb," Chirac said in reply to a journalist's question.

    "Where will it drop it, this bomb?'' Chirac asked scornfully. "On Israel? [The missile] would not have gone 200 metres into the air before Tehran would be razed."

    He spoke as if deterrence would work even against Iran. As if the country were run by sane human beings who don't want their children burned, crushed and vaporized by Israeli and American nuclear weapons.

    He's not supposed to talk like that in public.

    "Chirac gave us a moment of honesty,'' said Alireza Nourizadeh, chief researcher at the London-based Centre for Arab-Iranian Studies. "His comment was basically what I believe to be the position of Britain, the United States and much of the West: if Israel is attacked, there will be no hesitation to bring retaliation and destruction to Iran."

    And that, Chirac concluded, meant that Iran would not use its nuclear weapons to attack Israel should it ever acquire them.

    In Chirac's view, the danger is not that Iran would use its nuclear weapons, but that they would lead to a general proliferation of such weapons in the Middle East.

    "Why wouldn't Saudi Arabia do it?" he asked. "Why wouldn't it help Egypt to do it as well? That is the real danger."

    But he's not supposed to say that either.

    Those are the West's allies, the very countries that the United States is currently trying to mobilize to lead an anti-Iranian alliance of Sunni Arab states.

    Chirac was simply stating the truth as he (and many others) see it, but his comments completely undermined the joint Western position, so the following day he was forced to retract them. He didn't say he was wrong, however, just that he'd thought he was speaking "off the record" when discussing Iran, as the interview was originally about climate change.

    France is clearly very worried by the drumbeat of anti-Iranian propaganda in Washington, which sounds alarmingly similar to the campaign of misinformation waged by the Bush administration before it attacked Iraq.

    Last month, Chirac was forced to cancel a planned visit to Tehran by his foreign minister, Philippe Douste-Blazy, because his allies did not trust France to stick to the party line. They were doubtless right in their suspicions.

    But France is also right to argue that Iranian nuclear weapons, if they existed, would be primarily defensive in nature and would not be used to attack Israel, because nuclear deterrence still works and Iranians do not want their country to commit suicide.

    It is also right to worry that an Iranian bomb would create pressures for further proliferation, as Arab countries that have lived under the threat of Israeli nuclear weapons for 40 years decide that living under the threat of Iranian nuclear weapons as well, with no means of deterrence or retaliation, is simply intolerable.

    Certainly, France is utterly hypocritical to worry about Middle Eastern countries owning nuclear weapons when it has had them itself for almost half a century, but that is equally true of all the other great powers.

    And it is jumping to conclusions when it assumes that Iran's stated (and quite legal) desire to enrich uranium for nuclear power generation conceals a drive to get an actual nuclear weapon as soon as possible.

    The truth may be that Iran is for the moment seeking only a "threshold'' nuclear weapons capacity: a level of technological expertise from which it could, in an emergency, develop actual nuclear weapons in only six months or so. Such a position is entirely legal, and some 40 countries currently hold it.

    The truth may also be that the nuclear-armed neighbour Iran really worries about is not Israel but Pakistan, whose 1998 nuclear tests scared Iranian strategists half to death. They don't worry about the intentions of Pakistan's current dictator, General Pervez Musharraf, but they know it is a one-bullet regime and they worry a great deal about what kind of fanatics might succeed him in power.

    So maybe Chirac's gaffe wasn't as accidental as it seemed. Maybe he wants people to re-examine all the lies and half-truths we are being told about Iran as Washington seems to be gearing up for another attack.

    And maybe we should.

    ——————


    Interesting. I'm inclined to agree, if logic holds, that the mutally assured destruction or Mexican stand-off applies here as with other holders of power. Of course, demonizing the leaders and portraying them as extremist lunatics is the standard propaganda, which means logic only counts when dealing with sane people.

    Religious zealots who want to fulfill prophesies of Armageddon are pretty scary to me if they are close to the critical ignition switches. I'd guess Israel has its own black coated ayatollahs who are proponents of that, but not before they build the third Temple. And they don't really run things there, just influence which political coalitions are in power. Extremist Christians might be already too close to the red button in the US, but that's just speculation.

    Nobody in the nuclear arms club sought permission to be there. They assumed they needed to just do it in secrecy, as with South Africa, India, Pakistan and Israel.



    What is the real deal on Iran? Is Iran closer to a fledgling democracy waiting to be liberated and flourish or still (as the US appears to think and act) a rabid dog with dreams of grandeur wishing to export its Islamic revolution?

