At 1/22/12 01:26 PM, adrshepard wrote:
That's not what you wrote, but whatever.
I guess we have different understandings of what those parentheses could possibly have meant in that sentence.
the person or group most responsible
Who's the most responsible is irrelevant. As an analogy: let's say that person A and B want to burn down the house of person C. Person A sets the house on fire while person B distracts the fire department with a prank call. Even if person A is more responsible than person B, then this event will still determine the relationship between person B and C, and give person C legitimate concerns about the extent to which person B is willing to mess with his safety.
The case that I'm trying to make with referring to the '53 coup is that Iran has concerns about its national security that stem from something other than its own support for terrorists since the mid-eighties or its WMD program.
If Mossadegh hadn't been so quick to confiscate foreign assets and demand more domestic authority, perhaps the west wouldn't have saw the need for him to go.
Maybe so, but the response on the part of the US and UK was completely disporportional to the severity of the vice.
Israel a US proxy? Hardly. It uses US weapons and money, but it doesn't act at our behest. If anything the US has had to urge Israel to restrain itself.
Having to urge Israel to restrain itself does not mean it's not a proxy, it means that Israel is an overenthusiastic proxy. Israel is like an enormous spy satellite for the US. But its biggest threat to Iran is that it can carry out dirty work that the US can't (like the way it took out a nuclear reactor in Syria).
Which would do absolutely nothing to save Iran or discourage the US.
The added effect of a wider conflict involving Lebanon, Syria and Palestine always raises the bar for invasion. Even if these countries/movements are struck down a for a few more years, it weakens the position of US-minded governments like the one in Saudi Arabia and (still, since the military is bascially in charge) Egypt who will come under domestic criticism from militants over not getting involved. Refugees could (further) destabilise countries like Iraq and Jordan. It in any case increases the amount of damage done to US interests in the region by an invasion, even if it at the same time increases the threat level and legitimacy of an invasion.
Ok, but you said he used it against civilians. Deploying it against Iranian soldiers isn't the same thing.
Shelling a village with chemical weapons inevitably leads to civilian casualties, even if the primary purpose is to attack troops. Indeed, civilian casulaties were reported by Iran, although the UN inspectors that visited Iran for six days only examined a few shells and wounded soldiers in hosptials and neither denied nor confirmed civilian casulaties due to Iraq's chemical weapon strikes.
And if those programs hadn't collapsed or been abandoned, who's to say there wouldn't still be international pressure on those countries today? South Africa was certainly hit by sanctions.
Yeah, but that didn't happen because of its nuclear weapons program. If Brazil or South Africa were hit by sanctions it would have been a shift in policy compared to the past few decades. The only argument that I can think of in favour of sanctions is that it would seem consistent on part of the US, but since Israel, India or Pakistan have also never been put under significant pressure I doubt it.
Perhaps there wouldn't be as much talk of a military strike, but obviously the Middle East is far more important to US interests than southern Africa or South America.
I don't think that that's an argument that's going to make a big impression on Iranians.
It's accelerating now, but its still the same people behind the scenes as in the past.
The clerics, sure. I'm just arguing that the "Axis of Evil" speech alarmed Iran's leadership, which caused them to speed up development.
It wouldn't. But it would remove the critical justification for a US invasion.
If the US government really wanted, it could provoke a small-scale naval engagement in the Persian Gulf that could serve as a casus belli, like with the Tonkin incident. I don't think that the Obama administration is that eager to start a war, but it could have happened anyway back in 2006-8 if the anti-US insurgency in Iraq had never gotten off the ground or it could happen anyway in the next few years if, say, a Rick Santorum becomes president. Developing nuclear weapons is a long-term endeavour and Iran is willing to play a long-term game. I won't deny that it's risky, but so is relying on US forbearance.
Nuclear weapons don't safeguard against domestic unrest.
True, although an Israeli or US strike on Iranian soil could cause Iranians to rally behind their government. While I think that a lot of Iranians will blame their own government for the sanctions, in case of an actual attack many will resort to patriotism. Anyway, I do think that a lot of Ahmadinejad's antagonism towards other countries in the region is meant to rally people behind his government, but I'm not cynical enough to think that he's actually fishing for a violent response from the West in order to use the emergency situation to clamp down on internal dissenters. I still think they're mostly trying to make themselves as unattractive as possbile for invasion. Whether the increased risks weigh up to the possible benefits remains to be seen, of course, but they're not just crazy.