Trying to parse the hyperbole on Iran


A couple of weeks ago, or thereabouts, I posted the following as a “Quick Hit.” (The link referenced in the blockquote is here.)

The top ten ways, from one of the very few high-profile analysts (Paul Krugman is another) that events consistently prove to have been right. I can’t believe that Obama got punked like this; it could well end up handing reactionaries the White House, House, and Senate, a historic disaster.

Have a good day.

As prices in February hit a historic high for this time of year, presaging perhaps $5 a gallon gasoline this summer in the US, Iran is still sitting pretty. The fragile European and US economies, however, may take a hit from higher transportation costs (the US will likely see a fall in summer travel and internal tourism). The same Republicans who complain that President Obama hasn’t been hard enough on Iran are cynically planning to campaign against him on his having caused higher petroleum prices, ignoring the role of sanctions on Iran and tensions with that country in the price run-up! I hate to say it but I told you so…

The last crackpot Neocon plan, the invasion of Iraq, ended up costing Americans about $1 trillion so far and nearly 5,000 soldiers killed. Their Iran gambit looks set to triple all the costs of the Iraq fiasco, or more. Write your congressmen and put blame where it is due, on AIPAC.

I probably went beyond what is warranted, in claiming that President Obama got “punked.” There are wheels within wheels within wheels.

This article, which is fairly lengthy, provides a more measured perspective, to the effect that matters are in fact proceeding toward an outcome dictated by non-violent diplomacy. Hopefully, it’s correct.

The foreplay is nearing completion on the Iran situation. The surest sign is that there were no serious takers in Western capitals for the Israeli smear campaign this week that Tehran’s agents had been going about placing bombs in New Delhi, Tbilisi and Bangkok. Simply put, there is growing impatience that it is way past the time for histrionics…

While Tehran’s announcement of new nuclear “achievements” might have appeared as a belligerent move – Washington derided it as “hype” meant for the domestic audience in Iran – the contents of Jalili’s letter, and, more important, the initial responses of cautious optimism it generated within hours in Western capitals convey that there are positive stirrings in the air.

The reaction in Washington is particularly noteworthy. A White House official was quoted as saying, “It [Jalili’s letter] could lead to further diplomacy, provided that they [Iranians] are serious about it. We have made clear that this has to be a dialogue about their nuclear program specifically.”

This has a projection of what might go down, if Israel really does start something. Which most Israelis want no part of.

It is often the case in democratic societies that reasonable people get saddled with extremist governments. Israel is in such a situation at the moment…

The poll shows that the vast majority of Israelis does not think that their government should strike Iran without the support of the United States. It shows that only about half of Israelis think that the result of such a strike would be a delay in Iran’s nuclear program lasting more than a couple of years, and 12% believe it would accelerate the program. A fifth think it would have no effect at all.

The bottom line, is that Iran is not trying to develop nuclear weapons. But, I gotta say, if I was Iranian, I’d want one, especially considering what recently happened next door.

The idea is pervasive, throughout American politics and corporate media, that it is to be taken for granted that everyone should just do what we wonderful Americans, that only have the best interests of all the whole wide world at heart, say they should. That is appalling hubris, especially when you consider the source of most of that: contemporary American conservatives, that is, the very dregs and rinsings of the human intellect. There is a lesson here that should have been learned by everybody, long ago: when the neocons want you to do something, don’t do it. Because those craven half-wits are always wrong.

As for the (at this time, entirely hypothetical) claim that a “nuclear Iran” would mean Armageddon

Strip away the bellicosity and political rhetoric, and what one finds is not rigorous analysis but a mixture of fear, fanciful speculation, and crude stereotyping. There are indeed good reasons to oppose Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons, and likewise many steps the United States and the international community can and should take to try to avoid that eventuality. But an Iran with a bomb would not be anywhere near as dangerous as most people assume, and a war to try to stop it from acquiring one would be less successful, and far more costly, than most people imagine.

In this article,from yesterday, the author is confident that Obama is staying well clear of the dark side.

Using diplomatic language, in his AIPAC speech and, apparently, in his private meeting with the Israeli prime minister, Obama’s message top Israel roughly translates into: “Sit down and shut up!”

We’ll see.