    Pakistan is one bullet away from a more real and present danger if its dictator falls. How many assasination attempts have failed in offing Musharraf to date? It seems to be just a matter of time there.


     
  2. kamikazee_club

    kamikazee_club New Member

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    As do I. I have never subscribed to the "Nuke Iran" or "Nuke North Korea" hysteria. Partly for the reasons you say and partly because ultimately it's probably safer for them to have them and not use them (for the same reasons the US doesn't) that risk Iran [NK] using them, possibly indiscriminately when and if the US tries to eliminate them. I kind of said this already in the " War with Iran" thread at: 1, 2 and 3.
    The above are facts conveniently overlooked by those who have their sights set on other courses of action. India and Pakistan pose a far far more real danger than Iran does or probably will for the forseable future. China having a foot in both camps adds spice to the mix.
     
  3. rawbone8

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    It occurs to me the other consideration not mentioned above is the more realistic fear that a "rogue nation" or "rogue agent" may arm cells of terrorists with small transportable suitcase bombs or the like that can be transported to a US or European city to make a strike, making moot the threat of ballistic delivery.

    There seem to be no shortage of sources for that, beginning with the former Soviet Union and woefully underpaid (and therefore susceptable to bribery) state employees and enterprising criminals who need no idealogy to prompt them except profits.
     
  4. SpeedoGuy

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    This is the heart of the matter. Short of costly military action, there's little anyone can do to stop a regime determined to develop nuclear weapons.

    Washington has damaged its own credibility with its ongoing Iraq fiasco. It clearly wants to shift the focus now against Iran by portraying it as a pack of fanatic zealots led by a madman, an image Tehran sometimes seems happy to comply with.

    The mullahs in Iran may be thugs, but are they suicidal thugs?
     
  5. rawbone8

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    You are right. They can't be stopped but they can be delayed for decades. Israel would rather someone else does it (a devastating strike on the Iranian sites) and is waiting for others to step up to the plate. They won't wait long. Maybe 2 years.
     
  6. kamikazee_club

    kamikazee_club New Member

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    Yes, that's where the real threat lies and I think that deserves a thread all on it's own. Razing [or threatening to] Tehran or Pyongyang to the ground won't reduce that risk to any meaningful extent, in fact it would quite possibly provoke a rash of such 'suitcase nukes'.

    As I understand it (probably badly) the technology behind such devices is not unduly complex, at least in comparison to a more 'conventional' nuclear weapon.

    To paraphrase a line from a movie on this very theme; "I'm not worried about the person that wants 6 nukes, I'm terrified of the person who wants one".
     
  7. SteveHd

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    Actually "suitcase weapons" are very complex. The ones that the USSR built were thermonuclear, i.e. fusion type. Only the major world powers have developed fusion weapons. Only some of those powers have "miniaturized" such weapons. Strangely atomic/fission weapons tend to be larger -- often quite large -- weighing thousands of pounds. Not something you can carry around. In contrast the W62, the warhead used on the Minuteman III missile, weighs about 800 pounds.
    Yeah ... that's what worries me. I not really concerned about Iran pursuing fission weapons. Their missiles and aircraft essentially have no way of delivering them to Israel or USA. But a dishonest official could slip one to a terrorist group.

    If Iran wants a fission bomb, I don't see how anyone can stop them. We should mentally prepare ourselves for the inevitable. And hope that they can't or won't pursue fusion type weapons and continue on to miniaturization.
     
  8. rawbone8

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    When I mention "suitcase bomb" or the like I'm including the potential for a low tech "dirty bomb" or a device that does not attempt to create a massive nuclear explosion but perhaps a more conventional explosion coupled with dangerous radioactive materials that that might poison a large area with deadly fallout.
     
  9. SteveHd

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    Those are sometimes called radiological bombs. They would affect a much smaller area, perhaps part of a city. A concern, certainly, but Iran doesn't contribute much to that threat. There's a lot radioactive stuff, some used in medicine, already available.

    Since conventional explosives are used, they're not small. More like truck size rather than "suitcase" size.
     
