Saturday, February 18, 2006

Much ado about nothing

"Much of the discussion about Iran's nuclear program is quite simply hysterical," says Immanuel Wallerstein. "The reason that the United States in particular is so agitated about Iran's potential nuclear armament is that the spread of nuclear weapons to so-called middle countries clearly reduces the military strength of the United States. But that doesn't mean that it threatens the peace of the world."

6 Comments:

Blogger J. said...

I'm not sure that Wallerstein is looking at this issue from the correct viewpoint. It is not so much that Iran may or may not have nuclear power, but rather who is the person behind the trigger button if they in fact manage to develop a nuclear weapon. From there, you have to consider whether the current leadership of Iran will have any qualms with allowing even more radical groups to share the "wealth." There are few arguments out there that would convince me that allowing Iran to join the nuclear weapons club is anything resembling a good idea....

11:27 PM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger Sodiumhydrid said...

To j.

A voice of reason in the darkness.

How refreshing.

2:04 PM, February 19, 2006  
Blogger Jean said...

J and SH:

What evidence do you have that Iran would act more recklessly than the United States, Israel, India, Pakistan or other nuclear powers? How many countries has Iran invaded? Why don't the irresponsible, reckless and radical actions of the United States concern you more? It's a massively armed rogue superpower that does not feel constrained by any international agreements. In addition to the standard 500-pound "conventional" bombs which have wiped out entire neighborhoods and their inhabitants, it has used white phosphorous, depleted uranium, napalm, and a host of other nasty weapons on civilian populations. Why doesn't this bother you?

The United States has 7,000 nuclear weapons, and the Bush Administration's Nuclear Policy Review of 2002 endorses U.S. nuclear strikes on non-nuclear states. The administration
seeks new, more "usable" nuclear weapons.

Iran is entirely within its rights under the NPT to develop nuclear power for energy. The evidence indicates that it is still years away from having bomb-making capacity, but even assuming it is moving in that direction--who could blame it?

Any solution to the problem of nuclear proliferation must address the need for a nuclear weapons-free Middle East. UN Security Council Resolution 687, sponsored by the United States and Britain in 1991 to disarm Iraq, commits the United States to that goal. Yet Israel is believed to possess 200 nuclear weapons. The Nuclear on-Proliferation Treaty is a grand bargain whereby non-nuclear weapons states abstain IF existing nuclear powers work towards nuclear disarmament.

It is pure hypocrisy to single out Iran for condemnation while ignoring this larger international geopolitical context, and the aggressive actions of the United States which drive other nations to seek a nuclear defense against U.S. invasion.

8:40 AM, February 20, 2006  
Blogger Sodiumhydrid said...

Jean,
Your passionate dislike of the U.S. seems to inhibit your ability to look at and consider anything else. Irresponsible, reckless and radical actions by ANY country should concern all of us. Letting Iran develop nuclear weapons grade materials falls in the category of an irresponsible, reckless and radical action. To the best of my knowledge none of the leaders of the nuclear powers you mentioned, have stated another country should be wiped off the face of the earth. I don’t recall any of them calling for the death of an author for a book he has written. (Satanic Verses) I don’t recall people of western beliefs rioting over a cartoon in a newspaper. Giving this type of this mind set, what would it require to initiate the launch of a nuc?
You're correct in saying there have been civilian casualties from U.S. weaponry but you imply that the civilian population was the target which is not the case. Civilian casualties are deplorable, with out a doubt. Do you see a despot herding civilians, at gun point, to use as a human shield, just as or possibly more deplorable? A fact you might be interested in but probably not, depleted uranium is used in anti tank rounds, use on civilian populations is a very inefficient application of expensive ammunition, as such, unlikely. Unless you can get a lot of them to line up in a long row, to make use of the superior penetration capabilities of the munition.
I agree with you that Iran is with in it’s rights to develop nuclear power for energy. As a matter of fact the west offered to help them do just that, it in a manner that would negate the ability to make weapons grade nuclear material. It would have given them nuclear power production sooner but that didn’t seem to interest them. Hmmmm, maybe this should be taken into our consideration when we ask ourselves if power production is the real goal.
I can’t speak to Israel working toward nuclear disarmament, I am aware that the U.S. and Russia are working toward it. You state the U.S. still has 7000 warheads. Have you compared that to how many they use to have? I’m not sure if your aware of the complexity of a nuclear device and what it takes to get rid of them but you don’t just pull the batteries and then throw them out with the garbage. After decades of build up through the cold war, they can’t all go away in the next couple of years. And do you REALLY think, that if everybody that has them now, got rid of them, some how, in the next year, there would be peace and joy across the earth and Iran would halt all work on a nuclear weapons program?…I’m at a loss for words.
As to UN resolutions, it would be great is everybody would abide by them. How outraged where you by France and Germany's dealing behind the scenes to make money off of sanctions and resolutions, thus removing pressure for Saddam to change his ways via diplomacy?

Speaking of your outrage (you really do come across as outraged)and jumping back to the irresponsible, reckless and radical actions. I realize this occurred before blogging started but let me ask you. How outrage were you when some dozen of years after the U.S. and Russia signed a treaty to abolish above ground testing because of radiation, the French continued with above ground testing AND to go one better they didn’t even do it in their own country (to dirty) they did it in the south pacific, someone else’s back yard. Or how outraged where you when the French special forces, covertly entered New Zealand (an ally) and blew up the Rainbow Warrior, a NON combatant ship, in Auckland harbor? Then, after the perpetrators where caught, tried and convicted in NZ. The French government persuaded NZ that they should be allowed serve their prison terms in France. After their return to France they were released and heralded as national heroes. ????

8:03 PM, February 20, 2006  
Blogger Jean said...

So much outrage, so little time...

Back in the early 1980s, I was outraged by what Soviet authorities were doing to dissenters--censorship, harrassment, physical abuse, detention, show trials and forced confessions to "anti-Soviet" crimes, incarceration in psychiatric hospitals, blackmail, and so on. Along with others who shared my outrage, I campaigned hard for their rights, and we scored some successes.

At another place and another time, I've been outraged by how city politicians shafted local citizens, going back on promises and putting monied interests above those of the community and the environment, and got deeply involved in that campaign, too. That one we lost.

These days my main beef is with U.S. foreign policy, because after studying the issues for many years (and continuing to do so), I can't avoid the conclusion that the United States is a major and immediate threat to global peace, stability, and progress. (There's nothing inherently anti-American about this view, by the way, since many millions of Americans would be far better off if the current disastrous and destructive policies were radically reformed.)

You don't have to agree. You are free to get outraged over other issues of your own choosing, based on your values, your priorities, your particular knowledge of the world, and your personal life experience. You are also free to express your outrage. You clearly have a lot you would like to say. However, it might be more appropriate to do so on your own blog rather than leaving lengthy anonymous comments on someone else's.

9:50 PM, February 21, 2006  
Blogger Sodiumhydrid said...

Stumbled across this and thought it an very interesting perspective in comparision to Wallerstein.
http://www.nationalreview.com/hanson/hanson200602170827.asp

5:32 PM, February 26, 2006  

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