Alarming News

January 28, 2006

What not to do

The news that UK foreign secretary Jack Straw will ‘press for action on Iran’ showcases the absolute futility of our current methods for dealing with international threats. First of all, who, exactly will Straw press? And, second of all, what, exactly, will he press them to do? Well, here it is:

Mr Straw is expected to urge the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] to refer Iran to the United Nations Security Council for censure.


So, if I understand it, Mr. Straw will recommend meetings. And, those meetings will recommend, maybe, sanctions. Which, of course, is what we did with Iraq. That produced thirteen years of defiance by Saddam, empty threats from the ‘international community’ and ultimately led to our current war. I don’t know what the solution to the Iran problem is, but I know it’s not making the same mistakes we made with Iraq.

The BBC piece linked above ends thusly:

In his speech to the forum, Mr Straw is expected to say that Iran must not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons.

He will address 2,000 business leaders and politicians in what our correspondent describes as “one of the most influential authorities in the world”.

Mr Straw has previously told the BBC that Iran can be persuaded to co-operate over its nuclear programme only “by peaceful means”, saying the situation there was unlike that in Iraq.

I’m glad the correspondent feels they’re so influential. I can’t help but disagree. Meetings and words are not influential. I’m looking forward to seeing how the whole ‘peaceful means’ thing turns out. I just don’t see how people who can’t see the parallels between Iraq all those years ago and Iran today are going to work this all out. I’m rooting for peace, but I’m not optimistic.

Posted by Karol at 03:32 AM |
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Except that at the end of the Iraq sanctions that Saddam was “defying” for 13 years… he no longer had WMDs.
Which was the point, right?
And if the same were to happen to Iran, that would be a very desireable outcome.
In fact, the “mistake we made with Iraq”, was invading Iraq to find WMDs that weren’t there.
And I agree with you there, lets not repeat it.
And anyway, what are you saying? We shouldn’t use diplomacy because that led to war in Iraq. So instead we should use… Magic? Nuclear Weapons? Or just skip the foreplay and invade tomorrow?

Posted by: Sam L. at January 28, 2006 at 9:49 am

Meetings and words may not be influential. True past evidence points to the view that they are not. However there is always the chance that they will be successfull if attempted.
Straw, Rice and co may well fail at persuading Iran that it shouldnt have nuclear weapons. I hope to God they can persuade it as there are enough problems in that region without 2 nuclear powers who hate each other. They should try for the following reasons.
1. The lesson that should have been drawn from Iraq is that the international community will not look kindly on blatant aggression. America and Britain could have got more international support if they had at least tried hard to get a second UN resolution or if they had PROVED Saddam was not complying. As we know Blix killed the second argument and Bush made a show of trying to get UN backing but didnt really care one way or the other. Going the discussion route may fail at its ultimate objective but it creates the right impression internationally and that we tried and failed should give more room for manouevre if another viable option is brought forward. See 1990-1991.
2. No one has yet provided a sensible alternative to dialogue in the Iran situation. We don’t have capability to invade and occupy that country. Iraq has been a nightmare and Iran is both bigger and is more likely to fight back. Bombing Iran a la 1981 may hit a few sites but again the 2 countries are different. In Iraq in 81 the Israelis hit the ONE target that mattered. (if it was more than 1 by all means say so). In Iran the likely site aren’t known in terms of numbers and the ones we k now about are better concealed. Bombing even if successfull would bring repercussions.
Is there a viable alternative to what Straw is trying to do? Am surprised the term “clutching at straws” hasnt been offered up yet.

Posted by: Nick Saunders at January 28, 2006 at 10:40 am

Sam, you should tell the Kurds that Iraq didn’t have WMD. They’ll be surprised to hear that seeing as Saddam used the weapons on them. The idea that Saddam didn’t have WMD is just beyond absurd. We gave him nearly a year of discussion before invading. Hiding or moving the weapons is more than likely.
I don’t know what we should do but we’re in fantasyland if we’re thinking Iran is going to listen to reason. Sanctions are a dumb idea, they simply don’t work in countries in which the leaders could not care less about the populace. Saddam’s people suffered sanctions while he build palaces out of gold. I’d like to see massive support for the Iranian democracy movement, tough talk at their leaders followed by tough action. The thing is, we know there is no ‘international community’. It’s the US, Britain and Australia that will handling any potential threat. It’s so annoying to pretend otherwise.
I have a good friend in Britain who reads this site who has said to me ‘if Iran gets nukes, Israel will take them out’. That can’t be Plan A.

Posted by: Karol at January 28, 2006 at 4:22 pm

Saddam must’ve run out of WMDs, which the UK and US supplied to him BTW, because we found none when we invaded. Kurds were gassed, in the past, and on the same day that that news broke, Rumsfeld was shaking hands with Saddam, filling out an order form for more WMDs.
Turkey is also horrble to Kurds and Ethnic Georgians, why not do something about that?

Posted by: bryan at January 29, 2006 at 3:42 am

I don’t know why you mention that we supplied them. Doesn’t that make us MORE responsible to get rid of them and not less? The fact that we have found none should be cause for concern. He clearly didn’t destroy them as he could’ve prevented the war if he would prove that he had. I think they’re buried or in Syria. Time will tell.
Let me know the day Turkey invades two sovereign countries and puts a madman in charge and then I’ll be sure to back an invasion.

Posted by: Karol at January 29, 2006 at 5:20 am

Iran is the reason Saddam didn’t say “Hey international community, I don’t have any impressive weapons. I’m totally helpless.” It would not have put him in a very good position, obviously.

Posted by: Sam L. at January 29, 2006 at 9:18 am

Maybe the foreign policy of the future will be invading other countries based on the perception of pre-emptive threat.
If we think a country is a possible threat or might be a threat sometime in the future then we threaten to invade them unless that country can prove that they are not a threat and will never be one in the future.
If they can’t prove that then we invade.
It will be up to the President of the USA to decide if a threat exists.
Hey, does this policy allready exist? It’s starting to seem like this IS our policy.

Posted by: PAUL at January 29, 2006 at 2:00 pm

Sam, Saddam was allowed to have many different kinds of weapons, just not WMDs. He could prove he didn’t have them, avoid war, and still have missiles of all kinds aimed at Iran.

Posted by: Karol at January 29, 2006 at 2:32 pm

Paul, you were for the Iraq war when it started. That’s all I’m going to say.

Posted by: Karol at January 29, 2006 at 2:33 pm

I am just saying I think this is our policy. I don’t think anyone else has come out and had the guts to just say it.
Looking at the kind of threats the future holds it’s not a bad strategy.
Do I want President Bush to be in charge of this policy, NO. Because I think his judgement sucks and his intentions not the best. But I would support this kind of policy with a better president in charge.

Posted by: PAUL at January 29, 2006 at 6:16 pm

I’m still for the war. I am for the war for a myriad of reasons. But I don’t like the way Bush and the administration sold it.

Posted by: PAUL at January 30, 2006 at 12:21 am
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