  10. B_big dirigible

    B_big dirigible New Member

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    Chirac "thought he was speaking off the record"? You're dumb enough to take that article seriously? Chirac knew exactly what he was saying. He always has. The only mystery is why anyone would think that anything he says is of the slightest importance. France is hardly central to the strategic plans of any other country, except perhaps Monaco or Andorra, because it's been obsessed with the need to appear independent. This may have been due to a personality flaw of DeGaulle's, or maybe it's more due to a general malaise which has made France wacky since the Franco-Prussian War and the suppression of the Paris Commune. This pseudo-independence is the inspiration for France's notorious undependability, which is exactly what it's been in international affairs since 1940.
     
  11. kamikazee_club

    kamikazee_club New Member

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    As did I. It's a poor term but what I meant was a 'portable' device that could be delivered using similar means to a conventional car bomb but with more devastating effects. Not a mini nuke (if there really is such a thing) as another poster referred to.
     
  12. rawbone8

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    What do you think Chirac's or France's motive would be in stating this?
    To appear "independent" and "wacky"? To curry favour with Iran?

    Or to piss off predictable Americans?
     
  13. B_NineInchCock_160IQ

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    What Chirac says about what would happen to Iran in the event that it attacked Israel is both true and rational, and would prevent any sane man from starting a nuclear war.
    But the president of Iran hasn't shown himself to be rational or sane. This is the whole point.
    Also, as others have pointed out, having nukes in the hands of Iranians put them that much closer to having them in the hands of terrorists fucks who don't give a shit about the costs of war.
     
  14. B_NineInchCock_160IQ

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    All of the above seems highly plausible. Though I don't think the "whacky" part is intentional.
     
  15. kamikazee_club

    kamikazee_club New Member

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    BD I'd say the truer mystery is rather why anyone would think anything you say has any more importance. French Pseudo independence? err....last I checked it was an independent [nuclear] nation and wackyness? is that a techincal term? Well, the Franco Prussian (actually called, more accurately the Franco-German war in France) war ended over 130 years ago, you seriously think that influences to any identifiable degree French Foreign policy on Iran today, seriously????

    No one suggested that France is central to anyone's plans but their own, that's well known, but whatever Chriac does or doesnt know about Iran, I'll wager he is better informed than you (and I). That he knew his comments would out, and that the reasons are quite obvious, on that I agree but that's all.
     
  16. Freddie53

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    The procedure to prevent a nation from using nuclear bombs is for that nation to be well off enough that a nuclear war would destroy and leave that nation much more worse off. At this time, the people in Iran are not a "have" nation. They are still a "have not" nation who has economic sanctions against them that make their economic situation even worse.

    Iran as a "have" nation will not start a war with Israel. A "have not" Iran just might.

    North Korea is certainly a "have not' nation. I wouldn't bet on what they would or would not do.

    Nations that are economically secure are much safer. It is in our best interest to see that Iran is a 'have" nation that finds peace a safer journey than war.
     
  17. kamikazee_club

    kamikazee_club New Member

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    I think it goes beyond mere economics. It's hard to see how any nation could survive a significant nuclear attack, without economic and social devastation; including the US.

    Well Iran has perhaps the fourth or fifth largest global oil reserves so I'd say that puts it in the 'have' list. Iran's economic problem is not taking proper advantage of them.

    Neither would I, but not for purely economic reasons.

    Well, they have more to lose for sure.
     
  18. dostoy

    dostoy New Member

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    Well if 5-10% of your population was disenfranchised; you lived a mere few hundred miles from even more hordes of them with some claim to French citizenship; and they were members of a cult religion I'm sure you'd certainly want to appear 'independent'. This is probably France's reason for its ambivalent position to date.

    What I'm more chagrined about is Putin's Russia affording Iran all the nuclear technology it can afford. For God's sake the dumb ass is fighting Muslim Chechnyan rebels that are reported to be getting material support from Iran.

    I hope that if it is inevitable, that a nuclear terrorist act sponsored by Iran hit Russia.
     
  19. dostoy

    dostoy New Member

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    It seems China wants N. Korea as a buffer to the prosperity and democracy of S. Korea from its own chinese citizens. Interestingly enough if N. Korea was really afraid of U.S./S. Korean invasion we should enter a non-aggression pact with them (dumb ass Bush and Clinton). Alternatively China should act as N. Korea's territorial guarantor; that is unless N. Korea doesn't trust them.

    Wonder why China doesn't do that? They must not mind a little bit of pollution, radioactive or not, from time to time.
     
  20. meatpackingbubba

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    I don't recall anyone in a position of responsibility in the west proposing to "nuke North Korea" or "nuke Iran" in a first strike.
     
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